Biography of James T. Nolan
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JAMES THOMAS NOLAN, deputy county treasurer of Cuyahoga County, a well known and popular public official, has spent most of his life in Cleveland. He was one of the pioneer newspaper illustrators in Cleveland, and won many unusual honors as an artist before he retired from that profession.

He was born in Cleveland, April 6, 1878, son of the late James and Margaret (Ferguson) Nolan. His father was born in 1833 in County Monaghan, Ireland, son of Patrick Nolan, who spent all his life in Ireland. Patrick was a descendant of the old Nolans of that country. James Nolan as a young man came to the United States, and in Cleveland joined his brother John, who had preceded him several years. Subsequently they sent for their two sisters, one of whom died shortly after reaching Cleveland. The other sister then took charge of the household of the two brothers who went to live in a double log house on Chestnut Street, opposite what is now Dodge Court. This was the first house built on Chestnut Street, in a locality that is now in the heart of the downtown district of Cleveland. James Nolan was for many years a vegetable gardener, growing vegetables not only in the summer but also under glass in the winter seasons. He died in 1910. His wife,, Margaret Ferguson, who died in 1908, was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, in 1843, daughter of Thomas Ferguson, who brought his family to America, first settling in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, moving from there to Lockport, New York, in 1861, and later establishing a home in Cleveland.

James Thomas Nolan as a youth attended the old St. Clair public school. He is a graduate of the Cleveland School of Art. As a boy he showed unusual skill in drawing, and subsequently found favor and employment as an illustrator with newspapers, being one of the first men regularly employed for that work in Cleveland. This was before the days of the modem art of half tone reproduction of photographs, the common method of illustrating newspapers. The newspaper artists of that time when commissioned to illustrate any scene or event went out and with pen and ink made drawings on the spot. Mr. Nolan has the distinction of having been the first artist on the staff of the Plain Dealer, and subsequently drew cartoons of the old world. He gave up newspaper work to accept service in another branch of his art. The Western Reserve University Medical School employed him as its medical artist, a position he held for sixteen years, and during that time he was himself a student of anatomy and surgery as an aid to his artistic work. On leaving Western Reserve Medical School he accepted a similar position at Magill University at Montreal, Canada. During the two years he spent at that famous school he came in contact with a number of the celebrated surgeons of America. He did work for Dr/ George J. Adama, the great pathologist, and for Professor Frederick Osler, and positions were offered him by such men as the Doctors Mayo of Minnesota, Dr. Hunter Robb and Doctor Murphy of Chicago.

Mr. Nolan finally gave up his art work to engage in the real estate business at Cleveland. in September, 1922, he accepted appointment as deputy in the office of County Treasurer Ralph C. McBride, in whose favor he had withdrawn from the primaries of that year. Mr. Nolan is a member of the Tippecanoe Club and the Eighth Ward Republican Club, the Wampanoag Indians, the Moose and the Eagles. He married Miss Sade V. Kane, a native of Cleveland and daughter of Patrick and Sarah (Masterson) Kane.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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