Biography of William F. Nye
Bristol County, MA Biographies

Nye, William F., was born at Pocasset in the southern district of the old town of Sandwich, May 20, 1824. He was the second son born of the union of Captain Ebenezer Nye and Syrena Dimmick. Captain Ebenezer Nye was a man of daring spirit and untiring industry, and it would seem that he transmitted these qualities to his son, who is now a highly successful merchant after an active life replete with hardship and adventure. Until he reached the age of sixteen years Mr. Nye remained at home and attended the village schools. At that time he came to New Bedford and entered the apprenticeship of Prince Weeks, one of New Bedford's oldest master builders, then located at the corner of Water and Walnut streets. Later he worked for the firm composed of Braddock Gifford and Timothy D. Cook, and after working as a journeyman carpenter for some time, engaged in church organ building for a Boston firm. His adventurous spirit now became manifest and he shipped as a carpenter on an East India merchantman, the voyage leading to a three years' engagement with the Tudor Ice Company in Culcutta. His experience in India was varied and interesting. When gold was discovered in California he at once started for San Francisco, crossing the Isthmus of Panama on foot and arriving safely shortly after the great fire. Carpenters were in great demand and he was enabled to secure advantageous wages. Mr. Nye erected some of the first brick buildings in San Francisco, and most of them are standing today, while a few have been torn down to make room for larger structures. In 1855 he returned to New Bedford and was engaged in various mercantile pursuits until the beginning of the civil war, when he at once closed up his affairs and joined the army in Virginia as sutler to the Massachusetts artillery. He was afterwards transferred to the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry and passed through many exciting experiences with his regiment, which was always at the front. He became noted for nerve and a keen discernment, as he often held his ground when the other sutlers packed their wagons and "ran for it." He participated in the famous march from Fredricksburg to Gettysburg, and was with the advance guard which entered Richmond on April 5, 1865. His regiment first raised the flag upon the capitol building and occupied it as quarters the first night. For many days he was the only tradesman on the streets of Richmond. The regiment was mustered out in November, 1865, and soon after Mr. Nye began his present business of manufacturing and refining the higher grades of lubricating oils, suitable for watches, clocks, bicycles, typewriters, sewing machines, etc. His success in this field has been remarkable and his products have gained a wide reputation. Mr. Nye is a deep thinker and possesses the courage of his convictions. At the time of the early anti slavery crusade he was active in his support of Garrison, Philips, Parker, and other anti slavery leaders, who lectured in this vicinity. He has been the chief promoter of the Onset Bay Grover enterprise, situated at the head of Buzzard's Bay, and said to be the largest community of Spiritualists ever founded. Mr. Nye was married in 1851 to a daughter of Aberdeen Keith.

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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