“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Rome in Floyd County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)

The Noble Brothers Foundry

“More Harm Than Any One Regiment”


— Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails —

The Noble Brothers Foundry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, April 11, 2021
1. The Noble Brothers Foundry Marker
Inscription.  Located on the south side of Broad Street at First Avenue on the banks of the Etowah River in downtown Rome was the Noble Brothers and Company foundry, one of the most iron manufacturing businesses in the South. English-born James Noble, Sr. and his six sons moved to Rome from Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1855. They chose Rome because of its proximity to high-quality iron ore deposits. The foundry included a huge metal-working lathe for shaping castings into the exterior of cannon. This 16-foot-long lathe, with a 10-foot “swing,” was transported to Rome by water and wagon from Pennsylvania.

In 1857, the Noble Brothers Foundry built one of the first railroad locomotives south of Richmond, Virginia. The 25-ton “Alfred Shorter” ran on an 18-mile spur east from Rome to Kingston, where it linked with the Western and Atlantic Railroad. The foundry also manufactured boilers and steam engines for riverboats on the nearby Coosa River, among other items.

With the onset of the Civil War, James Noble went to Montgomery, Alabama to confer with Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Noble procured contracts to produce
The Noble Brothers Foundry Marker in Better Condition image. Click for full size.
By Joseph A. Brock (CC BY-SA 4.0), March 30, 2014
2. The Noble Brothers Foundry Marker in Better Condition
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3-inch rifled cannon, 6-pounder smoothbores and 12-pounder howitzers, among others. One of the first units equipped with Noble cannon was the Cherokee Artillery of Rome in July 1861.

Despite shortages of materials and skilled workers, the foundry produced an estimated seventy artillery pieces. The six Noble brothers were exempted from military service during the war, possibly by President Davis himself. “We have plenty of men who can fight,” Davis supposedly noted, “but few who can make cannon.” Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown also exempted twenty employees from service in the state militia.

In late 1862, the Confederate government stopped paying the Noble Brothers' invoices because of a dispute with the army. Eventually the foundry went out of the arms-making business after some of its machinery was removed to Augusta, Georgia. Nevertheless, one Federal official opined that the foundry “… did the federal government more harm than any one regiment of Rebel soldiers did during the entire war.”

A division of Union Major General William T. Sherman's army first entered Rome on May 18, 1864, forever ending all production. Then on November 10, Sherman issued this order: “… destroy to-night all public property not needed by your command, all foundries, mills, workshops, warehouses, railroad depot,
The Noble Brothers Foundry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, April 11, 2021
3. The Noble Brothers Foundry Marker
or other structures convenient to the railroad, together with all wagon-shops, tanneries, or other factories useful to our enemy.”
Sherman's forces left Rome the following day to begin their “March to the Sea.” Cornelius C. Platter of the 81st Ohio Infantry wrote in his diary, “… all destroyed by fire by the 82nd Illinois … the Railroad depots, Foundry, and everything of value to the enemy in Rome.”

Today, all that remains of the Noble Brothers and Company foundry is its massive lathe. It was used in another foundry until 1972. In 1976, the lathe was presented to the City of Rome and now rests on Jackson Hill, the site of historic Fort Norton, at 402 Civic Center Drive.

Top left: James Noble, Sr.
Center, top: Noble Brothers Foundry & Machine Works
Center, bottom: Noble Brothers Foundry 12 pounder bronze howitzer at Petersburg National Battlefield, Va. Another Noble cannon barrel is on display at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Ga.
Bottom right: Noble Brothers Foundry lathe on Jackson Hill in Rome.
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWar, US Civil
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. In addition, it is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1855.
Location. Marker has been reported damaged. 34° 15.108′ N, 85° 10.543′ W. Marker is in Rome, Georgia, in Floyd County. Marker is at the intersection of Broad Street and East 1st Avenue, on the right when traveling east on Broad Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Rome GA 30161, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Battle of Hightower Monument (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Fallen (approx. 0.2 miles away); Here Lies in Honored Glory an American Soldier (approx. 0.2 miles away); Ellen Louise Axson Wilson (approx. 0.2 miles away); Vietnam War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Georgia’s Paul Revere (approx. 0.2 miles away); The McDougald Family of Georgia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Myrtle Hill Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rome.
Also see . . .  Noble Brothers Foundry (Wikipedia). (Submitted on April 15, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 15, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 15, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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May. 14, 2021