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-- Manuscript Group 1012, Nichols Family (Newark, NJ), Papers, 1765 - 1904 (Bulk dates: 1830 - 1863)

Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 1012, Nichols Family (Newark, NJ)

Papers, 1765 - 1904 (Bulk dates: 1830 - 1863), 1.5 linear feet / 2 manuscript boxes & 9 volumes

Call Number: MG 1012


Summary:

Correspondence and documents of the Nichols family of Newark, chiefly, Isaac Nichols (1773-1861) and Alexander McWhorter Nichols (1809-1881).  Included are documents used by Isaac Nichols as the assignee and later executor of a Newark carriage maker, David Beach (1780-1830).

 

Biographical Note:

Isaac Nichols, the son of Elizabeth Johnson (1741-1813) and Robert Nichols (1735-1814), a farmer and captain of the Second Regiment of Essex County Militia during the Revolution, was born on February 20, 1773 in Newark, New Jersey.  Isaac Nichols was a carpenter and coffin maker, who was also involved with the Newark Banking Company.  He was active in local affairs, not only as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Newark and as a member and president of the Newark Common Council, but also as an appointed guardian, assignee, or executor for various local cases.  In 1830, he, along with Philo Sanford and John Alling, was appointed assignee for David Beach (1780-1830), a Newark carriage maker.  That same year the Orphan’s Court appointed him guardian of Elizabeth Baldwin and, along with David D. Crane and Moses Smith, commissioner over the estate of Sylvanus Baldwin.

On October 18, 1797, Isaac Nichols married Phebe Davis (1779-1834), with whom he had seven children: Eliza (1798-1799), Edwin (1800-1836), Aaron I. (1802-1861), Whitfield (1804-1805), Whitfield (1807-1851), Alexander McWhorter (1809-1881), and James (b. 1815).  Phebe and Isaac Nichols both died in Newark, she on October 24, 1834, and he on January 24, 1861.

Alexander McWhorter Nichols, Isaac and Phebe’s son, was born on December 14, 1809.  He was a builder and a trustee of the First Presbyterian Church of Newark.  In 1837, Alexander Nichols married his first cousin Hannah Riggs Ward (1805-1882), and together they had one son, Walter Smith Nichols.  Alexander Nichols died on December 15, 1881 in Newark, New Jersey.

Walter Smith Nichols was born on November 23, 1841.  He graduated from Princeton University in 1863, received his A.M. studying mathematics in 1866, and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1867.  After becoming an associate-justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Walter S. Nichols switched careers and joined Charles C. Hine’s publication business in New York City.  Nichols soon became vice president of the firm and editor-in-chief of its publications The Insurance Monitor and The Insurance Law Journal.  This eventually led to a career as a mathematical, legal, and insurance advisor to businesses and large corporations.  Like his father and grandfather, Walter S. Nichols was also on the Board of Trustees of the First Presbyterian Church of Newark.

On September 28, 1870, Walter S. Nichols married Mary (Minnie) Eliza Tompkins, with whom he had seven children: Helen Isabel, Walter Standish, Hannah Rose, Margaret Jenner, Amie Robsart, Alexander McWhorter, and Dorothy.  Walter S. Nichols died in Newark on February 9, 1921.

See Nichols Family Tree.

Sources:

Newark Directories, 1830s-1850s.

Scanell’s New Jersey’s First Citizens and State Guide (Paterson, New Jersey, 1923-124), Volume IV, pages 324-326.

Torrey, Frederic C. The Ancestors and Descendants of Humphrey Nichols of Newark, New Jersey and his Brothers and Sisters (Lakehurst, New Jersey, 1917).

 

Provenance Note:

Albert S. Wright donated many of the wills and Isaac Nichols land deeds in the collection.  The Alexander, Isaac, and Lewis Nichols record books, and the Alexander and Aaron Nichols receipt books were moved to this collection at the time of processing.  These items formerly made up Manuscript Groups 146, 521, and 715 and are from unknown sources.  Two additional account books belonging to Caleb W. Bruen and Caleb Camp have been moved to Manuscript Group 79, Caleb W. Bruen Daybooks and Manuscript Group 81, Camp Family Record books, respectively.  The source of the rest of the documents in this collection is unknown.

The title of the collection was changed at the time of processing from Nichols-Beach Family Papers to Nichols Family Papers.  Although the collection contains many David Beach documents, the Nichols-Beach Family title is misleading.  The two families were not allied by marriage and were only very distantly related.  Isaac Nichols was the assignee and later executor of David Beach’s estate, and as a result the Beach papers in the collection are those that Isaac Nichols used to fulfill these duties.  The remainder of the collection contains Nichols family correspondence, legal documents, and financial records, and therefore the name was switched to reflect the focus on the Nichols family.

