biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
A. S. NICHOLS, deceased, a former resident of Oskaloosa, was a native of Highland County, Ohio, where he was born Dec. 25, 1811. He was the son of Thomas and Martha Nichols, who resided upon a farm in that county. Here young Nichols grew to manhood, re- ceiving his education in subscription schools held during the winter, and working upon his father's farm during the summer months, until he was seven- teen years old, when he was apprenticed to the trade of blacksmith. He served a full three years' apprenticeship at this trade, receiving as his only compensation his board and clothing. He was married in Springfield, Clarke Co., Ohio, to Miss Mary Edgar, the daughter of James and Margaret Edgar. Her father was a native of Pennsylvania, and her mother of Ireland, where she was left an orphan when quite young, and when about fifteen she emigrated to this country. They were married in Pennsylvania, Feb. 13, 1813, and in 1816 emigrated to Wooster, Wayne Co., Ohio. They were the parents of eight children, two of them born in Indiana County, Pa.: Mary, Dec. 8, 1813; Catherine I., July 18, 1815, now the wife of Hezekiah Snowden, of Oskaloosa. Those born in Wooster, Ohio, were; Emily, now deceased, was the wife of M. M. Marion; Sarah J., deceased, was twice married, first to Thomas Shepherd, and sub- sequently to T. D. Porter; Noble Johnson, deceased, died in Jasper County; James died in Smith County, Kan.; William was born in Highland County. The parents were members of the Method- ist Protestant Church from childhood, and were highly respected in the county where they resided. In 1848 they came to Iowa, and in 1844 to Oska- loosa. Mrs. Edgar died in this city April 28, 1851, and Mr. Edgar Oct 30, 1865. He was a man of large information upon all matters pertainlng to the county, State and nation. In early life an old-line Whig, he affiliated with the Republican party upon its organization, and took an active interest in its success to the time of his decease. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols were married July 10,1833, in Springfield, Ohio. In 1837 they moved to Knox County, Ill., making the trip by team and camping out along the road, remaining in this county for several years. On the 1st of May, 1843,Mr. Nich- ols came to what was called the New Purchase, in Iowa, and staked off a claim on the beautiful prai- rie in Harrison Township, near Kirkville. Here he built a cabin and made improvements upon his land; here was planted the first orchard in Mahaska County, and he built the first blacksmith-shop and did the first blacksmithing done in the county. In the fall of 1844 he moved to Oskaloosa, and was elected a member of its first Board of County Com- missioners, and by them was chosen Chairman of the Board; and was also one of the Commissioners in the location of the county seat. Mr. Nichols was a man of retiring disposition, who avoided all pomp and show, and was averse to accepting any offices, though frequently tendered him by his fel- low-citizens. He derived his greatest pleasure in the enjoyment of the quiet of his home. Soon after coming to Oskaloosa he established a blacksmith- shop, the business of which he followed up to 1856. After a period of rest from his arduous labors he established the Oskaloosa Nursery in 1860, which business he prosecuted up to 1873. In 1872 Mr. and Mrs. Nichols visited California in the hope of restoring his health which had begun to fail, and again in October, 1881, he went to Cali- fornia, and on returning from there gave up all act- ive business, and enjoyed the retirement of his pleasant home in the western part of the city. For many years he was a member of the Methodist Church, but in later years united with the Congre- gational Church, of which he was a revered and be- loved member at the time of his death, which took place at his home in Oskaloosa, June 27, 1886. Mrs. Nichols still survives, and resides in Oskaloosa. They reared four children: Mary and Florence Reece, W. E. Shepherd, of California, and Alice Edgar. Mary is the wife of William M. Springer, and Florence the wife of C. T. Willard, both resi- dents of this city. Mr. Shepherd married Theo- dosia B. Hall, of Burlington. No man ever enjoyed the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens more than the subject of this sketch, he was the soul of honor. In all transac- tions with his fellow-men his word was as current as his bond, and both were as good as gold. He was the soul of generosity, and his benevolence was only limited by his means. He was also liberal in all matters that had for their object the advance- ment of the interests of his town and county. It may be truly said of him that enemies he had none, while his friends were limited only by the number of those who knew him. The publishers of this work are pleased to pre- sent in their galaxy of portraits, those of Mr. and Mrs. Nichols.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy