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Nichols Family of Danvers, Massachusetts, Papers

Nichols Family of Danvers, Massachusetts, Papers

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Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 161 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-948-6012
Creator:Nichols family
Title:Nichols Family of Danvers, Massachusetts, Papers
Quantity:3 Linear feet (6 boxes)
Abstract:The Nichols Family of Danvers, Massachusetts, Papers contains correspondence, receipts, estate papers, legal papers, diaries, poetry, published material, and a sketchbook for the Nichols family of Danvers, Massachusetts.
Collection Number:MSS 431

Series List

SERIES I. John Nichols (1713-1792) Papers
SERIES II. Andrew Nichols (1757-1812) and Eunice Nichols (1757-1848) Papers
SERIES III. John Nichols (1780-1840) Papers
SERIES IV. Andrew Nichols (1785-1853) PapersSERIES V. Mary Holyoke Ward Nichols (1800-1880) Papers
SERIES VI. Andrew Nichols (born 1837) Papers
SERIES VII. Related Family Papers

Scope and Content Note

The Nichols Family of Danvers, Massachusetts, Papers contains correspondence, receipts, estate papers, legal papers, diaries, poetry, published material, and a sketchbook for the Nichols family of Danvers, Massachusetts. The bulk of the collection dates from 1800 to 1850. It has been divided in to seven series.

Series I. John Nichols (1713-1792) Papers contains a number of land agreements between the Prince, Herrick, Kimball, and Nichols families, a variety of receipts, including a receipt of items given by John to his daughter, Mary Herrick, and an account of the "Sale of Wood in Middleton, Massachusetts."

Series II. Andrew Nichols (1757-1812) and Eunice Nichols (1757-1848) Papers contains: a number of receipts; a license to sell "foreign distilled spirits" at his store; an easement between Andrew Nichols, Eleazer Putnam, and Eben Dale, and an account of Andrew Nichols' estate. Eunice's papers include a handwritten poem signed at the end by Eunice, indenture papers, a land agreement between Eunice and Betsy Evans, receipts, and estate papers.

Series III. John Nichols (1780-1840) Papers contains mostly legal papers, including a number of documents for a land transaction between John May Webster, Eunice E. Webster, and John Nichols. Other land agreements are included in this series. Also included is a paper on the estate of Emma Nichols, John Nichols' wife.

Series IV. Andrew Nichols (1785-1853) Papers are divided into four subseries. Subseries A. Correspondence includes letters written by Andrew Nichols and Mary Holyoke (Ward) Nichols to other family members and various letters to Andrew Nichols. Some correspondents of note are Rufus Choate and C. C. Sewall. Subseries B. Personal Papers consists of a number of papers documenting legal agreements, including Justice of the Peace certificates and a form granting guardianship of a boy, Stephen Swiss, to Andrew Nichols. Also included is a handwriting exercise book, a receipt for payment on a church pew, and notes on schools located in Danvers. This subseries also contains a folder of printed materials, including a flyer for a series of botany lectures conducted by Andrew Nichols, as well as political pamphlets, and an invitation to the Royal Arch Chapter Ball. There is also on daybook kept by Andrew Nichols for the year 1848. Subseries C. Writings contains a number of lectures on botany, Masonic philosophy, and intemperance; notes of botany lectures given by others; religious notes and writing son Unitarianism; histories of Danvers, Massachusetts. This series also contains a good deal of poetry; much of the poetry is undated. Andrew Nichols also wrote commentary and poetry for the Free Soil Party, and he wrote a paper against the reelection of Daniel P. King (1801-1850), a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Andrew Nichols published his writings as well and those writings have been organized into Subseries D. Published Writings. This subseries includes: hymns written for Jordan Lodge and the Unitarian Church in Danvers, Massachusetts; poetry published in the newspaper; a publication in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal on spinal irritation; a paper entitled "Irritation of the Nerves," published in the Medical Communications of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and an address given by the Health Committee of Danvers.

Series V. Mary Holyoke Ward Nichols (1800-1880) Papers includes a set of seven almanacs/diaries that cover 1826-1835. These volumes are printed almanacs with interspersed blank leaves, on which Mary Nichols recorded daily activities. Also included are a number of letters written by Mary's nieces, Sarah Page and Susannah Spillman.

Two folders comprise Series VI. Andrew Nichols (born 1837) Papers. The first folder contains correspondence written to Andrew Nichols, a receipt for six dollars, and a poem written by his father, copied on the backs of envelopes addressed to Andrew Nichols. The second folder contains a number of newspaper clippings from 1917 to 1919 and undated. A number of the clippings refer to Andrew Nichols.

Series VII. Related Family Papers consists of papers relating directly or indirectly to the Nichols family. Folders of papers and correspondence either mention the Nichols family, or were interspersed among said papers. These papers include a map to the "Iron Factory Pond." The Danvers Iron Works, which existed from 1796-1838, did have a pond on the property, which was located near the Waters Bridge. Today the Waters Bridge is the Danversport Bridge. A sketchbook belonging to Andrew Nichols' (born 1837) daughter, Mary Eliot Nichols is located in this series. Also include are a wallet and a box decorated with a picture of four ladies. The box originally held a photograph labeled as "Henry Wheatland, Pres. of the Essex Institute." The photograph has been removed and placed in a separate folder. Other papers not relating directly to the Nichols family include poems written by Samuel Sewall about his dog, Pug, and a receipt passing Ruth Cheever's estate to Israel Cheever.

