Introduction: We will add to and correct this
history as information becomes available. Please help me with corrections
by responding to firstname.lastname@example.org Roger
Alvin Willard Nichols:
B: 23 Dec 1854, Kaysville, Davis, UT; MD: 28 Feb 1878,
Endowment House, SLC, UT; BP: 8 Jul 1863 Brigham City, UT; END: 21 Mar
1876, Endowment House, SLC, UT; D: 24 Jan 1928, Rexburg, Mad., ID; Bur:
Burton Cemetery, Burton, Mad., ID.
Eve (Eva) Susannah Jensen Nichols:
B: 27 June 1861, Brigham City, UT; MD: 28 Feb 1878,
Endowment House, SLC, UT; BP: 21 July 1869, Brigham City, UT; END: 28 Feb
1878, Endowment House, SLC, UT; D: 06 Sept 1955, Rexburg, Mad., ID; BUR:
Burton Cemetery, Burton, Mad., ID.
Eva Allanna Nichols (b: 25 Jan 1879, Brigham City, UT; D:21
Jun 1953, SLC, UT),
Alvin Raymond Nichols (b: 11 Nov 1880, Brigham City, UT; D:
13 Sept 1950, SLC, UT),
Cloy Chester Nichols (b: 20 Oct 1882, Brigham City, UT; D:30
Nov 1937, Rexburg, ID),
Malcom Conrad Nichols (b: 09 Oct 1884, Brigham City, UT; D:
05 Oct 1988, Provo, UT),
Lucy Ellene Nichols (b: 07 Nov 1886, Independence, ID; D:23
Feb 1940, Logan, UT),
Ada Irene Nichols (b: 15 Jul 1888, Independence, ID; D:01
Mar 1942, Logan, UT),
Lottie Verna Nichols (b:28 Feb 1891, Independence, ID; D: 22
Oct 1966, Rexburg, ID),
Lovina Almeda Nichols (b: 01 Aug 1893, Independence, ID; D:
19 June 1995, Torrance, CA),
Ella Rosene Nichols (b: 20 July 1895, Independence, ID; D:03
Mar 1901, Ind. ID),
Ava Leola Nichols (b: 14 May 1897, Independence, ID; D:13
May 1923, Pocatello, ID),
Cleo Lavon Nichols (b: 27 July 1899, Independence, ID; D: 03
Nov 1987, San Carlos, CA),
Elva Valeta Nichols (b: 09 Jul 1901, Independence, ID;D: 25
Jan 1940, Inglewood, CA),
Ezra Leland Nichols (b: 20 Jun 1903, Independence, ID; D: 25
Mar 1988, Ogden, UT),
Louie Zelpha Nichols (b:18 Sep 1905, Independence, ID; D: 12
Nov 1905, Ind, ID)
Note: Independence, ID no longer exists. Before about 1914
it was in Fremont County, but after the county change, became Madison County.
The area extended roughly from the current Thornton store south of Rexburg,
northwest to Burton, along the Texas Slough, and once had its own school
and church. The children were born within 1/2 mile northwest of the
Thornton Store in a home no longer existing, abt. 300 yds behind a little
old white home on the old highway which was originally built by one of the
Nichols descends from John Howland and John Tilley, signers
of the Mayflower Compact, and two more who landed from the Mayflower:
John Tilley’s wife and daughter Elizabeth, who married John
Howland; whose daughter was
Hope Howland, md.:
John Chipman; their son,
Samuel Chipman, b:
Barnstable, Mass., April 15, 1661, d: Barnstable, Mass., June 16, 1723, md: at Barnstable, Mass, Dec.
27, 1686, to Sarah Cobb, b: Barnstable, Mass., March 10, 1663, d:
Barnstable, Mass., Jan 8, 1743.
Their son was
Thomas Chipman, b:
Barnstable, Mass., Nov.17, 1687, d: Salisbury, Conn., Aug. 5, 1752, md: at
Stonington, Conn, April 26, 1711 to Abigail Lathrop, b: Stonington, Conn.,
April 23, 1689, d: Groton, Conn. Their son was
Amos Chipman, b:
Groton, Conn., abt. 1727, d: Sunderland, Vt., on or after 1764, md: at
Salisbury, Conn., Oct., 18, 1749 to Sarah Daggett, b: Lebanon, Conn. April
12, 1728. Their son was
Barnabas Lathrop Chipman,
b: Salisbury, Conn., Nov. 5, 1762, d: Malone, N.Y., in 1847, md: Aug 19
1784 to Beulah Evarts, b: Sunderland, Vt., March 29, 1761. Their daughter
Susannah Chipman, b:
Otter Creek, Vt. May 8, 1792, d: Brigham City, Ut., Jan. 18, 1883, md: Nov.
