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Nichols family of Prophetstown
The Tampico Area Historical Society encompasses parts of Whiteside County and Bureau County in Illinois. Focus is on Tampico, Hume Twp., Hahnaman/Deer Grove, & Prophetstown in Whiteside County & Yorktown & Thomas in Bureau County.
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95 posts
Jan 11, 2010
6:09 PM
If I don't get this topic started this winter, I'll probably lose interest and shy away from writing about some history that really should be brought to attention. Over the last 12 or more years I have built a large family file, and somewhere back a few years ago, I became really interested in the local area cemeteries, past and present. I have made many trips to the courthouse and brought home quite a list of historical material. I have a large pile of papers for the Leon cemetery, and the early settlers around it. After a good amount of time and effort I turned to the Prophetstown Riverside Cemetery, and have spent my free time for the last two years gathering information from all the old histories and then got into the old maps, survey records, census records, etc. It's time to open mouth and insert foot, or come out of this endeavor with a little respect.

To set here and type what I have came across will bring only regret on myself, as I am not one for having the ability to express myself over a key board. I type slow, and my thoughts are always three minutes ahead of my typing fingers.

I own several local history books and an original Bent/Wilson that was a great grand fathers. I've read it many times, and along with writings from Wm.D.U'ren, Fay Landis, Gunderson, Wm. Davis and others. If one goes over these many times, you'll discover many conflicting areas of our history. All in all, it seems that everyone refers to Bent/Wilson over and over. It's an excellent write, but after a while one begins to see or recognize the strength of one Bio. verses another. Some where the subject is still living are as tho they are in cast iron, and not a letter of doubt, and then there are the ones where the family had basically left and we have the published opinions that came from old friends, or as descendants remember what they heard over the years.

In researching the beginning the the Prophetstown Cemetery I had to do a complete search on the Nichols families of Prophetstown, Erastus G. and his brother Ethan H. (Hiram H. will come into this also) When I did this I hit a real interesting area of local history, not found in any of our early writing. It soon appeared in my mind, in all of these historical writings that everyone was looking back in time. There is two ways of doing genealogy and two ways of doing history, and until both ways are done and comply with each other you only have one view.

Lets start a history of Whiteside and come forward in time instead of looking back in time.

1. We need to start with a road that went through our area, and that road would be the Lewistown - Galena Trail, 1827 - 1837. I'm speaking of the trail that was laid out by Ossian Ross, of Fulton County, and became a real good starting point for our history.

2. Then well draw a blank Plat map, and position several early settlers based on Bio's and government land sales.

3. Then we will take a look at the 1840 census and draw several conclusions from the entries.

4. Several families positions can be located from the first survey map 1839/40 that I have downloaded from the Illinois Statewide data base. (It's a huge file) One of our starting points will be a structure that appears on the 1829 R.W. Chandler map of the roads to Galena, some five years before the arrival of our first settlers.

Like I said above, if I just blurt out what I have came across, I'm going to fail, because few are going to believe me. I'm looking for several volunteers that would be willing to draw a few squares on paper that would represent a few square miles of a plat map, and then we will add the facts that can be found, and I might miss my guess, but I think you will see a lot of history change before your eyes.

Let Me know!

Last Edited by on Feb 01, 2010 7:13 AM
507 posts
Jan 12, 2010
7:12 AM
Well, this is exciting, Jack! I hope we'll find a volunteer. I'll try to draw it on my end as well.
96 posts
Jan 12, 2010
4:24 PM
Thanks Denise!
One person that I was hoping to get is gone on vacation for a while. I guess I will let this coast for a day or two. Not everybody checks this site every day like I do.

33 posts
Jan 12, 2010
7:54 PM
I am in arizona and may be interested in volunteering, but not sure if that was what you had in mind, plus it may not be effective. Perhaps we can talk about what you have in mind and then perhaps we can come up with a way that will work remotely. My email is brian@sandersfamilia.com. you can send me your email and phone and I can contact you, if you would like to discuss further. or we can talk via email.

97 posts
Jan 15, 2010
1:07 PM
Plat Maps - Prophetstown
1. The history of OLD PROPHETSTOWN my mind should start with what drew settlers to the area, and that would be the Lewistown - Galena Trail Road that was laid out in the spring of the year say 1827 or 1828. It was the task of three men, but only one is named being OSSIAN ROSS, the founder of Lewistown, Fulton County. Ossian also had a Ferry boat at Havanna. (Var. searches will give you plenty on him) This trail crossed the Rock River near the mouth of what would be called Walkers Slew as the years advanced, and while the river level was low it could be forded, and when the water was up the use of a ferry boat was needed. Having spent time on this area of the river fishing, and having to repair outboard motor propellers, I have a pretty good idea of where the crossing was at. To complement this trail (see p. 476/477 B/W, or Bio. of Joshua T. Atkinson, gen. trails/W-side) a Tavern/Inn was built by Bigelow & McClure of Peoria, at a location that became the hub of Old Prophetstown. Defined as something that provides refuge and relief, I'm going to refer to this structure as "The Oasis". History states it as a double log building, and I believe it to be double as in length. I also believe it was occupied the year around by a person who ran the ferry boat, and in the winter months this person would keep it from becoming an Indian camp. This Oasis is found on the 1829 R.W. Chandler map of the roads to the Galena Lead mine area.
Who ran it is unclear, but I believe it was ran by Samuel A. McClure in early 1834. Some have written that Sam came at the same time as Asa Crook, but I think different. It's been written that Sam had also built a small shack or cabin near mouth of walkers Slew) Page 415 B/W 1877, June 1834,"Mr. Brink's nearest neighbor at that time was Mr. McClure, who had made a claim on Rock River, near the present village of Prophetstown." In the winter of 1834/35 This Oasis (known as the McClure Cabin) sheltered the families Joshua T. Atkinson, J.W. Stakes, Messrs. Baxter, Benson, Bennett, and Charles Atkinson. In the spring of 1835, Mr. Atkinson and and J. W. Stakes "jack-knifed a claim near round grove, lost it to claim jumpers, and they then went to what is now Union Grove and made claims there. However, the history of J. W. Stakes tells us that J.W. Stakes did buy the land claim of Sam McClure. Some suggest that the ferry boat business of McClure's was also purchased by Stakes, but I think different. Yes, J. W. Stakes was in the ferry business, but I have it that it was the crossing that was started by James Knox, and crossed thhe river at or near where the Prophetstown bridges were eventually built. After Stakes it became Pratt's.

Asa Crook was licensed by the commissioners of Knox County, shortly after his arrival, (History of Knox Co., p. 143) and it was the ferry crossing at the mouth of Walker's Slew, on the Lewistown Trail.
Page 802, History of Knox County; Ferry Boats, "On the first day of June 1835, the County commissioners entered an order that the clerk issue a license to Asa Crooks of Henry county to keep a ferry according to the law across Rock River".

My Grandfather second married Grace Hamilton, the dau. of Charles A. Hamilton, who was the son of John M. Hamilton. John was the son of Adam R. Hamilton, one of the first settlers of in Lyndon Twp.

When John M. died a newspaper clipping was saved by Grace. John's death occurred in his Ninety-second year, and this clipping was a sketch of his life. "May 11, 1835, the families of A. R. Hamilton, W. D. Dudley and C. G. Woodruff left New York, each with a pair of horses and a wagon. A month later, the families stopped at Plainfield, and the men (and John M.) went on in advance. After stopping at Dixon, they came on down the Rock River, and arriving about night at Prophetstown, they found one old settler, Asa Crook, who had settled there the previous year. We remained with him a day or two, and then crossed Rock River in Mr. Crook's ferry boat, poling across."

I'm going to assume the stay with Asa Crook to place at the Oasis, and not that of Asa's home residence, which I believe was one of Asa's first claims, which we will get to later.

