Research Articles

Browse using the Side/End Menu

1850 – Rev. Thomas Hoare Migration to US

You are here:
← All Topics
Table of Contents

Settlement in Arkansas and Iowa

Excerpt from Wexford Wanderings (reference 1)

“Thomas Hoare (aka Hore) was born in the late 1790’s and grew up in Coldblow County in Wexford, Ireland. His calling to the priesthood began at an early age and in preparation he entered St. Kieran’s College. When his friend and mentor Patrick Kelly was appointed the first bishop to the new diocese in Richmond, Virginia in 1820, Thomas traveled with him and was ordained as a Catholic Priest by Bishop Kelly shortly after arriving in America. For six years, Father Hoare was a parish priest near Richmond, VA until his health deteriorated and he returned home to Ireland, where he became a parish priest at Annacurra and Killaveney [county Wicklow] in the Ferns dioceses.

“The agonies Father Hoare found in Ireland made him pledge to lead as many Irish as possible to a destination in America near Little Rock, Arkansas, where Bishop Andrew Byrne, the first bishop of the Little Rock diocese, promised good land and a better life. For nearly a dozen times in 35 years, poor Irish farmers had awakened to the rancid smell of rotting potatoes, the signal that potato blight was again ruining another year’s crop. What little food the fields produced, the ruthless landlords confiscated from the poor farmers to sell to England. Hungry Irish laborers had watched first starvation, then disease pass through the countryside, killing friends, neighbors, and fellow countrymen by the tens of thousands.

“During a Sunday sermon, Father Hoare addressed a church packed with Irishmen from many different counties. He spoke of his intentions to take as many countrymen as possible to America where comfort, prosperity, and independence from landlords were expected. Approximately 400 families with a total of about 1200 people worked for nearly a full year to save the $25 each of them would need for the steerage fare to cross the Atlantic. The large number of immigrants required three ships for transport.

“In October 1850, Father Hoare and 450 parishioners set sail on the 1090-ton Ticonderoga, a sailing vessel registered in New York. A list of immigrants from the Ticonderoga sill hangs in the back of the church at Wexford, IA. Another 450 parishioners left the same day on the 915-ton Loodianah, a sailing vessel from Canada. An additional 300 parishioners left eight days later on a smaller vessel, the Chasca, a Boston registered ship.

The Ticonderoga made New Orleans in roughly forty days, while the Loodianah was at sea for nearly two months, and the Chasca required nearly 70 days to reach New Orleans. Soon after arriving in the United States, Father Hoare took the members from the Ticonderoga north to Arkansas, but … other settlers had taken all the promised good quality land near Little Rock, leaving little suitable land for farming. So [only] three hundred people [out of the original 450] went north again to St. Louis and waited there for Father Hoare to scout for land near a town named Dubuque, IA.

One of those families which had come over on the Ticonderoga with Fr. Hoare that of Daniel Nolan and Sarah Doyle Oldtown, Co. Wexford.

“… Over a period of time, [Fr. Hoare] bought a total of 2157 acres of government land in Lafayette Township and Taylor Township in Allamakee County, Iowa …
But when he summoned his flock from St. Louis, only 18 families were still able to come.
Many… had taken jobs in St. Louis. Others had left along the way going to Texas. Still others had stayed in New Orleans and Arkansas to take care of sick family members

Daniel and Sarah, the Nolan family, mentioned earlier did stay on in St. Louis for a while but after 4 years moved on to Prairie-du-Chien, Wisconsin, where they settled. (See their Family Story at “1850 : Daniel Nolan : Prairie-du-Chien, WI” ).

“The families traveled with optimism upriver on the steamer Franklin landing at Lafayette Landing near the mouth of Priest Coulee “Wexford Creek.” In the same year, other immigrants from the Loodianah and Chasca arrived in Allamakee County. A list of some of the new settlers included: Burn, Brennan, Brinkley, Brophy, Bulger, Collins, Curran, Esmond, Fennel, Finn, Gavin, Heatley, Heyfron, Hoare, Howe, Kavanagh, Joyce, Kelly, Kinsella, Lamb, McKeogh, McNamara, Mullins, Murphy, Noland, O’Neil, Ryans, Stafford, Sullivan, and many others. The new settlers cleared the land of trees, which were used to build cabins, and farmed – raising wheat, corn, potatoes, and cattle.

As we can see from the last paragraph, a Nolan family did settle in Allamakee county, Iowa, but no further details about this family are known.

Settlement in other parts of the US

As we saw in the last section, many of the families who came to America as a result of Fr. Thomas Hoare’s immigration effort did not settle in Arkansas or Iowa and it is hoped that, over time, the areas where the Nolan families in Fr. Hoare’s immigration party settled.

Following is a list of Nolan families who came across the Atlantic on the three sailing ships (Ticonderoga, Chasca and Loodinah) chartered by Fr. Thomas Hore.

SurnameFirst NameAgeShipLocationCode
NOLANAndrew20Ticonderogato Wexford,IA? 
NOWLANDarby (aka Jeremiah)30Ticonderoga 35
NOWLANMary23Ticonderoga 35
NOWLANEliza10Ticonderoga 35
NOWLANMary3Ticonderoga 35
NOWLANDaniel54Ticonderogato Wisconsin56
NOWLANSally49Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANThomas22Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANMartin20Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANJohn17Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANJames15Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANDennis13Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANMary9Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANCatherine7Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANPeter5Ticonderoga 56
NOWLANCatherine22Ticonderoga 75
NOWLANMary20Ticonderoga 75
NOWLANDMartha21Chasca 103
NOWLANDWilliam18Chasca 103
NOWLANDRichard16Chasca 103


  1. Wexford Wanderings
    By “admin”, The Standard” Allamakee County News, Iowa (2006)

  2. A Farewell to Famine
    By Jim Rees, Arklow Enterprise Centre, Co. Wicklow, Ireland(1994)

Was this article helpful?
0 out Of 5 Stars
5 Stars 0%
4 Stars 0%
3 Stars 0%
2 Stars 0%
1 Stars 0%
How can we improve this article?
Please submit the reason for your vote so that we can improve the article.