19, 1810 to Sheldon Nichols, b: Rutland, Vt., Nov. 14, 1788, d: Brigham
City, Ut. on Sept. 29, 1871. Their son was
from: Nichols, Mary, Alvin Nichols, Utah Pioneer 1819-1899, pp. 1-2;
see history of the Howlands on succeeding pages as well. I will add this
information to the site soon. RP)
(Based upon the 1993 Nichols Family Reunion booklet, and
other family information. )
The Early Years:
Alvin Willard Nichols, son of Alvin Nichols and Lucy Anna
Olney, was born in Kaysville, Davis County, UT, 21 December 1854. He
was blessed by his father 29 December 1854.
His father and mother were driven from their homes in the
mid-west and joined the Mormon pioneers to cross the plains and establish
themselves "in the tops of the mountains," Brigham City, Utah.
Alvin was mormon Bishop and Indian Agent for many years in Brigham
City and raised his families there. A book on Alvin Nichols' history has been
written by members of the family.
Alvin Willard Nichols was baptized 8 July 1863, at Brigham
City, UT, by Steve White and confirmed by President Lorenzo Snow. He
served as a counselor to his Bishop father in Brigham City Second Ward when
it was first organized 9 Aug 1877. His brother in law Joseph Jensen was the
other counselor. His father was a government agent to the Indians, and
threw Alvin W. in close association with them. He understood their
traditions and customs and often took part in the religious and friendly
dances, and spoke their language fluently. As a boy, he enjoyed
playing games with his Indian friends. Much of his early life was
spent acting as peacemaker or interpreter between them and the whites.
When he was ten years old, he saw Utah Jack, one of the chiefs,
infuriated by the infidelity of his wife, bind her hands and feet, then tie
her to the tail of a wild horse, which dragged her to death across open
For a time he was employed as a clerk in the ZCMI store in
Salt Lake City, from which position Alvin W. was called to serve an LDS
mission to the Malad Indian Reservation, 15 March 1876. He had been
called at the October Conference in 1875 but did not report until the
following March. He was ordained a Seventy, set apart for his mission
and was endowed in the Endowment House 21 March 1876.
The Shoshones, among whom he was called to labor, were
practically all members of the church, so most of his missionary efforts
involved directing their organization in work and worship. They
organized a Sunday School and taught mostly from the Book of Mormon.
They built houses to teach the art of building and tilled the soil to
acquaint them with rudiments of agriculture. The Indians, however,
held to their own customs, and would leave their houses furnished
with stoves and chairs and squat upon the ground around the campfires, upon
which they prepared their meals. They were peaceable and well behaved
under Chief Wolf, except for a few who would go to Brigham City and return
While Elder Alvin Willard Nichols was on this mission,
Pagwite, Chief of the Bannocks, with about eight hundred followers paid a
friendly visit to the Shoshones to engage in their friendly dances and
other festivities. White people at Corinne, Utah, unfriendly to the
Indians and Mormons, and opposed to the work of the missionaries, spread
the rumor that the Indians were hostile and committing many depredations. A
crowd of soldiers at Camp Douglas, who were anxious to bring the Indians
into subjection, heard the rumor, and without the consent of the Governor,
marched against them to quiet the reported disorder. Wishing to avoid
trouble, President Brigham Young wrote Elder Alvin W. Nichols to persuade
the Shoshones to scatter to the mountains and the Bannocks to return to
Fort Hall. The Shoshones did as requested and Chief Washakie told him how
to approach the Bannocks and what to say to them. Arriving in the
Bannock's camps, he met Chief Pagwite and a council was called. The
Bannocks were very angry and had determined to make a stand against the
four hundred soldiers coming to drive them to the reservation. Elder
Nichols finally convinced them and they returned peaceably to Fort Hall.
Elder Nichols then went to Logan to discuss the mission
affair with President Young. On 12 September 1878, he received his
official missionary release: "It has been decided by the Council of
the Apostles to release you from any further duties on the Malad Indian
Farm, so that you can continue your present labors on the Logan
Temple." Signed, "Your Brother in the gospel, John
THE FAMILY YEARS:
Alvin Willard Nichols and Eve (Eva) Susannah Jensen were
married 28 February 1878 in the endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Daniel H. Wells performed the sealing ceremony. Eve's name is
variously spelled "Eve" and "Eva" in family records.
