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8/4/2013 12:02:00 PM
Traveling Bible returns
St. Mary Parish photo
Gloria Amort listens as Fr. Kenneth Hume discusses history of Nolan family Bible.
St. Mary Parish photo
Gloria Amort listens as Fr. Kenneth Hume discusses history of Nolan family Bible.

CORVALLIS — The Joseph Nolan family Bible has returned to Corvallis. The Bible was given to Father Kenneth Hume in 1966 when he was associate pastor of St. Mary Parish here. The journey began when Father Hume was assigned to St. Rose in Portland. He then served as an army chaplain for 18 years. As Father Hume traveled all over the world, the bible went with him, except to Vietnam and maybe Turkey.

Carrying the bible is no small feat. It is 14 by 11 by 3½ inches and weights 13¾ pounds. The carved wood and leather cover is illustrated in gold. At 130 years old, it has aged well and is in good condition.

Joseph Nolan, a native of Ireland, came to the United States in 1872. In 1874 he settled in Corvallis and opened a department store. The store prospered. In 1881 he married Mary Jane Callahan. They had three children, Thomas, Mary Catherine and Nellie. The first death recorded in the bible is that of Mary Jane which is followed a few months later by that of their infant daughter, Nellie.

Joseph and Kate Thompson were married in 1890. Kate came to Corvallis with her three sisters and widowed mother, Mary, in the 1860s. Joseph and Kate had two children, Edward and Gertrude.

Grace, the wife of Thomas and the last surviving Nolan, died in 1966. Her sister-in-law, Gertrude, had died two years previously. Over the years, the Nolan family generously shared their time, talent and resources with the Catholic Church and the community. In their wills, Grace and Gertrude endowed St. Mary cemetery and gave a large part of the funds for building the current St. Mary church, rectory, parish office, social hall and school addition.

Father Hume felt the Bible belonged in Corvallis and contacted Dick Paradis. It was arranged that Father Hume would come to Corvallis for the dinner and installation of officers for Corvallis Council No. 1785 Knights of Columbus on July 20. St. Mary's archivist Gloria and Don Amort were invited to attend and Father Hume presented the bible to Gloria. It was fitting the presentation was at a Knights function because Joseph and his son, Edward, were charter members of the Corvallis Council.

"We are grateful to the Knights of Columbus and Father Hume for bringing the Nolan Bible home," Amort says.

St. Mary's Church was dedicated in 1861, the archives were officially founded in 1981.

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