Coopersville Observer, February 1, 1929

William Nichols, a Former Lamont Pioneer, Dies in Spring Lake

William Nichols, aged 93, a pioneer resident of Lamont, passed away on Tuesday morning at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Edith Glensun, in Spring Lake, after a few days illness.

A remarkable man, both in accomplishments and vigor, he lived to the age of 93 years, strong, virile and interested in everything that went on around him. He was a great lover of the outdoors and continued to fish and hunt almost up to the time of his death. He was a splendid skater and this year enjoyed a spin on the lake.

He was born in Malone, New York, on September 23, 1835, and lived in Lamont, Grand Haven and Spring Lake for the past fifty-seven years. Previous to settling in Michigan he was one of the early pioneers who blazed the plains when the first railroads and telegraph lines were installed between Omaha and Denver.

He crossed the plains seven times when caravans and ponies were the only means of travel and his tales of frontier life and Indian adventures were comparable with the Cooper stories.

He was a born inventor and it is claimed by his family that he made the first hydraulic engine. The model was stolen when he was nearly ready to exploit it. Later when the engine came out, he could not substantiate his claims to it.

An old Indian fighter, he was active in the John Fremont for president campaign, and each year continued his association with a Fremont organization that met in Grand Rapids for years.

His association with the mills of this section, when it was one of the largest lumbering centers, was wide and he was one of the best known engineers, being with Wymen and Buswell for many years. Later he went with the Dake Engine Co., of Grand Haven and turned the steam on the first Dake engine made there.

A crack marksman from his Indian fighting days, he could still handle a gun with remarkable accuracy for a man of his years.

Mrs. Nichols is survived by his daughters, Mrs. Edith Gleason, of Spring Lake; two sons, George G. Nichols and F. D. Nichols of Grand Rapids; eight grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Thursday at one oclock at the home of his daughter in Spring Lake, Rev. Anthony Meenga, officiating. Burial in Lamont cemetery.

Transcribed by Joan Van Spronsen
Created: 12 December 2009