Biography of Alfred Joel Nims

ALFRED JOEL NIMS, D. D. S. The most active and useful membership in his community that Dr. Nims has held as a dental practitioner for the long period of forty-five years, has always justified the honors of the bestowal of place and preferment upon him by his fellow-townsmen at Turners Falls. His life has spoken in no uncertain terms through the practice of his profession, in which he has never failed as an exponent of the results of the most advanced thinking in dental science; while in his civic and social relationships Dr. Nims on a number of occasions has served his fellowtownsmen as an executive official and in a very distinguished way. Few men in this part of the State have been established longer in the profession of dentistry; few have a larger circle of clients and friends.

He is a son of Ebenezer and Sarah G. (Brown) Nims. Ebenezer Nims was of French Huguenot descent, and the name was originally spelled De Nimae. He was a son of Joel Nims and grandson of Reuben, who was the son of John, Jr., son of John, who was the son of Godfrey, who emigrated from England at an early date, and is supposed to have settled at Deerfield, between 1665 and 1667. The family was very intimately associated with the Indian wars through the region of South Deerfield. Joel, the youngest son of a second wife, and father of Ebenezer, was born in Shelburne Falls, Franklin County, December 29, 1782. He was a farmer, and also kept a hotel after his father’s decease. As a man he was highly respected, and for many years was a member of the Congregational Church. He married (first), November 29, 1782, Betsy Their children: 1. Abner. 2. Direta. 3. Mary. His first wife died December 7, 1812, and he married (second) Lovena, daughter of Reuben Bardwell. Their children: 1. Joel B. 2. Reuben, born August 15, 1817. 3. Charles, born July 31, 1820. 4. Ebenezer, born September 30, 1822. 5. David W., born May 6, 1824. Ebenezer Nims received his education in the schools of his birthplace, and he went to Rowe to live with a cousin, remaining in that town twenty-nine years. He then bought a farm at Charlemont, resided there five years, sold out and removed to Shelburne, and purchased the farm where he died. He was a member of the Baptist Church. His wife, Sarah Brown, whom he married November a8, 1844, was a daughter of Alfred Brown, of Rowe. Their children: 1. Sarah L. (Sears). 2. Frances E. 3. Mary E. 4. Henry D. 5. Alfred J., of whom further. 6. Arthur B.

Dr. Alfred Joel Nims was born at Rowe August 6, 1857. His parents removed in his boyhood to Charlemont, later to Shelburne Falls, where he received his education in the public schools and at Shelburne Academy. Afterwards, pursuing a college course, he matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with the class of 1879. Working his way through college, and graduating at twenty-one years of age, he was the youngest member of his class. While at college, he performed dental work for resident Philadelphia dentists, and in this way, also, established his apprenticeship for his profession. He then went to Turners Falls, where he opened his offices, there to continue his practice for forty-five years.

Dr. Nims maintains the principles of the Republican party by his vote; he is very active in civic affairs, and was a member of the Republican Town Committee four years. For some time he officiated as president of the Village Improvement Society, was also interested in the work of having seven hundred trees planted throughout the village, Dr. Nims taking charge of them until the State had established its Department of Forestry. He was also chairman of the Public Library Association, and a member of its board of directors eighteen years. Many responsibilities of local action during the World War were given him; he was foremost in the work of the drives for Liberty loans, served as chairman of the Public Safety Committee during the war, and opened the Red Cross station in this district. Dr. Nims’ fraternal affiliations are those of Mechanics’ Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Springfield Consistory, thirty-second degree; was once president of the Peskeompskut Club, and a member of the Rotary Club. He has served as clerk of the Baptist Church for thirty-six years.

Dr. Nims married, February 14, 1884, at Leominster, Addie E. Lawrence, who died October 11, 1819. They were the parents of: Alice Mary, who died in 1909, at the age of twenty-four years; and Clara B. Nims.


Lockwood, John H. (John Hoyt); Bagg, Ernest Newton; Carson, Walter S. (Walter Scott); Riley, Herbert E. (Herbert Elihu); Boltwood, Edward; Clark, Will L. (Will Leach); Western Massachusetts A History 1636-1925; New York and Chicago: Lewis historical publishing company, inc., 1926

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