 

Scope and Content Note:

This collection is made up of the papers of Isaac Nichols (1773-1861), Alexander Nichols (1809-1881), and other members of the Nichols family of Newark, New Jersey.  The collection dates from 1765-1904, with bulk dates of 1830-1863, and has been divided into four series: Correspondence, Land and Legal Documents, Probate records, and Financial Records.

The correspondence in the collection has been separated by recipient and then arranged alphabetically by author.  Although the series contains letters to Alexander Nichols, Hannah Riggs (Ward) Nichols, Walter S. Nichols, and Isaac Nichols, the majority of the correspondence is between Walter S. Nichols and his father Alexander Nichols while the former was attending Princeton University in the years 1860-1863.  These letters discuss school life, the Civil War, advice on behavior and letter-writing, fishing, hunting, crabbing, family matters, tenant problems, and upcoming weddings.  Other topics in this series include farm life in Iowa, immigration laws in the United States, membership in the church, David Beach’s finances, and the formation of a debating society in New York City.

The land and legal documents have been separated into the sub-series: Maps; Land Deeds; Pew Deeds; Bonds; Mortgages; and Releases, Transfers, Assignment Contracts, and Promissory Notes.  The land deeds have been arranged alphabetically by buyer and then by seller.  The majority of the land deeds are those of David Beach and Isaac Nichols and all except two involve land in Newark, New Jersey.  The remaining two deeds are for land in Caldwell and Pequannock, New Jersey.  There are also a number of small maps in the collection, which largely detail land owned by Newark families.  They are labeled with such titles as "Sayres Coe’s meadow."

The pew deeds are arranged alphabetically by buyer, the bonds by person bonded, and mortgages by person selling.  The pew deeds document the transfer of pews in the First Presbyterian Church of Newark among the Nichols family, while the bonds and mortgages are largely miscellaneous.  The releases, transfers, assignment contracts, and promissory notes are arranged chronologically and contain the deed of assignment between David Beach and Philo Sanford, John Alling, and Isaac Nichols; a deed of manumission between Isaac Nichols and his slave Eunice; and an indenture for the apprehension of David Beach’s runaway apprentice Israel D. Colwell.

The probate records in the collection include eight wills (some are copies), largely from the Nichols family; estate inventories and surrogate court certificates for David Beach, his wife Phebe (Tillou) Beach, and Robert Nichols; and a small number of reports and decrees concerning the estate of Sylvanus Baldwin.

The last series contains receipts, largely of David Beach and his assignees, and account and daybooks of Phebe (Tillou) Beach, Isaac Nichols, Alexander Nichols, and Lewis Nichols.  Phebe (Tillou) Beach’s account book, Isaac Nichols’ 1833-1852 daybook, and Lewis Nichols’ daybook were labeled by their owners, however most of the volumes in the collection were not labeled at the time of use.  Therefore, I have placed these items together by comparing handwriting samples, with the result that the majority of the ledger books seem to be those of Isaac and Alexander Nichols.

These volumes date from 1803-1855 and document the building business of these two men.  Account book entries are by customer and specify date, job, and price.  Daybook entries are by date and specify person, job, and price.  Typical jobs include mending fences, fixing doors, building bookcases, making coffins, and building houses on contract.  Isaac Nichols’ 1833-1852 daybook and Lewis Nichols’ daybook both have entries that were added in pencil by Walter S. Nichols.  Isaac’s daybook contains insurance figures and accounts, while Lewis’ contains estimates made for a number of different companies.  These entries are from the late 1870s.

 

Related Collections:

Manuscript Group 264, Newark, New Jersey Census: Taken by Isaac Nichols (1773-1861)

 

Box/Folder List:

Box

Folder

Title

Dates

Correspondence:

 

1

1

Letters to Alexander M. Nichols from Walter S. Nichols

n.d. (1860-1862)

1

2

Letters to Hannah Riggs (Ward) Nichols from:

- Lizzie (Moore?) 1868
- Mary E. Nichols 1846, 1882
- Mary (Ward?) Platt n.d.

