Rev. William Nicholson

Rev. William Nicholson, minister, residing at Shabbona, was in active service as a Pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church from 1834 to 1871, when, on account of being thrown from his horse, he was compelled to retire from active life. He was born in Newark, Nottinghamshire, Eng., July 13, 1806, and is a son of John and Charlotte (Rud) Nicholson. He was reared and educated in his native town and spent a portion of his early years in the lumber business. In 1829, he was converted to the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and spent five years as tract distributor, benevolent visitor and teacher, and in 1834 began preaching as a local preacher.

He emigrated to the United States in 1842 and located in the Western Reserve in Ohio, where he began preaching, at Nelson and Hiram Centers. In 1849 he removed to a point 20 miles from Coldwater, in Branch Co., Mich. He preached in that county and in Indiana for six years, and then in 1854 came to this State and located at Aurora, where he assisted in charge of the Church located there. In 1855 he went to Clinton Township, this county. In 1856 he preached in Shabbona Grove, then a part of the Paw Paw Circuit. During that year he purchased 80 acres of land in Shabbona Township, but continued to reside at Paw Paw, Lee County, until 1859, when he removed to his farm. He has subsequently added to his original purchase until he became the owner of 200 acres. He was instrumental in the building of school houses and establishing religious meetings.

In the spring of 1876 Rev. Nicholson moved to the village of Shabbona, where he has since lived. He has filled the pulpit of both churches at that place at different times. Since the summer of 1882 he has retired from active work in the ministry on account of failing health and injuries received as stated.

He was married Nov. 27, 1828, to Miss Maria, daughter of Henry and Mary (Gilbert) Radford. She was born in Nottinghamshire, England. They are the parents of nine children, seven of whom are living, viz: Hannah, widow of James McCray, resides in Earl, IL; Sarah is the wife of Ira Lyons, a resident of Oregon; Elizabeth died at the age of 19 years; Josiah H. married Loie Nicholson and resides in Iowa; Mary is the wife of Dewitt Van Vliet and resides at Elk Grove, Mo.; Martha is the wife of John Mullins, and lives at Shabbona; John J. enlisted in Co. E, 105th Ill. Inf., in the late Civil War, and died with fever at Chicago before leaving for the field of action; Charles W. married Miss Marion Houghtby and lives on the old homestead; Lucy M. is the wife of Dewitt Van Velzor, a resident of Shabbona.

Politically, Mr. Nicholson has been identified with the Republican Party since the days of Fremont. He has met with several severe accidents during his life. The last one of consequence occurred when he was 65 years of age. He was thrown from his horse on the frozen ground and badly crippled. He is also the victim of acute rheumatism, from which he suffers greatly. With all his afflictions, he maintains a patient faith that all is for the best, and still endeavors to impress the divine precepts of his religion upon all those who come within his influence.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of DeKalb Co.

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