Nolan Family Stories

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Families in Nova Scotia

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1780 : Patrick Nowlin : Falmouth, Kings Co., NS

[213] Patrick Nowlin (???? – bef. 1836) – from Ireland
[214] unknown Manning (???? – ????) – from Unknown
Children: Patrick (c1780)

Sometime before 1780, Patrick Nowlan, born in Ireland, had settled in the area of Falmouth, NS, across the river from Windsor, NS, perhaps having come there via the United States.

Around 1780, Patrick’s first wife, a daughter of Thomas Manning, bore him a son which they named Patrick. The family’s peace would, however, soon be disturbed by the influx in 1783 of large numbers of Loyalist refugees fleeing the American Colonies to seek refuge in Nova Scotia. It was in these trying times that Patrick’s first wife was charged for having supposedly murdered a man named Cagan and subsequently hung. Patrick remarried, marrying Hannah Westcott (c1751), but they did not have any children of their own. In 1836, Hannah was living in Horton, NS, when she died, her husband Patrick having preceded her. In those early days, the family also decided to change the spelling of the family name from Nowlan to “Nowlin” perhaps reflecting a family link to the early Nowlans who had settled in Virgina around 1700. The Nowlins of Falmouth are also known to have been of the Baptist faith.

Child of Patrick Nowlin and unknown Manning:

  • Patrick (c1780) married Sarah Eagles, the daughter of William and Sarah Eagles of Horton, NS, sometime around 1800; they are believed to have lived in the Horton area where Sarah’s parents lived.

Children of Patrick Nowlin and Sarah Eagles:

  • James (c1803) m. Sarah Eagles, a first cousin; they had 3 children: Edward (c1842), Mary-Ann (c1850) and Fairfield.

  • Robert (1809)
    m1. Aminella Eagles; they lived in ?Newtonville, NS, and had 7 children: Augusta (1844), Aminella, George-Thomas (1850), Frank, Ward, Margaret and John;
    m2. Rosanna Elvira Coldwell; they lived in Gaspereaux, NS, and had 7 children: Charles-Pursival (1855), William (1856), Rachel-Martha (c1859), Owen (1860), Henri (c1861), Henrietta (1862) and Emma (1865).

  • Henry W. (c1809)
    m1. unknown;
    m2. Sarah L. Cleveland in 1869

  • Mary
    m. William BENJAMIN in 1830; they had 5 children: Willard, Ebenezer, Robert, John and Rachel.

  • Mary-Ann
    m. John-Ellis VAUGHN; they lived in Wolfville, NS, and had 11 children: Sarah-Jane, Virtue-Ann, Harding-Chipman (1845), John-Wilbur (1846), Clement-Maley (1848), Edith-Alberta, Nathan-Manson, Henry, Benjamin-Truman (1858), Harry-Havelock and Brenton-Stanley. John-Ellis’ grandfather, named John Vaughn, had been the owner of a “saw and grist-mill” in Lunenburg county having moved there, from the American states, around 1774 and then had become wealthy logging a large tract of land (1750 acres) in the Quaco area, just east of St-John, New Brunswick.

  • Rebecca
    m. Ebenezer BENJAMIN in 1837; they lived in Gaspereaux, NS, and had 1 son named Robert.

1783 : John Nowland : Country Harbour, NS

[215] John Nowland (???? – ????) – from ?United States
[216] Margaret (???? – ????) – from ?United States
Children: John (c1772) and Sarah (c1773) born in the US; Joseph (c1785), David (c1789) and Thomas (c1794) born in Nova Scotia

John Nowland was born in the mid 1700s and, during the American Revolutionary War, served as a soldier in the King’s Carolina Rangers stationed in the Loyalist stronghold of St. Augustine, Florida. However, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 and the return of peace, all the King’s Men, the loyal Colonists, the British Troops and their fellow mercenaries were required to forfeit their properties and leave the land. John who had fought for King and country was forced to leave his home and seek a home elsewhere, accompanied by his wife Margaret and their two young children, John, aged 11 at the time, and Sarah, aged 10. On the bright side, however, Governor Parr of Nova Scotia, on behalf of his majesty King George III, had promised the loyal soldiers and colonists land in his jurisdiction. Thus began the long journey to a new home in Nova Scotia.

