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CLERMONT COUNTY, OHIO
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BIOGRAPHIES
Source: 
HISTORY OF
CLERMONT AND BROWN COUNTIES, OHIO
VOLUME II
1913

A B C D E F G H I J K L
M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ

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  NICHOLS FAMILY.   The name of Nichols has been identified with the history and progress of Clermont county from its very earliest settlement.
Nathan Nichols, the progenitor of the Clermont county.  Nichols, who had followed the sea for many years, was the first inhabitant of this county of that name now so widely known.  He came from his Virginia home with the members of his family, making the long journey on horseback late in the Eighteenth century. Nathan Nichols seems to have been a man of some substance, and on his arrival in Ohio he bought 1,000 acres of land in Hamilton county, near what was then Fort Washington, now Cincinnati.  After a short residence there, finding the location unhealthy he exchanged this land for a tract of equal extent in Monroe township, upon which he established his home and lived for the remainder of his life.  The house which he erected on this land, of stone quarried with his own hands from the earth, was long a landmark in that locality.
     Nathan Nichols was the father of thirteen children: Philip, the ancestor of Judge Perry J. Nichols, William S. Nichols, John C. Nichols, grandfather of C. B. Nichols, of Batavia, and of John Nichols, and George W. Nichols, of Mt. Washington, Ohio, and Abner, Catherine, David C, Elijah G., Nathan, Robert, Elizabeth, Thomas J., and Jonathan C. Nichols.  Among the descendants of the children of Nathan Nichols, above named, still residing in this county are David H. Nichols, now over eighty years of age, living near the old home in Monroe township, and Thomas J. Nichols, of New Richmond.  Philip Nichols, the grandfather of Judge Perry J. Nichols, was born July 12, 1785, and among the children was Thomas L. Nichols, the father of the subject of this sketch, who died at an advanced age at his home near New Richmond within recent years.  Thomas L. Nichols intermarried with Evaline Donham, daughter of Col. Jonathan S. Donham, a large land holder and a man for many years prominent in the public affairs of Clermont county.  Among the children were the late Perry J. Donham, long a prominent lawyer in Cincinnati; E. J. Donham, for two terms treasurer of Clermont county, from 1880 to 1884, and R. W. Donham, still a resident of New Richmond.
     Judge Perry Jackson Nichols was the eldest child of the marriage of Thomas L. Nichols and Evaline Donham, and was born at the family home, on a farm near New Richmond, March 30, 1839.  His boyhood was passed on the farm and his life was that of most farm boys, giving assistance in the work of the farm and enjoying such scant advantages for education as the country schools afforded. When thirteen years of age his father secured the contract for the carrying of the mail from New Richmond in this country to Blanchester, Clinton county, and Deerfield, Warren county, and the boy, who was in the future to hold so prominent a place in the community of his birth, took charge of this work and for several months, without regard to weather conditions, performed the long journey involved on horseback twice a week, In after life in referring to this episode in his career, he spoke of it with gratification, ignoring the hardships involved and dwelling only on the pleasure it gave him to reflect that he had been able thus to assist and make easier the labors of his father.
     In 1856-7-8, he was employed under the direction of his father, who was a steam engineer, in that business, and acquired a working knowledge of the engineering trade. In 1859 he attended school at Parker's Academy, and later for a brief season at the Farmer's College, near Cincinnati. He then secured a certificate and taught school for two years, and during his spare time prosecuted the study of law under the direction of his uncle, Perry J. Donham, then engaged in the practice of law in New Richmond.  At the September term of the district court, held at Batavia, in 1861, Judge Nichols was admitted to the practice of the law and shortly thereafter formed a partnership with Mr. Donham, which continued until the removal of the latter from New Richmond to Portsmouth.  From about 1863 to 1867 he continued in the practice of the law at New Richmond alone, and in the last named year entered into a partnership with Judge Frank Davis, which continued until Judge Nichols was elected probate judge and removed to Batavia, in 1879.  His success as a lawyer was a marked one from the beginning of his professional career, and this was due to his native ability, thorough grasp of the principles of the law and unflagging industry in the prosecution of his business. In 1865 he was elected mayor of New Richmond, and served in that office up to 1870.  The period of his service as mayor of New Richmond is marked in the annals of that town as being the most satisfactory in improvements accomplished during the life of the village.  The public spirit which was a marked feature of his character found scope in forwarding improvements of streets, sidewalks, and in the creation of the beautiful park, in which the citizens there still take a just pride.  Elected probate judge in 1878, he moved to Batavia, and since then has been a resident of that town, retiring at the end of his term to resume the practice of law, and for a few years was associated in business with Judge Frank Davis and Thomas A. Griffith. This firm was dissolved by the death of Mr. Griffith, in 1885.
