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Carroll County Biographies


Nicholas Fagan was born at Washington D.C. in 1824 to an immigrant father from Ireland and his wife from Maryland. In 1843 at the age of 19 he was an apprentice boy on board the USS Constitution which was based at Norfolk, Virginia, attached to the new Home Squadron.

On April 22, 1851 he married Elenora J Gillivan, born in 1825, at Baltimore where they settled and started a family.

Their first three children were born there. Sarah Ann in 1852, Horace M. in 1854 and Richard L. in 1856 In 1857 they moved on to Carroll County first settling at Cherry Grove.

Three daughters followed; Rebecca and Emma Isabella on May 23, 1858 and Ella Kay on June 6, 1862. Nicholas joined the 92nd Illinois Mounted Regiment, Company “C”, which was formed September 4, 1862 with the rank of Corporal. He served in several battles and campaigns throughout Kentucky.

Afterward the family settled permanently in Lanark where Nicholas took up his trade as a harness maker.

Sarah married Calvin M Grissinger, a farmer, December 30, 1875 in Carroll County. They settled in Rock Creek where his family lived. Their daughter Elnora was born June 24, 1878.

Horace married about 1877. He and his wife, Eva, moved to Shelby, Iowa where he became a retail druggist and had his own store. They had two children Lesta born December 1877 and Ralph born February 1882.

Lesta married Thomas B Smiley, a doctor; they had a daughter, Francis, December 1899.

Ralph, his son, settled in Harlan, Nebraska where he was a Minister. He and his wife, Mary, had two daughters, Lesta and Elnora.

Neither Richard’s nor Rebecca’s whereabouts are known after 1870.

His youngest daughter Ella Kay, who went by Kathleen, married January 12, 1887 to Harry F Brainard. Their son Ceylon Harry was born December 31, 1888 at Dubuque, Iowa. Their daughter, Viva Bessie was born March 2, 1895 at Lanark.

Harry F was a portrait painter and photographer by trade. He painted a portrait of his mother-in-law Elnora Fagan which hangs in our house today.

Kathleen and Harry F Brainard moved on to California by 1900 where many of their descendents live today.

Elnora Fagan died February 26 1891 and the Fagan’s second daughter, Emma Isabella stayed on at home to keep house for her father.

Nicholas died March 4 1903. Isabella died March 4 1907.

Written and Contributed by Peter Brainard

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