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David and Merrin Nicoll, Crawford County

Because I am slowly coming to the end of my quest within the Annual Reports of the New York Juvenile Asylum, I have begun searching through the message boards of to find additional stories to record in this space. Barbara Lockard, a proud descendant of David Nicoll, has generously shared the story of her grandfather David William Nicol (later spelled Nicoll and Nichols):

David William and Merrin were born in New York City to William and Margaret Nicol.

William Nicol, a cooper, and Margaret Brown McKenzie were married in Edinburgh, Scotland on 19 Jun 1863. Their daughter, Robina, was born 14 Mar 1866, and their daughter, Mary was born 2 May 1868 in Scotland. William and Margaret and their two daughters arrived in New York on 10 Sep. 1869 after having traveled on the ship Europa. The family first settled in Manhattan followed by a move to Brooklyn.

Shortly after arriving in New York Mary died on 31 Oct 1869 followed by the death of a one year old son, William on 9 Sep 1871. These two children are buried at the Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn.

David was born 1 Oct ca.1876 and David's sister, Merrin, aka Minnie, was born ca.1879. David and Minnie were interred at the New York Juvenile Asylum in April of 1885, and the cause of commitment was destitution.

After being discharged from the asylum on 1 March 1886, David and Minnie rode the orphan train with their placing agent, Ebenezer Wright, to Robinson, Crawford Co., IL. They were taken in by the Charles York family, and David remained there until adulthood. Minnie stayed in the York home only a very short time having been replaced on 1 Sep 1886 with the George Hoffman family in Champaign Co., IL.

David learned his trade as a farmer from his guardian, Charles York, and, now using the surname of Nichols, he married Essie Elmie Lowe on 1 Oct 1899 in Hutsonville, Crawford Co., Il. They had seven children, and David's legacy lives on through their descendants. David Nichols died on 12 Dec 1925 in Robinson, Il, and he is buried in the Newlin Cemetery.

It was very fortunate that David was plucked from the throes of destitution, placed in the New York Juvenile Asylum, became an orphan train child and given the opportunity to make a prosperous life for himself.

I have no record of Minnie after 1896.

David wrote a letter to the Asylum in 1893, which was reproduced in the annual reports:

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