     In 1886 his son, Hon. Hugh L. Nichols, now lieutenant-governor of Ohio, became his father's partner and this connection continued up to the death of Judge Nichols.  In 1900 Allen B. Nichols, another son, was admitted to the partnership.
     Judge Nichols was married August 21, 1862, to Jeannette Gilmore, a daughter of Hugh Gilmore, a leading merchant of New Richmond, and Jean Hayes GilmoreHugh Gilmore was a native of County Down, Ireland, and his wife of County Antrim.  Hugh Gilmore was for thirty years a leading business man and respected citizen of New Richmond.  There were born to the marriage of Judge Perry J. Nichols and Jeannette Gilmore, children as follows:
     Annie M., who intermarried with J. C. F. Tatman, now deceased, whose home is in Batavia.
     Hugh L. Nichols, the above named now lieutenant-governor of Ohio.
     Carrie B., who intermarried with E. W. Buvinger, and who passed away within a few years after her marriage.
     Nellie M., the wife of Dr. Linn Moore, both of whom died young.
     Florence E., who died unmarried.
     Allen B., now a leading attorney of the Clermont bar.
     All the years of Judge Nichols's professional practice were fruitful in accomplishment from a professional standpoint.  Almost from the beginning of his career, he, as a lawyer, was recognized as a safe counselor and especially strong in the trial of contested cases.  Trustworthy in the fullest extent of the term, those who confided their business to him soon came to recognize in him not only a professional advisor, but also a personal friend.  There is perhaps no man who ever practiced his profession in Clermont county who possessed the complete confidence of those whose affairs he managed to a greater degree than did Judge Nichols.  While his energies were largely devoted to the business of his profession he loved literature, and in his reading displayed a rare discrimination and taste.  In books, he loved and appreciated the best. His love of order was made manifest in his methodical arrangement, in all business affairs, and his love of the beautiful was shown in his taste, amounting to almost a passion for improvements of every kind.  This was especially manifest in his constant effort to make more beautiful the surroundings with which he daily came in contact, both in and about his home and throughout the village where he dwelt.
     Judge Nichols continued in his usual good health up to less than a year before his death, when signs of physical failing made themselves manifest, and it became apparent to family and friends that he was the victim of some insidious disease.  Notwithstanding this, his buoyancy of spirit asserted itself triumphant over physical ails, and he continued up to a few weeks before his death to give his attention to the office, of which he was the head, and it was only then by the urgings of those who loved him most that he consented to lay aside the cares of business and retire to the repose of his home, and here in the midst of his family he passed away, closing a long and useful life, full of good deeds and rich in material achievement, on the 18th day of November, 1907.
Source: History of Clermont and Brown Counties, Ohio - Vol. II - by Byron Williams - Publ. 1913 - Page 25
  HUGH L. NICHOLS, Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, was born at New Richmond, Clermont county, Mar. 25, 1865.  He is the eldest son of the late Judge Perry J. and Mrs. Jeannette (Gilmore) Nichols, and through his father a descendant of Col. Jonathan Donham, a man prominent in the early days of the county.  His great uncle, P. J. Donham, was for years recognized as one of the leading and most successful lawyers in Cincinnati, and other , and other members of the family achieved distinction in other lines.  Up to his fourteenth year the subject of this sketch lived with his parents in New Richmond, and began his schooling there and even at that early age by proficiency in his studies, gave evidence of his possession of that strong mentality which has been so fully manifested in his later career.  Removing with his family to Batavia in 1879, where his father went to assume the duties of the office of probate judge, he completed his common school course in that village, graduating from the high school in the class of 1883.
