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Smith Woodward Nichols
 Smith Woodward Nichols, 1843-

From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition. This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.


COMMANDER SMITH WOODWARD NICHOLS, a retired naval officer, residing in Dorchester district, Boston, was born on Cooper Street, Boston, February 3, 1843, son of Smith Woodward and Emeline (Pope) Nichols. His paternal grandfather, Moses Nichols, who was by occupation a mason and builder, was drafted into the United States service during the War of 1812 as an artificer, and, going to the frontier, was never afterward heard from by his family.

Moses Nichols was a son of David Nichols, of Cohasset, formerly a part of Hingham, Mass.; and David was of the fifth generation in descent from Thomas Nichols, the immigrant progenitor of the family, who in 1637 had a grant of land at Hingham, where he settled and has been followed by a somewhat numerous posterity. The Hingham ancestors of Commander Nichols were mostly farmers and held various town offices, as Selectman and Constable.

Smith Woodward Nichols, Sr., the father of Commander Nichols, was born in Boston, April 16, 1809, and became a prominent builder in that city. About 1855 he took up his residence in Melrose, where he continued to reside until his death, which took place on November 25, 1881, in the seventy-third year of his age. He was a member of St. Andrew's Lodge, F. & A.M.,; and of Waverly R.A. Chapter and Hugh de Payens Commandery. He was a charter member of the chapter and commandery. His wife, Emeline, was born in Kennebunkport, Me., June 12, 1812, and died at Melrose, August 26, 1893. Her father, Domenicus Pope, a native of Wells, Me., was a master mariner. During the War of 1812 he was taken prisoner by the British and carried to Dartmoor Prison in England, where he was held several months. He died at St. Thomas, West Indies, of yellow fever. He was a son of Major Isaac Pope, who served seven years in the war of the Revolution, and who was a member of the Cincinnati of Massachusetts. Through Major Isaac the ancestral line is traced back to Thomas Pope, born in England in 1608, whose name first appeared in the Plymouth Colony records in 1631, "an active man, serving on juries, committees of arbitration," etc.

Smith Woodward, Sr., and Emeline P. Nichols had ten children, of whom three still survive, namely: Emmeline Pope, born December 5, 1839; Smith Woodward, born February 3, 1843; and Adelaide A., born September 26, 1844.

Smith W. Nichols, the direct subject of this sketch, received his general education the old Eliot School of Boston and in the schools of Melrose, being twelve years old at the time the family removed to the latter town. In 1858 he entered the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., on the appointment of the Hon. D. W. Gooch of the Seventh Congressional District. After three years at Annapolis, at the outbreak of the Civil War, Mr. Nichols with the whole class was called into active service, and he was assigned to duty on board the United States frigate "Wabash" as midshipman on North Atlantic blockade duty. His record in brief is a follows: Smith Woodward Nichols, appointed to Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., 1858-61; attached to steam frigate "Wabash," Atlantic blockading squadron, as midshipman, 1861; commissioned as Lieutenant, July 16, 1862; school shop "Macedonian," 1863; gunnery instruction, Boston navy-yard, 1861-62; attached to steam sloop "Shenandoah," North Atlantic blockading squadron, 1863-65; executive officer of "Shenandoah" at the bombardment of Fort Fisher, January, 1865; in charge of a company, naval land assault on Fort Fisher; attached to the "Passaic" from January to July, 1865, South Atlantic blockading squadron; commissioned as Lieutenant Commander, July 25, 1866; steam sloop "Shenandoah," Asiatic squadron, 1965-69; special duty, Boston, 1869; "Terror," 1870; navy-yard, Boston, 1871-72; "Omaha," South Pacific station, 1872-75; ordnance duty, Boston, 1876; commissioned as Commander, April 26, 1876; Light-house Inspector, 1876-79; retired, April 1882.

Commander Nichols was married June 19, 1869, to Miss Henrietta Alice Estabrooks, daughter of John W. And Martha T. (Brown) Estabrooks, of Dorchester. They had one child, Albert Estabrooks, born December, 1870, who died at the age of three and a half years. Commander Nichols is a member of the Union Club of Boston and of the Loyal Legion.* At the outbreak of the Spanish War, Commander Nichols was assigned to duty as Light-house Inspector of the first district.

*Loyal Legion - descendants of Union Civil War officers.


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Created: November 7, 2004   Modified: November 7, 2004