Thursday, November 10, 2011

Six Brothers in War, 1861-65

Locally many may know of the Marra brothers, the sons of Angelo and Josephine Marra, who served their country in World War II. Eighty years earlier, a similarly remarkable contribution had been made by another Middleborough family, the Nickersons, with the service of six of its sons in the Civil War.

Hiram Nickerson (1826-1910) served December 2, 1861-November 1, 1862; Ivory Harlow Nickerson (1829-1920) served December 26, 1861-June 5, 1863; Frederick U. Nickerson (1833-1915) served February 12 1861-June 17, 1865; Maranda R. Nickerson (1838- ) served August 22, 1861-August 27, 1864; James Thomas Nickerson (1844- ) served February 20, 1864-July 16, 1865; and Simeon Leonard Nickerson (c. 1846-1921) served December 16, 1864-May 12, 1865, were the six sons of James and Sylvia Nickerson who did service to their country.

In the collections of the Middleborough Public Library is an unidentified newspaper clipping dating from August 14, 1904. Written by Middleborough newspaperman James H. Creedon, the clipping documents the contributions of the Nickersons during the war:

The record of the six sons of James and Sylvia Nickerson of Middleboro, who bore arms on the union side during the civil war, is one which is rarely equaled.

There were 11 members of the family, nine of whom were boys, and of this number six enlisted under the stars and stripes, and all six returned from the war. One has since died, disease contracted during the war having caused death, but the other brothers are still in fairly good health.

On the call to arms the brothers were interested, as were many of the young men of that period and on their first opportunity the enlisted.

The one who served the longest was Frederick U. Nickerson, now a resident of New Bedford, who enlisted early in the war and remained till the end. His first enlistment was in Co. E, 32d regt, as a private, and when his term had expired he reenlisted, this time with the rank of corporal.

He served in many important battles, including Gainesville, second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock station, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold harbor, Petersburg and Appomattox, where he was discharged on account of the close of the war June 17, 1865. He was a member of E. W. Peirce post, G. A. R., of Middleboro for some years, and later transferred to the New Bedford post.

Hiram Nickerson of Middleboro was another brother who went to the front, and after receiving a wound in the second Bull Run was discharged from the service. He enlisted in Co. E of the 32d Mass regt, and after camping at Boston awhile they went to the front. The second Bull Run was the only battle he had an opportunity to participate in. He now resides on Warren av, and is a member of E. W. Peirce post of Middleboro. Mr. and Mrs. Nickerson recently observed their golden wedding anniversary.

The youngest brother of the number is Simeon L. Nickerson, the keeper of the Middleboro poor farm. When less than 18, having secured his parents' consent, he started for the front. This was in 1864, and the young man went out with the 24th regt unattached.

He was in camp some months, but did not have an opportunity to participate in any engagements. Mr. Nickerson is well known in Middleboro, and recently celebrated his silver wedding anniversary. He is a prominent member in the local G. A. R. post.

Ivory Nickerson, the fourth brother, resides at Tremont, where he has a comfortable place. He was with Co D of the 32d Massachusetts regt and was in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and the second Bull Run. At Fredricksburg he received an honorable discharge, having been a sufferer from dropsy.

He was employed for several years at the iron works at Tremont, but of late has worked but little. He was a member of the local G. A. R. post, but owing to the inconvenience of attending the sessions he took a demit.

Another brother, James, lives in Rochester. He was the next oldest after Simeon, and he, too, was anxious to get to the front while still in his teens. He served in the 40th regt, participating in several engagements.

The brother who died was Maranda Nickerson. He went out with the 18th Massachusetts regt, but contracted measles while at war, and this brought on consumption. He was discharged and returned home, dying some time later.

It is a notable fact that this family of fighters descended from a fighter, their father, James Nickerson, having served in the war of 1812. He was a member of the crew of a merchant vessel which, after a desperate struggle, was pilfered by a pirate ship commanded by Capt Simms, who, after subduing the crew and burning their boat, landed them on British soil.

The brothers are anxiously anticipating the exercises of encampment week at Boston, and will doubtless participate in the celebration.

In his article Creedon describes the Nickersons as a “family of fighters”, and it should be noted that the family, following 1904 when Creedon was writing, continued to serve their country in the armed forces. Most notable was Hiram Nickerson’s grandson, Simeon L. Nickerson, who was killed in action in World War I. It is for him that Nickerson Avenue and the local American Legion post are named.

"Six Brothers in the War", unidentified newspaper clipping, August 14, 1904, Middleborough Public Library


Unknown said...

all these nickersons are my very own relatives on my moms side,, makes me so proud

Unknown said...

all of these nickerson men are my very own relatives on my moms side ,,, makes me so very proud..

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