HONORABLE JOHN D. NICHOLS, a prominent attorney of Vinton, Iowa, and senior partner of the firm of J. D. & C. Nichols, attorneys, was born in Leeds county, Canada, July 22, 1834. He is a son of Hugh and Avis (Schofield) Nichols, the former a Baptist minister, who died in Canada.
John D. Nichols spent his boyhood in Canada, and came to Henry county, Iowa, in 1856, and in 1863 located in Benton county. He was formerly a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church and preached a number of years in Iowa. In 1871 he was admitted to the bar, and has since continued in the practice of this profession. Since 1892 his son Clarence has been his partner. Mr. Nichols has distinguished himself as a criminal lawyer, and has defended twenty-two persons accused of murder, of whom all were acquitted save one. His reputation as an able lawyer has traveled outside of the state, and he has always had a large practice.
In 1878 Mr. Nichols was elected state senator, and served three sessions. He served as chairman of the Committee on Insurance and was the author of the present insurance laws, as well as of many other important bills, including the law for bidding for the printing of law books. He opposed the Prohibition Amendment, on a legal technicality, and made his influence felt during his service in the Senate. He has always been very prominent in local affairs, and served four years as mayor of Vinton, and has also been a member of the school board. He is a prominent member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and was formerly Grand Master of the State of Iowa.
In 1854 Mr. Nichols married Sarah Stephens, also of Leeds, Canada, who died December 1, 1870, aged thirty-four years, leaving two sons, M. E., a lawyer of St. Paul, and Clarence Nichols, of Vinton, Iowa. Mr. Nichols married (second) Phoebe J. Brennan, who died in 1881, and they had children as follows: G. C., of Cedar Rapids, and B. F., of Chicago. They are engaged in the railway service, and run on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway.