An honored veteran of the war of the Rebellion and for a number of years a representative business man of Marseilles, Donald A. Nicholson enjoys the confidence and high regard of the community. His strong personality, his broad and progressive views and his busy and useful career have made him a power for good wherever he has dwelt.
Donald A. Nicholson is a grandson of Donald and son of the Rev. Donald Nicholson, both of whom were natives of Scotland. The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Boyce, her father being Benjamm Boyce, of Canada. For several years subsequent to their marriage Donald and Elizabeth Nicholson resided in Canada, but in 1843 they removed to Will county, Illinois, where the father followed his accustomed occupation of farming. He was, moreover, a minister in the Christian church, and accomplished much in his noble mission of aiding and uplifting mankind. In 1850 he located upon a farm near Marseilles, in the township of Manlius (now known as Miller), and there he continued to reside until his death, in 1862. His widow survived him until 1886, dying at Joliet, Illinois.
Born near the town of Kingston, Canada, July 6, 1834, Donald A. Nicholson is one of three children, two of whom were daughters; and his early school days were spent in the Queen's dominions. Later he was a student in the schools of Will county, and completed his education in the Henry (Illinois) high school. He had started out in business as a stone-mason when the civil war broke out, and upon the 20th of July, 1861, he enlisted in Company K, Thirty-ninth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was made second lieutenant. On the 14th of June, 1862, he resigned, but re-entered the service in December, 1864, as first lieutenant of Company E, One Hundred and Fifty-third Regiment of Illinois Infantry. During the two years and nine months of his army life he participated in numerous battles and lesser engagements, and it was not until September, 1865, that he was mustered out at Springfield, his rank then being that of captain. Resuming his former line of employment, Mr. Nicholson for years gave his whole attention to stone-masonry, building private dwellings and public works of various kinds, including the foundations and approaches to bridges. For the past forty-six years he has made his home in Marseilles. In 1868 he was elected to the office of police magistrate and capably discharged his duties during the four years of his incumbency. Later he was elected justice of the peace for the town of Manlius, and in 1897 he was made city attorney of Marseilles, and is still serving the public in this position. He is a stalwart Republican, and fraternally is a member of the Joseph Woodruff Post, No. 281, Grand Army of the Republic.
The marriage of Mr. Nicholson and Miss Sally A. Clark, which was solemnized in this county January 22, 1857, was blessed with six children, namely: Hiland F.; Will C; Mary E., wife of Frank E. Smith; Miles S.; John M.; and Elizabeth, wife of T. D. Brewster. Mrs. Nicholson, who was born June 9, 1834, in Ohio, and reared in LaSalle county here, is a daughter of Adolphus and Sally (Loring) Clark, worthy and esteemed citizens of this section of the state.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 96-97.