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Whatcom County
Genealogy and History





Nichols, Clarence A.

    For nearly forty years Clarence A. Nichols, a carpenter now living retired in Bellingham, has been a resident of Whatcom county and he therefore very properly may be regarded as one of the pioneers of this region. A native of the Empire state, he was born in Essex county, in 1855, a son of Charles and Adaline Nichols, and was ten years of age when in 1865 his father closed out his affairs there and with his family moved to Iowa, settling on a homestead farm in Clayton county, where young Clarence grew to manhood, familiar with the trials and tribulations that faced the settlers of the middle west in the days of drouth, hot winds, blizzards, prairie fires and grasshoppers.

    Upon attaining his majority, Clarence A. Nichols left the home farm and went to the neighboring state of Kansas, taking up a homestead claim in Rooks county. He presently married, established his home on that place and continued farming there, incidentally also following the trade of carpenter, until 1888, when he closed out his holdings there and with his family came to the Territory of Washington, taking up a homestead tract between Whatcom and Samish. A year later he disposed of that claim to advantage and moved to Fairhaven, where he became engaged as a carpenter and builder and in this vocational capacity helped to build up that section of the present city of Bellingham. Mr. Nichols made the mortar boards preparatory to the erection of the old Fairhaven Hotel, forerunner of the present Victoria Hotel. He also had a hand in the erection of most of the buildings of consequence in that section during the '90s. In 1902, the year before the settlements finally agreed to a general incorporation under the name of Bellingham, he moved to the northside and built a dwelling on High street, establishing his home there and continuing to take a part in building operations. In 1912 he traded his home place for a forty-acre farm in the Everson neighborhood but in 1915 sold that place and returned to town, where he built his present home at 336 North Forest street. For four or five years after his return Mr. Nichols continued active in the building trades but is now living practically retired.

    It was on March 2, 1880, at Fairbury, Nebraska, that Mr. Nichols was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Alice Merry, who was born in 1858 in Bond county, Illinois, daughter of R. L. and Sarah G. Merry. She was ten years of age when her parents moved with their family to Nebraska, where she grew to womanhood and was married. She is a member of the Garden Street Methodist Episcopal church. To Mr. and Mrs. Nichols nine children have been born, all of whom are living save three. They also have seven grandchildren. Their first born Guy Floyd, now living in Vancouver, has an adopted child. The second son, Charles M., died in 1904. The first born daughter, Mehitabel, married L. M. Wadsworth of Bellingham and has two children, Vera and Clyde. The next in order were twin sons, Robert and Oren. The latter died unmarried. Robert, also deceased, married Ruth Wilson and had three children, Garnet, Ruth and Robert. The second daughter, Miss Lucile Nichols, is a teacher. The next daughter, Relta May, married C. C. Cook of Bellingham and has two children, Charles and Mary Jane. The next son, George Richard Nichols, a veteran of the World war now in hospital in California, married Lena Halley and had one child, now deceased. During the time of this country's participation in the World war (1917-18) he served with the Sixty-third Field Artillery of the American Expeditionary Forces in France and saw nine months of active service, during that time suffering disabilities that since have invalided him. Lydia A., married R. M. McCormack and is living in Bellingham.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 469-470

Nielsen, J. K.

    Sufficient has been drawn from the life history of the man whose name appears above to show that there is something in his inner life worthy of more than incidental mention. He began life practically at the bottom of the ladder, which he has climbed with no help but a brave heart, industrious hands and an intelligent brain, and is a living example of what may be accomplished by energy, perseverance and thrift, even under discouraging circumstances, and he now rests secure in the respect and esteem of all who know him, because of the high ideals and honest motives which have actuated his life. J. K. Nielsen was born in Denmark on the 10th of April, 1873, and is a son of Niels Peter and Annie Marie (Jensen) Larsen, farming folk, both of whom were born, reared and spent their lives in that country, both being now deceased. The maternal grandfather was decorated with the cross of the Danish flag because of his honorable and patriotic service of thirty-five years as alderman.

