Thursday, August 4, 2011

EmigranThursday - the Nicholsons

John Nicholson and Family, 1880

Welcome to this week’s EmigranThursday featuring John Nicholson of Wellsville, Columbiana County, Ohio. His biography appeared on page 336 of Brant and Fuller’s History of the Upper Ohio Valley with Historical Account of Columbiana County, Ohio published in 1891. Additional sources from and
  • John Nicholson, “an old and popular resident of Wellsville” was born in Murrayshire ca. 1830. He came to America with his parents William Nicholson and Elizabeth Bowers in 1842 and located in Scotch Settlement, Madison Twp.  William was a shoemaker and “in connection with that (shoe making) farmed to a limited extent”. The family moved to Wellsville in 1848. William died there about 1868. The children of William and Elizabeth were: William, Margaret, Jane, John, David and Isabella. John Nicholson became a resident of Columbiana County at age 12 and began life as a farmer in Madison Township and afterwards engaged in gardening at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where in spent one season.  In 1852, he located at Wellsville, and engaged in gardening, which he did in Wellsville and West Virginia until 1859, when he went to Kansas, where he spent a part of one year during the border troubles in that state. He returned to Wellsville, following gardening a part of the time and for 13 years engaged in the dairy business. The land upon which he first located is occupied by the C&P RR shops and he has occupied his present residence since 1873. In that year he purchased 60 acres which he cleared and improved and in 1884 platted what is known as Nicholson’s addition to Wellsville, a valuable quarter of the city now containing 75 residences. “Mr Nicholson has been one of the leading citizens of Wellsville, for the development of which he has used his best energies, and he is a marked example of those sound business qualifications which secure the confidence of the people.” In 1889 he donated the land for the Model Mill, one of the fines flouring mills in the United States. One December 20, 1866 John married Ellen Russell, daughter of William and Ellen Russell. John and Ellen Nicholson had the following children: John G., Jennie B., William and Clyde. John is a Republican. He and Ellen are members of United Presbyterian Church.
In a surprising turn of events, I think I found the Nicholsons on First there was John Nicholson’s death certificate which indicates he died on 5 April 1909 at age 87 in Wellsville, OH. The certificate indicates that he was married, a retired farmer, and was buried on April 7th in Springhill Cemetery. It also says he was born in 1822 to William Nicholson and Elizabeth Bowers in Dyke, Merryshire, Scotland; his parents were born in the same parish. Six children were born to William Nicholson and Elspet Bower in Dyke Parish, Moray: William (b. 29 November 1815), Jean (b. 11 May 1820), Alexander (b. 11 July 1822),  John (b. 8 Dec 1823), David (b. 28 September 1827) and Isobel (b. 25 Sept 1829).
Apparently nobody had heard of Moray or Morayshire, which is east of Nairnshire, since it was written Murrayshire in the biography and Merryshire in the death certificate. It also seems likely that Alexander Nicholson died before coming to the United States. Who knows why Margaret’s birth is not recorded with her siblings.
William Nicholson (55, shoemaker), Elizabeth (25), William (23, shoemaker) and Margaret (20), all of whom were born in Scotland, were recorded in Washington Township, Columbiana County in 1850. I could not find John Nicholson in 1850, or any of the Nicholsons in 1860. John (40, b. Scotland, “works on farm”) appears in Wellsville with his wife Ellen (28, b. Scotland) and son John (3) in the 1870 census. In 1890, John, Ellen (listed as “Russell”), and John had been joined by Jennie (8) and William (2). Only Clyde (18) was at home with his parents in Wellsville in the 1900 census. John indicates in the return that he immigrated to the United States in 1840, had been in the country for 60 years and was a naturalized citizen.
I wonder what took John Nicholson to Kansas in 1859? Was he curious or an ardent abolitionist?

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