John BROWN and Marjory MacDONELL
Isle of Tyree, Scotland, to Ottawa, Canada
Bagpipes Played at Culloden in 1746
March 30, 2004:
Dear Mr. Lewis:
I'm writing to you to seek your assistance in locating a distant relative
of mine, John Brown. He is my great-great-great grandfather. Born on the
Isle of Tiree (or Tyree as he spells it) in the Inner Hebrides in 1798.
The next I hear of him, he is in Williamstown 1816, receiving a set of bagpipes
from a James Brown (he doesn't say what if any relation he is to him), who states
that he (James) received the pipes from a Macdonald. These pipes were supposedly
placed at Culloden. Having said all that, I know he married a Marjory MacDonell
(or MacDonald). I know the names of all their children, who they married, etc.
I even have a picture of him. Apparently he was a piper of some fame and piped
at the laying of the cornerstone of the first Parliament Buildings in 1860 when
the Prince of Wales visited. Believe it or not, we even found the bagpipes!!!
They were donated by distant relatives of mine to the College of Piping in
Summerside PEI where they are on display.
Now comes the hard part...I cannot find him! I have newspaper articles
(Ottawa Journal) where family members in 1911 say that he died in Ottawa in 1889
(making him 91.) I have checked all the traditional sources, but he is nowhere
to be found. The only conclusion that I can come to is that he died on the
Quebec side in Hull. I have yet to figure out how genealogy research works over there.
Do you have any suggestions? Places I should look? I have never been able to find
info re. his marriage. Perhaps you can make some suggestions?
February 3, 2005:
Yes, we'd be very happy to have anything added that might be of assistance to
fellow researchers. ... Garth Dixon
Hello George - my name is Garth Dixon, and I just happened to come across your
inquiry. We're obviously distant cousins and share the same gr gr gr grandfather,
John Brown. I am descended from Christina Brown, his daughter, who married Richard
We have also been researching the family, but in all honesty we have spent more
time on the Nolans than on the Browns. We do have an interesting photocopy of a
newspaper article from Ottawa 1952 about the McDonald / Brown bagpipes. At that
time, my great uncle H.C. Nolan (grandson of James Brown) had possession of the
bagpipes. We also have another article from 1911 in which the pipes and how they
came into his possession are discussed in a letter written by James Brown.
It also mentions that Supple Sandy McDonald was Christina's Brown's maternal
grandfather and shook the hand of Bonnie Prince Charlie in Edinburgh. You appear
to have these articles as well, so unfortunately I'm not sure that we can
contribute much to your search right now. However, if we come across anything
as we continue researching, we'll be happy to provide it to you. We would be
delighted to have copies of any photographs you may have, if you wouldn't mind
scanning and emailing them to us.
thanks and regards,
November 11, 2010:
Hi I just came across your search from 2005.
I just got off the phone with Notre Dame Cemetery and found that my grandfather Albert L. Nolan is buried there
(but not with my grandmother) Laurenza Dazé. He apparently is with the Brown family which I'm not all too
familiar with as I'm not yet got lots of the puzzle put together at this point.
I've got the list of siblings of my grandfather Albert and his father Richard and mother Christina but that's
Any further help would be appreciated. I started a Facebook page a year ago in hopes to gain more info on the Nolan Clan.
Please join it if you want. Search for "Nolan's of Ottawa".
My contact email to best contact me is - email@example.com
Well, where do we start! We share a common ancestor. John Brown, the
father of Christina (who married Richard Nolan...I have a picture of him) was
my Great-Great-Great Grandfather. Christina's oldest brother James
Alexander was my Great-Great-Grandfather. John Brown was a famous Piper.
Richard was in charge of the boiler at Lisgar high School. John died at
Richard & Christina's residence on March 30, 1889. John was born on the
Isle of Tiree in northern Scotland in 1798. Below are some items of interest.
Hope this helps!
John Brown Newspaper Article, Ottawa Journal, June 14, 1952
George Brown (my wonderful brother) should continue to be your first-point-of-contact on the Brown's.
Though, George and I will soon meet to see what I can track down via www.ancestry.ca.
I guess I'll wait to be cc'd on your response to George, as he's pointed out some cool stuff regarding our related ancestors.
We can be very proud. :-)
Back to you, and email us both so we're all in the loop.
George (and Colleen), is there any way the Mr. Nolan I knew at St. Pat's is related to this clan of Nolan's?
[probably not as the name is similar, but still, Mr. Nolan (I forget his first name) was a great influence to
me in 1979 at St. Pat's when he was vice-principal)]
-- Dave :)
June 21, 2011:
I am looking for guidance from any of you. My great great grandmother was Mary Brown who married Robert Nicholson,
one of their children was my great grandfather, David Nicholson.
I am looking for any information you may have that might confirm who Mary Brown's parents were and any of their background.
I think we are connected. My grandfather used to refer to the Brown bagpipes, and when I was at Queen's in the 1970's confirmed
that they were real, that her family had them at that time, and even knew the names of my grandfather and his two siblings.
If you have any information I would appreciate your help.
Any help would be appreciated.
Nancy J Nicholson
I am thrilled to hear from you! You are correct. Mary Brown was the oldest child of John Brown and Marjory macDonnell (or MacDonald).
John's next child was my direct ancestor, James Alexander Brown, my Great-Great-Great Grandfather. I have loads of info including
photos, newpaper articles etc.
E-mail George Brown, Garth Dixon, Colleen, David Nolan, Nancy Nicholson and Al Lewis
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