Biography of John W. Nickerson
Bristol County, MA Biographies

Nickerson, John Wesley, deputy sheriff of Bristol county for the past thirty years, is one of the oldest and best known citizens of New Bedford. He was born in Plymouth, Mass., May 5, 1818, a son of Israel and Rebecca (Young) Nickerson. During his boyhood he worked on the farm and attended school the usual three months which were accorded to a boy in those days, and he also worked at the carpenter's trade under his father, who was a practical carpenter and a respected citizen in Plymouth for many years. When he reached the age of seventeen he came to New Bedford and found employment as a clerk in a grocery owned by Jonathan Bourne, with whom he remained about two and a half years, and then found a similar position with the dry goods firm of Barney & Head, where he remained an equal length of time. He then engaged in the dry goods business for himself, locating on South Water street, where he remained in business for about five years and at the end of this time he sold out; made a voyage of six months in a merchant vessel, and when he returned formed a company and bought a ship in which he sailed as supercargo and part owner for eleven years, mostly in the trade with Brazil, Africa and the Cape Verde Islands. A short time after the ship had been sold he was appointed deputy sheriff of Bristol county, which position he has ever since held, and he has also held commissions as deputy sheriff of Plymouth, Barnstable and Dukes counties. Mr. Nickerson has been a member of the Star in the East Lodge of Masons for some years and is also a member of Adoniram Chapter and was a charter member of Pacific Lodge of Odd Fellows. He was first a Whig and has been a staunch Republican since the organization of that party, serving at different times on the city committee and as delegate to State and county conventions. He represented Ward 2 in the Council for two terms and Ward 4 a like number of times, being a member of the first Council elected after the incorporation of the city. In the administrations of Mayors G. H. Dunhar and Abram H. Howland he served as chief of police. Mr. Nickerson descends from a hardy settler of Cape Cod, William, by name, who came from England in 1730. In 1838 he married Mary G. Chase of Nantucket, and of their eight children only three survive: Elizabeth R., wife of James W. Herrey, of New Bedford; Thomas, and Louise, wife of P. F. Brownell, of Ottawa, Canada.

Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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