George W. Nicholson
Biographies from 1893 and 1911
George W. Nicholson, of the firm of Nicholson Bros, produce merchants, Denison, Iowa, is one of the most prosperous and enterprising business men of this place. The Messrs. Nicholson handle butter, eggs and poultry, their shipments from Denison alone amounting to $150.00 per annum. They have also established a branch house in this State and one at Tekamah, Nebraska, and with these increased facilities are doing a much large business.
George W Nicholson was born in Belmont county, Ohio, in 1853, son of John L and Eleanor (Young) Nicholson. He was reared on the farm. When he was fifteen years old his parents moved to Mahaska county, Iowa, and soon afterward he began to support himself.
He worked on a farm for a short time, was employed three years at railroading, and when he was twenty he turned his attention to the produce business. In 1874 he engaged with a firm in Monroe, Iowa, and the following spring opened up business for a firm in Perry, Iowa, at which place he was located until 1880. That year he came to Crawford county, where he has since been engaged in his present business. The first year his shipments amounted to $40,000, and by his well-directed efforts the business has continued to increase until it has reached its present magnificent proportions.
Mr Nicholson was married August 24, 1884, to Miss Frances Long, who was reared in this State. They have one child, Grace. He is a stanch Republican, a member of the Board of Education, and socially is a Knight of Pythias.
B Y Nicholson, junior member of the firm of Nicholson Bros, was born in 1864, and grew up in the town of New Sharon, Mahaska county, Iowa. In 1882, he was employed by his brother, George W, with whom he has since remained. He has been a partner in the business since 1888, and like his brother, is a young man of push and enterprise. He married Miss Lydia Weston and has two children: Clare and an infant daughter.
Source: Biographical History of Crawford, Ida and Sac Counties, Iowa; The Lewis Publishing Company; Chicago; 1893; page 290
The broader spirit of the new century found expression in the business record of George W Nicholson, president of the Nicholson Produce Company of Denison. For a number of years he was in control of large affairs and extensive interests in this connection. His ability to manage, his business and financial instinct, his quick comprehension of a situation and his secure grasp of details were all elements in his successful conduct of a business which has long since assumed large and profitable proportions.
Mr Nicholson was a native of Ohio, his birth having occurred in Barnesvville, Belmont county, October 6, 1853. He died March 2, 1911, at Tampa, at Mrs Barley's home. His parents were John L and Eleanor (Young) Nicholson, also natives of the Buckeye state.
The father was a son of John Nicholson, who was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but became an early settler of Smithfield, Ohio. In 1864 he sought the opportunities of the middle west, making his way to New Sharon, Iowa, where he lived for thirty-five years. He died, however, while on a visit in Denison in 1899, in the eighty-first year of his age. His wife survived him four years, passing away in 1903 at the age of seventy-seven years.
Mr Nicholson had been reared as a member of the Society of Friends or Quakers, but in later life he and his wife both became members or the Methodist church. He held a number of local offices and was a prominent and valued citizen of the community in which he lived.
His family numbered nine children, namely; Amanda J, who die din young womanhood; Martin W, of New Sharon Iowa; George W, of this review; John W, deceased; Charles L, of Blair, Nebraska; Ross A, who died at Newton, Iowa, in 1909; Benjamin Y, a resident of Denison; Oliver E, who died in Boulder, Colorado; and Mary, who passed away in infancy.
George W Nicholson spent the first eleven years of his life in the state of his nativity and then came to Iowa with his parents in 1864. He was a resident of New Sharon for about five years, during which period he attended the public schools. When a youth of fifteen he started out to make his own way in the world and was employed at construction work on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. In 1880 he came to Crawford county and for eight years was a resident of Vail. On the expiration of that period he removed to Denison, where he lived for five years, after which he went to Grand Junction, where he remained for fourteen years.
He then returned to Denison, where he engaged in the poultry, butter and egg business, which has claimed his time and attention from 1874 until his death. He and his brother, Benjamin, were associated in this enterprise for twenty-eight years and conducted as business of extensive proportions. In 1908 they erected in Denison a large storage plant, which is sixty by sixty feet and five stories in height including basement. There is also an L addition. They drew trade from all directions and from a large district, and were among the leading shippers of this part of the state.
On the 4th of August, 1884, Mr Nicholson was married to Miss Frances Long, a daughter of J F and Bridget (Butler) Long. Four children were born of this marriage; Grace Frances, now the wife of Guy O Baker; George, who died at the age of two years; Georgiana May, who is attending high school; and John, who die din infancy.
The mother passed away in 1896 at the age of thirty-four years. She was a Catholic in religious faith. Her birth occurred at Elk Point, Dakota, while her father was a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and her mother of Ireland, being brought to America when only a years old. Mr and Mrs Long were early settlers of Dakota, but for some years lived in Vail, Iowa, where Mr Long passed away. The death of Mrs Long occurred at Grand Junction, Iowa, in the spring of 1910.
On the 14th of August, 1905, Mr Nicholson was again married, his second union being with May O Adams, who was born at Atlantic City, New Jersey, where her parents, Mr and Mrs Alfred Adams, still reside. She is one of six children, the others being; Louis; Alfred; Bentley; Carrie, the wife of Louis Rothchild; and Pauline, the wife of Frederick Holmes.
The father, Alfred Adams, is a son of John Adams, who came to this country from France with four brothers and settled in New Jersey. The family have since scattered over the United States and are very prominent in the east. Mrs Nicholson was reared and educated in Atlantic City, where she was graduated from the high school. She lived for a time in New York, but was married in Chicago, and has made her home in Denison for the past six years, being very prominent in social circles here.
George W Nicholson was an exemplary and prominent member of the Masonic fraternity. He belonged to Jefferson Lodge, No 57, A F & A M, of Grand Junction; Jefferson Chapter, R A M; Jefferson Commandery, K T; Des Moines Consistory, A A S R, in which he has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite; and Za-ga-zig Temple of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. His political allegiance was given to the republican party. He never sought nor desired office as a reward for party fealty, yet was not remiss in the duties of citizenship, supporting at all time those measures and movement which he deemed of essential value in the conduct of business affairs or in promoting the interests of the community.
He passed away at Tampa, Florida, March 2, 1911.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.
Submitted by Norm Prince