Biographical Sketches

John Nichols (1713-1792) was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, and married Elizabeth Prince (born 1716) in 1736.

Andrew Nichols (1757-1812) was born on Nichols Street in Middleton, Massachusetts, to Samuel Nichols and Abigail (Elliot) Nichols. He married his cousin, Eunice Nichols, in 1777 and they had four children: Elizabeth, John, Andrew, and Abel. He was a farmer and also served as a town officer. In 1777, Andrew Nichols also enlisted as a private in Daniel Howlett's company (Colonel Ashley's regiment), sent to reinforce the Continental Army at Fort Ticonderoga.

Eunice Nichols (1757-1848) was the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Prince) Nichols. She married Andrew Nichols (1757-1812) in 1777. One of her ancestors was Sarah Osborne, a woman accused of witchcraft during the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692.

John Nichols (1780-1840) was the son of Andrew and Eunice Nichols; he married Emma Putnam (1789-1866) in 1808.

Andrew Nichols (1785-1853) was born to Andrew and Eunice Nichols on November 22, 1785 in Danvers, Massachusetts. He first married his cousin, Ruth Nichols (1785-1832) in 1809; after her death, he married Mary Holyoke Ward, the daughter of Joshua and Susanna (Holyoke) Ward, in 1833. They had two children: Andrew and Mary Ward. Andrew studied at Andover Academy and began studying medicine in 1805 in Billerica and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1808 he began his own practice in South Danvers, Massachusetts. He was a member of many organizations, including: the Jordan Lodge of Freemasons; the Massachusetts Medical Society; the Essex Historical Society; the Essex Agricultural Society; and the Essex South District Medical Society. He was interested in natural history and was President of the Essex County Natural History Society from its inception in 1833 until 1845. The Essex County Natural History Society became part of the Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1848. Andrew Nichols died in his home at South Danvers, in 1853.

Mary Holyoke Ward Nichols (1800-1880) was born in the Joshua Ward House on Washington Street in Salem, Massachusetts. Her parents were Joshua Ward (1776-1840) and Susanna (Holyoke) Ward (1779-1849).

Andrew Nichols (born 1837) was born to Andrew and Mary (Ward) Nichols in an area of Danvers, which is now part of Peabody, Massachusetts. He moved to Salem, Massachusetts, and graduated from Bowditch High School. He held a position in the Insolvency Court of Salem until poor health obliged him to take up farming. He bought land from John Nichols (1780-1840) and built a homestead at 98 Preston Street in Danvers. Later he moved into the field of engineering and oversaw projects such as the Danvers Water Works and the Peabody Water Works. Andrew Nichols also oversaw the laying out of Valley Road, between Danvers and Topsfield. He was involved in the Danvers School Committee, local history, and he was clerk for the Unitarian Congregational Society of Danvers from 1865 until his death. He married Elizabeth P. Stanley of Salem in 1861; together they had eight children: Andrew, Elizabeth, John Holyoke, Joshua Ward, Mary Eliot, William Stanley, Nellie Chapman, and Margaret Appleton.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Nichols, Andrew, 1757-1812
Nichols, Andrew, 1785-1853
Nichols, Andrew, b. 1837
Nichols, John, 1713-1892
Nichols, Mary Ward, 1800-1880
Essex County Natural History Society
Free Soil Party (Essex County, Mass.)
Freemasons--Jordan Lodge (Danvers, Mass.)
Home economics--Accounting--1850-1880
Unitarian Church (Danvers, Mass)


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Administrative Information


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Nichols Family of Danvers, Massachusetts, Papers, MSS 431, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.


This material was donated by the heirs of Andrew Nichols through Janet Derouin in April 12, 1977. Some correspondence and papers were purchased.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Rachel Jirka, December 2009. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, September 2014.

Related Material


Arrington, Benjamin F. Municipal History of Essex County in Massachusetts, vol. 4. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922.

Danvers Historical Society. Collections of the Danvers Historical Society, vol. 10. Salem, MA: Newcomb and Gauss, 1922.

Essex Institute Historical Collections, vol. 15. Salem, MA: Printed for the Essex Institute, 1879.

National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Lineage Book, vol. 51. Washington, D.C.: Press of Judd and Detweiler, 1919.

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Nichols Family of Danvers, Massachusetts, Diaries, 1856-1883. Includes the Mary Holyoke Ward Nichols (1800-1880) diaries consisting of 16 almanacs/diaries that cover the years 1865-1880 and the Andrew Nichols (born 1837) diaries, recording his activities from 1856-1883 as a fruit farmer, Acc 2000.022

Receipt for taxes paid by Andrew Nichols, February 10, 1869, E D3 T1 1869 3

Malay (Brig) Logbook and Journal, 1833-1834, Log 1119

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