Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Community Residents

CALVIN NOLAN (1846-1930), Community Resident

TAGS: Calvin Nolan; Calvin H. Nolan; Nolan Family; Pine Mountain community residents ; circuit court clerks; John Nolan; Lizzie (Nolan) Metcalf Scearce; Mary (Noe) Nolan; Sarah Jane Blanton; Joseph Blanton; Susan (Slusher) Blanton; Nolan Family Cemetery; Civil War guerrillas; The Harlan Daily Enterprise; Harlan County, KY ; Incline, KY ; 

Calvin and Sarah Jane Blanton Nolan. [pmss_calvinsarahblanton_horseback.jpg]

Calvin Nolan was a member of the Nolan Family that has been part of the Pine Mountain valley community for over 200 years. He was “esteemed highly as an honorable man and was known as an excellent conversationalist with a well-stored and active mind,” according to his obituary*, which also records that “Many years ago he served for 12 years as Circuit Court Clerk of Harlan County and for several years assisted his father, the late John Nolan, as superintendent of schools in Harlan County.” [*See GALLERY below for image.]

Uncle” Calvin Nolan, as he was known by friends and family, tells his own story about his early pioneer days to an interviewer who recorded it in NOTES – 1921 (November, page 3). 

If you press him to tell about his own life in the valley he will say, “Hit ain’t worth tellin’, -livin’ off so fer I didn’t git much education,-but I’ve had time to ponder on the Good Book, an’ hit calls for study if you’re to act by it. I’ve had my hand in politics hereabouts, and reckon we’ve got to keep the government clean. Look at that mountain! There haint nothin’ fairer in the world than hit October-colored as hit be now.”

Well, I’ve seed a sight of changes in my day. Them war the days of Injuns behind trees and panters a-yellin’ of a night. I’ve seed the woods full of wild turkey and deer, and I’ve seed ’em go west that man wouldn’t molest ’em. My pappy used to throw stones out of the path and say they’d be a road through here some day, and now there is, and another ‘n a-comin’ across the top of the mountain, and there’s the School a-settin’ up the road.”

Mention of the School brings him to Victoria, his granddaughter. “Hit’s the only young thing the old woman and I have got, but hit’s the steadfast, studyin’ kind, so we’re a-sendin’ hit to stay at School and git hit’s chance.

“Some day, if you come ag’in when my mind haint so tuck up with ‘lectioneering for the new magistrate, and this here railroad strike that’s threatenin’ the country, maybe I can recollect somethin’ else fer ye.”

Cora Richardson, the great-great-granddaughter of Calvin Nolan, has provided a generous amount of information about her ancestors for the Nolan, Metcalf and Scearce family pages on the PMSS Collections website. Concerning Calvin Nolan’s family, Cora reported the following:

Calvin Nolan was the father of Lizzie (Nolan) Metcalf Scearce, the grandfather of Allene (Nolan) Metcalf and great-grandfather of Sara Elizabeth (Metcalf) Richardson, Cora’s mother.

On July 12, 1845, Calvin was born to Mary Pollie (Noe) Nolan (1817-1880) and John Nolan (1822-1903). He had 3 siblings:
China (Nolan) Blanton (1838-1937)
Mary Elizabeth (Nolan) Shell (1848-1927)
Chad N. Nolan, a half-sibling (1898-1963)

Calvin married Sarah Jane Blanton (1856-1929) in 1871. Her parents were Joseph Blanton (1827-1905) and Susan “Susie” (Slusher) Blanton (1828-1906). She had 4 brothers:
John L. Blanton (1852-1890)
William Henry Blanton (1855-1925)
Matt A. Blanton (1867-1939)
Jesse M. Blanton (1870-1935)

Calvin and Sarah Jane (Blanton) Nolan had six children:
Susan B. (Nolan) Hall (1873-1957)
China (Nolan) Metcalf (1875-1857)
John L. Nolan (1879-1966)
Martha (Nolan) Howard (1882-1941)
Alice (Nolan) Miniard (1888-1972)
Elizabeth “Lizzie” (Nolan) Metcalf Scearce (1888-1932)

Sarah Jane (Blanton) Nolan died on February  5, 1929. Calvin H. Nolan died on August 27 of the following year. Both were buried in the Nolan Family Cemetery in Harlan, Kentucky.

Calvin Nolan: HIS OBITUARY

Former Court Official And Member Of Old Family

Calvin Nolan (1846-1930). Obituary, The Harlan Daily Enterprise, August 1930.. [pmss_metcalf_calvin_obit.jpg]

Calvin H. Nolan, 85, descendant of one of the pioneer families of Harlan County and former county official, died at the home of his granddaughter, Mrs. John Turner, at Incline, Ky., Friday as a result of heart complications following an attack of pneumonia.

He suffered an attack of pneumonia last year but fully recovered and regained his usual robust health only to have heart complications that resulted in his death.

He is survived by four daughters, Mrs. China Metcalf (Isaiah) Paint Lick, Ky.; Mrs. Martha Jane Howard (E.C.G.), Ross Point Ky.; Mrs. Elizabeth Scearce (Winfield), Hamilton, Ohio; Mrs. Alice Miniard (Elhanon), Incline; and one son John Nolan, Incline.

Many years ago he served for 12 years as Circuit Court Clerk of Harlan County and for several years assisted his father, the late John Nolan, as superintendent of schools in Harlan County.

Calvin Nolan was esteemed highly as an honorable man and was known as an excellent conversationalist with a well-stored and active mind.

During the Civil War, the guerrilla raided his father’s home and captured him and one of his uncles, but owing to his youth, he was spared, but his uncle, Adrian Nolan, was murdered by them, the guerrillas shooting him 18 times with muskets.

His uncle had just been appointed Collector of Internal Revenues and when the raiders found his commission, this sealed his doom.
[Source: The Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Calvin Nolan: GALLERY

See Also:




Calvin Nolan 

Alt. Title

Calvin H. Nolan ; Uncle Calvin Nolan ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Calvin Nolan ; Calvin H. Nolan ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Nolan Family ; circuit court clerks ; John Nolan ; Lizzie (Nolan) Metcalf Scearce ; Mary (Noe) Nolan ; Sarah Jane Blanton ; Joseph Blanton ; Susan (Slusher) Blanton ; Nolan Family Cemetery ; Civil War guerrillas ; The Harlan Daily Enterprise ;

Subject LCSH

Nolan, Calvin H., — 1846-1930.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY


Cora Richardson,  great-great-granddaughter of Calvin Nolan, Corbin, KY.


Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet


Series 09: Biography – Community Residents




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: Biography – Community Residents.

Coverage Temporal

1817 – 1972

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Paint Lick, KY ; Ross Point, KY ; Hamilton, OH ; Incline, KY ;


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Calvin Nolan ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Calvin Nolan ;




“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated



“Calvin Nolan,” Series 09: Biography – Community Residents. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

Cora Richardson,  great-great-granddaughter of Calvin Nolan via email correspondence in  June 2018.

“Find A Grave Index,” database,   ( : accessed 18 July 2018), Calvin H Nolan, 1930; Burial, Nolan Family Cemetery; citing record ID 157251788, Find a Grave,

“Kentucky Death Records, 1911-1965,”  database,   ( : accessed 18 July 2018), Calvin H. Nolan, 1930; citing Death, Incline, Harlan, Kentucky, United States, certificate, Office of Vital Statistics, Frankfort; FHL microfilm 1,913,064. Internet resource.

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