Muscatine County Iowa
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album, Muscatine County, Iowa, 1889, page 665
This township comprises all of township 77, north of range 4 west, lying north and west of the Cedar River. Through this township runs the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad from south to north, together with a branch running from east to west. The main line enters the township on section 32, and passes out from section 3, of township 77, north of range 4 west. The branch enters the township on section 16 of township 77, north of range 3 west, and running almost due west leaves the township and county from section 18, township 77, north of range 4 west. On the branch is a station known as Adams, which is located on section 7, township 77, north of range 3 west, while the village is located on section 15, of township 77, north of range 4 west, and is a junction of the main line and branch.
The village was so named by Benjamin F. Nichols in honor of his father, Samuel Nichols, who subscribed liberally to the stock of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad Company, and donated to them the right of way through his land in consideration that they build at this point a depot on land presented by him for that purpose. It is situated in the center of what was once known as Elephant Swamp. The lots were surveyed by George Baumgardner, county surveyor, and the plat was filed for record, June 22, 1871, by Benjamin F. Nichols, owner of the town site. Seceral small buildings were erected, and some moved into the place prior to the recording of the town plat. The first house built on the town plat was owned by William Schelpaper, and rented to James Carney, who kept in it a general stock of goods. Through the careless handling of a lamp near powder, a short time after its erection, the entire building was blown to atoms, though the inmates escaped uninjured. During this year Dr. S. H. Smith erected a large building, which was used by him as a drug-store and dwelling. In 1873 an addition was made to the town, known as "railroad addition." In 1875 a second addition was made by P. Nichols. The Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad erected a commodious depot at the junction of the two railroads, and also built good stock-yards. In October, 1870, a post-office was established at this place, and Benjamin F. Nichols appointed Postmaster. Previous to this period an office had been kept in Samuel Nichols home, known as the Lacy post-office, bring the first one in Pike Township. It had been in the same family for over twenty years when the change of location was made. The village of Nichols today is a thriving one of about 300 inhabitants, and is well represented by the various lines of trade, and having business houses which would be a credit to much larger places. A large two-story brick school-house was erected in the summer of 1872. The religious denominations are represented by the Christian, German, Evangelical, Methodist Episcopal, and Roman Catholic Churches.
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