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Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 10/3/2021 at 21:20:21

W. H. NICHOLS, a popular contractor and builder, of Keokuk, comes of warm-hearted Irish stock, although a native of the Keystone State. The date of his birth was Oct. 5, 1831, and he is the son of James and Sarah (Hamilton) Nichols, natives of the Emerald Isle, who emigrated to America in 1831, and settled in Pennsylvania. James Nichols was a farmer by occupation, and was engaged in agricultural pursuits all his life, which terminated in 1884. The wife and mother had preceded him to the better land in 1882. Their family consisted of four children - William H., John, James and Mary J. The three last named live in Pennsylvania.

William H. Nichols remained under the parental roof until he was eighteen years of age, in the meantime receiving a practical education and assisting in the labors of the farm. He then left home and served an apprenticeship of three years at the carpenter and joiner trade, in Greensburg, Westmoreland Co., Pa., and then, turning his steps westward, he crossed the Mississippi and came into Keokuk, where he located and determined to establish a permanent home. He was skillful as a mechanic, and soon established a business which has now grown to extensive proportions, and gives employment to from six to twelve men.

Soon after coming to the Gate City the evident talent and enterprise of Mr. Nichols obtained ready recognition, and he was marked ont as one fitted to become a leader in the community. He has been actively interested in every work and purpose calculated to benefit his city or county. He is serving his second term as Alderman of the Third Ward, and is a stockholder in the Lee County Loan and Building Association. Socially he is a member in good standing of the I. O. O. F., with which he has been connected since 1854 being now the Treasurer and Past Grand, and has held all the offices of the lodge in this city. He was one of the principal organizers of the Chatham Square Methodist Episcopal Church, and his name occupies a prominent position on the corner-stone of that church, which was erected in 1854.

Mr. Nichols was united in marriage with Miss Julia E. Johnson, in 1854. This lady is a native of Westmoreland County, Pa., and the daughter of William and Julia Johnston, natives of the same State. Of this marriage there have been born five children, two living - William J., who is Collector for the Water Works of Sioux City, and Joseph C. Jennie E., James and John died in infancy. Mrs. Nichols is also connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is a lady highly esteemed in the community. They occupy a handsome residence at No. 1022 High Street, and the business office of Mr. Nichols is located on Seventh street, between Main and Johnston.

Transcription typed/proofed as article was originally published in 1887


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