This is an excerpt from Reminiscences of the Nichols Family which was written by my great grandmother, Fay Eveline Nichols Jimison (22 Jun 1883 – 5 May 1979) in May of 1960. I have scanned the entire document into a pdf file (23 pages) which I will be happy to send to anyone who is interested. This particular Nichols Family lived in and around Momence, Illinois.
Forward: Until I was eleven years old I spent quite a lot of time every year visiting my grandparents, John Nichols and his second wife, my father’s stepmother, Grandma Lindy (Malinda McKinney Nichols). I was the favorite grandchild of Grandma Lindy.
My father’s sister, Martha Nichols (Aunt Matt), who never married and had been raised by her grandparents, William Nichols and his second wife, Margaret Grimes Nichols, also lived there, and so had many tales of an older generation as she had heard them from visitors with the grandparents.
Grandma Lindy and Aunt Matt raised two children, Mattie Moran, whom they took at four years of age when her parents separated, and Frank Yates, whom they took at five months when his mother died. His story appears elsewhere in these notes. Mattie was Aunt Matt’s favorite and they were as close as if they were really mother and daughter. Mattie’s oldest son, John Ward, was also raised there and after grandpa’s death he farmed and made a home for Aunt Matt and grandma until Aunt Matt’s death.
Frank Yates was grandma’s special care, and he was appointed her guardian. He bought out the shares of the heirs of my father (myself, brother and sisters) and planned on making a home for themselves and grandma, but soon after Frank acquired the place, grandma went to Missouri with a niece and died there.
When we lived in and near Momence, until I was six years old, I used to go often with my father to visit the families of his uncles, aunts and cousins. The Nichols’ families were mostly quite clannish, and also came to visit us. It is from these memories that these stories come. Since most of them are from childhood memories, they are not of historical value but the few dates that are included I have tried to have accurate.
From my research notes: John Nichol’s first wife, the mother of James Nichols, grandmother of Fay Eveline Nichols Jimison, was Sarah Jane Marshall (25 Apr 1835 OH -10 May 1861 Momence, IL). She married John Nichols 10 Feb 1853 in Will Co, IL. After Sarah Jane died, John Nichols left his children in the care of relatives and joined the army. He served with the 76th IL US Infantry as a wagoner/teamster from 22 Aug 1862 to 22 Jul 1865. This is a photo of Sarah Jane Marshall Nichols and a daughter Ellen, who died shortly after the photo was taken.