Noah Phelps papers  1733-1790
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Biography

The Phelps family were early settlers of Simsbury, Conn. Noah Phelps, born on January 22, 1740, was the fourth of David and Abigail Pettibone Phelps' nine children. David, who was the son of Joseph Phelps and his third wife, Mary Case (daughter of Richard), had married Abigail on April 25, 1731. David died of smallpox December 9, 1760, and his widow did not remarry until January 1, 1772, when she wed Deacon David Strong of Bolton. Noah did marry and have children, but the names of his wife and offspring are not known.

Noah was involved in the American Revolution from the very first days, as a "chief projector and principal actor" of the "Committee of War for the expedition against Ticonderoga and Crown Point." The Committee was formed in Hartford in late April 1775, and decided that the capture of Fort Ticonderoga was the best way to protect the northern perimeter and acquire much-needed stores. About 160 men, led by Ethan Allen, journeyed up to Lake Champlain. Although the victorious attack on the fort on May 10 is well-known, not many know of the crucial role Phelps took in the enterprise. Two days earlier, Captain (later General) Phelps had entered the fort as a spy: "Pretending that his object was to get shaved, he avoided suspicion, and had an opportunity to ascertain the construction, strength, and force of the garrison. And he had the good fortune to elude detection, though as it afterwards appeared, his presence had began [sic] to excite mistrust before he left the garrison." (History of Simsbury, Granby and Canton ..., 94-95) Phelps continued to serve for the duration of the war, and was promoted to Colonel. His brother, Captain Elisha Phelps, was a Commissary in the army until his death in 1776.

Noah Phelps was clearly a leader within the Simsbury community. He chaired the town meeting that passed the articles of confederation in January 1778, and in November of 1787, the meeting picked him and Daniel Humphrey Esq., as delegates for the Convention of the State of Connecticut, set to convene in Hartford in January and vote on whether or not to adopt the federal constitution. They were directed to oppose it, but "one of the delegates though voting as instructed by the town, took occasion to state that his personal convictions led him to favor the proposed constitution." (Stowe, 23). This might or might not have been Phelps. He held a variety of important positions, including Surveyor of lands in 1772 and 1783, Justice of the Peace for Hartford County in 1782, Judge of Probate in 1787, and Major-General of the Militia, 1796-1799. He died in 1809.