To position this Oasis, originally built by Bigelow and McClure, on a map, we can find it from the R.W. Chandler Map, and the early Plat Map of Prophetstown, which occurred before 1842. It can be viewed In the Illinois Statewide Public Lands data base, but it takes a long time to down load. If you view this map, you need to give some of the names a little "slack" as it was drawn say 1842 in St. Lewis, from the field notes of the survey party. Some settlers and their claim are drawn on it, but in the hand writing transfer between writers notes and readers of them, mistakes happened, and usually on first names. When I study the Illinois map, this main Oasis structure appears about 20 feet north of the township line, and some 50 to 60 feet East of the North West corner of section 3, Rge. 5E, Twp. 19N. It is called a house on the drawing, and I think I know why, but we will get to that later. It is really setting in the SW corner of section 34, Twp. 20N Rge.5E, by just a few feet. A barn is also drawn on this map, and it falls on section three, and some 80 or more feet South of the so called tagged house.

As the Township (six miles square) outer bounderies were surveyed in 1833, this main structure (Oasis) was built on open prairie say 1828, and before any survey. We'll get to it later, but it was considered as setting in section three by those who observed it. The land to the north is now known as the back entrance to the State Park, and had no real land value. The four corners of section 33 - 34 and 3 - 4 sets in the door(lawn)yard of the farm house where Silver and Irene Dewitte lived for so many years, (60's) and just to the East of the present day, intersection of Lyndon and Star road. If one comes north on Lyndon road you can visualize the approxement location just before the curve in Lyndon road as you approach the stop sign. Lyndon Road is the section line between 3 & 4. The Township East - West line runs through or very near the white farm house setting there today. (The farm house near Coon Creek bridge State road 172 or Star Road.)

I cannot find it today in my stack of sources, but someone wrote that the first classroom for school was held on Section Three.

In another writing about the first school room was by Gunnar A. Benson, Centennial Anniversary of Whiteside County Education Association 1856 - 1956. As I remember, page eleven (I have the page of interest somewhere) Benson tells that it was LOVICA HAMILTON, daughter of Adam R. that her first teaching was was done in the cabin ( I think Oasis) of Asa Crook in Prophetstown. (Again, section three)

Portrait and Biographical Album of Whiteside County; page 888, "Lovica Hamilton taught the first school in the township, in the summer of 1836. It was on section 3, in a log school-house." ( I believe it was a room in Asa Crooks Oasis on section 3, or in the real section 34 by some 10 feet.)
NOTE: (Edit entry Jan, 20)
Also page 888; "In the early part of 1835, Asa Crook opened the first tavern. It was a double log cabin, located on section 3, and became quite famous in those days for it's hospitality."

I think this education history directly ties Asa Crook to the Oasis, on the NW corner of three.

I skipped ---- The early plat map shows where the Galena Trail crossed the Twp. Line from section 4 up into section 33, some 150 yards West of where the Oasis was at in the NW corner of section 3. (Some 200 yards East of the city of P-town's salt bin.)

This Oasis, of Asa Crooks, had to be the place where the elections were held, the fourth of July party where they went to Deacon Daniel Crockers store and brought back the wine for the ladies, the first post office where Asa was postmaster, and on and on. It's to bad we do not know whom Asa Purchased this Oasis from, maybe from McClure or Bigelow and McClure of Peoria. This Oasis, (Inn/Tavern) didn't last long for Asa, but I'll bet he had payed a handsome amount for it. He may of had a good year in 35, but in 36 it slowed by my thoughts, and in 37 the Lewistown Trail through Prophetstown closed. (Or at least the eastern part of Prophetstown, as James Knox had opened his ferry boat crossing Rock River North of town. About this same time Asa also had to be feeling the effects of his failure on his saw mill on Coon Creek. The Princeton University Library, has a publication "Law Reporter Vol. 5", Printed Boston 1843, and in it is an index of BANKRUPTS IN ILLINOIS up to Oct. 6, 1842. Page 378 there is a list of 1077 bankrupts for IL., and Asa Crook of Whiteside is amoung the 1077 names.`Out of all I have been able to find on Asa, I cannot find any other time frame that would have been any worse financially for him. But, something else happened in 1837 in Prophetstown. A settler with his work done at Camp Rock (may equal Rock Cut State Park) on the I&M canal came to town. This was ERASTUS G. NICHOLS and family. On the early plat map (S.?) E.G. Nichols now has a portion of section three as his claim, where the Oasis is still at, and it's identified as a house. Very well could be that the survey party did not know the history of it, and only that Erastus and his family were living in it. It went on in time that this was one of Erastus's first gov. purchases, along with that SW part of section 34.
On three, Erastus G. Nichols N2NW Quarter, Section 3 Rge. 5E 11 July 1843, and E.G. Nichols 3 May 42, for the SW Quarter of section 34 Lyndon Twp. which would then be the ground under his house, that was so often thought of or referenced to as being section 3. Some where before this land was tracked by the Gov., Asa and Erastus must have struck a deal.

I have drawn a basic blank plat map to show some locations, and as I have tried here to explain some history of what I call the Oasis, I'm going to start putting a dot on my blank map and number it No. 1. for the setting of the Oasis.
If any one can add to this, I'm all ears.

Enough for today....

Last Edited by on Jan 25, 2010 5:44 PM
98 posts
Jan 15, 2010
6:52 PM
I forgot to say. I have this blank plat map scanned into my computer, and Denise and Brian S. has it also. Denise arranged it to be up loaded into my writing, but that's talking 6ft. and I'm only 5'9. There is plenty more information and reference points of history to come, so if anyone wants a copy contact me or write to Denise for my eMail and I'll send one.

Last Edited by on Feb 02, 2010 6:16 AM
508 posts
Jan 16, 2010
9:22 AM
I have since added the plat map to your msg. thread above. Folks can just click on to it to make it larger, or if they want to make a comment directly under the map picture, they can. They can also comment on the msg. thread as well. As the map details progress, I will add it to the Picasa Photo Album with this one. What fun to see the history develop before us. Thank you for sharing with us.
99 posts
Jan 16, 2010
9:57 AM
I'm sure most of you are familiar with Daniel Crocker, and his opening of the first store in Old Prophetstown. These first plat maps of the late 30's and early 40's place Daniel Crocker with his claim.

TO get to his claim and I'm 99% sure it was where he had the store, turn South on present day Yager road from present day Star road. (East of Brookhaven) As you travel South something less than a quarter mile you will notice an old fence line coming from the West and off the South end of Brookhaven. There is a cement pad there and some cattle feed bunks the last time I was out there. This fence is the Township line between old Lyndon Twp. and Prophetstown Twp. If you pause here in your car, take a look to the South East. You should be able to see an area with a nice tree setting. The East side of this tree line is pretty much in position to be the West line Of The NE quarter of the NE Quarter of section 3. (49.77 Acres.)
The way the surveyor drew Daniels claim, it also included a line going North into the SW Quarter of the SW Quarter of section 34, of old Lyndon Twp. He was something to the distance of an approximate distance of a Quarter mile south of the Stephenson - Dixon Stage Road. (Or also known to locals Jackson St.) History of note: Stephenson was our present day Rock Island, and Jackson St. was so named as the Township of Jackson became Hume. For a historical reason, if you have printed off a map, lets put a number Two on the NE of NE quarter of section Three, for Deacon Daniel Crocker.
Note: After posting this I was looking at the old plat map, and it appears where Daniels claim went up into section 34 is in reality a tree line, so lets give only the 49.77 acres of section three to Daniel. His residence is shown to the West side of his claim, and about half way between North and South on his West line.


