Biography:  Isaac Nicholson

Isaac Emmet Nicholson, M.D., of Oakland, was born in Mississippi in 1827, a son of Isaac R. and America (Gilmer) Nicholson. The father, born in South Carolina was among the early settlers of Mississippi Territory, and filled the office of District Judge about twenty years, residing for some time in Clinton. The mother, born in Alabama, of the family of that name long settled in that State, lived to the age of eighty-four, dying in December, 1889. They had five sons and five daughters who grew to maturity: William R., Protestant Episcopal bishop of Philadelphia; E.P., an attorney of Weatherford, Texas, deceased; R.F., a banker of Gonzales, Texas; W.F., a planter in Virginia, and the subject of this sketch. Of the five sisters, two are living in New Orleans and one in St. Louis.

Dr. Nicholson graduated from the University of Transylvania at Lexington, Kentucky, and then studied medicine in the medical department of the University of Louisiana in New Orleans. Receiving his diploma from that institution March 20, 1852, he commenced practice in Issaquena County, Mississippi. He became a planter owning some 640 acres and a number of plantation hands. At the outbreak of the Civil War, though personally opposed to the theory of secession, when the State seceded he felt impelled to yield to the will of the majority of his fellow citizens. He enlisted as a private soldier, serving eight months, when he was transferred to the ordnance department, in which he served to the close of the war. Returning homeward, he earned his first medical fee on the way by curing the daughter of a wealthy planter, his fee being ten bales of cotton, worth about $4,000. This handsome remuneration was quite a help to his shattered fortunes, and he resumed his general practice together with his farming interests. He gradually changed his practice from the allopathic to the homeopathic system without being pledged to any particular school. The treatment of the sick is largely an individual question and Dr. Nicholson prefers to be guided by the peculiarities of each case rather than the formalities of any special school. He came to California by the Panama route, arriving in Oakland January 1,1868, and has been a resident of this city since that time. He was at one time a member of the Board of Health, and for the last six years has been Physician to the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Asylum, besides keeping up his general practice.

Dr. Nicholson has been twice married. His first wife died young, leaving no issue. His present wife, by birth Mary Belle Bonham of Mississippi, has borne him seven children: Laura May, Mary B., Isaac Emmet, Jr., now studying medicine in San Francisco, in the medical department of the State University of California, Carrie K., Belle Vic., Jack Hayes and Roselle.

Source: The Bay of San Francisco: The Metropolis of the Pacific Coast and its Suburban Cities: A History, Volume II, Chicago, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1892, pages 568-569
 



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