Biography of James O. Nicholson

JAMES O. NICHOLSON. The gentleman whose name opens this sketch is the oldest merchant in Boone County, Arkansas, and has given his attention to the business in which he is now engaged in Harrison since 1868. He came to this place with Capt. H. W. Fick, with whom he was in business for about two years, when he became the sole proprietor of the establishment, and has continued as such up to the present time. He carries a large stock of general merchandise, and the building he occupies at the southeast corner of the public square is a two-story structure, having a frontage of thirty-five feet and a depth of one hundred feet. He at all times keeps an excellent and extensive line of goods, and has met with well-merited success, being a leader in his line in the northern part of the State.

Mr. Nicholson was born in Madison County, Tennessee, March 15, 1844, being the eldest son and second child in a family of ten children born to James W. and E. J. (Newby) Nicholson, the former of whom was born in South Carolina, but was an early resident of the State of Tennessee, where he made his home until 1851, when he came to Prairie County, Arkansas, and became one of the first settlers of Hickory Plains. In 1858 he moved to Pope County, and in 1868 came to Harrison, where he died in 1877. He was a farmer throughout life, and member of the Missionary Baptist Church. He was a Democrat, a prominent man in all public matters, and was for some years justice of the peace of Harrison. His father, David Nicholson, an Englishman by descent, was a South Carolinian, who died in Madison County, Tennessee James W. Nicholson married a Tennessee lady. She is still living, and the following are the children born to them: Martha T., wife of H. W. Fick; Joseph A. died at the age of twenty-one years; James 0.; Sally, wife of W. S. Allen of Newton County; Charles D. of Texas; Susie, wife of J. M. Daubleday of Coldwell, Kan.; and J. D. of Texas.

The school days of James 0. Nicholson were spent at Hickory Plains, Arkansas, and in Pope County, the subscription schools of that day affording him his education. While pursuing the paths of learning the war came up and he enlisted in Company K, Third Arkansas Regiment Cavalry, C. S. A., and took part in the engagements at Corinth and Iuka, Holly Springs, Chickamauga, Resaca, New Hope Church, Bentonville and the siege of Atlanta being one of about thirty-five able-bodied men out of 1,300, who came out of that siege alive. He was at one time wounded in the head by a gun shot, which unfitted him for duty for a short time, but during the entire war he was never taken prisoner. He was a private during most of his service, but finally became orderly of his company. After the close of the war he returned to his home in Pope County, then came to Boone County at the date above mentioned. During the last eight or ten years, in addition to conducting his mercantile establishment, he has been engaged in farming, and has a fine estate of 240 acres, a mile and a quarter south of the public square. He has also other land in the county amounting to 360 acres, which is fertile and valuable, and the stockraising industry has received much attention at his hands. He is an officer and member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, is a stanch Democrat, is one of the substantial men of his party, and a worthy and progressive citizen.

He was married to Miss Sarah L. Evatt, daughter of Wright Evatt, a Georgian by birth, but a resident of Harrison since 1869. By her he became the father of eight children: Cora L., wife of J. T. Tipton, M. D., of Lead Hill; Wright, a farmer of Texas; James; John; Frank; Blondie; Hugh; and Columbus, who died at the age of two years. The mother of these children died in February, 1891. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Miss Loretta Kirby, a sister of Dr. Kirby, became Mr. Nicholson’s second wife, and is an earnest member of the Christian Church. The annual sales of Mr. Nicholson’s mercantile establishment amount to from $15,000 to $20,000. His stock is valued at $Io,000. He is a wide-awake business man, is shrewd, yet strictly honorable in his methods, and the respect accorded him is universal.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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