Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
WILLIAM P. NICHOLS is a well
known agricultural man of Lincoln county and also has the distinction of
being one of the earliest pioneers of the entire Big Bend country.
A detailed account of his life, with its hardships and arduous labors,
will be of interest to all, and we append the same.
William P. Nichols was born in the vicinity
of St. Louis, Missouri, on May 14, 1853, the son of Henderson S. and Lucinda
(Stanton) Nichols, natives of Virginia and Kentucky, respectively.
The father was an early settler in Missouri and for four years served under
General Price in the Confederate army. He died in December, 1866.
The mother died in Leesville, Missouri, on July 15, 1904. Mr. Nichols
has one brother and one sister, Mrs. Sarah E. Queen and Robert M.
William P. was educated in the public schools of Missouri and there remained
until grown to manhood. On March 12, 1974, he married Miss Martha
T. C. Queen, who was born in Burke county, North Carolina, on September
30, 1851. Her parents were Alfred and Martha Queen, now deceased.
Mrs. Nichols has two sisters and one brother, Lettie O., Mrs. Sarah A.
Dalton and Alfred J. From his native heath, Mr. Nichols removed to
Henry county, Missouri, and there farmed until April 22, 1879. That
was the date he turned his team to the west and began the weary journey
across the plains and mountains to the Pacific coast. Fortune had
not favored him in his labors in farming, and he had only thirty-three
dollars in cash, besides his wagon and three mules. With this limited
capital and a wife and three small children, the youngest only four months
old and the eldest four years, he essayed that tiresome and trying trip.
He was one of a train of thirty-five wagons and the journey was without
unusual event until they came to Cheyenne, when one of Mr. Nichols' mules
died. At Boise, another died, and he was forced to stop and work
long enough to earn money to buy another. On November 12, 1879, he
landed in Lagrande, Oregon. The trip had been fraught with much hardship,
owing to the scanty capital and constant sickness in the family.
He labored at various callings in the Grande Ronde valley until 1882, in
July of which year, he went to Milton and remained until April, 1883.
There misfortune still pursued him and he lost another mule. In April,
1883, he started out to look for a home. He was satisfied with the
country around Davenport, or where Davenport now is, and accordingly located
on a quarter six miles southeast from that place. He lived in a tent
the first summer and then built a dug-out. With a will and guided
by wisdom, Mr. Nichols and his brave wife went to work and the result is
that today they own 1,400 acres of fine wheat land, all in a high state
of cultivation and improved with everything needed on a first-class wheat
farm. The residence is a modern ten-room structure, provided with
an excellent water system, while the barn is a commodious building, and
everything is laid out in the best of style and taste. The family
owns a thousand acres of land near the home estate and they are one of
the wealthy and respected families of the county. Recently, Mr. Nichols
purchased a seven-room residence at 439 Cleveland avenue, Spokane, where
he is dwelling with his family at the present time.
Mr. Nichols is a member of the Maccabees,
and of the W. O. W., while his wife belongs to the Women of Woodcraft.
They have the following named children; Josiah J., born January 17, 1875,
and married to Amanda W. Watkins, which union has been blessed by the advent
of two children, William Earl, who died when nine months old, and Nina;
Dura L., born October 25, 1876; Etta May, born December 15, 1878, and a
graduate of the Blair Business College, of Spokane; Henry C., who died
on May 27, 1901, aged twenty years; Arta O., born July 16, 1883; Ida E.,
who died November 24, 1890, aged five years and four months and Bessie
C., born February 20, 1888.
Mr. and Mrs. Nichols endured great hardship
in their earlier life, and for six weeks after coming to the Big Bend,
she did not see a white woman. They are now comfortably situated
and are enjoying the fruits of their toil. Mr. Nichols has always
taken a keen interest in political matters and has labored hard for educational