HON. JAMES NICHOLS, HARTFORD: President National Fire Insurance Company.
President James Nichols was born in Newtown, Dec. 25, 1830, and was educated for the bar. In 1854 he commenced
the practice of his profession in Thompsonville, but removed to Hartford within a few months, and was appointed
assistant clerk of the Hartford county superior court. In 1861 he was elected judge of probate in the Hartford
district, which embraced the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, Windsor Locks, East Hartford,
and Glastonbury. The office was one of great importance and required exceptional ability for the discharge of its
duties. Judge Nichols won the admiration of all parties on account of the successful way in which the judicial
work of the office was performed. In 1867 he became the adjuster and special agent of the Merchants' Insurance
Company of Hartford, and was rapidly promoted by the board of directors. From the outset he manifested especial
adaptability for the insurance business. At the time of the great Chicago fire in 1871 Judge Nichols was the secretary
of the Merchants and a manager of recognized standing in the insurance community. The Merchants company was not
able to recover from the unprecedented disaster at Chicago, and surrendered its charter. The National Fire Insurance
Company, which had been incorporated in May, 1869, organized in 1871 with the late Mark Howard as president and
Judge Nichols as secretary. When President Howard died four years ago, he was succeeded by the Judge, the latter's
ability as an insurance manager entitling him to that promotion. The National has made decided progress under President
Nichols, and is one of the ablest and most carefully conducted insurance companies in New England. President Nichols
is the vice president of the Charter Oak National Bank, a director in the Phcenix Life Insurance Company and a
trustee in the State Savings Bank. In politics he is a republican. He is a prominent member of the Park church
in this city. The wife of Judge Nichols, who is still living, was Miss Isabella M. Starkweather, daughter of Mr.
Nathan Starkweather of this city. There is one daughter, Mrs. H. A. Smith of Rochester, N. Y. The life of Judge
Nichols has been one of thorough success and honor. He is held in the highest esteem in the city of Hartford, of
which he has been a resident since the summer of 1854.
Illustrated Popular Biography
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891
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