Thomas Nichols, immigrant ancestor of the family now in hand, arrived in New England from the mother country in or prior to 1637, in which year he was granted land in Hingham, Massachusetts. He subsequently received other grants and in 1653 he still futher increased his landed possessions by purchasing of Thomas Joselyn et al, a dwelling house, barn, etc. with three acres of land, which was formerly the property of Stephen Lincoln. Nichols Hill, a locality referred to in early deeds (Suffolk Records), probably derived its name from him. His residence was located on Fort Hill street in the immediate vicinity of the present West Hingham railroad station.
In 1676 he served as a selectman. His death occurred Nov. 8, 1696. He married (first) Rebecca, daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Josselyn; she died Sept. 22, 1675, aged fifty-eight years. The name of his second wife, whom he married Sept. 23, 1681, was Dorcas, and she died Oct. 15, 1694.
His children, all of first union, were: Thomas, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Hannah, Ephraim, Israel, Nathaniel, Mary, Sarah, Charity, Patience.
(II) Israel, son of Thomas and Rebecca (Josselyn) Nichols, was born in Hingham, Sept. 1, 1650, died there Jan. 24, 1733-34. He was a weaver by occupation, and in 1690 served as constable. He resided on Green street and Jerusalem road.
His first wife, Mary (surname unknown), whom he married Sept. 26, 1679, died March 26, 1688. He married (second) his cousin, Mary, daughter of Roger and Mary (Josselyn) Sumner, who died in 1723-24, aged fifty-nine. When nearly seventy-five years old he married (third) Mrs. Rebecca (Lincoln) Clark, daughter of Samuel and Martha Lincoln and widow of John Clark. He was born in Hingham, Mar. 11, 1673-74, died Feb. 4, 1757.
In 1727 a large part of his estate was purchased by his four sons.
The children of first wife were: 1. Mary, born Sept. 16, 1680; married Thomas Groce. 2. Israel, Jan. 1, 1681-82; died soon. 3. Thomas, Feb. 19, 1683-84; died May 9, 1706. 4. Nathaniel, Sept. 6, 1685. 5. Ruth, Nov. 23, 1687; married Thomas Stodder.
Those of second marriage were: 6. Susanna, March 6, 1689-90. 7. Jazaniah, Nov. 1, 1691. 8. Rebecca, married Oct. 16, 1714, David Prince of Hull; died Nov. 6, 1713. 9. Thankful, Nov. 8, 1694; married Rev. Samuel Spear, of Braintree. 10. Solomon, March 20, 1695-96; died March 29, 1697. 11. Roger, Feb. 23, 1697-98. 12, Charity, May 10, 1700; married Joseph Anderson. 13. Silence, July 4, 1702, married (first) David Marsh; (second) Dr. Daniel Greenleaf. 14. Israel, Apr. 20, 1704. 15. Experience, March 27, 1709; died Feb. 27, 1713-14.
Roger, son of Israel and Mary (Sumner) Nichols, was born in Hingham, Feb. 23, 1697-98. He resided in the second precinct, but probably removed from Hingham prior to 1751.
In 1718 he married Bethia Winslow, of Scituate (intention published Nov. 7 of that year).
Children: 1. Samuel, date of birth not recorded; died May 12, 1724. 2. Israel, born Sept. 16, 1721. 3. Bethia, May 26, 1724; married Daniel Tower Jr. 4. Samuel, April 26, 1726; died 1727. 5. Susanna, Sept. 16, 1728; became Mrs. Cate. 7. Mary, May 27, 1733. 8. Mercy, June 2, 1735. 9. Grace (Church records say Thankful), Dec. 1, 1737. 10. Levi. 11. Experience, baptized July 10, 1743. 12. Roger, Oct. 1, 1744.
(IV) Levi, son of Roger and Bethia (Winslow) Nichols, was born in Hingham, Nov. 9, 1739. About the year 1773 he went to Winchentdon, Mass., where he erected a spacious tavrn and carried it on successfully for some time, becoming a prominent resident there, and serving as a selectman in 1774-75.
He subsequently moved to Springfield, Vermont, but shortly afterward removed to Keene, New Hampshire, where he engaged in the hotel business, and returning to Springfield about the year 1790 he purchased two hundred acres of land and settled there permanently. He erected two dwelling houses, one of which became his homestead while the other was occupied by his wife's father, Lieutenant Nathaniel Sawyer. He also erected a saddler's shop for his sons, Luke and Thomas, the basement of which was long used for the manufacture of nails by foot power, and quite an extensive business in that line was developed.
