Nichols Family History
James Lester Nichols was born in Randolph County, Georgia on July 23, 1881. He was the son of Henry James Nichols. He died on September 20, 1959 in Grapeland, Texas. He is buried in the Davis Cemetery. Lester, as he was known, married Naomi Cook (b. April 16, 1881 – d. February 12, 1972) in Calhoun County, Florida on November 17, 1901. They had five children while in Florida; Eva Mae, Richard (who died with pneumonia), Idas Jackson (5-12-1905), Minnie (who died with measles and pneumonia) and Ruby. In February 1910 they moved to Texas. They crossed the Mississippi River in a train on a ferry boat. The train had to be divided into two parts so that it would fit on the ferry. Papa Lester held Idas up so he could look out at the river, but he pushed back. He was afraid he would fall into the Mississippi. It was a long trip to Texas. They arrived in Elkhart with $25.00 cash, a Singer sewing machine and three children. Eva Mae was 10, Idas was 5 and Ruby was 6 months old. They rented a place from Ben Huggins, and after a while, moved to the Durnell place in the Antrim Community. After living on several different places, they finally settled in the Rock Hill Community on the A.U. Streetman place. Later, they bought the old Robert Kolb place in the same community a little further out. By this time they had added three more girls (Louise, Edith and Oleta) to the family. Ida started to school at Rock Hillearlier than he should have so that Eva Mae would not have to go by herself. They walked about two miles to school, stayed all day and carried their lunch in a bucket. They got home in time to help with the chores. Lester was a farmer, but he took an interest in bees. He soon became a beekeeper and Idas had to help do the farming. He had three bee aperies and about 300 bees. They sold a lot of honey. One of the bee aperies was down on the Big Elkhart Creek, about two miles from the house. They would extract the honey from the honey combs and put them back in the hives for the bees to use again. They would put the honey in gallon buckets and have enough buckets to fill a farm wagon-bed. In about 1923, Idas started taking over the farming so Papa Nichols could tend to the bees. The girls would chop and pick cotton, pick peas and help with household chores. They did their washing about once a week at an old board well. Water had to be carried up a hill to the house. The yard did not have grass as we do today; it was kept hoed, raked and cleared. There were peach and pear trees and date trees (brought from Florida) and grape arbors in the back yard. Eva Mae was the first to marry, Lee Martin, and have one daughter, Frances. Frances is married to Thomas Reed. They have three sons and eight grandchildren. Ruby married Edgar Musgrove and they have two children, Joyce and James. Joyce married Ronald Blount and they have four children and ten grandchildren. Ronald passed way with a heart attack a few years ago. James married Freida Nell Hand and they have two children; Paul, who is married and has a baby son and Elizabeth, who is married and has no children yet. Edith married Earl Murdock and they have two daughters, Jo Ann and Jerris. Jo Ann married Ellis Melvin in Florida and they have four children and three grandchildren. Jerris married Charles Concellio and they have three children and three grandchildren. Louise married Earl Cheatham and they had two sons: Billy Earl and Jerry. Billy Earl married Glenda Masters and they have three children, Bill Glenn, Brenda and Terry. They have three grandchildren. Billy Earl retired from Dow Chemical Co. inFreeport and they have moved back home to Grapeland. Jerry married Marie Frisby and they had one son, Clint, who lives in Grapeland with wife, Robyn, and baby daughter, Brooke. Jerry later married Loyce Ann and had a daughter, Vickie. Jerry died of a heart attack in 1973 at age 33. Oleta married John Day Wallace and they have two sons: Darrel and Curtis. Darrel married Mary Williams and they have two children: David Paul and Deanna. David Paul is married and has a son. Curtis married Sue Chandler and they have two children: Keith and Ashley. Idas married Evelyn Murdock on July 10, 1926 and they have five children: Evalene, Marian, Carrol, Shirley and