Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. II, p. 1074
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
One of the finest farms of Rice county, known as the Pleasant Home Farm, is the property of Phillip Nickel, one of the prominent early settlers of this locality. He was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, November 14, 1852. His father, Lewis Nickel, is a native of the fatherland, and a fact which due recognition is not usually accorded in connection with the commercial history of the wonderful metropolis of the west is that to no foreign element is its presence due in so large a measure as to those who have had their nativity in or trace their lineage to the great empire of Germany. Mr Nickel was only four years of age when he came with his parents to Ohio, where he grew to manhood and learned the shoemaker’s trade. He was there married to Sarah Elizabeth Wuist, a native also of Germany. At the age of sixteen years she came to Ohio. In 1859 the family removed to Jefferson county, Iowa, locating near Fairfield, where the father owns and operates a good farm. He has now reached the advanced age of seventy-four years, and is one of the well-to-do and influential men of his locality. His wife died at the comparatively early age of thirty-six years, leaving the following children: Phillip; Charles, now deceased; Lizzie Personett, of Eureka township; Kerr, a resident of Van Buren county, Iowa; and Mrs Ella Reneker, also of that county. The father was again married, and by his second union had one son, Ira Nickel, a resident of Iowa. The parents are members of the Lutheran church, and the father affiliates with the Democratic party.
Phillip Nickel, the immediate subject of this review, was reared to farm life in Iowa, and was early taught the important lesson of industry, perseverance and honesty, qualities which have proved dominant elements in his later career. In 1874 he came to the Sunflower state, casting in his lot with the pioneer settlers of Rice county. His first residence was a sod house, sixteen by fourteen feet, and in that rude domicile he kept bachelor’s hall for a time. The sod house is still standing on the farm. He later purchased a tree claim of eighty acres. As the years have passed he has prospered in his undertakings, and he is now the owner of five hundred and sixty acres of the best land to be found in central Kansas. His land is divided into four farms, the home place being located on section 28, and he has eighty acres on section 9, eighty acres on section 18 and one hundred and sixty acres in township 17, range 6, section 32. Wheat is his principal crop, and his annual sales of this product bring to him a handsome financial return. Pleasant Home Farm is one of the fine country seats of Rice county. His residence was erected at a cost of two thousand dollars and its interior and exterior appearance indicates the refined taste of the owner. He has a large barn, which was erected at a cost of seven hundred dollars, cribs, feed lots and all other improvements of a model farm.
In 1876 Mr Nickel was united in marriage to Miss Mary J Myers, who was born in Van Buren county, Iowa, where she was also reared and educated. She is a daughter of Elijah Myers, a native of Indiana, and his second union was with Sarah Bethers, the mother of Mrs Nickel. Mrs Myers was born in Oregon, but afterward came to Rice county, Kansas, where her death occurred in 1876. Her husband survived until July, 1893, dying at the age of seventy-three years. They were the parents of three children, namely: Samuel Bethers, a prominent early settler of Victoria township; Mary J, wife of our subject; and Francis Bethel. They also lost one child, who died in infancy. The father followed farming as a life occupation and was an advocate of Democratic principles. The mother was a member of the Baptist church. Unto Mr and Mrs Nickel have been born eight children, namely: Edward, who is twenty-three years of age, and is at home; Mrs Sarah E Wynn, who is nineteen years of age; Nora, a young lady of sixteen years; Stella, Walter, Allie and Elmer, aged respectively eleven, eight, six and three years. The fifth child, Gracie Ann, died at the age of six years. Mr Nickel has now reached the age of forty-nine years, but could easily pass for a man many years his junior. In his social relations he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. A man of marked business and executive ability he forms his plans readily, is determined in their execution and carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes. His methods command uniform confidence and respect, and the most envious could not grudge him his prosperity, so worthily has it been won.