The group of refugees, of which John’s family was a part, left Charleston, North Carolina, by ship in the spring of 1783 bound for New York city which was still being held by British troops. However, upon arrival, the city being overcrowded and food and lodging being scarce, the commanding officers for the group decided to sail on to Halifax as soon as they could round up the necessary provisions, tools and supplies which would be needed once they took possession of their new lands. Unfortunately, the preparations dragged on for a few months before the group could finally leave. In Halifax, things were not much better. The influx of the many refugees who had arrived earlier had made the prospect of finding suitable accommodation doubtful. No tents were available and some refugees had already resorted to building shelters in the streets. People were also fighting over what little food was available. Faced with this situation, the commanding officers for the group decided to take their chances in the wilds of Nova Scotia and so it was that the Nymph sailed on to Country Harbour, NS.

On Christmas Eve, 1783, in a snowstorm, a lonely British transport ship, the Nymph, sailed into Country Harbour, on the southeast coast of Nova Scotia. Aboard were approximately 900 weary souls, soldiers, militiamen, civilians and their families, loyal to the British Crown, who had left Charleston, North Carolina, some seven months earlier.

The group spent their first winter on the east side of Country Harbour at a place known today as the Mount, in the township of Stormont. For southerners, however, the freezing temperatures and winter conditions (deep snow, spring runoff, etc.) were a bitter experience. According to local lore, as many as a third of the new arrivals died that first winter.


  • John (c1785) m. Susannah Hurst in 1802;
    they had 7 children and are believed to have moved to the Chedabucto Bay area where Susannah’s parents lived.

  • Sarah (c1773-?1784) is believed to have died as a result of the severe living conditions during the first winter in Country Harbour.

  • Joseph (c1785-bef. 1869) m. Sarah-Anne Mackay sometime before 1849;
    they had 4 children and lived in the Goldboro-New Harbour area.

  • David (c1789) m. unknown wife;
    they had at least 1 son and are believed to have lived in the area of Halway Cove.

  • Thomas (c1794-1864) m. Elizabeth;
    they had at least 1 son and lived in the area of Goldboro-New Harbour.

1818 : Patrick Nowlan : Weymouth, Digby Co., NS

[217] Patrick Nowlan (1797 – 1904) – from Bunclody, Co. Wexford, IE
[218] Susannah Grant (1780 – 1868) – from ?Annapolis, MD
Children: John-Grant (1823)

Patrick Nowlan was born on April 3,1797, the son of John Nowlan, a hedge-schoolmaster from Bunclody (formerly Newtonbarry), Co. Wexford. On April 11, 1815, a few days after his 18th birthday, he left Ireland bound for Newfoundland. After spending a bit of time in Newfoundland, he finally moved on to Nova Scotia, arriving in Yarmouth on December 10, 1816. A year later, he moved to Weymouth, Digby County, having found a teaching position in the area. He arrived in Weymouth on January 1, 1818, and soon thereafter started teaching in nearby Sissiboo. In 1818 he also to the Protestant faith from Catholicism, a fact which caused his father to disown him at first but eventually both were reconciled.

Patrick corresponded with his father, John, and brothers, John Jr. and James, in Ireland and their letters are now held by the Canadian National Archives in Ottawa.

Shortly after converting to Protestantism in 1818, Patrick married Susannah, the daughter of John Grant and Mary Sabean, loyalist emigrants from Maryland. In May 1819, they purchased a 100 acre lot in the neighbouring Clare township. It is believed to have been in the area of New Tusket where their one and only son, John-Grant, settled.


  • John-Grant (1823-1904) m. Elizabeth Johns in Weymouth, NS, in 1845; they lived in New Tusket, NS, and had 9 children:

    • James-Patrick (1846-1891) m. Mary Blois in 1869; they had their 7 children in Nova Scotia and then moved to New Hampshire sometime after 1884; their children were: Irvine (1870), Edwin-C. (c1872), Margaret (1874), Minnie-A. (1875), Ethel-Tennyson (1878), James-Roy (1880) and Frances-Emerson (1884).

    • Susannah-Jane (1847-1919); she died in Holland, Ohio.

    • Margaret-Ann (1849-1941); she died in Melrose, MA.

    • Peter-Delong (1851-1926) m. Jessie-M.-Linn Sabean; they initially lived in New Tusket but later moved to various places once Peter-Delong (“P.D.”) became a Baptist minister; they had 5 children: John-Grant (1874), Anna-Bessie (1876), Murray-Pearl (1881), Dottie (1884)and Guy-Vernard (1886).

