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Nicol
Family
History

Return to Wendy's Family Histories

Other children of Alexander Nicol and Margaret Forsyth: David-1795,
William-1796, Janet-c1798, Christian "Cursty"-1799, Heneretta,
James-1807, Margaret-1811, Isabella-1814 and Charles-1817.

Ann Nicoll (1839-1878)

Born Dummer Township, Ontario, Canada.
Died Tama County, Iowa, USA.
Great Daughter of David Nicol & Janet Bremner.

Three of Alexander Nicoll & Lydia Bain's 11 children — Anne, Alexander and John — split off from the Canada Nicolls in about 1868, removing to Tama County, Iowa. Those three Nicolls all married children of L.P. Dinsdale, (b. in Yorkshire, England in 1817), and his wife Martha Birtch. After three of his children moved to Iowa, L.P. Dinsdale moved there too and founded the town of Dinsdale which still exists today.

Alexander Nicoll married Elizabeth Dinsdale; John Nicoll married Alice Dinsdale and Anne Nicoll married James "Big Jim" Dinsdale.

Ann Nicoll, wife of James (Big Jim) Dinsdale was only 38 when her life ended. James was left to raise eight children, ages 2 to 15. Four of his ten children had been born in Canada, the remainder in Iowa. Those dying in Iowa were given rest in the Dinsdale Cemetery. Some of those bodies, however, were later reinterred in Buckingham Cemetery near Traer.

In 1880, while on the farm east of Dinsdale, James married for a second time. Elizabeth Atkinson was 27 at the time of their marriage. Elizabeth ably helped James raise his eight children in addition to raising two children born to her and James.  Thusly, James was the father of twelve children in total, six sons (two dying young) and six daughters. Each of the ten children growing to adulthood had meaningful association with the village that carries the family name.

One year after James Dinsdale, promoter of Dinsdale, came to Iowa in 1869, his brother John died. Almost a year earlier John's wife Mary had died, both being victims of typhoid fever. Their son, 'Little Jimmy,' was then raised by his grandparents, L.P. and wife Martha. After Martha died in 1873, L.P.'s niece Mary Green, helped to raise  'Little Jimmy.' The lad, another of his great grandfather James' namesakes, was raised on the Allendale Stock Farm.

Young James grew to have a strong interest in livestock. He and his wife, Christina Meggers Dinsdale, lived most of their married life on the original Laurence Parker Dinsdale farm, except for a brief period when the couple operated a general store in Dinsdale.

Anne Nicoll died in childbirth 28 May 1878.

James 'Big Jim' Dinsdale


Martha Dinsdale (1865-1950),
Ann Nicoll's daughter, taught at the
School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

James Dinsdale (1839-1914)
Born 10 Oct 1839. Died 13 Apr 1914.

This man, like his father L.P., always hoped a sense of worth would be attached to his activities. He didnn't care for politics, but he liked agriculture. James was an intentionally strong co-partner like his father in the operation of the Allendale Stock Farm, located on se 1/4 of Section 24, Grant Township. Livestock specialties were registered Durham shorthorn cattle and Leicester sheep.

The amenities in James' Anglican background appear to have been as much biological as spiritual. There were those who thought of him as projecting the image of a 'country gentleman.'

How could that be true in Iowa before 1900? Yet James did make a courtly picture with his fine horses drawing a fringed buggy. Yet, James knew how to sort out the needs of the day, and he never forsook the responsibility of managing his several farms.

James gave largest effort to his home place, se 1/4 of Section 18, Buckingham Township (later called the Hulme farm). That home farm, actually his second in Buckingham Township, was but a 'short piece' from where his father lived. An odometer would say about two miles. One to the west and another to the south, more or less.

James' decision to build a house in Dinsdale didn't come until 1892, the year after his father died. Occupancy of it came in 1893. Living there was a change after living 24 years in the country. (By coincidence, James had lived 24 years on a farm in Canada.) For that matter, James continued to live on a farm, but on the edge of Dinsdale.

