On August 3, 1885, John F. Nolan was born in the community of Paris in Henry County, Tennessee. He was the son of W.J. and Betsy (Farris) and was educated in the public and private schools of Henry County. Treasurer Nolan married Nelle Rye from Paris, Tennessee who was the daughter of former Tennessee governor, Tom C. Rye. Treasurer Nolan worked with his father in the marble, stone, and granite business in Paris, Tennessee. Under the instruction of his father, Treasurer Nolan learned how to be a marble cutter.
After working in the marble and stone business Treasurer Nolan changed his career path in 1915 with an appointment as a bookkeeper for the main Tennessee State Prison. Two years after that appointment, he went to work also in bookkeeping in the State Comptroller's office. By 1923, Treasurer Nolan had risen to the post of chief clerk. From 1923 to 1927, Treasurer Nolan served as the chief clerk for the State Comptroller. In 1927, he was elected as the State Treasurer of Tennessee. After serving a two year term, Treasurer Nolan was reelected in 1929 and remained as State Treasurer until 1931.
In 1931, upon leaving state service, Treasurer Nolan worked in public industry. He first worked with the New York Life Insurance Company. In 1933, he was appointed Fiscal Accountant for the Tennessee Valley Authority. And then in 1934, he became the office manager for the Fisk Rubber Company factory branch.
After serving a year with the Fisk Rubber Company, Treasurer Nolan returned to state service as State Auditor with the State Comptroller's office in 1935. He served in the capacity of State Auditor until 1937 when he was appointed as Director of Accounts for the State Comptroller's office. In 1939, Treasurer Nolan was appointed to serve as a consulting economist in county government and in 1941 he became the principal accountant in the State Comptroller's office. After four years of working as principal accountant, Treasurer Nolan returned to the post of Director of the Department of Accounts. After working fifteen years as the Director of the Department of Accounts of the State Comptroller's office, Treasurer Nolan retired in 1960.
On November 15, 1968, Treasurer Nolan passed away, resulting from a heart attack. He is buried at the Maplewood Cemetery in Paris, Tennessee.
Reference: Guy Dyer, Library of American Lives: Tennessee Edition (Washington D.C.: Historical Record Association, 1949), 190; Tennessee: A History, 1673-1932, Volume IV (New York: American Historical Society, Inc., 1933), 601; “John F. Nolan Rites Today,” Nashville Tennessean 16 November 1968; Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Nashville, TN: Tennessee State Library and Archives.