    J. K. Nielsen secured his education in the public schools of his native land but left school at the age of nine years, being hired out to herd cattle. At fifteen he suffered the loss of his mother, and he then went to work on neighboring farms, being so employed until twenty years of age. He then served the usual period, eight months, in the Danish army, training in the infantry and coast artillery schools, after which he worked at various occupations, in shipyards and on railroads, and next began taking small contracts for ditching, digging wells and similar work.  Later he learned the trade of a butcher, which he followed until April 10, 1903, when he emigrated to the United States, landing at New York city. Having a brother in Chicago, he went to that city, arriving there with a total cash capital of three dollars. He then went to West McHenry, Woodstock county, Illinois, and during the following two years worked at any employment he could find, chiefly on farms, where he received fifteen dollars a month and keep. During that period he also studied hard to learn the English language, and through the most rigid economy he saved fifty dollars.

    Mr. Nielsen then came to Whatcom county, arriving at Bellingham March 14, 1905. He secured a job on the farm of E. H. Bruns at Birch Bay, and started for that destination, getting off the train at Custer and being compelled to walk eight miles over such roads as might be expected in March. He remained in Mr. Bruns' employ about two years and then bought eighteen acres of land from his employer, comprising his present farm, and to the clearing and improvement of the tract he applied himself closely and with such excellent results that he now has eight acres cleared and in cultivation, while the other improvements on the place have been of such a character as have made of it a very valuable ranch. At the time he completed the first shack on his farm he had but twenty dollars in money left with which to furnish the house and operate the farm. He carries on general farming, devoting a large part of his attention to dairying and the raising of hogs, in which he has met with well deserved success. He raises sufficient feed to care for the stock and is now very comfortably situated. Mr. Nielsen was at one time a member of the Grange. He has taken a proper interest in township affairs and served for two years as township supervisor. In 1917, owing to ill health, Mr. Nielsen sold off his personal property and went to San Francisco, where he remained about two months. He then returned to Puget Sound and went to work in the navy yard at Bremerton, being subsequently discharged from the navy yard with a grade of eighty-five per cent in workmanship and ninety-five per cent in behavior. He returned to his farm and is now busily engaged in its operation. Mr. Nielsen possesses much of the characteristic energy, thrift and perseverance of his race, of which he is a creditable representative, and is a loyal and patriotic citizen of his adopted country. He is well known throughout this section of the country, and because of his many fine qualities of character and his genial manner he is held in the highest measure of esteem by all who know him.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 507-508

Nielson, N. P.

    The well known citizen and farmer whose name appears above is numbered among the band of sturdy pioneers who more than forty years ago came to the wilds of northwestern Whatcom county and by hard and long-continued toil at length carved out of the wilderness fertile farms and comfortable home. Privations and hardships were their lot, but they had a faith in the future of this locality that stimulated then to renewed efforts, and the smiling fields of today stand in eloquent testimony as to their courage and indomitable industry. N. P. Nielsen was born on the 18th of April, 1855, in the northern part of Germany, the locality of his birth now belonging to Denmark. The father died when our subject was but a small boy, and he has little recollection of him. His mother, whose maiden name was Mary Gruenberg, also died in her native land.

    N. P. Nielsen attended the public schools of his native land until the age of twelve years, when he went to sea and followed that occupation for a number of years, during which time he visited practically every part of the globe. On leaving the sea, Mr. Nielsen turned his attention to the shipbuilding trade, which he followed until 1878, when he went to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he worked on sugar plantations for two years. He then came to the United States, landing at San Francisco, and thence went at once to Washington. In 1884 he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land seven miles east of Blaine. He had landed at Semiahmoo and found it necessary to blaze a trail to his property, as there were at that time no roads or well defined trails through that section of the county. In fact, for several years he was compelled to pack in all his provisions and supplies. He remained on that place for sixteen years, clearing about twenty acres of the land and slashing the remainder, while the other improvements included a good house and barn. His chief crops were oats and peas. In 1900 Mr. Nielson moved to his present place, comprising thirteen acres, which was a part of the old Thomas homestead, and he has about five acres of it cleared and in cultivation. Altogether Mr. Nielsen has about eighty acres of land cleared and is the owner of a valuable and attractive farm. He is now giving his main attention to dairying and chickens, having a nice herd of good grade cows and about eight hundred White Leghorn hens. He raises his own feed and roughage and has everything about the place well equipped for the proper conduct of his operations.

