From an early period in the development and settlement of Nemaha county Thomas Carolan has been a resident of the community, his home being on section 27, Nemaha township. A native of county Meath, Ireland, his birth occurred on the 15th of December, 1819. His father, James Carolan, also a native of that county, went to sea at an early age and for many years commanded a ship of his own, which sailed from England to ports on the other side of the water. For a considerable period he was connected with a company engaged in the fishing trade and for twenty years he followed the sea. At length he engaged in merchandising at New Orleans and about 1848 he made his way up the Mississippi river to Iowa, where he engaged in the hotel business. He served in the Black Hawk war in Iowa and for many years was a well-known resident of that state. His death occurred when he had attained the advanced age of ninety-four years. His wife bore the maiden name of Catherine Murphy and she, too, was a native of county Meath and lived to be about fifty years of age. By her marriage she became the mother of three children, who reached mature years.
Mr. Carolan, the only son, was eleven years of age when, with his parents, he crossed the Atlantic to America. He was reared in Louisiana and obtained his education in the public schools of the Crescent city. In 1840 he engaged in military service with General Houston, of Texas, and in 1846 he participated in the Mexican war. He was wounded while trying to save General Hunter, receiving a spear thrust in the wrist. He was also wounded in the shoulder by a bullet, but recovered from his injuries. He entered the service under the name of James Carolan and for two years fought in defense of his adopted country.
In I854 Mr. Carolan removed to Clinton county, Iowa, and three years later came to Nemaha county in company with James Gregg. Here he secured a claim from the government and began the development of the farm upon which he now resides. Not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made, the wild prairie grass covering everything. He soon began the work of following the plow, however, and is to-day the owner of a very valuable farm of two hundred and eighty acres, the greater part of which is under a high state of cultivation. His labors have been untiring and the work of cultivating the fields has resulted in bringing to him a comfortable competence.
In Louisiana Mr. Carolan was united in marriage to Miss Mary Deigein. also a native of Ireland, who died February 20, 1900, where her girlhood days were passed. Three children grace their marriage: James, who is living in Nemaha township; Thomas, also a resident of the same township; and Mary, at home.
In early life Mr. Carolan gave his political support to the Whig party and now usually votes for the Republican candidates, but is not strictly partisan and does not consider himself bound by any political ties. For forty-three years he has been a resident of Nemaha county and few are the settlers who antedate his arrival here. He has witnessed the greater part of the development and growth of this section of the state and can relate many interesting events concerning its pioneer history. At all times he has been true to his duties of citizenship, manifesting a commendable and helpful interest in everything pertaining to the general welfare. He is one of the early valued settlers and well deserves representation in this volume and with pleasure we present the history of his life to our readers.
We should add with reference to the son, James, that he was born August 8, 1856, in Clinton county, Iowa, educated in the common schools and brought up a farmer. In 1888 he settled upon his present farm of eighty acres adjoining the paternal homestead. He married Ida May, a daughter of John and Mary (Van Brook) Stallbaumer, and his children are Mary Ida, Edward J., Nora Ellen, Tressa Elizabeth, Alvan Matthias and Emmit Thomas.
In his political views he is a Democrat and in public station he has filled the offices of township clerk, school director, etc., holding the latter office at present, and he is a member of St. Mary's church, Catholic, at St. Benedict.