Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book
Stories of Early Nichols

Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, pages 128-129

         The following was taken from the 1911 Edition of MUSCATINE COUNTY HISTORY:
         Pike Township was organized in 1853. It comprises all of Township 77, north of range 4 west, lying north and west of the Cedar River, and also all of Township 77, north of range 3 west, lying north and west of the Cedar River. It is bounded on the north by Wapsinonoc and Goshen townships, on the east by the Cedar River, on the south by Orono township, and on the west by Johnson county.
         The land is mostly prairie and is watered by a drainage ditch, Wapsinonoc Creek, which empties into the Cedar River and Pike Run. In the western part of the township are one or two other small streams.
         Through the township runs the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroad from south to north, which is crossed by a branch running from east to west at Nichols. The main line enters the township on section 32 and passes out at section 3. The branch line enters the township on section 16 and running almost due west leaves it at section 18.
         On section 7 is a station on the branch known as Adams, while Nichols is located on the main line on sections 15 and 10.
         John Nicola was an early settler in this township and has furnished the following data: “The first trustees elected in this township were Gamaliel Olds, John Rick and Mr. Odell. Olds was the first justice of the peace and Elijah Younkin the first township clerk.
         The Caruthers families, consisting of six boys and three girls came in 1836 and were the first settlers. They built the first long houses and took up most of the land in sections 12, 13 and 14, township 77 range 4 west.
         Samuel Nichols bought land of them in section 14, built a house in 1839 and with his family moved here from Ohio in 1840. There were two boys and three girls. The members of this family were B. F. Nichols, the father of T. B. Nichols; Townsend Nichols, now of California; Elizabeth Nichols, mother of Mrs. R. C. Black; Margaret Nichols, mother of the Swickard family; and Mary Nichols, mother of Ida O. Nash and M. W. Brockway.
         A young physician by the name of Eaton came out and bought land, but he was soon taken sick and died. His was the first death in the township. His body was placed in a grave on the Gamaliel Olds’ place. S. K. Rock died in 1848, and his was the first burial in what is now the Nichols Cemetery.
         The first school was taught by David Purington in 1850 in a room set apart in Jesse Purington’s log house. The teacher was paid by the patrons according to the number of pupils furnished. The first schoolhouse was built in 1851 and was erected on the southwest quarter of section 14. It was a long affair.
         Mr. Nicola says that he became a member of the Samuel Nichols family in 1848 and claims to be the earliest resident still living in the township. All that were living in the township when he came have either moved away or passed to the great beyond.

         In 1911 Nichols has a population of about 400. It has three churches, Methodist Protestant, Christian and Catholic.
         Nichols Grove, No. 7, of the United Ancient Order of Druids was instituted 24 July 1876 and received its charter 12 June 1877.
         Two branches of the Rock Island Railroad system run into the town – the Muscatine Western and the old Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern.
         The Nichols Savings Bank is capitalized at $12,000 and has a surplus and profits of $8,000. Deposits aggregate $150,000. John Hooley of Iowa City is president; John Nicola, vice president; L. B. Smith, cashier. The directors are T. B. Nichols, F. H. Elder, Henry Brugman, J. G. Kirchner, W. S. Baker of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, John Hooley and John Nicola.
         The Opera House was built by the Nichols Hall Association and has a capacity of 650. The post office and telephone exchange are on the first floor. The town hall was built in 1897 and is a two-story brick structure, containing a room for meetings of the common council and a city jail with two cages, which are very rarely occupied.
         A feature of the industries of Nichols is that of buying and shipping furs, controlled by F. M. Mapes. The shipments amount to about $20,000 a year.
         Foley Brothers and Brugman Brothers operate two large elevators, each of which has a bin capacity of 15,000 bushels. Nichols is a good grain market. Also, its shipments of cattle and hogs are of no inconsiderable importance.
         This pretty little village takes a great pride in its unique barber shop, he walls of which are hand painted, showing beautiful landscape scenery and portraits. The artist who did the work was F. Malo Lobdell, of Davenport, a cousin of the proprietor, G. A. Briggs.
         Nichols also has a band of fifteen pieces, of which Al Quinby is the director. The members are B. A. Kirchner, E. P. Ward, Polly Cone, Frank Hummel, G. A. Briggs, Harry Shannon, J. S. Fulmer, Fred Lobdell, C. P. Reynolds, Ward Reynolds, B. H. Black, Tom Carney, John Kirchner and Will Cone.

Centennial Book Contents

Return to Muscatine Co. IAGenWeb, Index Page

Page created January 23, 2011 by Lynn McCleary