‘One of the original homesteaders of Custer county, Nebraska’

southeast quarter of section eight, township thirteen, range eighteen

Page 789-780 of Compendium of History Reminiscence and Biography of western Nebraska containing a history of the state of Nebraska …


Chicago, Alden Publishing Co., 1912.

Benjamin L. Nicholas is one of the original homesteaders of Custer county, Nebraska, still residing on his original farm. He passed through the experiences of those who were living in the county during the years of drouth and bard times, and by close economy and native thrift, managed to make a good start as a farmer and ranchman, being now one of the most prosperous men of the region. He , being eleventh in the order of birth of the eighteen children of Thomas and Martha (Lewis) Nicholas, who had nine sons and nine daughters. His parents are deceased, but he has two brothers and four sisters living in Wales. Mr. Nicholas grew to manhood on a farm in his native country, and there married, February 28, 1881, Miss Margaret Beynon, a native of Merthyr, Tydville, in Glamorganshire where Mr. Nicholas served on the police force for six years. Her parents were John and Ann (Williams) Beynon, who died in their native country. In April of the same year, the young couple came to America, sailing from Liverpool for New York in the “Boothnia,” landing after a voyage of nine days. They are the only members of the Nicholas or Beynon families to leave Wales for the United States. Mrs. Nicholas has two brothers living, one in England, the Rev. D. J. Beynon, of the Congregational church, and one in Wales, but her parents are deceased.

Mr. Nicholas and wife first settled in Pottawattamie county, Kansas, remaining on an eighty acre farm on Buckshot creek until April, 1884, when they came to Custer county with their two children, taking a pre-emption claim on the southeast quarter of section eight, township thirteen, range eighteen, where they have made their home since. They now own a well-improved and equipped grain and stock farm of eight hundred acres, having a comfortable home and pleasant surroundings.

Mr. Nicholas has been very successful in raising cattle and hogs, as well as small grain. He is established in the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens, and he and his wife have always taken an active interest in church and school. They assisted in the organization of the first church and Sunday school in their vicinity, and Mr. Nicholas has served some time on the school board, being at the present time treasurer of district number two hundred and forty-four. In 1891 to 1894 he served as a member of the county board of supervisors, and has served one term since then.

He and his family are among the best known pioneers of the county, and are highly respected by all.

Nine children have been born to Mr. Nicholas and wife:

Martha Anne, born in Kansas, is the wife of Edwin Burrows, an enterprising merchant of Mason City, and they have three children;

Mary Theodosia, also born in Kansas, is the wife of Nels Peterson, of Mason City, and has two children;

Margaret Brittania, born in Custer county, is the wife of Carlton Bunnell, living near Detroit. Minnesota, and has one child;

Sarah Jane, a teacher of music, is taking the musical course at the Grand Island Baptist College;

Gwendolyn Irene, Elizabeth Marian, John T. and William L. were all born on the home farm.

Alice Ursula, taught two years, and is now attending the State Normal at Kearney;

Four of the daughters have taught school, and most of them are graduates of the Mason City High School.