Last Edited by on Jan 25, 2010 5:46 PM
102 posts
Jan 17, 2010
8:02 AM
Number FIVE.
THE 1840 CENSUS of Whiteside County:

It took me years and a lot of hours in this old record to get the real meaning of how and who structured the entries. At first after reading about the resignation of Nathaniel G. Reynolds as Co., Clerk, and the courts appointed a successor and along with the hand writing on page one, with what appears to be the personal signature of Nathaniel G. Reynolds, I thought that the recording of the census was started by Nathaniel and then went into other hands. Wrong I was, as it it plain jane in the Bio., of Nathaniel G. Reynolds that took the 1840 census. Who better for us than someone that new our local settlers on a first hand basis. I then printed of the pages of the census that pretained to this portion of Whiteside and proceed in many hours of biographies and land records to track the route that Nathaniel took across the land. It's there if one wants to spend the time as I did.

Page one;
First entry is Nathaniel Reynolds who live along the Lewistown Trail as it entered Prophetstown from the SW, and later on the Driving Track was just to his East at the present day South end of town. Nathaniel then goes West and enters Ebenezer Seely, then J.W. McLenmore, then Asa Crook, then R. J. Jenks, it appears he then jumps across the river and enters John Roy of Lyndon and three names later he is at Adam R. Hamilton, of Lyndon.

I know, your asking why or how Asa Crook could be with the known Portland settlers. It ties in with the following. Asa Crook had on of his claims there on section 2 of Portland Twp. By going to the land records it puts it in detail.
Purchaser: ASA CROOK
Aliquot Parts or Lot: NPTNEFRERR
N= North
PT = Part
NE = North East
FR = Fraction
E = East
RR = Rock River
TWP: 19N
Range: 04E
Meridan: 4
County: Whiteside
Acres: 56.58
Price: $1.25
Type: FD (Fedral)
Date: 07/26/1843
Volume: 714
Page: 009
This acreage lies North of the far end of present day Thunder Road, in back of (West) of Thunder Bolt Hill. As the township road ends, there is a gate there which if open and you have an invitation will take you on back to the river, and in past it was or is the location known as Don Sipes Cabin. Now, nothing says how long Asa lived there, but I have no doubt in my mind but what he did in fact live there in 1840.

So, lets add number 5 to the plat map for Asa Crook on the NE quarter of Section 2, Portland Twp.

103 posts
Jan 17, 2010
10:53 AM
Numbers Six, and Seven:

1840 Census - Whiteside:

By the bottom of page one, Nathaniel is back on this side of the River, and we have the names of Woodard, Minchin, Smith, and Olmstead, known settlers of P-town. I would like to mame the page I'm going to next, but my Ancestry account will not let me access the census records this morning, but I have the old ones printed off that I spent so many hours on. (It could be page 4.)

Half way down the page we have some more known Lyndon people, Hubbards, Coburns and John Swarthout. He then comes back across the river and picks up on Jackson St. with Griffin Reynolds, who I believe were Nathaniel's parents, ages 50 -60 and 60 - 70. Next is Mary Crook, and then Freeborn Walker - Silas Martin, T.F. Clark, John Thompson etc.

Freeborn Walker; Freeborn first settled and purchased land from the Government on the North of section 26. As time went on he moved and purchased land (100 acres) on the NW portion of section 35, Prophetstown Twp., and it bordered Jackson Street on the South end. See 1872 Plat Map, ava. on this web site. SO, as we are talking 1840 census, lets put NO. SIX, Freeborn Walker in the North part of Section 26. (It helps prove the travels of Nathaniel.)

MARY CROOK; At this time in 40, Mary was known to have had a first marriage. Possible last name spelling of Penwell. But, Here is where I have to add some of my thoughts about Nathaniel, who had to know she was a daughter of Asa's and Mary Crook.
Fact: "Jackson St. ran through section 34, and present day Yager Road meets old Jackson St. on section 34." ( Remember Deacon Daniel Crocker was just a little South of here. ASA CROOK, purchased the W2SE (thats the south half of the south east quarter) Section 34 Twp. 20N, Rge 5E of Whiteside. It was purchased (40 acres) 01/17/1843. I visualize this household where daughter Mary was as being another log home, that almost every one had at the time. I believe it to be the log home that Asa Crook built just after his arrivial, and the acerage was that of his first claim. (No proof) Mary, I believe is the female age 40 to 50. There is a male person 30 - 40, who I believe to be her future husband of Andrew T. Bracken, and they later settled in Portland Twp. One of the children would be a son of Mary's from her previous marriage, Nelson. I believe Asa had this acreage under his control as a land claim from day one and until and after his purchase of 43. My instinctual nature, is that this 40 acres was where Asa had his real home and where his wife and children were at as he was off building his saw mill, running the ferry and the Oasis. Let me put it in other words... If I were to make a guess as to where Asa first made his claim, this would be the number 1 pick. The soil is light and was easily worked as compared to other soil around town, timber and water were nearby, and on and on. NUMBER SEVEN; On our map, lets give Asa Crook the 40 acres of the W2SE (West half of the South East Quarter of section 34, (old Lyndon Twp.) 20N Rge 5E. as of 01/17/1843.
NOTE: (Edit 18th)
Another choice to explain the Mary Crook in this 1840 census, would be Mary (Gibbs) Crook. The widow of Stephen Crook. See Bio. of Stephen Crook. I'm unable to find a relationship between Asa and Stephen, but both were from Rutland Co., Vt. (Either way, Asa did purchase the land.)

On Image #3 of this 1840 census the top names were those of the Washingon St. settlers. Lewis Brown, Calvin Williams, Stephen Smith, and William Hill. The bottom of this page we are back on Jackson St. (Note: read p. 365 B/W, "In 1837 considerable additions were made to the town. John Farnum, William T. Minchin, the Olmsteads, and Harry Brown, settled on Washington street, and ERASTUS NICHOLS, ETHAN NICHOLS, Freeman J. Walker, and William R. McKenzie, on Jackson street." There can be no doubt that Jackson street went by the Oasis of Asa Crook's and later, the Oasis of Erastus G. Nichols. Erastus came to town and stayed at one location until his death. (p. 365 again) "Jabez Warner....... Mr. Warner brought the rest of his family early in 1838. He boarded in 1837 with his brother, John S. Warner, who came in June of that year, and was the first white man with a family that settled on the present village plot. John S. Warner after wards attempted to take out a pre-emption, but, as a town had been laid out on the land, it was not granted.")
The Census from the bottom of image #3 and working up along Jackson St. First, Erastus G. Nichols; Lyman Stowell, who was a brother I believe to Alanson, and Lyman stayed in town for some eleven years and went to section 10, of Yorktown as I remember; John Warner, surveyor, and the (widow) Portia Nichols. This is not to say that the names between Erastus and Portia had a home setting between them as the names appear, as Nathaniel had to do some zig zag and these names were not always in a direct line as they appear on the pages of the census. Fact here is, Portia and Erastus were very close. The names of John H and Jabez Warner are numbers 5 and 6 above Portia Nichols as we have started with Erastus G. Nichols and came towards the present day town, and reached the Warners.

So then..... remember where I asked to leave the history of number four (1839 house on section 4, blank?)
Lets go back to number four and add the name of Widow Portia Nichols to it, and if you want, as of Dec. 31st. Mrs. Portia (nee Hopkinson) (Nichols) Annis.

It's lunch time.... Jack

Last Edited by on Jan 18, 2010 9:26 AM
105 posts
Jan 17, 2010
1:14 PM
I know I started this post titled Nichols family of Prophetstown, and have been long winded in getting some history written the way I understand it up until the time frame that starts the beginning of the history that the Nichols family left in the area. But, I have a ferry boat load of information on the Nichols family to present, and will get to it when my thoughts are clear and I have time now and again to proceed. It was Erastus G. Nichols that started the Prophetstown Riverside Cemetery, and my history of it is a little different than can be found. I also received a publication yesterday about one of the descendants, and I'm going to spend the rest of today in a good read. Hint..... Lora Webb Nichols, Encampment - Carbon County Wyoming. (do a search)

106 posts
Jan 18, 2010
10:08 AM
A little while ago I put an edit to number 7 above, about the Mary Crook in the 1840 census on section 3. The reason I wrote about that being the possible/probable location of Mary Crook, (Dau.)is based on old history that Asa Crook built a log structure soon after his arrival. I wonder......
Knowing that Asa did live in a log structure and authors make him our first settler, and if these authors did not know of the large double log structure for the Lewistown - Galena trail, where Asa was at, then I can see where they made the statement of him building one. It could be that Asa's first claim was that of the ground SE of what I have tagged the Oasis, and became the claim of Erastus G. Nichols in 1837 or 38. All comments welcome.

