IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.


Luther Nichols
Luther Nichols

Luther Nichols. Prominent among the old settlers of Clayton County, who have contributed to its prosperity is the subject of this sketch. He is one of the ablest and most brainy farmers and stock-raisers, and has been a conspicuous figure in its civic life for many years. He is the proprietor of one of the largest and best equipped farms in Monona Township, lying on sections 20 and 29, and here he and his family have one of the best appointed and most attractive homes in this part of the state.

Mr. Nichols was born in Erie County, N.Y., April 1, 1827, and is the son of Clark Nichols, who was born in 1797 in Rhode Island. The latter remained in his native state until a year prior to attaining his majority, when he accompanied his father's family on their removal to New York State. The grandfather of our subject, Reuben Nichols, was of Scotch descent and when a lad of fourteen years enlisted as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, serving through the entire conflict. In 1817 he located in Erie County, N.Y., where he was engaged in farm pursuits and lived to be seventy-seven years of age.

The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Nancy Howell, and was born in Delaware County, N.Y. She was of English descent, and passed her entire life in the Empire State, dying when in the seventy-eighth year of her age. She was married to Clark Nichols in Erie County, and located on a farm there, which they improved and med their home until their decease. The father was a Democrat in politics, and he held many local offices. In religious affairs the wife was a consistent member of the Baptist Church.

The parental family of our subject comprised ten children, all of whom, with the exception of two, grew to manhood and womanhood, and five are now living. Luther, of this sketch, was the eldest of the family, and remained in his native county until twenty-one years of age, in the meantime assisting his father in carrying on his farm and attending the district school, where he gained a fair education. The knowledge thus obtained was later supplemented by a course in the academy in his native county.

On attaining his majority our subject left home and went to Tennessee, where he was engaged in teaching in private schools for seven years. IN 1854, however, we find him located in Clayton County, this state, where he took up a claim of Government land. On this he erected a log cabin and kept "bach" until May 9, 1860, when he was married to Miss Eveline Woodmansee, who was born in Painesville, Ohio, September 28, 1835. Her father was Daniel M. Wlldmansee, whose birth occurred in Rhode Island, September, 1800. He was a ship carpenter by trade, which he followed with good success during the early part of his life. He, in turn, was the son of Eleazer Woodmansee, likewise a native of the above state and of French descent. The mother of Mrs. Nichols was, in her maidenhood, Dorothea Scott, and was born January 3, 1809, in Oneida County, N.Y. Her parents reared a family of twelve children, of whom she was first in order of birth. She remained in the Empire State until reaching her ninth year, when she accompanied her father and mother on their removal to eastern Ohio in 1818, and to Iowa in 1864. Mrs. Nichols is the recipient of a fine education and taught school for twenty terms with good results.

Our subject and his wife made their home in the log house until their means would admit a more imposing structure being erected and have spent all of their married life on this estate. It comprises three hundred and sixty acres, all of which is under an excellent state of cultivation with the exception of forty acres, which is timbered land. Its present beautiful appearance and good value is a standing monument to the qualities which he has exhibited since boyhood.

To our subject and his good wife there have been born four sons and three daughters. Three of these children died in infancy. Elbert J. was born in this county March 14, 1862, and is a prominent farmer, living in Kossuth County, this state; Arthur H., born November 20, 1864, is a farmer in the above county; Alice M., born June 9, 1867, is the wife of C.O. Fuller, of Kossuth County, where they have a good farm, and C. Estella is at home.

Mr. Nichols is a pronounced Republican in politics and for two years held the office of County Commissioner. He was also President of the Clayton County Agricultural Society for the same length of time and has held numerous minor positions. He has always been interested in the cause of education, and his fellow-townsmen recognizing this fact placed him on the School Board and each term re-elected him until he was the incumbent of the position for a quarter of a century. On his resignation his son, E.J., succeeded him, and thus the directorship of his district has been in the family for thirty-five years. Our subject, with a Mr. Scott and others, organized the school districts of the township and in many ways has advanced the cause of education in Clayton County.

source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties; Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1894; pg 391-392
-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall

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