John Anthony Nicholson (1827-1906)

John Anthony Nicholson

John A. Nicolson was born in Laurel, Delaware on November 17, 1827. He was educated at a preparatory seminary in Nelson County, Virginia, possibly the Presbyterian school at Lynchburg, and entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with the class of 1847 in 1843. He was elected as a member of the Union Philosophical Society but withdrew from the College in 1845. He studied law in with Martin W. Bates in Dover, Delaware and took up practice there in April 1850.

He was briefly superintendent of schools in Kent County in 1851 and extended his civic duties in a very different role in the county when he became brigadier general of militia in 1861. He was elected to the United States Congress in 1864 as a Democrat, beating Republican and Ultimate Unionist Nathaniel Smithers, a fellow Dickinsonian. He served two terms, during the first on the Committee of Elections and in the second the Appropriations Committee. He returned to private practice in Dover in 1869.

In August, 1848, he had married Angelica Killeen Reed of Dover and the couple's son, John Reed Nicholson, served later as the chancellor of the high court of the state of Delaware between 1895 and 1909. John Anthony Nicholson died in Dover on November 4, 1906 and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery there.

Image courtesy of the National Archives.

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Dickinson College Archives
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