    • Arthur-William (1853-1933) m. Eliza; they had 1 son: George-Whitehouse (c1876).

    • George-Henry (1855-1895) m. Lila. A.; they had 2 children: Frederick (1886) and Lena-May (1892).

    • Emma-C. (1859-1859) died as an infant.

    • Charles-Randall (1860-1922) m. Hattie-E.; they had 2 children: George-Clyde (1898) and ?Karl-Eaton (1902).

    • Effie-Alice (1862-1931) m. William-M. GRANT in Havelock, NS, in 1893.

1830s: John Nolan: Truro, NS

JOHN NOLAN, believed to have been a tinsmith, was born about 1797 in Tralee, Kerry, Ireland. He died on 24 Oct 1865 in Truro, Colchester, Nova Scotia, Canada. He married CATHERINE. She was born in 1799.

John Nolan and Catherine had the following children:

  • JOHN NOLAN, born about 1825 in Ireland

  • JEREMIAH NOLAN, tinsmith, born on 22 Apr 1831 in NS;
    he married MARY, born on 18 Dec 1836 in NS; she died on 30 Mar 1902 in Truro, NS

  • THOMAS WILLIAM NOLAN born about 1839 in NS; he died on 16 Feb 1899 in Truro, NS;
    he married (1) ADELAIDE ACKER on 22 Sep 1874 in Lawrencetown, Annapolis, Nova Scotia, Canada. She was born about 1848 in Germany. He married (2) MARY. She was born on 21 Sep 1860 in NS.

    Thomas William NOLAN and Adelaide ACKER had the following children:
    • MARGARET “MAGGIE”3 NOLAN born about 1875 in NS

    • ELIZA NOLAN born about 1877 in New Germany, Lunenburg, NS;
      she married George-T. Hamilton
    • HENRIETTA “HATTIE” NOLAN born on 24 Dec 1880 in Truro, NS;

      she married Hugh Slade

    • JOHN-LEWIS “JOHN” NOLAN born on 18 May 1882 in Truro, NS; he married Mary-Elen Hamilton

    • JEREMIAH “JERRY” NOLAN born on 03 Oct 1884 in Truro, NS; he married Julia Armsworhty

    • MAY-E. “MINNIE” NOLAN born on 01 Jul 1885 in Truro, NS

    • JAMES-WILLIAM NOLAN born in Apr 1888 in Truro, NS; he died on 01 Sep 1888 in Truro, NS
    • JAMES-WILLIAM “WILLIE” NOLAN was born on 12 Oct 1889 in Truro, NS; he married Argretta “Retta” McLaughlin

  • MARGARET NOLAN born in 1840 in Truro, NS; she died before 1870 in Goldenville, Antigonish, NS. She married UNKNOWN MCGUYER

1872 : John Nolan : Glace Bay, Nova Scotia

[397] John Nolan (???? – ????) – from Unknown
[398] Rose Petitpas (???? – ????) – from River Bourgeois
Children: James, Rita, Lillian (twin) to Ernest (died), Joseph (1925), Patrick and Andrew

John or “Jack” as he was better known by his family was a painter who went blind in mid 1930’s. Due to mental issues and abuse, his wife Rose left him and the children. However, the children lacking in food and adequate care, soon became wards of the Childrens Aid. Some of the children, like Joseph/Joe (1925), were fostered out. The latter was fostered out to a James MacDonald, a Scotsman living in the back country near Iona. In 1947-48, as a young adult, Joe traveled to Toronto looking for work, settling in the area north of Toronto. He married Georgette Marchand and had 6 children, Michael, Peter, Richard, Sandra, Stephen and Lisa, dying in 1998.

NOTE #1: Sandra Arsenault, the initial submitter for this family story, is a daughter of Joseph Nolan, born in 1925.

NOTE #2: Based upon feedback from a Jack McNeil (2010: pastorjack(at), Jack Nolan, Joe’s father, was the son of Moses, son of Michael, son of John (b. 1793), son of James (b.1770). This would mean that Jack was of the Nolan line which first settled in the Cheticamp area around 1825, then moving on Ingonish and other parts of Nova Scotia, e.g. Glace Bay. If this is so then Jack/John Nolan would have been born in 1872 the son of Moses(1830) and Margaret (1843) Nolan, and a sibling to Matthew (1867), Michael (1868), Catherine (1871), Henry (1870), James (1875), Thomas 1878), H.-Vincent (c1880) and Joseph (1885).

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