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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Nichols

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1187-1188 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The Nichols family of Albany, New York, herein considered, descend from a Prussian ancestry, inhabitants of that country for hundreds of years, and descendants are yet to be found in Blenheim and vicinity.

(I) The first of the line who is here recorded, Hobart Nichols, was born in Blenheim, Prussia, about the middle of the eighteenth century. He married, and while he attained the age of eighty years, his wife reached the most unusual age of one hundred and five. Children: Anna, Matilda, Christian, see forward. The daughters married, reared large families and died near their native city.

(II) Christian, son of Hobart Nichols, grew up on the homestead farm. He was a noted local musician and school teacher. Unlike most of his people, he did not attain great age, but died aged forty-nine years. He married Anna, daughter of John Kraft, of Blenheim, who died a very old man. Children: Anna, Matilda, Christian (2), John, Matthias, Nicholas, Anthony, Jacob, Peter, see forward. All of these children except Peter lived, married, reared families and died in Prussia.

(III) Peter, youngest son of Christian and Anna (Kraft) Nichols, was born in Blenheim, Prussia, March 15, 1825. He received a good education in the German schools, taking advanced courses in Latin and kindred branches. In that period the cause of liberty and freedom of thought and speech was stirring advanced thinkers and patriots to revolution, and men who dared speak and act for the cause were persecuted and imprisoned. This was the era that produced Kossuth, Sigel, Strubel, Hecker and the more widely known Carl Schurz, who at a later day was a general in the Union army and a statesman of great power and high ideals. Peter Nichols espoused the cause of liberty, opposed the kingly power and was obliged to seek safety in flight. He went to Switzerland, that haven of refuge and home of the truest liberty, where he remained only a short time, then following his compatriots came to the United States, where he arrived in the city of New York in 1848, after a voyage of sixty-four days. Soon after he settled in Albany, New York, which has ever since been his home. He was then twenty-three years of age. He mastered an English education in the night schools, working at various employments during the days until 1852. In that year he began work as superintendent of large construction work, which he continued until his retirement from active labor. His first large undertaking was as superintendent for the contractors who were digging and building the locks, terminals and other features of the Oswego canal. He followed this with a connection of twenty-seven years with the contracting firm of Belden, Gale & Seward, as their superintendent of construction. This firm did a great deal of work on the Erie canal, which was under Mr. Nichols' charge. In Albany he superintended the laying out and grading of Pearl and Eagle streets, Wester [Western?] and Second avenues, as well as many other streets and important building operations. He had the highest esteem of his employers, who were quick to perceive his sturdy integrity, wise judgment and executive ability. Since about the year 1900 he has lived a retired life at 135 Fourth avenue, Albany, where he is tenderly cared for and his old age brightened by the ministration of his faithful daughters, Anna and Matilda (1910).

He married, at Clyde, Madison county, New York, 1853, Mary Smith, born in Albany, New York, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, in 1835, died in the same city, November 3, 1883. Thirteen children, two of whom died in infancy.

  1. John H., see forward.
  2. Peter (2), born August, 1856, died young.
  3. Anna, born January 27, 1859; unmarried; her father's companion and homekeeper; she is a well-known private nurse.
  4. William, born 1861, died August, 1895; married Christina Liesenfelter, who survives him in Albany. Children: Gertrude, William and Mary Nichols, the latter deceased.
  5. Peter (3) born 1863; married; resident of New York City.
  6. Christopher, born 1864, died 1907.
  7. Matthew, born 1869, died 1900; unmarried.
  8. Mary, died at the age of eight years.
  9. Matilda, who with her father and sister Anna completes the home circle; unmarried.
  10. Clara, married James P. Cummings, of Albany.
  11. George, a resident of New York City.

(IV) John H., eldest son of Peter and Mary (Smith) Nichols, was born in Albany, New York, November 2, 1854, which city has always been his home and place of business. He was educated in the public schools. He had varied business experiences until the year 1899, when he established a grocery at No. 50 Second avenue, which he has since continued to successfully operate. He is a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Catholic church. He married, in Albany, 1870, Catherine Vogel, born in Albany, 1854, daughter of French and German parents. Her father, Philip Fouquet (called Vogel in Albany for local convenience), was of French ancestry; her mother, Sophia (Pracht) Vogel, of German. The latter died in 1861, leaving seven children. Child of John H. and Catherine (Vogel) Nichols:

  1. Minnie, born March 4, 1872; educated in the public schools; married Thomas Alexander, and has Arthur, Ellsworth, Edgar, Veronica, Edward and Raymond Alexander.

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