Though recorded "Eve", the danish pronounciation was
"Ehveh", with the short E on both ends, and phonetic spelling
made this version the name of their first daughter, Eva Allanna, pronounced,
Eve was the daughter of Hans Peter Jensen and Nicoline
Eriksen, both emigrants from Denmark. Nicoline's mother, Birthe Jensen, was
a daughter of Kirstine Nielsen and Jens Andersen, and her father, Niels
Eriksen, was a son of Erik Pedersen and Maren Mortensen, all of Esbonderup,
north of Copenhagen. Niels died and Birtha was left a widow
with two daughters and while two months pregnant with Nicoline.
After the birth of Nicoline, Birthe married Jens Larsen in 1842.
Jens seems to have been more interested in her inherited estate, and
later, in Utah, deserted her and her family for a polygamous marriage.
Jens and Birthe joined the Church 8 August 1853, and falling
under the cloud of bigotry and persecution, Birthe embarked from Copenhagen
for England on the ship Semplede in the fall of 1854 with four of her
children while Jens and one daughter stayed behind to sell the farm.
Delayed by a harrowing voyage and near shipwreck in a terrible storm,
they finally arrived in England. After more weeks waiting for the
next ship to America, the James Nesmith, an ancient, decrepit sailing
vessel arrived and arrangements made for the Scandinavian Mormon converts
to board. After several failed attempts to sail, on January 12, 1855,
the ocean voyage finally began. Enduring fierce storms, broken topsail,
disease and near starvation, they finally disembarked in New Orleans
23 February 1855.
Jens finally caught up with them in Weston, Missouri, about
12 miles southeast of Atchison, across the river. They moved on to
Omaha and farmed for two years. In 1857, the family joined a passing
Mormon emigrant company, either the Matthias Cowley Handcart Company, or
the Christensen Scandinavian Wagon Company, and 15 year old Nicoline walked
across the plains. Both companies arrived the same day in Salt Lake City:
13 September 1857.
At the recommendation of Lorenzo Snow, Jens and Birthe took
their family north to settle with other Danish migrants in Brigham City.
Rebaptism was a customary practice for migrants into Utah
from the days of 1847, and Hans Peter Jensen rebaptized 17 year old
Nicoline in 1859. This began a courtship lasting several months.
Hans had four wives already, but Nicoline's happy personality
connected with Hans's. Their relationship has been described:
"Nicoline received Hans's attentions with curiosity, and soon
discovered what he had known instinctively...they were kindred souls.
The zest for life Hans so frequently suppressed bubbled forth when he
was with Nicoline. Only in her presence did he feel happy and at
ease...with Nicoline...he could be accepted for what he was....Nicoline
proved to be the joy of Hans's life, a precious jewel in his patriarchal
crown." (Schimmelpfennig, Zion's Lion, p.86)"
Since President Brigham Young was too ill to perform the
marriage in the Endowment House, Hans pursuaded him to perform the ceremony
in his home, November 6, 1859. Eve was their first of eleven
children, born 27 June 1861. They later would be endowed and
re-sealed, April 10, 1866. (I'll add a brief history of Hans Peter Jensen
After Alvin W. and Eve were married, they received another
church calling to return to Logan and assist on building the Logan Temple.
They also operated the boarding house which the box Elder Stake
provided for the Temple workers.
After working one year in Logan, they returned to Brigham
City where their first daughter, Eva Allanna, was born, 25 January, 1879;
then followed three sons, Alvin Raymond, 11 November 1880; Cloy Chester, 20
October 1882; and Malcom Contrad, 9 October 1884.
In the spring of 1879, Alvin W. hauled lumber and machinery
from Echo to Park City and later in the same year had charge of the grading
camp for the railroad through Silver Creek Canyon ro Park City. He
freighted from Ketton to Wood River Mines, then took a contract building
railroad near Lava Hot Springs. He next went into the stock, dairy, and
cheese business at Point Lookout, now Garland. There he helped many
Saints who had been dispossessed of their homes and property, reclaiming
much of it.
In April 1885, Alvin W. moved his cattle north to the Snake
River Valley. His wife, Eve S. and four children followed three weeks
later, coming by rail to Market Lake where they met April 28, 1885.
Since there were no hotel accommodations at that time, they pursuaded
the railroad agent to let them remain overnight in the little log station,
then the next day went on to Rexburg, crossing the north fork of the Snake
River on the ferry near the Big Buttes west of Rexburg.
