Among the old and prominent settlers of Clinton County, Illinois, is Mr. NICHOLS. He is a native of Otsego county, New York, and was born May 5th, 1810. The family is of Scotch and English ancestry. David Nichols, the father of O. B., was born in the town of Brimfield, in Hampton county, Mass. He moved to Otsego county, New York, in 1803, and settled in the town of Butternut, where he remained until 1840. He then came west with the intention of making Illinois his home. He stopped at Springfield, Ohio, where his wife was taken sick and died. He came to Illinois to see his son and remained here a short time, then returned to Massachusetts. He returned to Xenia, Ohio, and died there soon after. He married Celia BASHFIELD, of Massachusetts. The Nichols family were of a patriotic stock. The grandfather of O .B., and his brothers, were soldiers in the revolutionary war, and participated in the first battle at Lexington. There were ten children born to David and Celia Nichols, three of whom yet survive. O. B. Nichols received an excellent English education in the schools of his native county in the state of New York, and in the academy of his town. He was raised upon the farm, but also worked at the carpenter trade, and learned the trade of mason. At the age of nineteen years he bought his time of his father, earning the money by chopping wood at two-bits a cord. In the winter of 1830, he started west to seek his fortune. He went to Delaware county, Ohio, arriving there about Christmas. In the spring he went down to Cincinnati and engaged with a map and book publishing house, and did soliciting and general outside work for the firm for four years. He then rented a saw mill, in connection with another party, but before he got it into operation, his partner decamped, and left him to pay for the concern. It was a very unprofitable undertaking. He then rented a hotel in New Carlisle, Ohio, and operated it for one year, then went east and visited his folks, and in March, 1837, came back to Cleveland, Ohio, and from there started west, landing in Carlisle May 13th, 1837, where he and his brother-in-law rented a farm for one year. He then rented the farm where John CLABAUGH now lives, and farmed it two years. He then bought forty acres of land in section 26 of Wade township, and added to it until he had a large body of fine land as there was in the county. He has since sold off one hundred and seven acres. The original forty acres that he purchased were partially improved. Ten acres of it were fenced, and there was a small log house on it. He gradually improved it, built several additions to the house, cultivated the land, set it out in fruit trees, and in a few years, was a prosperous an independent farmer. In 1877 he moved to where he now lives, and there he is enjoying the fruits of a well-spent life. On the 26th of February, 1835, in Urbana, Champaign county, Ohio, he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah CLABAUGH, a native of Huntingdon county, Penna. She died July 20th, 1876. On the 2d of April, 1878, he married Mrs. Arminda J. HICKLIN, nee COX. By the first marriage there were ten children, four of whom are living—three sons and one daughter.
William Henry Harrison, the eldest son, married Sally Nichols. He is a resident of Carlyle, and is a mason by trade. John Webster, second son, married Miss Jane BROWN. He died January 7th, 1866. O. B., third son, is now living in Vernon county, Missouri. He was a soldier in the late war. He entered the service soon after the war broke out, and remained until the close of the war. He was with SHERMAN in his famous March to the sea. He married Myra ALLISON. Eratus Sumner Nichols was also a soldier in the late war. He was a private in the 15th Illinois Cavalry. He died March 28th, 1865 from disease contracted while in the service. He married Miss Jane CLABAUGH, and left one child, a son. Thomas Spillman, who is now a resident of St. Joe, Champaign county, Illinois, married Miss Margaret ALLISON, who died, leaving three children. He afterward married Jennie SWISHER, of Champaign county, Illinois. He was a soldier in the 145th Regt. Ill. Vols., and afterwards enlisted for the war and remained in the service until the close of hostilities. Sarah Catharine is the wife of Oliver Nichols, now of Clement, Clinton county, Ill. Lucretia died in her sixth year. His last wife had seven children by her former marriage, five of whom are living. She is the descendant of the celebrated BABER family of Virginia, a noted family in the history of that State.
Mr. Nichols has been a member of the first Presbyterian church of Carlyle for many years. He has been much interested in the Sunday School work, and has done much to promote an interest in that direction. He was superintendent of the Union Sabbath School of Carlyle for over sixteen years, and in that time was never absent, unless out of the county or State.
Politically he was first an old line Whig, and voted for William Henry HARRISON, in 1836 and in 1840. In 1856 he joined the republican party, and remained with that political organization until 1876, when he joined the Greenback party, and voted for Peter COOPER. In 1880 he voted for Gen. WEAVER. In 1839 he was appointed supervisor by the court, and held the office for five consecutive years. The territory then embraced a large area, and extended from Covington to near Sandoval. He was elected Justice of the Peace, and held the office for eight years. In 1861 he was elected on the republican ticket to the office of School Superintendent over Ben. BOND, the democratic nominee, who was the most popular man in his party. He was elected in 1865 and 1867, and held the office eight years. During his administration he brought the schools up to a most excellent standard. He has been a member of the I. O. O. F. for over thirty years. He was also among the first pioneers in the temperance movement in Clinton county, and has remained true to the pledges he made many years ago.
Few men in the county have been more active in promoting the interests of the county than Mr. Nichols, and few men are more respected for their probity and integrity than he. He is a good neighbor, an honorable man, and useful citizen.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
Submitted by: Pamela Safriet
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