The World of William Abner Nichols



Okay, so maybe I lied a tad.. did William Nichols have an amazing world? Maybe not today’s standards, but in those days William was definitely the king of his castle. Have a look at what Jennifer Fenwick Irwin wrote– not too many local history books have this information. How tragic was this? The Nichols family were one of the iconic Carleton Place families and need to be recorded.

William Abner Nichols was the son of local lumber baron Abner Nichols. Both served terms as Mayor of Carleton Place. William married Catherine Hands and they began to raise a family at their home on Rosamond Street. Little Anna was born in 1896 but was weak from birth and only lived two months. Son William Abner was born in 1899 and named after his father. Little William died in an accident at the age of 2, on Rosamond Street. His mother gave birth shortly after this accident to another boy, and in a strange memorial to her lost son, named the new baby William as well. This is why genealogists get confused!

The family moved to Lake Avenue, just down the street from Grandfather Abner Senior, perhaps to avoid the scene of the accident. Another son was born in 1905 and again named Abner, after his father and grandfather. When this baby was three weeks old his namesake, Grandfather Abner Nichols, died at his home on Lake Avenue of Bright’s disease at the age of 69. Already mourning his father, William must have been completely overwhelmed when his new baby died just two weeks later of whooping cough. Poor Catherine only lived another 11 years before joining her children up in heaven. Jennifer Fenwick Irwin– Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


William A. Nichols – 1870/1933

Mayor of Carleton Place – 1902 – Planning & Sawmill Owner.

Second Line Drummond:  Beneath the dome of nature’s vast cathedral when the level rays of the setting sun were beautifying with gentler touch the surrounding landscape, clad in all its vernal freshness and grandeur when all was hushed in the stillness of the departing day, a fair bride, leaning on her father’s arm, advanced to the altar to be given away.  When the ever changing tapestry of sunset was hung around the horizon wall then in the early twilight were uttered the solemn and impressive words which made William A. Nichols and Katie A. Hands man and wife.

The groom is the only son of Mayor Nichols of the firm A. Nichols and Son of Carleton Place and the bride is the youngest daughter of Thomas Hands, ex-warden of the county.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. W. J. Mucklestone, M.A., of Perth assisted by Rev. Mr. Elliott of Carleton Place.  The bride, carrying a beautiful bouquet of lily of the valley, was attired in a white silk and crepon with tulle veil and orange blossom.  The bridesmaids were Miss Minnie Hicks, cousin of the bride, and Miss Florence Nichols, sister of the groom.

The groom was assisted by F. Robinson of Morrisburg and William T. Hands, brother of the bride.  The guests who numbered about sixty couples were from Perth, Smith’s Falls, Franktown, Carleton Place, Galbraith, Lanark, McDonald’s Corners and Dunbar, Dakota as well as those from the surrounding country.  The wedding repast over, the sounds of merriment and happiness arose from every area in the spacious and elegant mansion of Mr. Hands.  On swift wings, the night hours passed away and the mists of morning had risen and were scattered before the guests had all departed.

Mr. and Mrs. Nichols, amidst the congratulations of many friends, left on the 1:00 train on an extensive tour.  They will visit Kingston, Peterboro, Toronto, Niagara Falls, and other points of interest after which they will take up their residence in Carleton Place.  The bride was the recipient of many beautiful and costly presents, all beautiful in design and workmanship.  Conspicuous among them were a gold watch and chain from the groom, a piano from the bride’s father, a silver tea service from Mayor Nichols and a marble clock from the employees of A. Nichols and Son while a wicker rocker, a set of China dishes and a handsome easy chair were among other presents that showed the esteem in which the young couple are held.


Nichols, William Abner
Birth : 1870
Death : 1933 St. James Cemetery
Gender: Male

Hands, Catherine Alice
Birth : 1875
Death : 1916 St. James Cemetery
Gender: Female

SUDDEN DEATH OF FORMER WARDEN W. A. Nichols of Carleton Place Passes Suddenly Following Stroke –1933 Almonte Gazette– The many Almonte friends of William A. Nichols of Carleton Place, were deeply, shocked to learn Tuesday of his sudden following a stroke.  An outstanding career in the lumber industry and municipal political life of Lanark County was closed early Tuesday with the – death of William A. Nichols, well known and popular-resident of Carleton Place. He was born in Carleton Place on Feb. 4, 1870, and he filled his life with a variety of services, entering municipal life at an early age and at different positions. He had not been in robust health for some time but there was never a thought that  his condition was serious and the news of his death was a great shock.

Years later when both sisters were seniors. Hazel had a stroke. Everyday Gladys took Hazel out for a walk holding her hand and initially almost pulling her. In the beginning Hazel could only walk a block. But Gladys never stopped her care or Rehabilitation of her sister. Eventually Hazel was able to walk 2 blocks which put them at my house at 6 Lake Ave West. But Hazel was not able to walk back that first day, so they stopped on my front steps. I had been watching the two sisters with admiration and realized Hazel was feeling quite stressed so we all had a cup of tea and a cookie on my front steps. Oh I forgot to say both Sisters would spread out their skirts to look nice ( almost Southern) and enjoy their tea like real Ladies. They were very sweet! Gladys continued her loving care of Hazel who eventually could walk on her own. But they were both so sweet they often stopped for tea on a tired day. 6 Lake Ave. W was originally the home of JG Craigs. Mr Craig was the 1st RBC Bank Manager and very well esteemed. He also was the proud owner of one of the 1st cars in Carleton Place and initially there was a 2 car garage behind the house. I purchased the house from the Craig Estate and they had loved their house so much that my husband and I had to be interviewed by the Executor of the Estate to ensure we were Reputable enough to buy the home.

Duncan Rogers

Honey Blane
When I was a youth, I shovelled snow for Mrs. Craig. She told me that she and her husband used to travel overseas on ocean liner ships in the 1930s and on one trip visited Italy. During a visit to one of the towns in Italy the whole town came out to greet them including the Mayor who wore a wide sash. They had never before met Canadians.
Duncan Rogers

Related reading:

An Amusing Abner Nichols and His Boat

Before and After at Centennial Park

Splinters of Sinders Nichols and Brides

Dim All The Lights — The Troubled Times of the Abner Nichols Home on Bridge Street

Looking for Information– Nichols Family History

Nov 1930

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s