MORRISON J. NICHOLAS, whose biography now invites attention, resides on section 15, Belleview Precinct, Calhoun County, surrounded by the fruits of faithful labor and uprightness of purpose through the course of his life. His birth occurred in Washington County, Pa., June 22, 1825, and he is numbered among the pioneers of Calhoun County who, by means of their industry and good management transformed the wilderness into a blooming landscape in a few short years. His parents, William and Cassandra (Bodkin) Nicholas, were natives of Pennsylvania, and his paternal ancestors are reputed to have been Englishmen. His grandfather was stolen by Indians when a boy of seven summers, and remained with them until he reached his seventeenth birthday, at which time he was found by friends of the family and reclaimed by his parents.
Mr. Nicholas removed with his parents from Pennsylvania in 1837, settling in Lincoln County, Mo., where they resided until 1843, at which date they removed to Calhoun County locating in Richwoods Precinct. They were numbered among the early settlers of that place, and there the father died in 1859 and the mother in 1864. They were the parents of eleven children, of whom only two are now living, viz: Morrison and Mary, wife of Peter Hoots, of Illinois. The father was a popular and highly respected citizen, and served as Justice of the Peace for a number of years. Like all pioneers he suffered many hardships while laboring to clear up his estate and cultivate the soil, but success crowned his efforts and he died surrounded by the comforts of a prosperous and happy home, and venerated as one of the most prominent educators in Calhoun County at one time.
Our subject has been a resident of Calhoun County since 1843, and after coming to this place with his father, engaged for a time in the lumber business, but subsequently devoted his attention entirely to agricultural pursuits. His early youth was spent on a farm; and he received an excellent education for the days in which he studied, but naturally none of the educational advantages offered young men of the present day. He was married May 20, 1852, to Mrs. Sarah (McLaughlin) Beatty, and after his marriage settled in Richwoods Precinct, where he continued to reside up to the year 1883. At that date he took possession of his present estate which embraces one hundred and seventy acres of valuable land. His marriage was blessed with sixteen children, nine of whom are living, viz: Sarah A., William, John, Maggie (wife of C. A. Twichell, of Calhoun County), Blanche married Vern Long; Abigail, Nellie, Walter and Iva.
Mr. Nicholas is a self-made man, and inclines to support every measure that has for its object the advancement of Calhoun County. He is identified with the Christian Church, and is a member of the Democratic party. There are few men who have seen more of pioneer life than he, and few who have so consistently followed the dictates of duty under any and all circumstances. Mrs. Nicholas by her former marriage had one son, Robert C. Beatty, who has just been elected Sheriff of Calhoun County.
Extracted 23 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 739-740
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