     The year after his graduation he matriculated as a student at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he remained for a year, but desiring to complete the study of the law, which he had already taken up, he entered the Cincinnati Law School, and in due course was admitted to the bar, in 1886.  Entering into a partnership with his father, under the firm name of Nichols & Nichols, he soon demonstrated his ability in the hard contests of actual practice, taking up almost from the beginning, the trial of the cases of his firm.  He has perhaps tried more cases in court in the past twenty-five years than any contemporary member of the local bar.  About 1900 his brother, Allen B. Nichols, was admitted to the partnership, which continued until dissolved by the death of Judge Nichols, in 1908.
    
The firm which enjoys a large and lucrative practice, is made up of the two brothers, Hugh L. and Allen B. Nichols.  Few cases of great importance have been tried in the Clermont courts for years in which Governor Nichols did not appear as one of the leading counsel.  Adhesion to the Democratic faith in politics is a tradition in that branch of the Nichols family to which the Governor belongs, and his interest in public affairs and in politics was early manifested.  The qualities of his mind especially fitted him for political management and leadership, and his abilities in that direction first had scope in the campaign of 1890, in which year the Clermont Democracy achieved one of its greatest victories.  A result which was justly largely attributed to the efforts of the young leader.  Never seeking office of himself, he was nominated and elected as a member of the Ohio State Senate in 1897, and served with distinction, but declined a re-election.
     His service and abilities then attracted to him the notice of men of affairs, and in 1898, when only thirty-three years of age, he was made the nominee of his party for supreme judge of Ohio.  After his campaign he devoted his attention for several years to the practice of his profession, until called upon by Governor Harmon, in 1910, to take charge of his campaign for re-election.  His work in that campaign, when he marshaled the Democratic force of Ohio to their greatest victory, is now a matter of history.
     On the election of Lieutenant-Governor Pomerene to the United States Senate, Governor Harmon's tender of the appointment to the vacancy to Governor Nichols, was a graceful acknowledgment of the debt which he felt he owed his manager.  During the session of the legislature which followed, he presided over the deliberations of the Senate and showed not  only his skill in guiding a turbulent assembly, but also his devotion to those progressive principles to which his party is now so completely committed.
     When Governor Harmon cast about for a manager for his presidential campaign the splendid service rendered by Governor Nichols in the campaign of 1910, pointed him as a fitting man.  His work in that contest from the opening of headquarters until the last ballot was taken in Baltimore, displayed the energy, ability and loyalty to his obligations which are marked features of Governor Nichols's character.  While he did not win in the sense of nominating his candidate, he showed those qualities which deserve success. 
     When the Ohio Democratic State convention met, in 1912, Governor Nichols, yielding to the persistent demand by his party associates in the State, consented to accept the nomination for lieutenant governor, as the running mate of Governor Cox.  At the ensuing election, he ran third on a ticket containing ten names, and his majority was over one hundred and fifty thousand.
     As these lines are written, he is presiding over the State Senate at Columbus.  Governor Nichols was a delegate from the Sixth district to the Democratic National convention in 1900, and in 1912 a delegate at large from the State of Ohio to the Baltimore convention, where he appeared as the personal representative of Governor Harmon on the floor.
     His political career has been a brilliant one, and those who know the man and his ability and have watched his career, do not doubt that the future holds greater honors in store for him.
     The true estimate of a man is made by those who for years have come in contact with him in his daily life and judged by this test, Hugh L. Nichols comes up fully to the highest conception of citizenship and manhood.  The esteem in which he is held by his neighbors and the wide popularity which he enjoys is based not only upon pride in his recognized ability, but in the feeling akin to affection born of a knowledge of his kindly impulses, his quick and sympathetic heart and his generous and unostentatious charities, which are limited by neither creed, condition, nor color.  Governor Nichols has been a member of the Presbyterian church since boyhood, and is prominent in its work and faithful in his attendance on its services.  His discharge of every duty, public and private, which has devolved upon him has born the impress of that high-mindedness which is a distinguishing feature of his character.  Governor Nichols was married in 1887 to Miss Louise Dean Stirling, a daughter of the late W. B. C. Stirling, an amiable and accomplished woman, and their beautiful home on Wood street in Batavia is a center of social activities and the seat of refined and generous hospitality.
Source: History of Clermont and Brown Counties, Ohio - Vol. II - by Byron Williams - Publ. 1913 - Page
220
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