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Philip Nolan & Texas

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"Philip Nolan and Texas, Expeditions to the Unknown Land, 1791-1801" written by Maurine T. Wilson and Jack Jackson, explores Nolan's background , his relationship to General James Wilkinson, his reasons for going to Texas, and his significance to the Spanish borderlands.

Chapter One begins:  Unfortunately, the real Philip Nolan and the fictitious character created by Edward Everett Hale in The Man Without a Country have been sadly confused.  Hale himself admits that, while casting about for a name for the "hero" of his book, he thought of Nolan, about whom he had read.  He chose the name Nolan because this man was a Kentuckian and an associate of General James Wilkinson, and that, being under the impression at that time that Nolan's Christian name was Stephen, he decided to call his hero Philip.  Not until after his book was published did he discover his mistake.

Nolan, according to the 1794 census of Nacogdoches,  was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1771.  In this report we find the following entry:

            Don Felipe Nolan, Irish, native of Belfast, bachelor, 23 years of age; has a Negro slave, native of New Orleans, 25 years old; and a servant from Bruque (Bruges?), bachelor, 31 years of age.

Nolan's attractive personality (and Wilkinson's influence) must have gained him admission into the best society of his day.  It was perhaps in this manner that he met and courted Frances Lintot, daughter of Bernard Lintot, a prominent citizen of Natchez.  Her family disapproved her choice but, faced with consenting or running the risk of an elopement, they chose the "lesser of two evils."  The couple were married on 19 December 1799, shortly after Nolan's return from his third venture in Texas.  Toward the end of 1800, less than a year after his marriage, Nolan left for Texas never to return, as he was killed by the Spaniards.  About seven months after his departure, a son, who was named for him, was born.  The child grew to manhood, but died at the age of twenty-one, afflicted was consumption.