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The Family Nodwell
Sarah Gibson PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jennifer Nodwell   
Sunday, 15 August 2010 12:26

While trolling the internet looking for new relatives today, I stumbled across a tree which included Sarah Etta Gibson and had a few of her ancestors. I was quite excited to be able to add a few generations back to this line!

Ancestry for Sarah Gibson

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 August 2010 22:11
William Nodwell PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jennifer Nodwell   
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 12:51

William Nodwell Will

Pioneers in Ontario

William Nodwell was born in Ireland some time around 1775. He had two sons with his first wife, Mary Dawson, whose names were William and Matthew. Sometime after she died, he married again (probably around 1808). His second wife was Letitia Dunn. His eldest son William remained in Ireland when he emigrated, but Matthew had already gone there in 1834. The eldest son of the second family, Andrew was already married before the rest of the family left Ireland but came to Philadelphia the following spring. He went from Philadelphia to Ontario after deciding not to remain in the new United States of America.

It is these Nodwells we trace through history to present day, the ancestors of (probably) all Nodwells in North America.

It wasn't easy. Having lost a stock of horses to anthrax in Ireland, the Nodwells came to Quebec City in the fall of 1838 and then traveled by wagon to Erin Township where they bought land and raised a log cabin. It burned to the ground within the year, and all was lost, but they rebuilt and carried on.

William died in 1845. His will mentions his sons William (still in Ireland), Matthew, Andrew, Thomas, Robert, and Samuel. Samuel is enjoined to care for his mother, and census records indicate that he did just that. To his daughters Mary, Jane and Nancy, he left a cow, each.

Grand Valley ChurchWife Letitia survived William by seven years, and in that time she is listed as a charter member of the pioneer church in Grand Valley, Dufferin County, Ontario. Amongst woods and swamps in the little-developed township of Luther, was a village called Little Toronto. This name in time became Grand Valley, because that river rises in the vicinity. At this spot, as an outpost from Erin Centre and Eramosa churches, some preaching in farm homes and in schoolhouses was done in 1861, by evangelists James Black and Alex. Anderson. A church was formed about the fall of 1862, the charter members being Daniel McLellan and wife, John McDougall and wife, Hugh McDougall and wife, John King and wife, Stephen Beals and wife, Amelia Dixon, Letitia Nodwell, Daniel McArthur, Robert Dixon, and Richard Kin. The church met in the schoolhouse in Grand Valley, this being the first church organized in Luther township. In 1866, a frame building was erected in a business block, which was dedicated by James Black. This building served the needs for twenty-six years, when it was replaced by a brick and stone structure and re-dedicated in December, 1892. 1

Body of Will:

In the name of God, Amen. I, William Nodwell of the township of Erin in the County of Waterloo in the Wellington district German, being of sound mind and memory, do make this my last will and testament and hereby revoking all other wills by me at any other times made: I hereby give and bequeath untio William Nodwell, my eldest son now in Ireland the sum of one pound five shillings, Matthew Nodwell my second son

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 19:58
Scotland Nodwells PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jennifer Nodwell   
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:35

I've been talking with Jim MacGregor about his Nodwells in Scotland. I feel certain that there is a connection in his tree to William's son William who remained in Ireland when the rest of the clan was emigrating to Canada. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 20:43
Matthew Nodwell PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jennifer Nodwell   
Monday, 26 January 2009 17:18

In 1789 the French Revolution produced a new democratic French republic. About this same time the United Irishmen (who consisted of Protestants and Catholics alike) declared their belief in a peaceful future for Ireland in which Protestants and Catholics could live together in peace and with equality. They wanted to set up a French-styled democratic republic in Ireland, which was independent of Britain. Supporting French Republicanism was seen as treasonous by the British considering they were at war with France. the United Irishmen (who consisted of Protestants and Catholics alike) declared their belief in a peaceful future for Ireland in which Protestants and Catholics could live together in peace and with equality. They wanted to set up a French-styled democratic republic in Ireland, which was independent of Britain. In 1798, French troops joined the Irish in battle, but they were defeated. While the French were taken prisoner, the local Irish were massacred as a punishment for treason. In 1800, Britain passed the Act of Union which formed a new country ("The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland") by uniting England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Irish Catholics and dissenting Protestants were not allowed to participate in Parliament.

Drumachose, Limavady, Christ ChurchIt was into this newly formed country that our Protestant ancestor Matthew Nodwell was born in the parish of Drumachose, in the County Londonderry, in Ireland, in 1804. What took place between his birth and the year 1834? What prompted him to move his wife Catherine and two small daughters to Canada? Even before the Potato Famine of 1840, Ireland was in a recession. Politically, it was difficult for Protestants at this time. Whatever the reason, the family braved the Atlantic crossing and ultimately settled in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Between 1834 and 1850, Matthew and Catherine had seven more children, a total of nine: Maryann, Eliza, William, James Henry, Catherine, Thomas, Matthew, Elizabeth, and Martha. Matthew presumably died in 1850, but Catherine was still there in New Brunswick with her youngest son during the 1881 census taking. And today, the indelible mark these brave pilgrims to a new world made can still be seen. Their descendants are still found in New Brunswick today.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 19:59
Bruce Nodwell PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jennifer Nodwell   
Wednesday, 28 January 2009 01:44

Bruce Nodwell an Inventor with Drive


Bruce Nodwell had an unusual birth certificate: Province of Saskatchewan, Section 22, Township 36, Range 9, West of the 3rd. Born the son of a homesteader on May 12, 1914, he died in Calgary on January 20, 2006. During the intervening 91 years, Nodwell became the world's foremost inventor of industrial tracked vehicles.

His signature offroad machine, the Nodwell 110, sold more than 1,500 units, primarily to the North American oilpatch. Half a century later, its direct successor remains in production, albeit much improved and flanked by a fleet of other models.

Foremost Industries, founded by Nodwell and his son Jack in Calgary, has a market capitalization above $250 million, and operates in Russia, the United States and elsewhere. Yet success definitely did not come easily. "I've worn out three or four companies along the way, and quite a few customers, too," the self-educated pioneer once remarked.

His father Howard, raised in North Dakota, homesteaded 25 miles west of Saskatoon (population 500 in 1903) near the village of Asquith at age 16. Then as now, farming was unpredictable. When hail destroyed a grain crop just before harvest, Bruce Nodwell said his parents used the ice to make ice cream and to his recollection made no complaint about seeing a year's work wiped out.

His father became a grain buyer, moving frequently from town to town. Formal education, under the circumstances, was erratic. "I never learned a thing in school," Bruce Nodwell stated flatly in a private family memoir. In 1923, the Nodwells migrated from Carmangay in southern Alberta back to Asquith, where Howard bought an interest in a hardware store. Their 1918 Dodge Touring car, towing a buggy converted into a trailer, travelled on prairie trails used earlier by Red River carts. Colored strips painted sporadically on telephone poles marked the route; the only accommodation was a tent.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 01:55
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