Joanne Noonan

Joanne Noonan, the widow of East Dover's Charlie Noonan, adopted the village as her home. Born in 1924 in Arlington, Massachusetts, her parents were Edmond Joseph Fitzmyris and Helen O'Connor. She met Charlie in Boston. She was fifty-one when they married, and he was sixty-two.

She told us that Charlie Noonan's family bartered fish and eggs in Lunenburg, for flour, apples. They grew their own vegetables and had domestic animals like pigs and chickens, they also fished. His parents were James Brenton Noonan from East Dover and Loretta Redmond from Shad Bay. His grandparents were James Henry Noonan and Margaret Coolen. A great grandfather was George Noonan who married Liza Morash.

As a youth Charlie played many different sports and also enjoyed entertaining with his father, playing the fiddle together. He attended Ocean Glen School, a one-room schoolhouse. Charlie, an only child, was about ten years old when his family moved to Boston. Joanne notes the strong ties between Nova Scotia and Boston. Lots of people couldn't get jobs in Nova Scotia and went to Boston for work, she recalled.

When asked about changes over the years to the village, she said, "People are not going to let this village change if they can help it.......There's a very strong community spirit here....What happens to one, happens to all."

Charlie was just three years old at the time of the Halifax Explosion and was living for the winter in Halifax where his father and grandfather were working at the sugar refinery. She said he told her that when the explosion hit he had just stooped down to tie his shoe, getting just a little cut on his head, but his grandmother lost the sight in one eye.

Joanne is keenly interested in local history and family trees. She has albums filled with pictures and a great collection of documents relating to the area's history. She says East Dover started in the early 1800s. The oldest house is the Burke house, still standing. She has researched and found out that Charlie's ancestors came in the 1700s from Ireland to St. John's, Newfoundland at a time when the English and French were at war. The men had been conscripted into military service and desertion was a common occurrence. They were known as the Irish Brigade. She continues to research the family's history.