Biography of Bradley Nichols


History of Columbia County, New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis

Published by Everts & Ensign

Philadelphia, PA





Page  295


    TIMOTHY NICHOLS, the father of the two brothers residing in the north part of the town of Chatham, and of whom we give a brief sketch, was a native of Fairfield, Conn.; born but a few miles distant from the old town of Fairfield, his ancestors were among the early settlers of the county, and took part in the defense of the town when it was attacked and burned by the British, under Governor Tryon, in 1779.

     Timothy Nichols came to Chatham about the year 1818, and learned the blacksmith trade.  Here he formed the acquaintance of Catharine, daughter of Christian C. Lawrence, an old, widely-known, and highly-respected resident of North Chatham, whom he married; and from this union sprang the two sons, Bradley and Ward Nichols, now residents of North Chatham.  Bradley married the very estimable daughter of Henry Becker, Esq., of Chatham Centre, a man highly prized for his judgment in town and county matters, having held the office of justice many years in his native town.

     About the year 1846, Bradley, while yet a young man residing with his father on a farm between North and Centre Chatham, was sauntering one day to the latter place, when he was accosted by two gentlemen in conversation by the roadside.  One of them was Mr. Abraham P. Van Alstyne, an old resident of Chatham Centre, and with whom Bradley was well acquainted; the other was a Mr. Reed, a grain merchant of Boston, who had stepped off from the cars to engage some one to buy grain for the Boston firm.  Mr. Van Alstyne at once introduced Bradley to his companion, and then and there, with the hearty approval and indorsement (sic) of Mr. Van Alstyne, a bargain was made and entered into which resulted in establishing a business which proved remunerative both to buyer an seller.

     From this little circumstance Mr. Nichols dates his success in business, and ever looks back to it with pleasure; also gratefully remembering the name of Mr. Van Alstyne, who was the instrument of bringing it about.  After spending about two years in buying grain at Schodack, Mr. Nichols went to Kinderhook Depot, on the Boston and Albany railroad, and during ten years in the business there won the reputation of a perfectly upright and honest dealer, giving the farmers a good market and an equivalent for their grain.  After this Mr. Nichols moved to Albany, and for about ten years more pursued the grain and commission business in that city with marked success, doing a commission business of between $500,000 and $600,000.  While there he was looked upon by his associates as a thorough business man, and one whose word and check were never questioned.

     In 1870, Mr. Nichols retired from business, and returned to his native town of North Chatham, where he has since resided.  Much might be said of Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Nichols, wherein an imitation of their worthy example would be a benefit to mankind.  They have since their marriage cared for, brought up, and educated three little orphan children, who were left poor and almost friendless, but who now look up to and love them as only fond, loving children can love parents.  The poor and needy are never turned away, and Mr. and Mrs. Nichols are know for their liberality in giving to any enterprise for the benefit of society around them.

     WARD NICHOLS, brother of Bradley, is quite an extensive farmer, living near North Chatham, and is widely known, having held offices of trust in the town.  He married the daughter of Isaac M. Reed.  Bradley Burr Nichols son of Ward, married the only daughter of Lewis Rowe, Esq., and is at present engaged in farming.