Last Edited by on Jan 19, 2010 9:25 AM
509 posts
Jan 20, 2010
7:03 AM
I will transcribe the 1877 Erastus Nichols bio when I get over to the historical society. I have many of the history/bio books on CD, which allows me to transcribe from home. However, this one is not one of them - sorry.

Also, if you want to send updated maps as you tell the story, I will be happy to add them.


Last Edited by on Jan 20, 2010 7:04 AM
108 posts
Jan 20, 2010
8:22 AM
Thanks for the offer Denise, but at this time I'm thinking that we ought to leave it the way it is. So often, when getting a Christmas present, it's better if you get to unwrap it yourself. Or, a dollar earned is a dollar respected. I wonder how many people will will take the time to follow my ducks in this history, but I feel they will have a little more respect if they make the entries as they go along. It should keep it interesting and see how my version of some history of Prophetstown unfolded.

As for the bio. of Erastus, it's real easy to visit the genealogy trails web site and print one off. But, I have plans to do some genealogy writing of where and how the history of the Nichols families appears. The biographies of Erastus and Ethan H. may fall into this write a little better. If one reads the history of Lee county, it could be that Ethan H. was in fact in Illinois 1836, and I'll get to that. Also, B/W 1877 has a Ethan F. Nichols in Prophetstown, and I need to do some explaining on who was who. Ethan F. is not a son of Erastus G. or Ethan H.

109 posts
Jan 21, 2010
7:29 AM
Before I get into the Nichols family data, I need to back up and add a couple things in history that should have been told above.

1. Land claim of Sam McClure that J. W. Stakes purchased. We can come close to finding it by the bio., in B/W of J. W. Stakes. It tells that Mrs. Stakes was living at the time, and she was living next to the purchase that was Sams. The 1872 plat map shows land owned by Mrs. Stakes on the NE Q. of section 34, and the SE Q. of section 27, in old Lyndon Twp. The land is some 1/4 miles East of present day Lyndon Rd., and most of the two land is lies south of Walker Creek. There is a bridge on Lyndon Rd. today that crosses Walker Creek. I have a huch that Sams claim was to the West of where Mrs. Stakes is shown on the 1872 map. I'm going to give Sam a large garden along Walker Creek (water close at hand) that may have provided home raised food for the use of meals at the Oasis on section 3. The running of the ferry boat that far north of the Oasis had to be more than a one person task. As to the length of time Sam ran it well only be in our dreams.

2. Cemetery: On my 1881 map of the old cemetery and the next three additions, it becomes very clear that today we use only one of the old roads. The one left that is use today is the N-S road, and the one that is closest to the Catholic church. On the map, East - West driveways are shown in the old first section and the addition that was used second laying to the East. The driveway that goes North today south of the shed, is some 30 or 40 feet East of the driveway in the oldest section.

110 posts
Jan 21, 2010
10:10 AM
The enjoyable hours over the last several years of gathering all that I write about, was the search end of the quest. This writing of it has been the real test, as you can see, my skill at writing is task. You will never know how many hours I have put into chasing all this information in my mind with thoughts of how it should be presented. Fail as I may, at least it will be at ease on my mind, as I have tried my best to unravel over a century of local history and present it in a different light. The genealogy of the Nichols of Prophetstown is no exception. I guess to present it I'll start with what just might be their ancestry and go from there.

If you noticed in the bio of David H. Nichols, he had a father of Ethan H. and a grandfather of Alpheus Nichols.

ALPHEUS NICHOLS: There is a marriage recorded at the Old Fort, Charlestown, NH. of Alpheus Nichols and Anna Cushman, on 10 Sept. 1794. The parents of this Alpheus Nichols is yet to be found, but the parents of Anna is well documented. They would be Paul Cushman and and Anna Parker. Both Paul and Anna died at Bath, N. H. Paul 1808 and Anna, 1822.

The Anna Cushman that married Alpheus Nichols is documented in various writings of Mayflower passenger descendants. I'm sure she had at least two and it very well could be more than that. (Allerton, Howland and Soule) Paul Cushman is a direct descendant of Richard Cushman that set out with the Mayflower on the Speedwell and returned to England. Richard came the next year on the Fortune. Paul and Anna (Parker) Cushman are also listed on page 1069 of "History, Biography and Genealogy of the Families Named Soule, Sowle and Soulis, Vol., 2."

On page 237, A History and Biographical Genealogy of the Cushman...... "Anna, b. 15 Feb. 1777, at Charlestown, N. H. m. Alpheus Nichols of Charlestown, and d. at Guildhall, Vt., aged 62. Had 10 chil." These ten children to the best of my ability remain unnamed to this day.

Census tracking: (In short)
1800 - Grafton, Littleton, N.H. (Near her father Paul and Anna) Alpheus Nichols, 1 Boy and 1 Girl.

1810 - Charlestown N.H. Alpheus Nichols, 5 Boys and 2 Girls.

1820 - Concord, Essex Co. VT., Alpheus Nichols, 7 Boys and 3 Girls.
If my time machine was working today, I believe this is the 10 children made reference to as above.

1830 - Alpheus Nichols, Caledonia County, Twp., of Hardwick. Alpheus 50-60; wife 50-60; one son 15-20 and one dau. 15-20.

1840 - I cannot find Alpheus as a head of a household in 1840. I believe him to be living with a married child or relative and he was either missed in the census or he is hidden as a member of a household. It is recorded that his wife, Anna (Cushman) Nichols, died at Guildhall, Essex Co., VT. 1839. However, I believe I have Alpheus in the 1850.

Let me introduce Hiram H. Nichols. Possible/probable brother of Erastus G. and Ethan H.

History of Springfield Vt. Hiram Nichols m. Pamela Hubbard, 13 Oct. 1828, dau. of George Hubbard & Thankful Hatch. Pamela, b. June 17, 1799, and they removed to Guildhall. (Essex Co., VT.)

In the 1830 census a H. H. Nichols is found Twp., of Concord, County of Essex, VT. 2 sons, one under 5 and one 15-20; H. H. is 40-50; one girl 20-30 and wife 40-50. (do to ages,this may not be our Hiram in 1850, but you know how census records can be)

The ancestry index has him as Hiram A. in the 1850, but I read it as Hiram H.

1850 Concord Twp. County of Essex, VT.
Hiram H. Nichols, age 46(?), occ. Farmer b. Vt. (N.H.?)
Mary age (appears to be) 50, b. Vt.
Ethan age 20
Maria E. age 13
Alpheus age 77, b. N.H.

Note: his wife listed as Mary here, could be the same lady using a different first name. Springfield Vt. Marriages to August 1843: Hiram H. Nichols & Permelia Hubbard, Oct. 13, 1828.

I believe this 77 year old Alpheus Nichols as above, is the widowed father of Erastus G., Ethan H., Hiram H. and, Alpheus, widowed husband of deceased Anna (Cushman) Nichols.