1

3

Letters to Isaac Nichols from:

- J.C. Downing 1831
- William H. Ireland 1830
- Samuel Nichols 1855
- J.H. Shepherd 1832

1

4

Letters to Walter S. Nichols from Alexander M. Nichols

1860-1863

1

5

Letter to Walter S. Nichols from:

- (Tillie or Lillie?) Baldwin 1873
- George Dana 1881
- J.S. Dennis 1861, 1863, 1871 (?)
- H. James 1865
- George A. Meeker 1861, n.d.
- Lizzie (Moore?) 1861
- Edwin L. Nichols 1860
- George L. Nichols 1904
- Whitfield Nichols 1861
- Mary (Platt?) 1882
- Elihu T. Sanford 1868
- J.F. Stearns 1862, 1882
- Emma H. Tompkins 1870 (?)
- Mary (Minnie) Tompkins 1870
- Robert R. Westcott 1863
- (Oba?) Woodruff 1862
- Unknown – "Your friend Ed" 1862

1

6

Miscellaneous letters to:

- David Beach from Jabez Harrison 1830
- David Beach from ( ) 1831
- William H. Ireland from Isaac Nichols 1831
- William H. Ireland from Isaac Nichols 1832
- Elias Van Arsdale from Hugh Sweeney 1805
     - Eugene Vanderpool from Emerson McMillin  1893

Land and Legal Documents:

 

1

7

Maps of:

- Caroline Beach’s children's lot of wood near the waterhole beginning at the cart path n.d.
- Caroline Beach’s children's woodlot n.d.
- Camp’s woodlot n.d.
- Coe’s meadow n.d., post 1889
- Sayres Coes’ land n.d.
- Joseph Bruen Davis’ land n.d.
- Lots bought by Isaac Nichols’ from E. Crane 1806
- Jebidiah Johnson Nichols, Isaac Nichols, and Beach’s orchard n.d.
- Land bought by Whitfield Nichols n.d.
- Unlabeled (David Nichols owns a plot on it) n.d.

1

8

Land Deeds: David Beach

1810-1819

1

9

Land Deeds: Isaac Nichols

1798-1830

1

10

Land Deeds: Isaac Nichols

1832-1845

1

11

Land Deeds: Miscellaneous:

- Elias Beach, Joanna Downing, Sarah Beach, Phebe Beach, David Beach, Albert Beach, and Mary Ann Beach, heirs of David Beach from Isaac Nichols, John Alling, and Philo Sanford, assignees of David Beach 1831
- Caleb Camp from David & Mary Congor 1771
- James F. Connelly, Abstract of Title 1898
- John S. Darcy and Whitfield Nichols from Isaac & Anne Baldwin 1834
- Matthias Denman from Moses Nichols 1813
- Alexander Nichols from Isaac Nichols 1835
- Alexander Nichols from James Nichols 1845
- Alexander Nichols from Whitfield & Mary Nichols 1836
- Alexander Nichols from Whitfield & Mary A. Nichols 1836
- Alexander Nichols from Frederick H. & Phebe Smith 1841
- David Nichols, Johnson Nichols, and Isaac Nichols from Caleb Sayers and Uzal Sayers, executors of Jonathan Sayers’ estate 1815
- Jedediah Nichols from Isaac Nichols 1813
- Whitfield Nichols from Isaac Nichols 1835
- Whitfield Nichols from Alexander Nichols 1836

1

12

Pew Deeds

1808-1870

1

13

Bonds:

- David Beach to Ezra Baldwin and John Alling, executors of the estate of Eliphalet (?) Johnson 1818
- David Beach to The Mechanics Fire Insurance Co. 1825
- James F. Connelly to Richard H. Ball 1898
- John C. & Joanna Downing, Frederick H. & Phebe Smith, Hermon G. & Sarah Johnson, and William Tuttle to Isaac Nichols 1834
- Robert B. Moores and Stephen M. Moores to Isaac Nichols 1832
- Aaron Hatfield, Isaac Hatfield, Andrew Hatfield, Jonathan Hatfield, Elizabeth Hatfield, Mary Noe, heirs of Deacon Isaac Hatfield to Andrew Hatfield 1813
- James Nichols to James H. Tichenor 1844
- Whitfield Nichols to Joseph A. Halsey 1843
- Carlisle Walton to Rinear S. Speer 1849
1 13 Mortgages:
- David & Phebe Beach to Ezra Baldwin and John Alling, executors of Eliphalet(?) Johnson 1818
- James F. Connelly to Richard H. Ball 1898
- James Nichols to James H. Tichenor 1844
- Carlisle and Mary Walton to Rinear S. Speer 1849

1

14

Releases, Transfers, Assignment Contracts, and Promissory Notes:

