Santa Cruz County History - People

Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

NICHOLS, URIAL S (1837-1904)

History of the State of California and Biographical Record of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties

Headstone of Urial S Nichols
Urial S. Nichols
IOOF Cemetery in Santa Cruz


The ancestry of the Nichols family is traced back to Scotland and England, but years have passed since some of the name crossed the Atlantic to America. Patriotism has been a family trait, and was shown by one of the ancestors through his local service in the Revolutionary war. Descended from him was Samuel Nichols, who with a brother, James L., served in the war of 1812 and was present at Sacket Harbor. Samuel's son, Urial S., proved himself to be worthy of his patriotic lineage, for soon after the opening of the Civil war he offered his services to aid in putting down the rebellion, and enlisted, in Lewis county, N. Y., December 16, 1861, as a member of Company B, Ninety-seventh New York Infantry, under Col. Charles Wheelock. His service of three years was one of honor and recognized valor, and at the time of his discharge he was holding the rank of sergeant. Lewis county, N. Y., was the native place of Urial S. Nichols and February 7, 1838, the date of his birth. His parents, Samuel and Polly (Cahoon) Nichols, were farmers and lifelong residents of that county. An older brother, Benjamin C., came to California in 1852, and after he had completed his military service he decided to seek a home on the Pacific coast. Accordingly, with his brother, Merritt, he came to California in 1865, and at first engaged with his brothers in the lumber and sawmill business. Two years later he sold his interest in the business and removed to Aptos, Santa Cruz county, where he was employed as a carpenter and millwright. Returning to Santa Cruz somewhat later, he established his home here and engaged at the trade of carpenter until 1898, when he was elected constable of the city and township of Santa Cruz, a position that he has efficiently filled. His brother, the pioneer of 1852, died in 1901, while the other brother, Merritt, is now living in Lompoc, Cal. The marriage of Urial S. Nichols united him with a daughter of Jonathan Gile, of Santa Cruz, and two children were born of their union, Clara and Lois. In fraternal relations Mr. Nichols is a firm believer in the lofty principles of Masonry, and has allied himself with Lodge No. 38, F. & A. M., in which he has held minor offices. His views upon religious subjects are liberal. During his long residence in Santa Cruz county he has endeavored to promote its welfare in every way possible and has given his influence and time to promote worthy projects.

Santa Cruz Surf (February 15, 1904)

Death of U.S. Nichols
An Old Soldier Who Served Through the Entire War

Urial Schuymerhorn Nichols died last evening at his residence on Union Street. He was born at Denmark Lewis county, New York, and came to Santa Cruz after the war in 1865, and here he married Pacific Guild who survives him. He leaves also two daughters Clara and Lois.

At the time of his death he was serving his second term as constable of Santa Cruz Township.

He was a Mason and also member of Wallace Reynolds Post, G.A.R., and under the auspices of these orders he will be buried tomorrow afternoon.

He was a brother of the late Ben Nichols, and leaves one brother in this state- M.S. Nichols of Lompoc a brother in St. Joseph, Mo., and four sisters in the East.

He had quite a war record. At the breaking out of the war he enlisted at Booneville, N.Y., in the 97th N.Y. State Volunteers, and served during the entire three years. He served as sergeant in his regiment, and was later detailed in the brigade commissary department under Capt. Bu[illegible]. He was put in the First Corps, but after the battle of Gettysburg, in which engagement he fought, he was transferred to the Fifth Corps. Among the engagements in which he participated were Slaughter Mountain, second engagement at Bull Run, Rappahannock, both battles at Fredericksburg, where he was wounded, Chantilly, and Antietam.

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