1860 Prophetstown, Census;
H. H. Nichols age 57, Farmer, b. N.H. (abt. 1803)
Amelia age 60, b. Vt.
Augusta age 23, b. Pa.
Carri age 3, b. IL.
Emeline Griffith age 14, b. N.Y.
Eveline Griffith age 14, b. N.Y.
and Seward Butler 19, Hired Hand

I'm sure this is Hiram Nichols of the 1850 Vt. census.
Mary's name is now given as Amelia, and it is more than likely short for Parmelia in the Vt. marriage. Notice the age of wife stays the same.
Augusta, is Augusta R. Treadwell, the wife of Ethan F. Nichols. Married here in Whiteside, 12 Feb. 1856.
Carri, is Carrie Estelle Nichols, daughter of Ethan F. and goes on to m. Ebenezer Darwin Jackson, 1 May 1878, Lic. #4731.
The twins at this time are unknowns to me. Try as I may, Ethan F. is hiding somewhere in this census.

Hiram's obit. was published in the Sterling Gazette, and was written by the Hall of Prophetstown, Lodge #293. The Lodge has his death recorded as May 14, 1864.
As it appears in the Gazette:

Died at Prophetstown Illinois, May 19, 1864, Hiram H. Nichols, aged sixty years. At a meeting of the members of the Prophetstown Lodge, No. 293, A.F. and A. Masons, the following resolutions were adopted: (I'll type the rest if anybody wants it, but no family or other locations are mentioned.) Same Mason obit. was to be published in the Sentinel.

I cannot find Hiram or Parmelia (Amelia)(Mary) in cemetery records. But, there happens to be an interesting Nichols record in the list of Tampico. As the information falls, it appears to be information taken from a fading stone. Denise, when you have time, please take a look, as the township of Hume comes into this.

The name, E.F. Nichols is found on page 372, B/W. "Clerk E.F. Nichols" 1864. (Ethan F. Nichols)

Ethan F. is in the IL. State census at Prophetstown, 1865, next to John Warner, and Silas Sears, and I think Silas was on section 4, where Portia (Nichols) Annis was at.

I have yet to find Ethan and family in the 1870 census. However, in Hume Twp, living with the David Lindsly (sic) family is a Nichols,Gathan (sic) (Ethan) age 41, b. N.Y.. This could be our Ethan Nichols, and the family entered his name (etc.) for him.

It appears to be the Tampico Tornado of June 8, 1876;
"Tossed Up - Last Saturday a little son of Mr. E. F. Nichols of Hume, was tossed up by an infuriated cow which he, with the aid of a hired man, was trying to drive to the barn. The boy was quite severely bruised by the fall, and would probably have been fatally injured had not the animal turned upon the hired man after she tossed the boy."

This little son, would be Gurdon H. I have in some notes that he was b. Sept. of 1865. Aka Gert.

In 1880, Ethan and family are found in Nuckolls Co., Nebraska. Augusta, appears to be 44, and Gurdon age 15.

1900 census Nuckolls Co., Liberty, Neb. Ethan is widowed and age 70.
Notes: Gurdan H. m. 3 March 1891, Mary L. Thurtle.

Erastus G. Nichols was born in Essex county, Vermont, in 1801, in which place he passed his early life. In 1832 he moved to Niles, Michigan, where he remained three years, and then In company with Mr. L. P. Sanger took a contract on the Illinois and Michigan canal, and made the cutting through Camp Rock. He came to Prophetstown in October, 1837, and settled on the bank of Coon creek, near its confluence with Rock river. In 1840, Messrs. Nichols, Sanger, and Galbraith, contracted to dig the canal around the Rock river rapids, commencing the work at the present village of Rock Falls. These gentlemen put a large force on the work, and also opened an extensive store for that time, on the Rock Falls side. Mr. Nichols had been educated as a lawyer, and practiced some during his earlier life. In 1839, he was appointed Circuit Clerk for Whiteside county, but resigned before he had performed any duties, and in 1840 CoI. R. S. Wilson was appointed to fill the vacancy. He was the first! Postmaster when a separate Postoffice was established at Prophetstown, in 1844, but was attacked with small pox the next winter and died in February. In 1838-'39, he built a saw mill on Coon creek, which nearly ruined him financially. Mr. Nichols was a man of good ability, and very highly respected. He married Miss Elizabeth Graves. Their children were: Annette, wife of Alanson Stowell, living in Prophetstown; Edliza, wife of Phillip B. Brown, living in Prophetstown; Alpheus B., who married Miss Maria Paddock, and is now dead. Jones B., who married Miss Tamson Seely, and lives in Prophetstown; Sarah J., wife of Augustus Treadwell, living in Prophetstown; Ethan, now dead, and Wilbur, who married Miss Lucy Thorp, and lives in Prophetstown.

Bent & Wilson History of Whiteside County Page 381

From what I have found, I'll proceed with some suggestive tips about Erastus G. With him dying so young in Feb. 45, he didn't have the chance in the later census records as to where he was born. If the possible and probable brother Hiram said in the 1860 census that he was born NH., and abt. 1803 and Erastus was born 1801, I think we have a chance that he was born in NH. I should get his obit. from the Chicago Genealogical Society, as it was published in a Chicago area newspaper on page 4.
Erastus is found in the 1830 Owego, Tioga Co., N.Y. census. Erastus 20-30; wife who would be Elizabeth 20-30 and two daughters under age 5. One would be Annette Elizabeth, who became wife of Alanson Stowell, and possibly Adeliza, wife of Phillip B. Brown.

I have often wondered if the naming of daughter Annette, was a carry over from his possible mother, Anna Cushman.

In the above bio., Elizabeth is named Miss Elizabeth Graves. The well done Stowell genealogy that is on line, names her as Elizabeth Blanchard. Her cemetery stone has Elizabeth G. I have done hours of work try to track her parents but nothing solid has arrived. The Blanchard name is very well established in early Vermont, and especially around Peacham. There are many familiar first names of the Blanchard families in Vermont. One happened to be Rufus Blanchard, but who knows, maybe she was a Graves. With her children, Jones B., Alpheus B., I wondered if one or the other had the B. for Blanchard. Their is a Legal Notice in the Gazette of June 22, 1927, where the Law firm of Ward - Ward & Ward announcing a small error in a survey, or resurvey of land for John Adams, to the heirs of Erastus G. Nichols, that contain the various spellings of the Nichols family. I gather from it that Alpheus B. Nichols, was also known as Bradford Nichols. It had to do with the Sturtevant addition to Prophetstown.

I also suggest a change of the child Ethan in this bio., to be known as Lathum, per his burial on his little stone in his fathers Nichols family lot.

ALPHEUS BRADFORD NICHOLS, son of Erastus G. As I mentioned above, it was Alpheus B. who sold the 1.06 acres to the town in 1855. (Cemetery) I haven't been able to find his death date, but it must have been before 1860, As Maria is is shown as head-of-household 1860 census with two children. Frank age 9, and dau. Euphenia (Euphemia)age 6. Jumping ahead to the 1900 census, Maria says she was a mother of three children and three living. I have it that a son, George R., was the third child. Possibly named after her father George Paddock, of Portland/Erie. Son George R., is living with Portia (nee Hopkinson) (Nichols) Annis 1850 census, age 5, with her again in the 1860, age 15. The book; (title ?)Descendants of Daniel Ellis of Ellisburg, N.Y., lists George Paddock, married Ellisburg, Jefferson Co. N.Y. Elizabeth Ellis, (Eliz. b. 1804 and d. 1873) and their two children, Henry A.Paddock and dau. Maria. Maria's parents were Daniel Ellis (1780-1862) and Christine (nee Grout)1780 - ?1832 whom married first, Alexander Salisbury. George Paddock is briefly mention in the Portland section of B/W, but he should have been mentioned as one of the first. George homesteaded there, and made some three Gov. land purchases. 1849 -49 and 57. He is listed in 1850 census next to Ebenezer Seely. George, (and I assume wife Elizabeth, (Betsy) Ellis) are found in the Erie Cemetery records. George 1801-31 May 1884, and Betsy d. 17 Mar, 1872. Son Henry is also there, 1833 - 7 May 1884. However, the spouse of George's, Elizabeth is not found in any of the census records. 1870 Erie, (maybe I have the wrong George) he has with him Mary, age 58, and Minnie age 8. 1880, Erie, Harriet age 67 is with him and George is now age 79. George has an obit. listed in the Gazette/Standard index, of 5 June 1884, and would be real interesting to see, as it might explain his wife and where she was at during the census years. I believe George's son, Henry A. married first Elizabeth Snyder, 1854, and second Mrs. Olive H. Decker 1881.

