My great-grandfather, George Washington Nichols, was born on 9 February 1842 in St. Louis County, Missouri, second oldest of seven children of Thomas and Ann Nichols. In 1826, Thomas had moved to St. Louis County with his father, William, after spending three years in Marion County, Illinois. William was born in Halifax County, Virginia, in 1785. About 1800, William’s father, Jesse Nichols, had brought the family to Smith County, Tennessee, where Thomas was born. Jesse, my fourth great-grandfather and my entreé into the SAR, was a lieutenant in the Halifax County militia and sold beef to the Continental Army.

In the 1850 U.S. census, George was listed with three other siblings: William, twelve years old; Josephine, six; and Thomas, six months old.

The 1864 Edwards St. Louis Directory listed George W. Nichols as “medical student, boarding at 22 S. 6th Street.” He graduated from the St. Louis Medical College in 1864 at age twenty-two, one of eighty-one graduates. He also obtained a medical degree, ad eundem, from the Missouri Medical College. Ad eundem designates “graduates of alien institutions who desired . . . the sanction of the Missouri Medical College.” Washington University subsumed both schools.

On 28 November 1869, the young doctor married Mary Louisa Monnier, who descended from French Huguenots, at the residence of the bride’s mother. The groom was twenty-seven, and his bride was twenty-five. Minister B. T. Lacy was the officiant. At this point in our family history we became Presbyterians. [George’s father and grandfather are buried in the Manchester (Missouri) United Methodist Church cemetery.] The couple had one child, a son, my grandfather, Eugene Jaccard Nichols, who was born on 24 September 1879 in St. Louis County.

Old Des Peres Church
Old Des Peres Church and cemetery
Photo in the collection of Dr. Steven Nichols
Used with permission

The following are snippets gleaned from newspaper files at the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center:

    • 22 January 1882—PRICE POST OFFICE Dr. Nichols vaccinated the children of Claytonville and Wright’s school last Tuesday. An ounce of prevention is worth 4,003 pounds of cures—so think the directors of those schools.
    • 5 July 1883—During the heavy storm yesterday, Chas. Kobi, who was working the John McKnight farm near Clayton, was thrown from a reaper, by reason of his team frightening at a heavy clap of thunder. Dr. Nichols was called. The injured man will be laid up for several weeks.
    • 12 June 1884—The county clerk, this week, prepared a list of physicians and midwives who have registered; . . . In the first class, as above indicated, are . . . Nichols and Dionysius, Price . . .

Mary Monnier Nichols suffered an untimely death at age thirty-eight from tuberculosis. She died at home and was buried in the Des Peres Church cemetery where George was eventually laid to rest. George never remarried.

George died on 20 July 1913 at age seventy-one years. At this time he was living with his son Eugene at 3960A Wyoming Street, about one-half block west of Grand Avenue in south St. Louis. George was buried on 23 July 1913.

Written by Dr. Steven Nichols
June 2017
© 2017, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 25-Oct-2018 21:56