Subject matter specialists
and digital assets available:
Eric Bradley, Director,
Former Slave Jordan B.
Noble’s Battle of New Orleans Commemorative Banner and Historic Snare Drum and
Offered in May 4 Americana Auction
New Orleans resident’s
rare war drum offered at Heritage Auctions
DALLAS, Texas (April 15, 2019)
– On January 8, 1815, a teenage slave named Jordan Bankston Noble beat the call to arms and stood shoulder to shoulder
with U.S. troops determined to drive back the British Army during the Battle of
Despite his age, Noble, just 14
years old, already had plenty of experience as a drummer in the War of 1812
under Major General Andrew Jackson’s 7th Regiment; his skills also
had played a crucial role in a December 1814 surprise attack against the
“Without a doubt, Jordan
Noble’s life is a fascinating story of courage and perseverance,” said Tom
Slater, an expert and director of Historical Americana at Heritage. “Despite
serving his country, after the war, two of Noble's commanders took ownership of
him and his mother. It was through their efforts that Jordan became a free man
and a celebrated historic figure in New Orleans.”
Born a slave in Georgia in
1800, Noble was raised by his mother before he was sold to New Orleans resident
John Noble in 1812 who likewise fought at the battle in Jackson’s 7th
Regiment Louisiana Volunteer Infantry.
Because of his extreme patriotism, after the War of 1812,
Noble continued his military career as a drummer during the Second Seminole War
of 1836, the Mexican War (under Zachary Taylor) and the Civil War. At the
outbreak of the Civil War, he raised a company of freed African Americans (the
“Louisiana Native Guards”) to provide security and defense for the city of New
The drum offered at auction on May 4 is the one he played
from his time in the Seminole Wars to the end of his life in 1890. It is the
very same one Noble was seen with at the World's Industrial and Cotton
Centennial Exposition/New Orleans World’s Fair (1884). After his death, the
drum was publically exhibited at the Colonial Museum in New Orleans (1903) and
the Louisiana Purchase Exposition/St. Louis World's Fair (1904), before being
loaned to the Louisiana State Museum for more than a century and being on
permanent display for the majority of that time.
The exceptionally important military snare drum features a
Federal eagle and shield on a standard military blue background. The maker’s
label is inscribed in ink at the top "JB
Noble." Although some of the paint is worn
and chipped, the graphic eagle remains vivid and is surrounded by 24 stars (one
chipped away) representing the 24 states admitted between 1821 and 1836.
Noble’s commitment to this
country ran deep. Among his most prized possessions was a 42-inch by 45-inch
blue silk banner that, according to tradition, was made by the women of New
Orleans and presented to Andrew Jackson to honor and commemorate his victory at
the Battle of New Orleans. It is decorated with two horizontal ribbons within a
wreath inscribed “Andrew Jackson” and “1814 and 1815.” It is encased with a
printed testimonial to Noble, dated April 27, 1880, signed by two former
governors, three generals and a commodore.
Noble’s widow sold the banner
(and drum) sometime before 1903 to Gaspar Cusachs, who loaned it to the
Louisiana State Museum. The banner has been publically exhibited at the
Colonial Museum in New Orleans (1903), the Louisiana Purchase Exposition/St.
Louis World's Fair (1904), the Louisiana State Museum (1909) and the Capitol
Park Museum in Baton Rouge (2006-2016).
Noble became known as the “The
Drummer Boy of Chalmette” and was fondly called "Old
Jordan" in his later years. He was often seen and heard
playing the snare drum currently offered at auction, and would timelessly
recreate the famous drumbeat that was heard on the fields of Chalmette during
the Battle of New Orleans, along with the many other military beats he
performed throughout his service to this country.
Old Jordan became such a fixture
of New Orleans’ culture, the local newspaper, The Daily Picayune,
honored him and told the story of his life in an article published June 21,
1890, the day after his death.
Heritage Auctions is the
largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States,
and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in
New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London,
Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
The Internet’s most popular
auction-house website, HA.com, has over one million registered bidder-members
and searchable free archives of four million past auction records with prices
realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely
granted to media for photo credit.
Hi-Res images available:
Eric Bradley, Director,