FRANK J. NICHOLS, son of Alpheus B. and Maria. I believe he is the Frank J. Nichols who married in Whiteside 23 Oct. 1875, Aldona Storms. 1880 Prophetstown, census, Frank is age 29 and a Brick and stone mason. Wife Aldona age 20, and a son, Bradford, age 2. A couple of sister-inlaws also. 1900 census Wallace Village, Lincoln Co., Nebraska. Nichols Frank J., b. Apr. 1851, age 49, and widowed. (possible read of Tin Goods Merchant) Son: Abraham B. age 22. (must be Bradford from 1880 census) A partner to fathers occupation. Daughter; Bertha A., b. Aug. 1897; and a Daughter-in-law, Carrie M., age 22, b. Oct. 1877 in Illinois. I believe this Carrie M. is the Carie Nichols, daughter of Ethan F. and Parmelia, 1860 census. 1910 census, Lincoln Co., Neb., Frank is listed as Father-in-Law of Joe Stackhouse and his wife, Bertha. He is also with them in the 1920 census.

(spl?)EUPHEMIA A. NICHOLS, daughter of Alpheus B. and Maria.
She is with her mother Maria, and brother Frank, 1850 census, Prophetstown, age 6. (I think b. mar. 1854) At age 16, 1870 census, Prophetstown, she is a school teacher. There is a Ancestry family file "Euphemia A. Nichols, b. March 1854. Marriage 1879, age 25, to Alexander Kleespie. Residence 1900,Traer Town, Tama, Iowa, and 1920, age 66, Makee, Allamakee, Iowa. Lists a dau., Mary Alinda Kleespie, 1887 - 1969. Mary Alinda Kleespie, married Guy Wells Eaton, 1917, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Out on the West end of what was the town of Portland, stands today (2010) an old brick structure used as a home. In the 50's - 60's the Worthington family lived there. The local lore of the building, is that it was once a Hotel - Post office, and a Stage stop. I often wonder if it is the brick building that was built 1850, and (Bradford) Alpheus Nichols and Solomon Seely kept a store erected in 1850. (B/W page 347 - Portland) If it turns out as my thoughts are, then it would be one of Whitesides oldest structures.

As Alpheus' cemetery stone is so broken, a portion with his dates might be covered with an inch or two of soil. He is found in the state land records about July 1857. He made 5 purchases of 40 acres each in section 16 Alba Township, Henry County. It's some 2 miles south of Green River, and 3/4 miles West of IL Rt. 78. (South and West of the old school and small cemetery.) Alpheus and Luther B. Ramsey, appear to have had a venture in some kind of a business, as in the County Clerks office, they made the hit parade in the law suit index for several law suits. His wife Maria, is found as single in the 1865 IL. State census. One son and two daughters.

WILBER F. NICHOLS, son of Erastus was in the Civil war and had quite an injury to one of his legs. Wilber and his wife had hard luck with the raising of children. (See Riverside Cem. records) His days eventually ended in California. He married, Lucy M. Thorp. The Prophetstown census 1880, he is connected with the occupation of Saloon. A Dau. Gracie, age 11. There is a burial record for a Wilbur F. Nichols 1841 - 1924, Oakland, Alameda Co., CA. Mountain View Cemetery, Plot #45.

JONES B. NICHOLS, son of Erastus, lived most or all of his married life out by the Portland curve. He is found on the 1872 Plat map as I remember. Married Tamson Seely.
I did't plan on doing a lot on Jones B., but after seeing my notes, maybe I better.

1870 Census, Prophetstown, Twp.
Nichols, Jones age 37 farmer,
Tamson P. age 38 (Seely))
Clara, age 17
Clate age 15
May C. age 9

1880 Prophetstown Census;
Nichols, Jones age 47 farmer,
Tamson P. wife, age 48,

Claton B. age 21; (aka Clate)
May C. age 19
Treadwell, Wm., age 18 nephew (son of Sarah J. Nichols and A. J. Treadwell.
Johnson, Ella, age 15 adopted.

Clate B. m. in Whiteside, Millie R. Wilde, 17 Oct. 1883.
1900 census we find him and Millie in Douglas Co., Nebraska.
Nichols, Clate B. b. Jan 1855, IL. age 45 m. 17 yrs.
Millie R. b. Apr. 1865, IA., age 35
May E. (possible C.) dau., age 12 b. June 1887 Kansas
Jones E. (or C.) son b. Apr. 1890 Neb.
Tamson P. "Mother" b. Jan 1832, Widowed, 3 ch. and 3 living.
Omaha Obits list a death or publication of it, "Clate B. Nichols 19 Feb. 1939, p1 - D at Valley, Neb.

May C. dau. of Jones, married here in Whiteside, 16 Feb., 1881, Hardin R. Hill. Hardin was oldest child of Joseph and Martha (Reynolds) Hill, of Prophetstown. Martha was a daughter of Oliver and Sophia Reynolds. May C. and Hardin R. Hill are found in 1900 census of Salem, Daviess, MO., and no children.

Clara Nichols, from the 1870 census.
Clara m. here in Whiteside, 2, Sept. 1874, George W. Hill.
1880 Prophetstown Twp.,
Hill, ?G.W. age 32, Teacher, b. PA.
Clara age 27
May dau. age 4
? sadie dau. age 2
Bertha dau., 1 mo.

In the Erastus Nichols cemetery lot, and next to Jones Nichols, there is a very fading soft sandstone marker. It's not going to be long before it's unreadable.
Bertha Lillian, died Aug. 7, 1881, Dau. of G.W. & C. Hill.

SARAH J. NICHOLS: Daughter of Erastus G. and Elizabeth G. Nichols. Born Michigan. Married Augustus J. Treadwell here in Whiteside Co.,
1850 Census, Broome Co., Town of Windsor, N.Y.
SALLY (A. - O. or D.) TREADWELL age 49, b. N.Y.
Augustus J., age 20, b. PA. (husband of Sarah J. Nichols)
Augusta age 12, b. PA. (wife of Ethan F. Nichols)


Last Edited by on Jan 28, 2010 10:52 AM
111 posts
Jan 25, 2010
4:53 AM
For those of you who are interested......

I have an overwhelming amount of material to fill in on this Nichols family, and it keeps growing.

I have started more than once to get it completed and backed off. I'm going to use my genealogy program and then paste in a report. As it appears this morning, it is about the only thing to do, as my stack of material is beyond something I can keep straight.

510 posts
Jan 25, 2010
9:03 AM
Jack, I am not sure the genealogy reports format well in these msg. threads. If it does not work for you, you can send it to me at the tampicohistoricalsociety@gmail.com address or ddm1050@hotmail.com as an alternative. I can then upload it to our FAMILY HISTORY section of site and then link to it in this msg. thread.

Last Edited by on Jan 25, 2010 9:05 AM
112 posts
Jan 26, 2010
6:45 AM
I guess I'll keep going the way I started. I have missed material, so I'll go back and do some editing. I hope the power stays on today as yesterday it was off quite often in the wind. I have fear that during an edit process it will drop off and we will lose data on both ends.

I put a lot in today, (Tu.) and it was all above here.

Last Edited by on Jan 26, 2010 6:32 PM
117 posts
Jan 29, 2010
12:59 PM
I'm starting another post, as I do not want to keep the edit process going as I have been known to hit a delete key by mistake. I really do not want to take a chance on loosing the above work.

