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~Robert M. Quinn
October 21, 2017

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History of Martin James Quinn
and Sarah Jane Stepp

Martin James Quinn and Sarah Jane Stepp - Halifax, Nova Scotia
Martin James and Sarah Jane Stepp Quinn
Photo taken in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Martin James Quinn was born in Ireland in about 1837. He was the son of John Quinn and Sarah Connell of Moycullen, County Galway, not far from Galway Bay. He and his mother, a sister, Margaret, and a brother, Michael, sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada in the late 1850's to early 1860's. Martin was on the police force in Halifax and little is known of his family in Ireland. On April 4, 1864, he married Sarah Jane Stepp, the widow of Alexander Deyoung who had been lost at sea during a daring rescue attempt for which he received metals of honor posthumously. To this marriage was born 6 sons and 1 daughter. Five of those children married and now have hundreds of descendants.

Sarah was born at Ship Harbour, Nova Scotia in 1837. This town was settled by loyalists fleeing from the English colonies to the south at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. She was the daughter of Bastian John Stepp and Elizabeth Weeks. Her paternal grandfather, Sabastian Stepp was born in the Netherlands. Her maternal grandparents, Daniel Weeks and Hannah Mehl were born in New York and South Carolina, respectively. Sarah had three children by her first husband, but only the second, Joseph, survived childhood. Sarah died September 26, 1906 in Halifax.

At the age of 80, Martin was working as a night watchman near the harbor in the early morning of December 6, 1917 when the French ship Mont Blanc, loaded with ammunition bound for the French front of WWI collided with the Norwegian ship Imo, loaded with supplies bound for France. The resulting fire and explosion killed 1600 of the inhabitants of Halifax including Martin, injured over 4000 and destroyed much of the city near the water front.

The following is a list of their children and was taken from a poster which hung framed in the home of Michael John Quinn.

Children of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Quinn
Martin James ----------- Born Nov. 4th, 1864
Michael John ------------- " Oct. 24th, 1866
Sarah Ann ---------------- " July 24th, 1869
Thomas Patrick ---------- " Sept. 30th, 1871
Charles Nicholas ---------- " May 30th, 1873
Stephen Francis --------- " Nov. 18th, 1874
Richard Peter ------------ " April 17th, 1879

Last Updated: February 10, 2008  
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