Transcribed from "History of North Washington, an illustrated history
of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and Chelan counties", published by Western
Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
HARVEY H. NICKELL is one of the
earliest pioneers who made permanent settlement in Okanogan county, and
the labors these worthy people did to open the country and make it a place
for the abode of civilization cannot be too highly commended. To
such as these do we owe the opening of our frontier and the extension of
the realm of the stars and stripes.
Harvey H. Nickell was born in Callaway county,
Missouri, on December 27, 1857, the son of Isaac and Isabel (Humphries)
Nickell, natives of West Virgina. The father died in Wise county,
Texas, on February 5, 1901, aged seventy-eight, while the mother died in
the Methow valley, on November 13, 1894, aged sixty-five. The father
had served in the state militia during the war. They were the parents
of thirteen children, Mrs. Elizabeth J. Sneathen, Mrs. Mary E. Jackson,
James W., Mrs. Lyddia S. Goodwin, John A., Mrs. Sarah F. Jackson, Harvey
H., Mrs. Eliza C. Stone, Isaac A., George E., Robert F., and two who died
in infancy. Our subject was educated in the public schools and in
1872, went with his parents to Wise county, Texas. There, on February
8, 1877, Mr. Nickell married Miss Alcenia C. Ray, a native of Texas.
Her father, William Ray, was a pioneer in Texas. Mr. Nickell farmed
in Texas until 1884, when he came to Pendleton, Oregon, and thence to Kittitas
county, Washington. In 1887 he came with others to the Methow valley
and located a claim. No wagon roads were in the valley then and all
household goods had to be brought in on pack animals. His wife and
four children came in here on horseback, landing there on July 4, 1888.
They labored on together until December 16, 1890, when death claimed the
faithful wife. She had been the mother of the following named children:
John W., a pilot on the Columbia; Clara B., deceased, being buried in Texas;
Ethel; David F., in the Commercial Bank at Conconully; Effie; and Mary
Ellen, who was the first white child born in the Methow valley now living.
Mr. Nickell gave himself to improving his place and to raising stock.
He has a good farm in the Methow and now lives in Conconully. Our
subject, N. Stone, M. Thurlow and C. Kendall landed the first wagon and
mower in the Methow valley on August 8, 1888, they having been brought
over the mountains. In 1894 Mr. Nickell was chosen sheriff of Okanogan
county on the People's ticket. In 1900 he was chosen to the same
position on the Democratic ticket, and in all this public service he showed
marked efficiency and faithfulness. In December, 1902, he secured
the mail contract from Brewster to Conconully and is now operating the
daily stage each way, handling passengers and express.
On January 19, 1897, Mr. Nickell married Miss
Rosa E., daughter of Jerry M. and Rosa (Sterling) Wilson. The parents
came from Illinois, where Mrs. Nickell was born, to the Methow valley in
1891, where they now reside. The father is a veteran of the Civil
War. To this marriage two children have been born, Frances I. and
Thelma. Mr. Nickell is a member of the W. W., while he and his wife
both belong to the Women of Woodcraft.
During the early days, it is of interest that
the settlers had to gain their meat from the wild game to be had.
Mr. Nickell states that on one occasion he and his brother counted one
deer in one drove, which great plenty of game gave them abundance of meat.