118 posts
Jan 29, 2010
2:11 PM
Before I start the information of David Hopknison Nichols, it's time for some tough talk. So far I have only given one draft of a biography on David, and there is others out there in the electronic world, and they give contrast to the one if have left you. ( Mardos Collection 1898) I'll type in a couple of excerpts from others:

1. Source; History Denver Library Org.
" In 1859 crossed plains to the Colorado goldfields, but did very little mining, being clever at blacksmithing, started in that work at Boulder for a year, then went to Golden where he kept the Simpson House (in 1880 still standing, one of the old landmarks of Golden), went back to Boulder, exchanged his interest in Tourtelotts & Squiers' saw mill for 160 acre tract near Boulder City, where in 1880 he was living. He built a neat residence here. He had been in grocery business, livery, and other occupations while in Boulder. Married Oct 28, 1869, Miss Jennie Davis of Atchison, Kansas. (Extracts from History of Boulder County, Colorado published 1880)."

2. From Ancestry dot com "Biographical p. 668 & 669." Sorry, I did not get the full title, but must be of the Colorado area.
"Two years later, he entered Shurtliff College, at Alton, Ill., to prepare for the ministry; but, after remaining two years, abandoned his studies, and entered the army of the Mexican war, in the independent mounted volunteers, of Warren Co., Ill., under Capt. Stapp. They were mustered into the service in Ohio, in Col. Geo. B. Wright's Brigade, and left for Mexico in April, 1847. He served thirteen months, and received his discharge June, 1848, with the rank of Second Lieutenant, after which he went overland to California, and was engaged in mining there until 1853, then returned by way of the Isthmus to Illinois, and entered mercantile business, under the firm name of Nichols & Harriman...."
So he was in California for over two years, right? I have a lot of doubts. You will know why I think so, when I add a few of my findings.

No. one above.... David had a gran-daughter (Lora) who kept a diary most of her life, and Lora remembers her grand-mother Elizabeth in the house in Boulder.
Jan. 30th. Just found - Boulder, Columbia Cemetery records. NICHOLS, ANNA E. ADKINSON, b. 5 Dec., 1832, VA. d. 3 Apr. 1908, at her home on E. Pearl St., Boulder.

No. two above..... Seems they forgot about his year of being a teacher in 1850 and his marriage of 5 Sept. 1849 in Warren County. Recorded Vol. A., p. 211. and the birth of their first son June, 1850.

Rant.... See why this Nichols material is so long and drawn out! I try every step of the way to bring the history of Prophetstown to something that includes the sources. Whether it's Bent/Wilson, Bastian or whoever, one has to be mighty careful. (and that includes me) Rant over.

From above material we know when and where he was born, and arrived at Prophetstown with his family, in what appears to be the later half of 1838. His father dies, Aug. of 1839. In the 1840 Census where Portia his mother is the head-of-household she has one male, 5 and under - 2 males 5 and under ten - 2 males 10 and under 15. Portia, 30 and less than 40 and one male 30 and less than 40. I feel this older male is her future husband, Horace Annis. So, David has not left home as yet. In March of that census year he had turned twelve. One bio., says he left home at about age twelve, but with winter coming on and the December marriage of his mother to Horace Annis, he may not have left home until nearing his thirteenth birth day in 41. I guess we will never know as to the exact time. The bio., as I have above, gives him the river life until 1846, then four months of school in Warren co., the six years at Shurtleff College at Upper Alton. If true it would now be 1852. The bio., I have from the Ancestry bio., "remained in the employ of lumber merchants until seventeen years of age, then returned to Illinois and entered the employ of a Baptist minister in Warren Co. While there, he became interested in revival meetings, and united with the Baptist Church. Two years later, he entered Shurtliff College, at Alton, Ill., to prepare for the ministry; but, after remaining two years, abandoned his studies, and entered the army of the Mexican war, in the independent mounted volunteers, of Warren Co., Ill., under Capt. Stapp." This makes more sense. At age 17 for him, it would be March, 1845. With a possible few weeks of school in Warren Co., and then some two years at Alton computes, as in he joined the army April 1847, and served until June, 1848.
Note: Edit entry Jan., 30th. I have spent hours over the last couple of years and then again this morning going over rosters of the Mexican War. I have to say, take his history of such with a large grain of salt until we can find something that will back it up. He is a no show in the Ohio and Illinois records. There is a David D. Nichols, a Stephen Nichols, and his brother Ezra H. is listed like a rock in those of Warren Co. It could turn out that he made his trip to California, when people think of him as serving in the war. If he ever shows up on a list for the war, I would sure like to see it, as it is just another write to be backed up. (I like facts)
Edit in 30th.; I spent a long time researching the State of Ohio's history of the Mexican War today, and they DO NOT list a Brigade for Officer George B. Wright. General George Bohan Wright has a lot of history in Ohio, but the Mexian War is not part of it. (Civil War - yes.)

While at Alton, I have somewhere a write, that he spent time with a relative while attending college. This relative would be Henry Hopkinson, b. Oct. 1777, Portia's Uncle.
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph Centennial Edition, January 15, 1936.
Dr. B.F. Long contributes the following account of an expedition to discover the sources of the Missouri River: How came the name of HOP HOLLOW: In early times, before 1830, there resided in Upper Alton a man by the name of Henry Hopkinson, who purchased the land on which was held the State agricultural exposition some years since, and north of that tract to the Jerret tract, and south to the Smeltser tract of land. He removed on this tract of land, built his house in the hollow, fifteen or twenty rods bellow the stone quarry and on the east side of the branch. He went by the sobriquet of "Old Hop", before removing to his purchase, and from this the hollow took it's name." On today's IL. maps there is a road named "Hop Hollow Rd.
So then, his discharge, June, 1848 and appears to have located in Warren Co., after that as he marries there in Sept., 1849. In 49, just after his 21st. birthday he joins the Masons, Monmouth Lodge No. 37. So has he had the time for a fast trip to California? It appears not. Whenever he did go, it could not have been for very long. 1850 census of Warren County. David H. Nichols, age 22, occ., School Teacher. Value of real Estate Owned - $100. born N. Jersey. Ho Ho Ho! WIFE: Listed as "ANN E." age 18, born, KT. But, as Lora Webb Nichols puts it, her Uncle Ezra, was born 1850, so Ann E. (Elizabeth) must have been with child when the census was made, or had birth as it was written. The 1900 census for Ezra, states the date of June 1850, and he is age 49. Ezras' brother, Horace Annis Nichols was b. 1852. The 1900 census for him states that it was November, 1852, age 47. In the assumption that David was here for Ezras' birth, that only gives him some 19 months for the CA. trip. Possible, but it really appears he may have gone after 1852. I next pick up on David H. in Prophetstown. B/W, page 371 as a Collector, 1854, and I'll play the hunch he had been here for a while. I would love to go back to the court house and see what can be found for the Nichols & Harriman business firm, of Prophetstown.

The next census for David H., is the 1880, Boulder. He's 53 and wife Elizabeth is 47. Their daughter Franc P. is 13. She was b. Boulder 1866.

