Our subject first opened his eyes to the light, on the other side of the Atlantic, in the Province of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, Jan. 3, 1838. He lived there until a lad nine years of age, and then accompanied his father to America. They settled in Beardstown, this State, where our subject learned the trade of a wheel-wright, which he followed for some time before the outbreak of the Civil War. In May, 1861, he enlisted in Company A, 14th Illinois Infantry, under Capt. Thomas M. Thompson, and went with his regiment to the South, where he participated in some of the most important battles of the war, being at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Jackson, Miss., and joining Sherman in the memorable march to the sea. He was promoted to the rank of Second Sergeant, and while experiencing some narrow escapes, came out unharmed, and after receiving his honorable discharge turned his attention to farming pursuits, in which he has since been engaged.
Mr. Nickel started out in life for himself when a lad of fourteen years, without other means or resources than his good health and resolute will. Being faithful and industrious, he found little trouble in securing employment, and upon reaching manhood was fully prepared to establish a home of his own. After the war was over he was married, in Cass County, this State, to Miss Paulina Jokisch, a native of that county, and the daughter of Charles G. and Christina (Elsneer) Jokisch, who were natives of what was then the Kingdom of Saxony, and who, coming to the United States in their youth, settled in Cass County, where they were married; both are now deceased. They were excellent and worthy people, and fine representatives of their substantial ancestry.
The father of Mrs. Nickel died when she was only eight or nine years old, leaving the mother with a family of seven sons and three daughters, of whom Paulina was one of the younger members. The children, as fast as becoming old enough, made themselves useful in the home, and after a time scattered to look out for themselves. Mrs. Nickel remained with her mother until her marriage, which resulted in the birth of seven children, three of the boys being triplets. Two of these - Howard and Charles - died when quite young, and also a daughter, Christina. The survivors are Franklin C., John H., May L., and Edward, the latter one of the triplets. Mr. Nickel, politically, is a decided Republican, and both he and his estimable wife belong to the German Methodist Church.
The parents of our subject were Henry and Catherine (Rohn) Nickel, natives of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, and the father a farmer by occupation. They were reared and married in their native province, and after the birth of four children set out for the United States, accompanied by three of them, the other child having died. Afer a safe voyage on a sailing-vessel they landed in the city of New Orleans, and thence came up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to Beardstown, where the parents took up their abode, and where they both died a few years later.