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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
William M. Nicoll

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 161-162 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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William M. Nicoll, a Schenectady lawyer and lawmaker who has been actively engaged in practice during the past seven years and also represents his district in the state assembly, has gained an enviable reputation as one of the prominent young representatives of his profession in Schenectady county. His birth occurred in Dundee, Scotland, on the 7th of May, 1893, his parents being William M. and Margaret (Constable) Nicoll, also natives of the land of hills and heather. The father brought his family to the United States in 1902, locating at Scotia, Schenectady county, New York, where he was employed as a machinist by the General Electric Company throughout the remainder of his life. He passed away in July, 1921. His widow still makes her home in Scotia, where she is widely and favorably known.

William M. Nicoll was a youth of nine years when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to the New World. His education, begun in his native country, was continued in the public and high schools of Scotia, New York. Subsequently he spent a year in the service of the General Electric Company and then entered the Albany Law School, from which institution he was graduated with the degree of LL. B. in 1916. During the succeeding year he engaged in clerking but in the fall of 1917, having been admitted to the bar, he took up the work of his chosen profession in Schenectady, where he has since practiced, maintaining offices at No. 307 State street. His success in a professional way affords the best evidence of his capabilities in this line. He is a strong advocate with the jury and concise in his appeals before the court. Much of the success which has attended him in his professional career is undoubtedly due to the fact that in no instance will he permit himself to go into court with a case unless he has absolute confidence in the justice of his client's cause. Basing his efforts on this principle, from which there are far too many lapses in professional ranks, it naturally follows that he seldom loses a case in whose support he is enlisted. Mr. Nicoll is a member of the Schenectady County Bar Association and for the past three years has served as corporation counsel for the village of Scotia.

On the 6th of May, 1918, Mr. Nicoll was united in marriage to Miss Isabelle Osborne, daughter of William and Laura (Hallenbeck) Osborne, the former a native of England and the latter of Schenectady county, New York. William Osborne, who was a sign writer by trade, departed this life on the 3d of July, 1918. His widow makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Nicoll at No. 1 Collins street in Scotia. The two children of Mr. and Mrs. Nicoll are: William O., who was born February 15, 1919; and Robert MacRae, whose natal day was September 24, 1922.

In his political views Mr. Nicoll is a republican. He was elected police justice of Scotia in 1916 and continued in that capacity for four years, while in the fall of 1919 he was elected justice of the peace in the town of Glenville, Schenectady county, serving in the latter position for a similar period. On the 6th of November, 1923, he was elected to the state assembly for one year on the republican ticket and in this connection is making a most commendable record, giving thoughtful and earnest consideration to the vital questions which come up for settlement. He belongs to the Scotia Chamber of Commerce and fraternally is identified with Beukendaal Lodge No. 915, F. & A. M., of Scotia, New York, while his religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Scotia Reformed church.

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