Biography of William N. Nichols

Among the earnest men whose depths of character and strict adherence to principle excite the admiration of his contemporaries, Mr. Nichols is prominent. He is now the esteemed and capable chairman of the Owyhee county board of commissioners and resides at Silver City. At present he is connected with various mining and business interests and is the possessor of an ample fortune; but the time was when his means were very limited, and to his own well directed efforts his success is attributable.

Mr. Nichols was born in Shelby County, Ohio, on the 9th of May 1853, and is of German lineage. His father, L. H. Nichols, was a native of Buffalo, New York, and married Miss Anna Bell Newell, of Pennsylvania. They removed to Wisconsin, where they made their home for many years. In 1853, however, the husband and father crossed the plains to California, where he engaged in mining for some time and then returned to the Badger state. In 1858 he again crossed the plains, his destination being Pike’s peak. He was a regular physician and served his country as a surgeon during the civil war. After the close of hostilities he returned to his Wisconsin home, where he resumed the practice of his profession. He died in 1887, at the age of seventy-seven years, and his wife passed away at the age of seventy-eight years. They had a family of six children; three sons and three daughters, of whom three are now living.

William N. Nichols, the fourth in order of birth, was educated in the public schools and in the State University of Wisconsin. He came to Silver City, Idaho, on the 18th of June 1873, and here engaged in bookkeeping and mining for a number of years. He was at South Mountain during the “boom” times at that camp, after which he opened an assay office in Silver City and acquired a successful business and won an enviable and wide reputation for the accuracy and reliability of his work. He was also agent for the California, Oregon & Idaho Stage Company at Silver City for a number of years, and has held many positions of trust and responsibility during his residence in Owyhee County. In 1878 he was elected a member of the territorial legislature, and in 1894 was elected county commissioner. So ably did he discharge his duties that he was re-elected in 1896 and is now serving as chairman of the board. He is a most progressive and enterprising officer, and has exercised his official prerogatives to advance many interests and make many needed reforms. In 1897 he sold his interest in the Alpine group of mines to the Trade Dollar Mining Company, but still retains large mining and other business interests, from which he derives a handsome income. His capable management of his business affairs and his enterprise and sound judgment have been crowned with success, and he is now accounted one of the substantial citizens of the community. On the 1st of July, 1880, ‘Mr. Nichols was united in marriage to Miss Ora B. Justice, and the hospitality of their pleasant home is enjoyed by many friends. Mr. Nichols has been a life-long Republican, and now belongs to the silver wing of that party. He is a most reliable and capable public officer, who takes a deep interest in promoting the welfare of county and state. No trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed, and he is greatly respected by all who have been at all familiar with his honorable and useful career.



Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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