Origin of Quinan

The origin of the name of Quinan is a fascinating story of a man who obviously touched the hearts of a community that he only briefly visited in his short live.   The name is no longer common in Canada (a Canada 411 search found only two references in Canada, though their are most certainly more, and a USA search found about 50)  In the mid 1800's there are 6 references to that name in Nova Scotia they were priests It is possible that some of these may be the same person, their may be typo errors.  Quinan is an Irish Name, probably origination in Roscommon or Sligo County. Quinan was named after a Father Quinan. 

Fr. Quinan(s) in Nova Scotia

I found the first reference to a Father Quinan on the University of Manitoba web site.  "In May, 1842, Bishop Fraser sent to Father Loughnan a new assistant in the person of Father John Quinan, (44) who for six years had been pastor of Tracadie." "Finally, on September 2, 1844, aforesaid, the Congregation ordered that priests likely to be troublesome in Halifax must be transferred elsewhere. Accordingly Father John Loughnan and Father John Quinan attached themselves to the new diocese of Arichat, and Father Richard B. O'Brien returned to his native Ireland."

1. Father John Quinan: May, 1842, Bishop Fraser sent to Father Loughnan a new assistant in the person of Father John Quinan, (Parish Records, Tracadie, N. S., and Parish Records, St. Mary's Cathedral, Halifax.) who for six years had been pastor of Tracadie. Because of the date this can not be The Fr. Quinan of the south Shore Yarmouth.

2. Father John Quinan: Early History of Main-a-dieu... 1862. Then came Father John Quinan. His ... Diocese. Through out the 1870's, Father John Quinan continued as pastor of Mainadieu. He ...
This page would not link: Information may be incorrect:  was part of dead end google search.

2. PRIESTS OF POMQUET 1792-1976:  l 836-1 859  Father John Quinan:   l842- l852 Father Louis Anssart was Mission Priest. After Father Anssart's death,   Father Quinan became mission priest.: 1845-1862 Father Charles P. Martell remained for 17 years, and is believed to have  built the first glebe house of Pomquet.:  1852-1862 Father John Quinan was mission priest of the time. After the departure of Father Quinan the care of the parish fell to Father Christian Kauder.

3. " In the summer of 1866, Dr. Cameron and Father James Quinan (Senior), the parish priest at Sydney, and already a benefactor of the convent (he had given the Sisters their double windows) 56 were making farsighted plans to bring the Sisters of Arichat to Louisbourg to visit the ruins of the old Congregation convent there. In those days of slow and difficult transportation it was no small undertaking. Finally, on the morning of August 7 (1866),57 Dr. Cameron, Father Girroir and seven Congregation Sisters stood on a pier belonging to, Benjamin Forest, Captain of the brig Ben Nevis. The Captain's mother received the Sisters on board. A high wind sent the vessel flying towards North Sydney. The Sisters had the large cabin entirely to themselves. Bad weather kept them a few hours at Cow Bay, but the next day at two o'clock they were welcomed by Father Quinan at North Sydney. A steamboat took them across the harbour to Sydney, and the three priests and seven religious walked through the streets to the Glebe House. They remained at Sydney until Friday, with Miss Quinan as their hostess in the presbytery". 

I was born in the small community of D'Escousse Cape Breton.   In search for a Fr. Quinan I found that three different Fr. Quinan(s) spent time in that area.  My mother now 84 can remember her grand mother talking about a Father Quinan that served in D'Escousse in the later part of the 1800's.  A picture of one is found in a 100 anniversary publication of St. Hyacinth's Parish.  In the Yarmouth area their are pictures of other priests that server around the same time, but as of yet I have not found one of Quinan's Fr. Quinan.

Arichat area:
3. Father James M.Quinan:  St. Hyacinth's, D'Escousse, Nova Scotia; Church Death Records, 1875 to 1879
4. Father Joseph S. Quinan: St. Hyacinth's, D'Escousse, Nova Scotia; Church Baptismal and Birth Records, 1880 to 1884
5. Father H. Quinan: St. Hyacinth's, D'Escousse, Nova Scotia; Church Death Records, 1885 to 1889

Yarmouth Area:

6. They was a Father John L. Quinan who was parish priest to the parish of Surette's Island from 1860 to 1868 and he is also mentioned as serving Quinan at this time so these were probably mission parishes of Eel Brook (SAR).   Father John L. Quinan of this area died in Church point in 1870 at age 36. He was born in Halifax in 1834. He served the parish to be called Quinan from 1860-1867.  He was 26 years old in 1860, a rather young priest.

How & why Quinan got it's name.

Why did the members of The Forks (Tusket Forks) area decide that they would rename it to Quinan, in memory of Fr. Quinan?    No one really knows the answer.  Supposedly on May 15, 1885 the villagers had a general meeting and chose the name out of respect for Fr. John L, Quinan who served the area from 1860 to 1867.  This seams to have perplexed some clergy in the area as it was almost ten years after he died.   Father Berthe was the first priest to have served their.  Father Manning built the church and there was no record of anything special that Fr. Quinan did for the parish and he was Irish and the community was French. 

If I may interject my own hypothesis:  Maybe his youthfulness may have had something to do with it.  When a new young priest came to our parish he was the talk of the congregation with comments from the women like " he is so handsome"  others say he has so much energy, a comment that came form old folks like me. The young people are told about his prowess in sports.  " Yes, and I saw him mowing his own lawn", someone said. 

Young and energetic, he brought his energy and sprit to the community.  He was Irish and must have had a different slant on things then the usual French priest, some of whom were very authoritative.   The fact that he was not French and in a FRench community may have made him a bit more humble, and probably he did not have, what the present day teens call, "an in your face attitude". 

Also Quinan may have been nicer sounding name Berthaville or Manning. What ever the reason, it is obvious that the parish loved him enough to name their community after him.  He must have had qualities that even today we would find attractive.  Maybe he even had the gift of the blarney (smooth, flattering talk), or the sprit of God in his soul.  They did name the community after a religious leader which indicates they must of had a strong religious conviction.

Early Settlement

After the return from exile Acadians were not given their previous lands.  Nova Scotia was still mostly wilderness so an attempt was made to occupy   some of these areas.  Land, usually near the coast,  was  allotted to those who were willing clear and cultivate it. Some Acadians chose to move inland, not the usual choice.  Some Acadians who escaped deportation also retreated to the inland areas.  Jean Baptist II Mius is believed to be the first white man to inhabit the Quinan area probably around 1782.  He was soon followed by a Fontain family ( FRotten or Fraughton) and then a Doucette family.  Three frenchmen from france settled around 1800, Dulain ( Dulong) family the Jacquard family around 1820 and Vacon around 1840.  These were followed by Blanchard, Collin, Melanson, Morris & Castin. 

In early days the river provided access to the area then a footpath through the woods which became a wagon road then a public highway which was paved in 1961.

 to be continued when I can