James enjoyed his 'town house,' as did visitors. The flow of villagers thought of the Dinsdale house as being a good place to live. To them it was the 'hill house.' It was from his kitchen window and the long front porch that James envisioned and planned for the future of Dinsdale. He never thought of the village as being fast-growing because it was an in-between town, serving a community with in-between needs. That is, in-between the trips to Traer or Reinbeck.

On one occasion, a curious grandchild asked her grandfather if he were wealthy. "No," came his slow reply. "Then, are you poor?" Again the same reply. Almost in exasperation the little girl called loudly, "Well, what are you?" Grandfather raised his eyebrows, and with an almost same-tone, slow voice answered, "Well, Frances, I'm comfortable."

Comfortable indeed! Before James died he deeded each of his ten children eighty acres of land, and he was considered very comfortable with some left over. His father L. P, had done the same before him.

Albeit, if James was able to live comfortably, he did not always live happily. Family losses were very personal with him. There were those who were forever left in resting places in Canada, and nearby were those who had died and were buried in pioneer Iowa. Not early Iowa, but hard-life Iowa.

In due time, along with building his 'town house,' James had for himself a complete set of farmstead buildings. Eventually, east of those, came the buildings of John and Ellen (Ella) Breakenridge. Ella was James' oldest daughter, who married in 1884. The Breakenridge couple lived on a Crystal Township farm before operating a hotel in Dinsdale. Then came their Grant Township farming experience.

James gave much effort toward promoting the village, but there came the time of general fatigue and frailty. His years weighed heavily on him. Long illness took his life in 1914, with him dying at the same age as his father, seventy-four years and six months.

Funeral services were held in the Dinsdale Church, which he had watched take shape. His body was hearse-borne, drawn by black horses to the Dinsdale Cemetery. Since that time, James and others of his family have been given final rest at Buckingham Cemetery near Traer.


Children of  Ann Nicoll & James Dinsdale:

1.   Ellen (Ella), 1863-1929, married John Breakenridge. Five children: Anna died at age 17; Agnes died at age 16; James died at age 13; Hugh and William.

2.   Martha, 1865-1950, never married but devoted much of her life to her deaf sister, Lydia. Martha taught sign language for 12 years at the School for the Deaf, Council Bluffs.

3.   John, 1866-1934, never married but was in the Alaska Gold Rush. Like his father, he was interested in livestock.

4.   Lydia, 1868-1936, married William J. Clark, becoming acquainted with him at the School for Deaf.

5.   Laurence, 1869-1911, married Caroline Willer. One child: Annie.

6.   Margaret (Maggie) , 1872-1954, married Samuel Hulme. Ten children: Annie; Harold died at age 22; Leonard; Elizabeth died at age 1; Merritt, Elliott, Luella, Wilmer, Dale, and Arlo.

7.   William, 1873-1874.

8.   Thomas, 1874-1948, married Jane (Jennie) W. Fleming. Thirteen children: Oscar died at age 18; Matilda, Frances, Floyd, Ella, Mildred, LeRoy, Lydia, Marvin, Arlene, E. Wilson, Calvin, and Lorin who died at age 4.

9.   Isabelle (Belle) , 1876-1964, married Joseph Tomlinson. Five children: Nellie, Lester, William, Estella, and Annabelle.

10.  James, 1878-1878.

James Dinsdale's Second wife: Elizabeth Atkinson Dinsdale.

 

 

§ Extracted from the Dinsdale History
With thanks to our cousin in the USA, Dale Halupnik

 

Christina (Cursty) Nicol

Heneretta Nicol (b 1846) & Andrew MacKenzie

Alexander Nicol (b circa 1860) & Eva Scott

Margaret Nicol (b 1811) & Alexander Corbet ---> Australia

Alexander Nicoll (b 1802) & Lydia Bain ---> North America

Ann Nicoll (b 1839) & James Dinsdale

William Nicoll & Emma Swindlehurst

Christiana Nicoll (b 1851) & Robert McConnell

 

 

 

 


©Wendy Margaret Brindle

With contributions from Nicol relatives around the world, this research was compiled/researched
by Wendy McBain Brindle for the July 2007 Clan Reunion in Inverness.
For corrections or additions, email webmaster: Kathleen AT haymountain.com.
Research & typographical errors may be found on this site.