• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Friday, March 9, 2012


Born: 9 March 1857
Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa

Father: John James McNicholl (b. abt 1831)
 Bernard (Barney) McNicholl (b. abt 1829)

Mother: Sarah Wright (b. abt 1835)
 Rebecca Donins (b. abt 1830)

Can anyone verify the parents of this man? They are listed in several ways on several hand written and typed records.
We have little information about this great grandfather.
We have a few names, dates and places.
Do your know more?
Do you have any pictures?

In a cook book published for a Shelton / Bennett Family reunion in 1990, compiled by Carrie and Gina Shelton, cousins, there is a photocopy of an old photo of James Andrew McNicholl.  The book is full of fun pictures of many family members. It says photos and Geneology research were courtesy of June Shupe, her daughter Pat Shelton Erdman, and Hazel Bennett Berry.

We are grateful for all the work and research anyone so generously shares with our family in the discovery, and preservation of,  records and photos. They also contributed significantly to a history of Sarah Isabelle McNicholl Shelton, a daughter of James Andrew McNicholl.

In that history (of Sarah Isabelle McNicholl) some of her children tell some of the stories and memories they heard from their mother and father.

Sarah's son (Herman Shelton) records, "[In our family] the boys height came from Fanny's uncles and James McNicholl was tall - 6 feet. I understand [Fanny] was nice but she was very strict. That's the way it was in those days ... James wasn't a farmer - he worked in town in a profession of some kind but Mom [Sarah Shelton] never told us what. I got the impression they were not poor."
1870 Denamrk, Lee, Iowa US Census
Census records verify a few facts. In 1870 James McNicholl, age 13, is 'at home' with Barney McNicholl, an Irish Farmer and his wife Rebecca, and 7 siblings in Denmark, Lee, Iowa.  He attended school that year and can read and write.

In 1880, at age 23, a James McNicholl is working as a farm laborer and boarding at a house hold in Green Bay Township, Lee, Iowa for Lewis or Louis Derle and his wife Emma. He is listed as a boarder.
In 1900 census records we see James Andrew McNicholl married and living, with his wife and 3 children, in Mt. Idaho, Idaho County, Idaho State. He is working as a teamster and his wife is a laundress. They both were 'not employed' for 6 months in 1900. Unemployment was very common following the panic, widespread strikes and economic depression of the mid 1890s.

The profession, Farmer, on the first line is for the person listed above him. 
Spouse: Francis Alois Huckins (b. 1875)
Married: 6 June 1890 (or 23 March 1890)
As you can tell we still have many unanswered questions - be sure to watch for updates, and please share if you learn something we do not know yet. We will do the same.