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Biography of Thomas D. Nichols, M. D.
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Among the leading physicians of Riverside, mention should be made of the subject of this sketch. Dr. Nichols was born in Marshall County, Mississippi, in 1840. His parents were Asa and Priscilla O. (Duty) Nichols, both descendants of Southern California. His father was a planter by occupation, and gave his son the advantages of a good education. In 1859, Dr. Nichols entered upon a college course in the Florence Wesleyan University. The secession movement and the establishment of the Southern Confederacy, aroused his patriotism, and his love for the South and her institutions induced him to abandon his studies, and in the winter of 1860-’61, he entered the military service of his State, and upon the commencement of the civil war promptly enlisted in the Confederate Army; from that time until the surrender of Johnston’s army at Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1865, Dr. Nichols never faltered in his loyalty to his Southern home and country.
Upon his entry in the army, he was assigned to duty with the medical department as field hospital steward, and participated in the memorable campaigns and battles of the Southern armies under Generals A. S. Johnston, Bragg, Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnston. During his five years of service he applied himself to the study of medicine, and at the same time was in attendance in the field hospitals and had charge of patients suffering front diseases and wounds incident to camp and battlefield. The experience was of incalculable service, and the close of the war found Dr. Nichols an educated and skillful physician and surgeon. The downfall of the Confederacy, and suspension of hostilities was accepted by Dr. Nichols as the dawn of a new era for the South, and he returned to civil life, strong in his determination to aid in restoring peace and prosperity so essential to her existence. He located in White County, Arkansas, and entered upon a successful practice of his profession. He also engaged in establishing enterprises tending to advance the welfare of the people and establish good government: to that end he took a leading part in political matters, and was for five years the Mayor of Judsonia. In 1875 he moved to Logan County, Arkansas, and there built up a successful and lucrative practice.
In 1878 Dr. Nichols entered the medical department of the University of Louisville, and graduated from that institution with high honors: as a special mark of his ability and distinction gained in his studies he was awarded a certificate of honor, as one of ten (in a class of seventy) who had graduated highest in the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He then returned to his practice in Logan County, and continued the same until 1887, when he decided to establish himself in California. In that year he came to Riverside, where he has since resided. In August, 1888, be associated himself with Dr. A. A. Sulze and established his office in the Oppenheimer block on Main street; he is also devoting some attention to horticultural pursuits, and is the owner of a ten-acre lot on the Castleman tract, east of the city, upon which he is growing raisin grapes and citrus fruits. Dr. Nichols’ experience and skill as a physician and surgeon is recognized by the community, and he has a constantly in-creasing patronage. He takes a deep interest in Riverside’s enterprises, and is a supporter of her institutions and industries. In political matters he is a consistent Democrat, and a strong supporter of the Christian religion, having for years been a member of the Methodist Church.
The Doctor married, in 1886, Miss Aurilla E. Cheek, a native of North Carolina. The following named children have been born from this marriage: Minnie B., AIfred O., John E., Arthur D., Sue A., Ethel C., Paul S. and Nellie C. Minnie B. married Samuel Laser, and is now a resident of Clarksville, Arkansas. The other children are members of the Doctor’s household.
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