Sandra. When Idas and Evelyn married they lived in the house with Mama and Papa Nichols for a while until Idas built them a small house of their own. He drove by wagon from Rock Hill Community to Elkhart and bought enough lumber to almost finish the house in one load. They took in school teachers, Brother Earl Murdock and Banner Stanley, as boarders. After a while they moved up to Newton Streetman’s place at Antrim. Earl continued to stay on and board with them and teach school. Evelyn saved money from the boarders and bought her first nice bedroom suite. She and Earl had always been very close as brother and sister, and got to go visit her family very often. Earl later married was’ sister, Edith. Later on in the 40’s, Idas and Evelyn bought some land from Uncle John Cook in the Rock Hill Community joining Grandpa Lester. In 1951 they took down the old house and built a new house. Here they stayed until New Year’s Day 1978 when they moved into Grapeland. Idas still resides there today. Evelyn passed away December 1984. Evalene (11/20/27) married Adolph Kolb and they have one daughter, Alpha, and three grandchildren, Bobby Collums, Jonnie Collums and Christina Hall. Marian (4/4/30) served his country with the U.S. Army in Koreaand after earning his rotation time home, was discharged at Ft. Sam Houston. He married Wanda Graham of Crockett. They have three daughters: Marleen, Robin and Sharon. Marleen is married to Willie Josey and they have two daughters, Lindsey Marleen and Michelle Leann. Robin married David Stevens of Kilgore and they have a daughter, Amanda Leah and a son, Justin Mitchell. Sharonfirst married Bobby R. Minter and has a daughter, Shannon Renay, and later married Kenny Joe Marsh and they have a son, Brandon Kyle. Marian spent 23 years with the Missouri Pacific Railroad in several different departments, and received a lot of schooling. In 1972 he resigned his position as assistant manager of Railroad Service & Sales and moved back home td Grapeland where he bought his own business. He and Wanda are active in the community. They are active members of the First BaptistChurch. He has served fourteen years on the Grapeland City Council, served as mayor pro-tem, was a member of the volunteer ambulance and fire department for a number of years, a Past Master of Grapeland Masonic Lodge, Past Patron of Grapeland Order of the Eastern Star No. 120. Wanda is presently director of the Grapeland Housing Authority, a Past Matron of Grapeland No. 120, and Order of the Eastern Star, member of Grapeland Garden Club, Grapeland Hospital Auxiliary, and Grapeland Business & Professional Women’s Organization. They both work and serve on numerous committees for the good of the community. Having moved so many times with the Railroad in all those years, they feel that there is no other place like Grapeland and it’s the best place to be, always its home! Carrol (11/20/36) joined the U.S. Navy in his senior year of high school, and later married Joyce Dubose and they had three children: Jimmy Carrol, who has a son; Gary Lynn and his wife, Sherry, have a son and daughter; Cynthia Renee’ died as an infant several days old. Carrol later married Patsy Buchannan and she had baby daughter, Tracy, who Carrol adopted and they have a son, Nolan Wayne. Carrol has his own welding service in Palestine. Shirley (3/21/38) married Charles V. Pierson and they had three sons: Charles Vaughn, Mark Allen and Keith Jackson. Vaughn and wife, Susan, have a daughter, Amber, and son, Ryan. Mark and his wife, Mary, have a son Roger and two daughters, Jennifer and Kristina. Mark died in a tragic boating accident on Memorial weekend 1984 near Bryan, Texas. Keith and his wife, Alma, live near San Antonio, Texas. Sandra (1/4/40) married Billy James Coleman of Elkhart and they have two children: Mitchell, who has a daughter, Ashley Marie. Melynda Kay married Frank Jeffus and they have two children, a son, Casey and daughter, Brandi. The Nichols family is scattered all over the country, but manage to keep in touch with each other through each other. Of the six children of James Lester and Naomi Cook Nichols, all are still living except Eva Mae and all now live in Grapeland close to each other and are active members in their church and community.