On May 20, 1885, Alvin W. was called to Minnesota to assist
in breaking several hundred head of choice wild horses, as he had special
schooling in animal science. On June 15, Eve, with four children and
her brother Ezra Jensen, drove a team and wagon with some chickens and
livestock from Brigham City to Rexburg to stock their farm.
But in November Alvin was taken gravely ill in Mankota,
Minnesota and Eve was summoned to his bedside. The family remained
there with Alvin's sister until he recovered, then the family returned via
Brigham City, where they visited with relatives and friends, and arrived
back in Rexburg 25 April 1886.
Alvin located his family on the old Tommy McGraw Squatters
claim at Independence, and a short time later moved to Sunnydell, known as
the James Byrne ranch on Table rock. While there Alvin operated a
ferry across the south fork of the Snake River about three miles below
Heise Hot Springs. After selling the ferry, they located on a ranch
at Independence, about 1/2 mile northwest of the present Thornton store,
just south of Rexburg.
In this two room log home other children were born: Lucy
Ellene, 07 Nov 1886; Ada Irene, 15 July 1888; Lottie Verna, 28 February
1891; Lovina Almeda, 1 August 1893; Ella Rosene, 20 July 1895; Ava Leola,
14 May 1897; and Cleo Lavon, 27 July 1899. An eloquent two story
frame house was built and three more children were born: Elva Valeta, 9
July 1901; Ezra Leland, 20 June 1903; and Loui Zelpha, 18 September 1905
(who died two months later, 12 November 1905). Several grandchildren were
also born in this house in later years until it burned to the ground in
Burton Bishop J. Johnson wrote: "As we gathered for our
meetings I can still see the Nichols white top buggy with span of horses
coming down the street with the entire Nichols family in the white top. I
wondered how they all got in it...but they did. Not only once, but three
times each Sabbath." Alvin directed the choir and Eve played the organ
and sang. Five of their children served missions.
Alvin either built or leased a store across the street from
the Burton LDS church about 1887, in which he sold merchandise and was
appointed Postmaster of Burton and Independence area during the Theodore
Roosevelt administration. Family tradition recalls he lost that
position due to Idaho plural marriage persecutions, even though he was not
a polygamist. His response to polygamy was: Eve was all the wife he
needed, but he would be sure to have lots of children by her. He
succeeded with 14. Eve is said to have remarked that she didn't see
him much during those years, yet every time he visited she had another
He left the mercantile business and worked out of the area
for some time. He went to Cache valley and took charge of the
construction work of the Oregon and Shortline R.R. from Garland to Malad
City, and then took charge of reservoir construction four miles north of
Pocatello to provide a water pipeline to the city.
In the summer of 1902, alvin took a train load of horses to
Mexico City, where they were sold. While there he visited the
pyramids. At this time the rebellion against President Diaz was waging and
he saw all the soldiers preparing for battle. When he returned to Salt Lake
City, the government was calling up soldiers to protect American citizens
along the border.
In later years the family moved to Rexburg to keep their
children in school, where Dr. Alvin W. Nichols practiced veterinary
medicine and engaged in various business enterprises. He owned and operated
a drugstore on Main street in Rexburg. his office was in the livery barn
located directly behind the drugstore and it contained a round operating
table where he performed surgery on horses.
The land office at Blackfoot granted to Dr. Alvin W.
Nichols, actual settler, a Homestead of one hundred and sixty acres,
recorded on 8 June 1903, signed by the President of the United States,
Theodore Roosevelt. When his sons, Ray and Cloy, were married, Alvin deeded
forty acres to each to farm and provide a living for their families. The
remainder 80 acres with the house, was farmed by the family or renters
until 1935, when it was rented to Charles Thomason, a neighbor, for about
eight years. His brother, Levi Thomason, then purchased the eighty
acres from Eve S. Nichols, for $10,000 in 1947. The two story home
burned to the ground in the winter of 1925. A two room house was built by
Connie and Leland in the summer of 1932 and was used only briefly over the
next two years. The house, orchards, corrals, and all other buildings and
trees were completely demolished when Levi Thomason had the land leveled
for irrigation. He sold the land after changing the course of the Burton
Canal and the Texal Slough that crossed the acreage. He also moved the
house to the west bench in Rexburg.
Dr. Alvin Willard Nichols died at Rexburg, Idaho, January
24, 1928, following an operation and long period of illness. He was 72
years old. He is buried in the Burton Cemetery.
Eve Susannah Nichols lived on another 26 years, much of it
in the home across the street from the park in Rexburg, until she died in
Rexburg, 6 September 1955 at age 94, and she is buried beside her husband
in the Burton cemetery.