Levi Nichols died in Springfield in 1809. He married in Jan., 1760, to Elizabeth Sawyer, daughter of Nataniel Sawyer, who served as a lieutenant in the revolutionary war and died in Springfield in 1805.
The children of this union were: 1. Mary, born May 4, 1761. 2. Elizabeth, May 28, 1763. 3. Eunice, Nov. 25, 1765. 4. Levi, born Oct. 30, 1767; married Mehitable Barnard; removed to Jericho in 1797, later residing in Springfield and Burlington, Vermont, and Essex and Plattsburgh, New York. 5. Luke, Oct. 31, 1769. 6. Sally, July 17, 1773. 7. Nancy, Dec. 15, 1775. 8. Lucy, Nov. 15, 1775. 9. Nathaniel, Nov. 15, 1778. 10. Theodosia, Oct. 16, 1780. 11. John. 12. Thomas, March 13, 1785.
(V) John, son of Levi and Elizabeth (Sawyer) Nichols, was born in Springfield, Sept. 25, 1782.. He was reared to agricultural pursuits, and when a young man engaged in that calling on his own account in Plattsburgh. He was subsequently for many years connected with the United States custom house, holding various positions in the government service.
His death occurred in Plattsburgh -- 1861, at the age of seventy-nine years. His first wife, who was before marriage Mary Allen, bor him four children: Frederick, Elizabeth, Sarah S., Rodrick N.
For his second wife he married Julia, daughter of Jonathan Lynde, a revolutionary soldier. Having previously served in the American army for six months from June, 1775, Jonathan Lynde re-enlisted in July 1779, he again enrolled himself in the army at Westfield, Mass., for a period of nine months.
The children of John Nichols' second marriage are: 5. Elric L. 6. Mary Julia, married H. H. Rose. 7. Frances Charlotte, married J. M. Moore. 8. Genearl George F., born Jan. 6, 1835; entered mercantile business as clerk in his brother's store at Plattsburgh, and later became a woollen manufacturer. At the breaking out of the civil war he went to the front as major of the One Hundred and Eighteenth New York Volunteers; was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and later became colonel of that regiment. He was mustered out at the close of the war as brevet brigadier-general for gallantry on the field; in the battle of Fort Harrison he received a severe gunshot wound in his foot; for some three or four years after leaving the army he was engaged in mercantile business in New York City, whence he returned to Plattsburgh, and became associated with his brother in the grocery business, from which he retired in 1907.
Oct. 14, 1869, he married Emma Cynthia, daughter of S. P. Bonner, of Plattsburgh,; they have no children.
(VI) Eric L., son of John and Julia (Lynde) Nichols, was born in Plattsburgh, April 7, 1824. He was educated in the schools of his native town and in early life turned his attention to mercantile pursuits in Plattsburgh, becoming a successful merchant. As his prosperity advanced he availed himself of every eligible opportunity to expand his business interests. He was at one time a memer of the firm of Nichols & Hull, iron manufacturers at Kadysville; was interested in the flour mills at Ogdensburg, which had a capacity of five hundred barrels per day; was associated with the firm of Gregory & Company, woolen manufacturers; and also with that of Lynde, Isham & Company, carriage manufacturers at Plattsburgh, and the Scioto Manufacturing Company, having an extensive furniture factory at Scioto and salesrooms in New York City. For many years he was one of the most prominent figures in northern New York, and his business ability, integrity and progressive tendencies were exceedingly beneficial to that section of the state. Although his outside business investments were both numerous and profitable, his mercantile interests in Plattsburgh outlived them all, and he finally withdrew from active business pursuits in 1907. He served for some years as director of the Vilas Bank.
Mr. Nichols married, at Essex, New York, in June, 1854, Julia, daughter of William D. and Mary Ann (Gould) Ross. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols have three children.
1. Ross W., born in 1855; deceased was married and had two children, Minnie and Dorothy.
2. Frances De Land, born in 1863; married John M. Weaver of Plattsburgh.
3. Henry R., born in 1865, married and has two children, Elric Lynde and Lucile; they reside in Chicago.