Horace Annis Nichols, married Sylvia Wilson. They had two daughters, Lora, Lizzie, b. 1882 and a son, Guy Clifford Nichols, b. 1880. Lora Webb Nichols was born, Oct. 28, 1883 in a small house brick house that David H. had built out in a portion of his orchard. (Appears to be apple trees in a picture of it.) This was on his acreage at Boulder. She married Albert H. Oldman (aka Bert)15 Oct. 1900, at her parents home, on the North Fork of the Grand Encampment, Carbon Co., Wyoming. They had Two children. In 1914, Lora married the second time, and this marriage was to her first cousin, Guy Harvey Nichols, the son of her Uncle Ezra and Katie, Culleton, mentioned previously. When sixteen, a boyfriend gave Lora a Kodak camera, and her father for the next Christmas gave her some developing equipment. She turned photographer, and has some 18,000 pictures in her collection. In 1935, she moved to Stockton, California, where she became superintendent of the Stockton Childrens Home. Upon retiring she returned to Encampment, where she started to write about her memoirs, and it was to be called "I REMEMBER: A GIRLS'S-EYE VIEW OF THE EARLY DAYS IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS", but she didn't get it completed. Nancy Anderson, met Lora 1958, and Nancy put things together, and published, Homesteader's Daughter, Miner's Bride, 1995. I wrote to the Grand Encampment web site, and they got me in touch with Nancy. Nancy sent one of her books of which I would love to share. Lora died 1962.

Horace Annis was born in Orange county, New York, in 1816. He came to Illinois in 1837, and located in Chicago, where he remained until 1839, when he came to Prophetstown, He was a blacksmith by trade, and worked at the business while a resident there. From 1854 until 1859 he was connected with the Plow Factory at the village, and afterwards moved to Colorado, and then to Montana, having been Probate Judge in both Territories He married Mrs. Portia Nichols in 1840, The children of this marriage have been: Mary, wife of Harmon Cleveland, living in California; Keene, wife of Lewis J. P. Merill living in Lyons, Iowa; Julia, wife of Hamden Sturevant, living in Prophetstown; and Paul, living in Montana.
Bent & Wilson History of Whiteside County

He arrives Prophetstown 1839, and I feel very comfortable that he is in the 1840 census, and the older male person living with Portia Nichols. Horace and Portia married 31 Dec., 1840. (W-side Lic. 42)

As I have spent hours writing in detail above, I firmly believe Portia and Horace lived for a while in the 1839 house built by Ethan H. Nichols, on Jackson St., the NW Quarter, of section 4, containing 173.15 Acres. Somewhere between the marriage of Portia and Horace and July 21, 1843 this house and land was sold. BASTIAN; p. 355. (Hotels) "The Annis House, an early hotel, was built in part as early as 1842. It was razed in January, 1908".

I'm going to give the start of this hotel to Horace and Portia. Where might they have raised the funds to start this adventure, and his partnership in the factory? I have an idea that it came from the sale of the house and acreage, and I believe it was none other than Asa Crook who made the purchase, sometime between the above mentioned dates. Asa then made the government purchase of this 173.15 acres on July 21st. 1843. (his second purchase of it, once from Horace 7 Portia, and second the government)

Horace, Portia and family cannot be found in the 1850 census. She should have 4 of her Nichols sons with her and three daughters ANNIS, Mary, Sarah and Julia.

It is said that Horace went west (CO.) abt. 1859, and I often wonder if he traveled with step-son David H.

1860 Prophetstown, Census;
Portia Annis age 51 Hotel Keeper, b. VT.
Mary A age 17
Sarah age 15
Julia age 11
Paul J. age 8
and George R. Nichols age 5 (thought to be son of Alpheus Bradford Nichols)

Tax Record - May 1865 - Annis, Portia - Hotel $10.00

1865 Illinois State Ceusus: Prophetstown
Horace Annis - 3 Children, 2 Males & 1 Female and two adults. (Horace and Portia)

1870 Census: Prophetstown
Sturtevant, Hamden age 31
Julia Age 21 (Portia's dau.)
Annis, Portia age 60, b. VT.
Nichols, George age 15, b. IL.

Society of Montana Pioneers, Vol 1 pub. 1899
"Horace Annis born in Orange County Virginia June 13th. 1816 Came to Colorad in 1859. Place of departure for Montana Colorado route, traveled across the plains arrived at Bannack June 1st. 1863. Occupation miner and blacksmith. Last address Bozeman. On the Big Black foot stampede in 1866 Deceased Mrs H. Annis nee Portia Nichols born in Essex County Vermont Place of departure for Montana Colorado route traveled across the plains arrived at Bannack June 1st. 1863 Last address Bozeman Deceased 96

Here we go again...... I'm not going to take the time to pick this apart. It appears both Horace and Portia made more than one trip west, each.

Remember the George R. Nichols, age 15 living with Portia...

1880 Bozeman Census:
George Nichols, age 25, Tinsmith, b. IL.

1900 Bozeman Census:
Geo. Nichols, age 42, b. Apr. 1858 IL.
Wife; Helen M. age 39
M Ernestine age 18
Grace E. age 17
George age 16 (The possible George Richmond Nichols, CA. Death Index, b. 15 Apr. 1885, MT. died 13 June 1952, Orange Co., CA.
Margery E. 5/12

1903 Gallatin Co., MT. Archives B.L.M. records
Nichols George R. 40 acres on 18 Feb. 1903

1910 Bozeman ---he is 54, Helen is 50, Grace is 23, Ernestina is 24, and Marjory is 10.

Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley: A History; p. 129
West side School, finished Dec. 1877, 300 Block of West Babcock St. Horace Annis, janitor, earns $20.00.

It appears Horace m. twice.

Notes from Gallatin Cem. Sunset Hills:
Mary A Annis, wife of H.C. Annis, b. Mar. 29, 1843 d. Norris, MT. 31 Dec. 1816

Portia Annis, wife of Horace, b. Derby Vt. Nov. 23, 1808 d. Bozeman,MT. 28 Aug. 1875.

Horace Annis, b. Cornith, Vt. 13 June 1816, d. Bozeman, 12 Apr. 1891

George R. Nichols 1856 - 1919
Helen M. Williams Nichols, wife of George R. Nichols

I think I'm DONE!
Enjoy Jack

Last Edited by on Jan 30, 2010 6:00 PM
35 posts
May 04, 2010
3:30 PM
Jack.. very impressive work. I have to admit that this is a lot of reading, BUT very important and extremely informative. I see a published book in there! I commend you as it isn't every day that you can (re)write history!

125 posts
May 04, 2010
6:43 PM
Thanks Brian!

As this appears yet on this web site, I'll have to admit that I do have a couple of bloopers in it.
1. I have the wrong driveway in the cemetery. It is not the one nearest the church, but the second driveway as you would come east from Main St.

2. I have the wrong fence on Yager Road also. It should be the second fence on the right as you travel South from Star Road.

3. The ditch that was dug for water for E.G. Nichols saw mill was dug to the South and across present day Mill Road, but the dam and I presume the saw mill was behind present day Brookhaven addition. A portion of the dam is still there, as most of the dam was of dirt (earth) the piled up. Fred South tok some pictures of it and sent them eMail my way.

4. Instead of correcting my writing in the above, I copied it to my Word program and did a lot of editing. I made a hard copy, put it in a ring binder and gave it to the Prophetstown Historical Society. I haven't heard if any of them has read it as yet.

5. I did find a few feet of wagon wheel (ruts)tracks that are from the era of Prophetstown's Lewistown Galena Road. They are just North of Asa Crook's inn/tavern, that I called the Oasis in the above. If I understood Fred correctly, he went out and took pictures. I also clued him in as to the site of the old Frederick Buell cremery. A foundation is still there, and we are thinking it was the footings for the ice house that stood behind the cremery. Fred also gave me a picture of the buildings, but until I talked with him, the society did not have a location for them.

Thanks again Brian!
552 posts
May 05, 2010
8:13 AM
If you want, you can send me the edited version to post to the site. There are various ways to post to the site. You could simply cut & paste it into this thread if you like. You also should see an "edit" button on anything that you have posted. click on that, rewrite, correct or change in any way, and then click "save." If you forget to hit save, the worst that will happen is that the NEW changes won't be saved and it will revert to original material.

You can also send the document to me and I can post it as well. Do you have a new drawing of the plat map with the additional information? I can post that along with the original one.

We could also meet at the historical society and I can edit per your direction on the computer.

Last Edited by on May 05, 2010 8:39 AM

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