    In 1886 Mr. Nielsen was married to Miss Annie Hostrup, who was born in the same locality as he was, having known each other from childhood. Eventually she came to this country to become his bride. She is a daughter of Andrew and Annie (Slaus) Hostrup, who came to the United States in 1886 and made their home with the subject until they died. To Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen have been born seven children: Peter died at the age of two years. John is at home and usually works in the fishing industry in Alaska in summer. Annie is the wife of L. Brown of Bellingham, and they have three children. Lendy, who was killed in a logging camp in 1922, was a veteran of the World war, serving two years as a member of the Three Hundred and Sixty-first Infantry Regiment. He was overseas for nine months and took part in several engagements but was not wounded. Mrs. Katherine Wigges resides in Tacoma. Harry, who lives in Bellingham, is married and has a daughter. August remains at home.

    Mr. Nielsen is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Sons of Herman. He is also a member of the Whatcom County Dairymen's Association and the Whatcom County Poultry Association. His religious affiliation is with the Lutheran church, of which he is a generous supporter. In every relation of life he has been true to every trust and has done his full part in the development of his community, giving his earnest support to all measures for the advancement of the public welfare. He has long held a high place in the esteem and respect of his fellow citizens, because of his industry, his success and his fine personal qualities.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 425-426

Nienaber, Raymond A.

    Raymond A. Nienaber is one of Bellingham's enterprising young business men and every step he has taken toward a successful career has been in the right direction. He was born November 25, 1899, in Whatcom county and is a son of Gustave and Christina Nienaber, who cast in their lot with its early settlers. The father was engaged in contracting and also developed a fine farm. He was one of the pioneer lumbermen of this district, and he is now living retired at Laurel, Washington.

    Raymond A. Nienaber attended the public schools and after completing his studies learned the machinist's trade, which he followed until December, 1922, becoming a skilled worker. He then entered the field of real estate, in which he has since continued, and is now a member of the well known firm of Connell & Nienaber, his partner in the undertaking being John Connell. Mr. Nienaber was one of the founders of the business and is well informed on everything pertaining thereto. His judgment is rarely at fault concerning the value of local realty and its possible rise or diminution in price. The firm is conducting a large business and its operations have been of direct benefit to the city.

    On September 4, 1920, Mr. Nienaber married Miss Selma Dyven, of Bellingham, and to this union has been born a daughter, Irene. Mr. Nienaber is a member of the local  Real Estate Association and Bellingham Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America, while his political allegiance is given to the republican party. He has accomplished much for one of his years and the future undoubtedly holds much in store for him, as he possesses those qualities which are essential to progress in all lines of endeavor.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 242

Nightingale, Herbert S. and Richard John

    Herbert S. Nightingale, junior member of the law firm of Bixby & Nightingale at Bellingham and one of the best known members of the Whatcom county bar, was born in Loup City, county seat of Sherman county, Nebraska, February, 12, 1890, and is a son of the late Richard John and Emily S. (Smith) Nightingale, both natives of England and whose last days were spent in Bellingham.

