submitted by Neal Carter, October 13, 2007


BENJAMIN F. NICHOLS, for a half century a leading citizen of Muscatine county, passed away to rest eternal last Sunday afternoon after a protracted illness, at the ripe old age of 67 years and 2 months. Mr. Nichols was a native of Highland county, Ohio, where his mother died in January, 1839. In the fall of 1838 his father, Samuel Nichols, came to Iowa and purchased a thousand acres of land in the vicinity of what is now known as the town of Nichols. He then returned to Ohio and with his family came to Iowa to reside in 1840. He afterward added largely to his landed possessions.

In 1850, stirred with the excitement caused by the discovery of gold in California, B. F. Nichols made a trip to the mining regions, going by way of New Orleans and Panama. He spent nearly 19 years along the Pacific coast, mining and packing and in the mercantile business, and also spent some time in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British America. On his return to Nichols, about 1870, he engaged in the mercantile business, afterwards selling out. He was postmaster for a number of years and held other positions of trust during his life. He was one of the most extensive land owners of Muscatine county, his possessions comprising about 1,100 acres of land in Pike township. He was also a heavy stock-raiser. In 1880 he began breeding shorthorn cattle and was remarkably successful.

The town of Nichols was so named by B. F. Nichols in honor of his father, Samuel Nichols, who subscribed liberally to the stock of the B., C. R. & N. road and donated the right of way through his land in consideration that they build at Nichols a depot on land also presented by him for that purpose.

On the 10th of October, 1872, Mr. Nichols was united in marriage in Muscatine county with Susan M. Jenkins, a native of Ohio. One son, Townsend, was born to them in February, 1874, and for a number of years has had charge of his fatherís large interests. Besides the bereaved widow and son one brother, Townsend Nichols, of Chicago, survives.

Mr. Nichols was an active and enterprising man and always took a leading party in any movement calculated to redound to the welfare of the community in which he resided. Politically he was a member of the democratic party, being one of its staunchest adherents in the county. The respect and esteem of his neighbors was enjoyed by him and a host of friends and acquaintances will mourn his death. November 5, 1893

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