Nichols Family

Frederick County, Maryland and adjoining counties was an area that attracted many German settlers, among them the ancestors of the Nichols family. Reuben Nichols was one of these German pioneers. He docked in New York long enough to meet and marry Elizabeth Stump and then moved into the Maryland counties in search of farm land. The first federal census schedules indicate that the Nichols family was well established by 1790. There was a dozen local families with the Nichols surname and almost as many variants in spelling.

One of the sons of Reuben and Elizabeth, Benjamin Nichols, with his family moved to Harrison County, Kentucky prior to 1795. The names of Benjamin, Ninian and Simon "Nickles" appear there in the 1800 tax roll. Benjamin died there about 1806 on his farm on Curry Run.

Simon Nichols appears on the earliest extant Kentucky federal census, that of 1810, as a resident of that part of Pendleton County, Kentucky that was later to become Grant County, Kentucky. He first appears as a resident of Pendleton County for his service as ensign in the 21st Regiment Kentucky Militia from March until December 1806. This is indicative that Simon and Margaret Mitts Nichols had removed to the county shortly after their marriage in Harrison County, Kentucky. Simon's widowed mother, Comfort, resided with then until her death on March 20, 1843 at the age of 96 years. She is buried in the Simon Nichols Cemetery where her tombstone still stands.

The Nichols Family Cemetery is located on the Warsaw Road one mile west of Dry Ridge, initially established on what was then the Simon Nichols farm. Four Nichols generation lie buried there. The earliest was that of Patcy, a two-year-daughter of Simon and Margaret Nichols who died in 1811. Patcy was born March 4, 1808. Simon Nichols died June 15, 1856 at age 75 years, 8 months, and 5 days. His wife, Margaret, born May 11, 1783, died January 25, 1860 and is buried in this cemetery, as is her husband, Simon Nichols.

This cemetery is identified in the History of Grant County, Kentucky, as Nichols-Stanley-Renaker Cemetery, since many of the burials there are of members of these families or because of extended periods of land ownership. Much of the cemetery was restored through the efforts of the late Moreland Nichols Blaine of Ft. Mitchell. Stones were reset or replaced and a fence erected. In 1964 there were 43 legible tombstones and a number of other unidentifiable burials.

Two of Simon Nichols' son, Solomon and Thomas remained life long residents of Grant County, Kentucky and many families in Grant County can trace their ancestry to these two men.

From the files of James R. Glacking


Dear Beulah,
In my searches through the web I stumbled upon your wonderful Grant County site and would like to congratulate you on the wealth of information you have managed to compile.

I would however, like to correct one very frequent assumption which we have recently proven wrong: my ancestor Benjamin Nichols is not the son of a Reuben Nichols who came from Germany. As a matter of fact, this Nichols family is not of German descent, but Scottish. My grandmother has always told me so, based on what was told to her. Moreover, she stated that Benjamin’s father was named John. I have tried for a very long time, and recently succeeded, to find out how this German Reuben story came to be. As it turns out according to some of my relatives, that some of our earlier researchers while attempting to find Benjamin’s father (who is one of our brick walls), located this Reuben arriving in New York from Germany. As his arrival date more or less matched what they supposed Benjamin’s father’s arrival would have been (assuming that Benjamin’s father was the immigrant ancestor, again, no proof of that), they couldn’t prove Benjamin’s parentage to Reuben but also couldn’t disprove it, plus the fact that Reuben moved to Maryland where Benjamin was born, it was taken as a most probable ancestor. Somehow over the years, the “most probable” part slipped out from family histories and the assumption turned to accepted fact. However, I have never believed in this story. I have always suspected that as probability goes, we are more likely descendant of the immigrant Simon Nicholls from Scotland, who had a son John (born in Maryland and therefore not the immigrant ancestor), who in turn had a son named Benjamin, born about the same time as our Benjamin, and whose whereabouts the Nicholls researchers could not trace any further after birth – they too believe the same as I. Moreover, my grandmother had also mentioned that we have strong Norwegian blood in the family but she didn’t know exactly where. One more clue of Scottish ties. The Vikings who invaded Scotland and Ireland were mostly of Norwegian extraction, a few Danish – but the greater part of the Danes invaded farther south, in England.

Recently a couple of my cousins joined the Nichols DNA Project and to everyone’s surprise (except mine) the results show that we are genetically related to Simon Nicholls. We do not have proof yet that he was indeed Benjamin’s grandfather, but I believe that this is the most likely scenario. However, we do know that we are related on some level – if not directly to Simon, then to one of his siblings or cousins back in Scotland.

I would greatly appreciate if you could correct the History section for the Nichols Family in your site, as well as any other place mentioning this ancestry (such as the Mitts Family history section). These incorrect assumptions once they gain a life of their own are very hard to put down, but I’m trying my best.

Thanks in advance and kind regards,

Karen Nichols-Rexwall
Sweden
June 21, 2008

Home  ~  Family Genealogies

Beulah Wiley Franks
Grant County Coordinator, KY/ALHN