We continue my series of posts about the families whose names are in my Hair Book with the Nichols family.
Joseph Nichols was born in Greenbrier Co., VA (now WV) on 20 October 1823 and died in Crawford Co., IL on 12 Jan 1912. According to his death certificate he was the son of John Nichols and Susan Merritt.
According to an article printed in the Robinson (IL) Daily News on 4 Sept 1973, "The great-grandfather Nichols (John) had migrated from Natural Bridge, Va. He was one of the few migrants in the overland party left from the ravage en route of that year's Spotted Fever epidemic."
Natural Bridge now lies on the border of Botetourt County and Rockbridge County in Virginia. If this account is an accurate one -- and I'm not sure how accurate it actually is -- John Nichols must have lived in Botetourt County prior to the 1830 census. His son Joseph was born in Greenbrier County in 1823, though, so if this is accurate John must've moved back and forth. It's not beyond the realm of possibility, of course.
I haven't done much research in regards to John's life before he moved to Crawford County yet. He is found living in Greenbrier County VA in 1830 and by 1840 he is residing in Crawford County, IL. I located a marriage between a John Nichols and a Susanna Merritt in Bedford Co., VA on 12 Dec 1804. I'm not at all certain this is the correct couple. Bedford County does border Botetourt Co, though. Hm....
Joseph came to Crawford County with his parents by 1831, when his father John purchased land from Wilson and Nancy Lagow. As I've posted on this blog before, on 7 Nov 1831 John Nichols purchased 40 acres (the SW 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Sec 2, T6N, R12W) in Robinson Township in Crawford County. By the April term of 1849, though, John had died. His lands were due to be divvied up in 1/7 increments to his heirs -- his daughters Lucinda (the wife of John Guinn), Mary (the wife of Wiley Emmons), Levisa (the wife of Abel Mann), and Eliza Jane (the wife of George Hartwell); his granddaughter Eliza Ann (infant daughter of Reuben Nichols, deceased), and his sons Merritt and Joseph. This division never happened, though, because the court's commissioners decided that the lands were "so circumstanced that a division thereof cannot be made without manifest prejudice to the proprietors thereof."
It was decided by the Court that the land would be sold at public venue by James H. Steel as commissioner, the sale being at the courthouse door in the town of Robinson. This was done on 9 June 1849 and Joseph purchased the entire 40 acres at the sale for $249, with an initial $88 up front at the time of sale. The rest was to be paid by June 1850.
Joseph married Delinda Jane Plymell -- born 21 Jul 1822, the daughter of James Plymell and Margaret (rumored to be half Wyandot, a Native American tribe) -- on 24 Dec 1844 in Crawford County, Illinois. I've featured this family a couple of times on my blog already. Joseph and Delinda -- along with a picture of their tombstone -- can be found HERE. Above is my favorite picture of Joseph. I've cropped it; it is actually a 5x7 sheet. It's completely striking. Everyone must've stayed incredibly still to get such precise detailing!
Joseph and Delinda had the following children:
1) Eliza Ursula (b. 6 Jul 1847, m. James Madison Swan 4 Aug 1873, d. 16 Feb 1931)
2) Missouri Ann (b. 30 Apr 1849, d. 11 Sep 1933)
3) Jane (b. 4 May 1859, d. 11 May 1859, bur New Hebron Cem., Crawford Co IL)
Eliza Ursula was the first author of the Hair Book and was my 2nd great-grandmother. Her daughter Estella Jane was the second author of the Hair Book and was my great-grandmother.
Only one other Nichols family member other than Delinda, Joseph, Eliza Ursula and Missouri is mentioned in the Hair Book. This family member is Ann Nichol. I'm not certain who she is but I believe she may be the "Eliza Ann, infant daughter of Reuben Nichols (deceased)" that is mentioned in the original deed between John Nichols and Wilson Lagow. At the time of her inclusion in the Hair Book she would have been around 11 or 12 years old and would have been Eliza Ursula's first cousin.
Next time, the Plymell family itself (though I've covered them already in some detail and will be highlighting those older posts as well)!
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