Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Nathan P. Nichols

As I awoke today and considered the date, January 8th, memories of my father quickly surfaced. So many memories! January 8 was his birthday. I thought of adding a photo of him here, on this Danvers blog, to mark this day.

Nathan P. Nichols (1912-1996)

This photograph may trigger memories in the minds of other Danvers people who knew him in his role as a businessman, owner of a Danvers business. I've written previously on this blog about his company and shared some of his own stories about his working life, but this photo had not yet been posted. I chose it from a large 3-ring binder in which I've collected and retained many photos and articles about my father.

I'd welcome comments from people who remember his work in Danvers.

I know he was an active and loyal member of the Rotary Club of Danvers, attending Rotary luncheons regularly. He hated to miss a Rotary meeting. If traveling away from Danvers, he'd seek out another Rotary luncheon to attend. (He enjoyed having a perfect attendance record, and told us that by attending a Rotary meeting elsewhere he'd get some 'credit' to replace a missed Danvers meeting.)

To find my previous blog entries about my father, you can use the Search box, upper right. Today I typed in "Nathan" and up came many entries, including ones about the Nichols and Clark company, which made hearing aids and other products in Danvers. For example, this one includes his own words about that company and how he got into that business:
   In His Words: My Father's Business

You can also search on keywords "Nick" (as he preferred to be called) or "Daddy" to bring up more entries in which I've mentioned him.

For more PHOTOS, I invite you to see my albums on SmugMug, a photo-sharing site:
   Nichols & Clark, Inc.

Friday, November 22, 2019

260 years ago

On the 22nd of November two hundred and sixty years ago (1759),  a young woman named Mary Vial married Dr. Edward Augustus Holyoke.  She was 21; he was 31.  It was her first marriage, his second.  [The Doctor's first wife (Judith) and an infant daughter had died in 1756.]

Here are two portraits of Mary:
Mary Vial at 15 years old (painted 1753)
Mary Vial Holyoke at 33  (painted 1771)

By the time of the 1771 portrait, Mary was the mother of 8 year old Margaret ("Peggy"), her second child. Her first child had died before the age of four.  Five other babies had arrived, but each died in infancy. This must have been a very difficult period for Dr. Holyoke and his wife.

Mary was pregnant again in 1771, giving birth that September to Elizabeth ("Betsy"), who would live until 1789.  In all, Mary birthed twelve babies!  I am descended from the 11th one, Susanna, born April 1779.  Mary lived to age 64 in 1802, with three daughters surviving her and living on for decades.

Dr. Holyoke lived "one hundred years and eight months, lacking one day" – according to the introduction to the Holyoke Diaries [published by the Essex Institute, 1911].  He was a well-known doctor in Salem, "very attentive to his medical practice." "His charge books show an average of eleven professional visits a day for a period of seventy-five years."

On this November 22, I am thinking of the wedding anniversary of Dr. Holyoke and Mary Vial, and the family connections, leading eventually to my family in Danvers.

Their daughter Susanna, my great-great-great-grandmother, lived a long full life, into her 80th year.  Susanna's daughter Mary, born in 1800, lived to 1880. The next generation included Mary's son Andrew Nichols, who was born in 1837, built the Pine Knoll cottage in Danvers in 1861, and lived there until his death in 1921. His youngest son, William, born 1872, became my grandfather and in the 1940's and 1950's lived right next door to us, so I remember him very well.  I didn't at that time care about history or pay much attention to family stories about ancestors. Now, in my older years, I'm looking at the connections back through the years.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Pine Knoll Story update

I am pleased to announce that Part II of The Pine Knoll Story, covering the period 1861 to 1880, is now available for sharing. I have spent months editing the draft that my cousin Janet Nichols Derouin created. Today I posted the results on my website about this family history project:

Select the tab for "Janet's Book" and you will see information about the organization of her book, and links to pdfs of the finished parts.  Part I (The Courtship Years, 1856-1861) has been available since last December.  Part II, posted today, was so large that I needed to divide the file into two segments:

  • 1861-1870 (149 pages)
  • 1871-1880 (270 pages)
For the Danvers Archives, I will offer the entire Part II in one file (pdf, 2.5 MB).  I regret that it has taken me so very long to prepare this material. Mr. Trask had expressed interest in obtaining a copy of Janet's book draft more than a year ago.  I had already started editing Part I by then, and wished to complete the editing project first.  Many delays and distractions of everyday life interfered with my ability to make progress on the editing. I'm relieved to have reached this milestone.

Part II begins with the September 1861 wedding of my great-grandparents, Andrew and Lizzie Nichols. For a quick introduction to the story, read the excerpt in my December blog posting, "Farmer Takes A Wife."