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1906 Biographies


It is one of the cheering conditions of this life that there is, even on this side of the grave, a haven where the storms break not, or are felt in gentle undulations of the unrippled and mirroring waters -- a rest, profound and blissful as that of the soldier returned forever from the dangers and the turmoil of war, to the bosom of a dear domestic circle. This haven, this rest, is a serene and hale old age, in which the tired traveler abandons the dusty, crowded and jostling highway of life for a shady and quiet by-lane. He has run his race of toil, or trade, or ambition. His day's work is accomplished, and he has come home to enjoy, tranquil and unharrassed, the splendor of the sunset, the milder glories of late evening.

A beautiful and touching illustration of this truth is found in the life story, briefly chronicled in these paragraphs, concerning the late Dr. Jonathan Nichols of Atlantic, whose long, active and useful professional and mercantile career was ended at Los Angeles, Cal., on January 17, 1905. Dr. Nichols was born on May 26, 1826, at Oxford, Mass., and became a resident of Cass county in the autumn of 1869. He obtained his scholastic training in the common schools of his native town, and began his professional studies there under the wise direction of Dr. Fay, afterward attending medical colleges at Albany, N. Y., and Boston, Mass. For a number of years after his graduation, he practiced at his native place and in Troy, N. Y., and in 1856 came west to Grant county, Wis., where he continued his professional work and also kept a drug store. Nearly thirteen years of serviceable activity were passed in that location by him, then in 1869 he moved to this county and took up his residence in the city of Atlantic. Here again he practiced medicine and conducted a drug store, continuing his dual activity until 1874. In that year he retired from practice, and from then until 1901 devoted his whole attention to the drug trade, retiring from active business altogether in the year last named.

Dr. Nichols' marriage occurred in the city of New York in 1851, when he was united with Mary Makepeace, a lady of New England nativity, born in Massachusetts, the marriage ceremony being performed by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. Three children were born of the union, all of whom are living. They are William M. and Frank M., bankers of Atlantic, and Mrs. J. R. Morris, of Salt Lake City. The Doctor was the first born of nine children, seven of whom are living and all residents of Massachusetts except one son who is an engineer on the construction work of the Panama Canal. Their parents were Thomas and Tirzah S. (Lamson) Nichols, natives of Massachusetts and of Scotch-Irish ancestry.

The father was a farmer through life, but he took an active part in the public affairs of his community, serving for many years as a captain of militia, in obedience to a martial spirit he had inherited from his forefathers, who were early colonial settlers in New England and helped to win the revolution for this country.

In addition to his practice as a physician and his mercantile enterprise as a druggist, the Doctor served the city as vice-president of the Atlantic National Bank and as a stockholder in the old Atlantic Alcohol Manufacturing Company, of which he was also secretary. In politics he was a firm and faithful Republican, and as such filled a number of local offices. He was for long years a deacon in the Congregational Church, and at all times contributed liberally to its support. Fraternally he was connected with the Knights of Pythias, being a charter member of the first lodge organized in the order. In life he was highly esteemed, and in death widely and sincerely mourned.

Dr. Nichols's sons, William M. and Frank M. Nichols, are the owners and managers of the Nichols Bank, of Atlantic, which they organized in September, 1895, as a private institution, with William M. Nichols as president, and Frank M., as cashier. They have from the beginning carried on a general banking business, and on January 1, 1905, they added to the enterprise a savings department, which has proved to be a highly popular and useful feature.

WILLIAM M. NICHOLS, was born at Oxford, Mass., in 1852, and moved with his parents to Wisconsin in 1856. He attended the common and some of the higher schools in Wisconsin, and, as a preparation for mercantile life in the drug trade, he pursued a course of technical study at the Boston College of Pharmacy. He then went into business with his father, and later bought the store, which he conducted until the organization of the bank. He was successful in his mercantile operations, and he has been very successful in his banking business. No man stands higher in commercial circles in this part of the State, and none is more justly entitled to the esteem and good will of the community. He was married at Atlantic in 1878 to Elizabeth N. Brown, a native of Iowa. They have four children, Thomas E., Frank J., Mary M. and Theodore B. Mr. Nichols is a Freemason of the Knights Templar degree and also belongs to the Mystic Shrine in the order. His church connection is with the Congregationalists.

FRANK M. NICHOLS, was born in Grant county, Wis., in December, 1865, and when he was four years old came with his parents to this county. He was educated in the public schools, and pursued a course of special training at the Davenport Business College. He then accepted a position as assistant cashier of the bank at Griswold, which he held until 1889. That year he was appointed assistant cashier of the Atlantic National Bank, and later was its cashier and one of its directors until 1895, when he joined his brother in founding the Nichols Bank, and since that time he has given his attention wholly to this institution as its cashier. In 1893 he was married to Anna Lewis, a native of Illinois. In politics he is a Republican, and as such has filled the office of city treasurer of Atlantic. Fraternally he is a Knight Templar and a member of the Mystic Shrine, in the Masonic order.

From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 452-454.

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