Monday, July 4, 2016

Chadwell Fleming Campbell Nolan (1845-1923)

Portrait courtesy of the Kentucky State Historical Society.

   After several years of being a state that has been sadly underrepresented here on the site, Kentucky has recently started to yield a number of oddly named political figures, mainly due to the discovery of the following legislative roster listing the name of every Kentucky state representative that served between 1900 and 1948. Ryland Christmas Musick (profiled back on June 30th) was found here, as well as the name of today's "honoree", Chadwell Fleming Campbell Nolan!
  One of the most plentifully named men to serve in the Kentucky legislature, Chadwell F.C. Nolan (also spelled Nolen) was a Civil War veteran who, following his military service, became a leading citizen in Harlan County, where he was active in local mining and lumber concerns. He would serve one term in the Kentucky legislature and, like Ryland C. Musick before him, lost his life in a tragic accident in the early 1920s. 
   Born in Harlan County, Kentucky on March 5, 1845, Chadwell Fleming Campbell Nolan was one of thirteen children born to Joseph (1790-1872) and Mary Marsee Nolan (1793-1870). During the Civil War Nolan served as a member of the "Home Guards" in Kentucky and is mentioned as having been "actively engaged on several occasions with marauding bands of Confederate soldiers." He married on February 4, 1863 to Louisa Jane Turner (1845-1918), to whom he was wed for five decades. Their lengthy union would see the births of fourteen children, five of whom were still living at the time of Nolan's death in 1923.
   Following his war service, Nolan was affiliated with "several large corporations" that were responsible for locating mineral-rich properties in Harlan County. Later business ventures saw him dabble in the "lumber and stave business", and in the succeeding years, the name of Chadwell F.C. Nolan grew to be one of the most prominent in Harlan County, eventually resulting in two area communities (Chad and Nolansburg) being named in his honor. Nolan's obituary in the Harlan Enterprise relates that "no other man in Kentucky had the distinction of having two railroad stations named for him", and that his home in Chad was a source of entertainment and hospitality for many a traveler and friend that passed through town.
   Nolan's prominence in Harlan County eventually culminated in his being nominated for a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1901. Taking his seat at the start of the 1902-04 session, Nolan would represent not only Harlan County but also those of Bell, Perry and Leslie and would sit on the committees on Public Warehouses and Granaries and Suffrage and Elections. During his brief time in state government, Nolan is referred to as an "active adherent" to the construction of a new state capitol building and introduced a bill that would change the name of the Harlan County seat from Mt. Pleasant to Harlan. Confusingly, Nolan's obituary in the Harlan Enterprise records him as having served two consecutive terms in the legislature (1900-1904). This happens to be false, as the aforementioned roster of Kentucky representatives lists Nolan as serving from 1902-04, with no mention of his name appearing in the 1900-02 roster
   Following his time in the legislature, Chadwell Nolan continued to be a figure of distinction in Harlan County, maintaining an active role in his community up until his death via a train accident on December 23, 1923. On that date, Nolan had taken a stroll when he stopped near railroad tracks to let a rapidly moving freight train pass by him. Having "stepped back" to let the train pass, Nolan was unaware of a "switch train" that was following close behind the freight train and was struck in the back by it. The injured Nolan was placed in a caboose on the train and was then taken to a hospital in Lynch, Kentucky, where he later died of his injuries. A burial location for him remains unknown at this time but is presumed to be somewhere in the vicinity of Harlan County, where Nolan had resided for all of his life.


  1. Love your "goofy and eccentric" passion. I also loved the story of my Great Grandfather Chadwell Flemming Campbell Nolan. The picture is great. I have several others of him but none as striking as this one.
    His father, Joseph Nolan, fought in the war of 1812 and received a land grant in Missouri for his services. I discovered his grave site in 1976 in an overgrown field in Harlan county, Kentucky. It was later moved but rediscovered 2 years ago.
    CFC Nolan is buried at Chad, Kentucky in the Nolan Family Cemetery. The church he established there in 1898 burned down in the 70's but the site is well maintained by family memebrs through out the country.
    I live in Somers, NY in Westchester County having moved here with my job 25 years ago. I still enjoy going back to the hills of Kentucky where these ancestors lived and died.
    Thanks again for posting this wonderful article about a man who needed a long name to reflect his accomplishments.
    Ken Hall

    1. Hello Ken!

      Glad to see you enjoyed the write-up on your great grandfather! In regards to documents mentioning Chadwell I had very little information to work with, but all in all the article turned out better than I had hoped! That being said, if you know of any further information on Chadwell you'd like to see included please send me a message via the site's Facebook page (which can be accessed above).

      Thank you again!