    Richard John Nightingale was born in the city of Birmingham and was graduated from the University of London. Not long after leaving college he came to the United States and in 1872 settled in Nebraska. For some time he was engaged in farming, meanwhile carrying on his studies in law, and about 1880 he was admitted to the bar and became engaged in the practice of law in Loup City. He married Mrs. Emily S. (Smith) Cuttle, a widow, and continued to make his home in that city until 1914, when he closed out his affairs there and came to Bellingham, here rejoining his son, Herbert, who had become engaged in law practice in Bellingham the year before, and as a member of the firm of Bixby & Nightingale continued in practice until his death, April 25, 1921. He was a member of the Whatcom County Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association, was a republican in politics and was affiliated with the Knights of Pythias. His widow survived him for something more that two years, her death occurring August 30, 1923, and she is survived by her three children; J. R. Cuttle, the son of her first marriage, who is now a resident of Los Angeles, California; Herbert S. Nightingale and Beatrice, the wife of R. T. Nightingale of Tacoma.

    Reared at Loup City, Herbert S. Nightingale was graduated from the law school of the University of Nebraska in 1911 and in that year became engaged in the practice of law in his home town in association with his father. Two years later, in 1913, he came to Washington and became established in practice at Bellingham, in association with Frank W. Bixby, and he has since been thus engaged, the law firm of Bixby & Nightingale being [missing line(s) or erroneous line] which at that time contained a large supply of valuable timber. He resided in the Wolverine [missing lines] one of the best established in this section of the state. When this country entered the World war Mr. Nightingale enlisted and in July, 1918, entered the service. He was in the army until his discharge in February, 1919, the war then being over, and he was mustered out as sergeant major of the First Battalion of the Thirty-eighth Field Artillery.

    On October 12, 1923, in Bellingham, Mr. Nightingale was united in marriage to Miss Ellen Kilbury, and they have a pleasant home in that city. They are republicans and are interested in local civic affairs, as well as in the general social and cultural activities of the community. Mr. Nightingale is a member of the local post of the American Legion and is affiliated with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He is an active member of the Whatcom County Bar Association and of the Washington State Bar Association and has a wide acquaintance in his profession.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pgs. 117-118

Niles, Harvey Brainard

    Harvey Brainard Niles, one of the pioneers of northwestern Washington, has been engaged in merchandising at Deming for more than a quarter century, and all that he now possesses has been gained by hard work and strict attention to business. He was born February 25, 1861, and is a native of Halifax, Vermont. His parents were Stephen B. and Clarissa (Harris) Niles, the former of whom enlisted in the Union army in September, 1861, and on April 16, 1862, was killed at the battle of Lee's Mills near Yorktown.

    Harvey B. Niles was reared and educated in Brattleboro, Vermont, and when but thirteen years of age was left an orphan by the death of his mother. He remained in the east until 1880 and when a young man of nineteen went to Kansas, going to Colorado a few years later. He came to Bellingham, then known as Whatcom, in 1885 and on May 1 of that year became the owner of the Terminus Hotel, also acquiring a meat market. He sold the business at the end of one and a half years and in 1887 was made post trader on the Indian reservation. He filled the position for five years and then purchased a store at Clearlake, Washington, of which place he was postmaster for seven years. In March, 1899, Mr. Niles opened a general store in Deming, and for twenty-seven years he has successfully conducted the business. The building in which he first located was destroyed by fire in 1924 and he now occupies a smaller store. He carries merchandise of good quality and his commercial dealings have always balanced up with the principles of truth and honor.

    In January, 1886, Mr. Niles married Miss Mary Phelan, a niece of Mrs. M. J. Clark, and their union was severed by her death in February, 1906. They had a family of eight children, but the first and second died in infancy, while Leo, the sixth in order of birth, reached the age of twenty-two years. The others are: Clinton Edward, a well known merchant of Sumner, Washington; Jesse N., who is associated with his father in business; Edward Samuel; Alice, the wife of Cecil Jordan and a resident of Lyman, Washington; and William Andrew. Mr. Niles is connected with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, being a charter member of the lodge at Sedro Woolley, and his political allegiance is given to the democratic party. He has many loyal friends in northwestern Washington, and his reminiscences of the early days are interesting and instructive.

History of Whatcom County Volume 2, Lottie Roeder Roth, pub. 1926, pg. 513


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