- Deed of Manumission between Isaac Nichols and the slave Eunice 1822
- Indenture for the apprehension of the David Beach’s runaway apprentice Israel D. Colwell 1828
- Promissory note from David Beach to John Trotter 1829
- Promissory note from A. Danforth to David Beach 1829
- Deed of Assignment for David Beach 1830
- Permission for Assignees to sell parts of David Beach’s estate 1830
- Transfer of David Beach’s personal estate to Isaac Nichols 1831
- Assignment of trustees for Rhoda Mulford’s estate 1843
- Assignment of the Newark Banking & Insurance Company to Isaac Nichols 1848
    - Releases of Mechanics’ Lien for James F. Connelly   9/1898-10/1898

Probate Records:

 

1

15

Wills:

- Joseph Davis 1827
- Damaris Hetfield (with certificate) 1808
- Isaac Hetfield 1803
- Moses Johnson 1777
- Alexander Nichols (with certificate) 1881
- Edwin Nichols 1836
- Hannah R. (Ward) Nichols (with certificate) 1882
- Humphrey Nichols 1765
- Isaac Nichols (with codicils and certificate) 1855, 1857, 1858
- James Nichols 1849
- Robert Nichols (with certificate) 1814
- Caroline Parkhurst (certificate only) 1876

1

16

Estate inventories and Surrogate Court certificates for David and Phebe (Tillou) Beach and Robert Nichols

1814-1832

2

1

Decrees, Reports, and Receipts concerning Sylvanus Baldwin’s estate, Isaac Nichols is the court appointed commissioner

1829-1830

Financial Records:

 

2

2

Receipts and bills: David Beach

1820-1830

2

3

Receipts and bills: Assignees of David Beach

1829-April 1830

2

4

Receipts and bills: Assignees of David Beach

May 1830-1831

2

5

Receipts: David Beach auctions

1830-1833

2

6

Receipts and bills: Miscellaneous

1797-1887

2

7

Receipt book: Aaron Nichols & Alexander Nichols, Trustee for Mary Ann Weber

1806-1836 & 1866-1871

2

8

Accounts: David Beach and Assignees

1828-1833

2

9

Account book: Phebe (Tillou) Beach

1830-1833

3

-

Account book: Alexander Nichols (?)

1831-1835

4

-

Account book: Alexander Nichols (?)

1835-1851

5

-

Daybook: Alexander Nichols (?)

1831-1835

6

-

Daybook: Alexander Nichols (?)

1835-1850

7

-

Daybook: Alexander Nichols (?)

1850-1855

8

-

Daybook: Isaac Nichols

1803-1812

9

-

Daybook: Isaac Nichols

1821-1835

10

-

Daybook: Isaac Nichols, with later entries by Walter S. Nichols

1833-1852

11

-

Daybook: Lewis Nichols, with later entries by Walter S. Nichols

1821-1845, 1876-1881

 

Nichols Family Tree:

Robert Nichols (1735-1814) = Elizabeth Johnson (1741-1813)

          |

David Nichols (1764-1843)

*Jedediah Johnson Nichols (b.1766) = Deborah Andruss*

Sarah Nichols (Vanderpool) (1768-1852)

Samuel Nichols (1770-1856) Lewis Nichols (1796-1860)

**Isaac Nichols (1773-1861) = Phebe Davis (1779-1834)**

Moses Nichols (1775-1822)

Aaron Nichols (1781-1857)

Abigail Nichols = Caleb Smith Ward

          |

Sarah Ward

***Hannah Riggs Ward (1805-1882) = Alexander McWhorter Nichols (1809-1881)***

Jane Ward

Emma Ward

Joseph Ward

Caleb Smith Ward, Jr.

Cornelia Ward

Robert Ward

 

 

 

*Jedediah Johnson Nichols (b.1766) = Deborah Andruss*

          | (4 children)

Lewis Nichols (1796-1860)

 

 

 

**Isaac Nichols (1773-1861) = Phebe Davis (1779-1834)**

          |

Eliza Nichols (1798-1799)

Edwin Nichols (1800-1836)

Aaron I. Nichols (1802-1861)

Whitfield Nichols (1804-1805)

Whitfield Nichols (1807-1851)

***Alexander McWhorter Nichols (1809-1881) = Hannah Riggs Ward (1805-1882)***

James Nichols (b.1815)

 

 

 

***Alexander McWhorter Nichols (1809-1881) = Hannah Riggs Ward (1805-1882)***

          |

Walter S. Nichols (1841-1921) = Mary (Minnie) E. Tompkins

          |

Helen Isabel Nichols

Walter Standish Nichols

Hannah Rose Nichols

Margaret Jenner Nichols

Amie Robsart Nichols

Alexander McWhorter Nichols (II)

Dorothy Nichols

 

 

Processed by Kim Charlton, December 1999 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Submit a request to copy part of this collection

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