Benjamin & Margaret Nicholas sailed for the United States in 1881…

a practical and enterprising farmer and stock-raiser of the Mason City community of Custer county

From pages 676-677 of History of Custer County, Nebraska

Lincoln, Neb. : Western Publishing and Engraving Co., 1919

BENJAMIN L. NICHOLAS, a practical and enterprising farmer and stock-raiser of the Mason City community of Custer county, owns and operates 880 acres of land, constituting one of the valuable and highly improved These possessions have been acquired through the medium of the efforts of Mr. Nicholas and the members of his family and as the result of his consecutive endeavour he has won a place among the substantial citizens of his adopted county. Mr. Nicholas was born on Holloway farm, near Narberth. Wales, March 10, 1856. He is a son of Thomas and Martha (Lewis) Nicholas, and a grandson of Edward Nicholas and Evan Lewis, all of whom passed their entire lives in Wales. Thomas Nicholas was a successful farmer, a well-known and highly esteemed citizen, a Liberal in politics, and he and his wife were faithful members of the Calvinistic Methodist church. Of their eighteen children, six are living, and Benjamin L. was the only one to come to the United States.

Benjamin L. Nicholas was given a liberal education in his youth, including attendance at the high school, and was a bright scholar with a quick and retentive mind, samples of his penmanship at the age of thirteen years, as preserved in a beautiful book kept by himself, giving evidence that he was greatly advanced at that time. He was reared on his father’s farm, and on February 28, 1881, he wedded Miss Margaret Beynon, who was born at Merthyr £, South Wales, August 28, 1857, a daughter of Rev. John and Ann (Williams) Beynon, the father having been a minister of the Congregational church. Rev. John and Ann (Williams) Beynon became the parents of four children Edward, who is deceased; Mary, who died in infancy; David John, who is a clergyman of the Congregational church and who is at the time of this writing a resident of Southampton, England; and Margaret, who is the wife of Benjamin L. Nicholas, the subject of this review.

Almost immediately after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas sailed for the United States, and within the year 1881 they arrived in Kansas, where they homesteaded a tract of eighty acres. This they subsequently relinquished, to come to Custer county, Nebraska, where, in 1884, they pre-empted a quarter- section of land. At the time of their arrival they had but two cows, and their first residence was a sod house, but Mr. Nicholas’ ability, industry, and perseverance, with the assistance of his worthy wife, succeeded in overcoming all obstacles, and he kept adding to his land until he now has 880 acres. The sod house was abandoned for a commodious and comfortable dwelling, and the buildings are now all modern in character, while the other improvements are of the latest type. Around the residence are numerous shade- trees, which greatly add to the attractiveness of this country estate, and which were planted by Mr. Nicholas himself. He carries on general farming in the main, and also raises all kinds of livestock, and he has been very successful in both departments of farm enter- prise. As a citizen he has taken an active part in the life and government of the com- munity, having been justice of the peace for a time and a member of the board of county commissioners for six years, in addition to which he has rendered valuable service to the community as a member of the school board. In this connection it may be said that he has always been a great friend of education, and that all of his children are high-school graduates, while some have taken normal-school courses. Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas are members of the Baptist church. He is affiliated with the Mason City blue lodge of the Masonic fraternity, and with the Modern Woodmen of America.

Concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas the following brief record is consistently entered:

Martha Ann is the wife of E. G. Burrows, of Mason City.

Mary Theodosia is the wife of Nels Peterson, manager of the Burrows store at Mason City.

Margaret Britannia is the wife of Carl G. Bunnell, who is in the service of the Standard Oil Company, at Fargo, North Dakota.

Sarah Jane, a talented teacher of music, is now at the parental home.

Alice Ursula, who was formerly a popular teacher in the public schools of Mullin and Broken Bow, on the 1st of October, 1918, went to Fort Riley, Kan- sas, in the capacity of Red Cross nurse.

Gwendolyn Irene is the wife of W. J. Beachy, who was formerly superintendent of the public schools at Ansley, Custer county, and who for two years thereafter held the position of superintendent of the schools at Davenport, this state: he then took a radio course, in preparation for service in connection with the nation’s participation in the world war, and at the time when the great conflict came to a close he was attached to the Forty-sixth Corps, in California.

Elizabeth Marion is the wife of John C. Eloe, a prosperous farmer in Custer county,

John Thomas, who was graduated in the Mason City schools and who later passed one year as a student in the Grand Island Baptist College, was a member of the Students Army Training Corps at the Nebraska State Normal School in Kearney at the time when the war closed.

William Lewis, who likewise was graduated in the Mason City high school, remains at the parental home.