Noel was the second son born to TJ and Susan Williams and he like the rest of the Williams kids had plans of his own that didn't include working a farm. He fell in love with his childhood sweetheart Frances Allen and planned to earn the money to marry her while she was in her first year of college. There was no way to earn money in Morganfield Kentucky so he moved to Chicago where he found employment with the railroads as a bookkeeper.
You'll have to read The Maybelline Story for the whole story but in a nutshell his younger brother Tom Lyle also joined him in Chicago, followed by sister Mabel and the three of them helped build Tom Lyle's budding mail order business. If you've been following my blog you have an idea of the magnitude this major event meant to the Williams family and eventually the world. However when Tom Lyle needed the money to launch Maybelline, he turned to his brother Noel who had saved $500 to marry Frances. The rest is history, but to honor Noel for believing him him Tom Lyle made his older brother Vice President of the Maybelline Company, a position he held for the rest of his life.
Tom Lyle paid the $500 back one year later and on Nov 8th 1916 Noel and Frances were married. Here is a picture of Noel and Frances soon after the wedding standing in front of Tom Lyle's convertible Page in Chicago's heavy snow.
Noel and Frances moved into an apartment down the street from the Maybelline warehouse while the rest of the Williams family lived together in the apartment above it. Noel and Tom Lyle were the driving force behind the little budding cosmetic company and together they made an unbeatable team.
Right to Left we see Proud Papa Noel looking at Frances in awe with his father TJ behind, holding baby Helen. Next in the picture is Mabel, Preston in a Navel uniform, Susan (their mother,) with her arm around Eva. (not sure who the girl with the long curls is.)
Noel and Frances' son Noel Allen's wedding Feb 12, 1949. Left to right, mother of the bride Alberta Kilroy, Noel and Frances, Father of the bride, Charles Thomas Kilroy, Jean (Kilroy) Williams, Noel Allen and Jean's girlfriends as maid of honor and bridesmaids. On November 23, 1949, Charles Allen Williams, (Chuck,) was born while Noel Allen and Jean were living in one of the apartments in the Maybelline building.
Here is one of the last pictures of Noel and Frances - at Tom Lyle's ultra modern stone and glass estate in Bel Air -before Noels death the following year in 1951.
Tom Lyle Williams with his older brother Noel, founded the Maybelline Company, and at Noel's death it was said the Noel was the Maybelline Company. We sure know that without him there certainly wouldn't have been a Maybelline Company.
Tom Lyle had a great idea, given to him by his sister Mabel, but without the capitol to launch it, and the devotion to run it, Maybelline might have remained just a good Idea.
Read more about Noel and the building of an empire in The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Behind It.