WALTER C. WOODWARD
William Augustus Blount Stewart II
In Honor Of
William Augustus Blount Stewart
Society of the Cincinnati
May 27, 1992
WILLIAM AUGUSTUS BLOUNT STEWART II
IN HONOR OF
WILLIAM AUGUSTUS BLOUNT STEWART
1920 - 1990
SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI
MAY 27, 1992
WALTER C. WOODWARD
THE AMERICAN FRIENDRICHMOND, INDIANA
THE NICHOLSON PRESS
COPYRIGHT 1927 BY
NICHOLSON PRINTING COMPANY
A PERSONAL NOTE OF INTRODUCTION
TO have had Timothy Nicholson for a father, involves a responsibility as well as a privilege. In addition to the close, personal relationship which properly exists between parents and children, there was in our case the wider relationship which came from our father's many sided public activities. He belonged not only to us but to all who needed a friend.
Accordingly, when father left us, we had the double incentive for giving some substantial expression of our love and appreciation. There was first the filial impulse which prompted a tribute from sons and daughters to an honored father. There was also a feeling of debt to those friends of the common good to whom father had so long been a leader. Since he belonged to them as well as to us, we felt that they, too, would appreciate having a permanent expression in the way of a memorial of his life and service; and not only they but others who may follow them in good works, to whom such a portrayal might serve as an inspiration and example.
Several years before his death, friends had urged upon father the importance of leaving some adequate record of his long career, in the interests of history. Thus persuaded, he had collected considerable material bearing upon his activities, of which he also made an extended personal statement.
During the few years immediately preceding his death, he frequently expressed the concern that all this material be properly edited for publication, expressing the hope that Walter C. Woodward, Editor of The American Friend and General Secretary of the Five Years Meeting of Friends in America, might undertake this task. He talked over the matter at different times with Dr. Woodward himself, with whom he was closely associated and whose work he followed appreciatively.
It was natural, therefore, following father's death, that we turned to Walter Woodward to prepare the memorial volume which we had in mind. The result is most gratifying to us. We feel that the author, in this carefully compiled and splendidly written biography, has given a graphic and discerning portrayal of Timothy Nicholson whom he characterizes as Master Quaker.
On behalf of the family,
JOHN H. NICHOLSON.
October 15, 1927.
IF Timothy Nicholson had only kept a diary! Such an exclamation, sometimes vocal, many times mental, has been a frequent one with the Author in the preparation of this volume. What a mine of wealth it would have proved, kept by one whose life so nearly rounded out a century, whose service covered so wide a range and whose contacts were so many and varied! Unfortunately for the purposes of history, diaries are too largely kept by those who have little to say worth recording.
In lieu of such an intimate, personal record, the writer is indebted to Professor Harlow Lindley, of Earlham College, and to Dr. Amos W. Butler, of Indianapolis, for having induced Timothy Nicholson to prepare an autobiographical sketch which has furnished the groundwork for the biography. We have drawn upon this sketch quite freely, often following Timothy Nicholson's own words closely, in which instances, however, they have generally been set apart as more or less extended quotations.
Ordinarily, one of the richest sources of a biographer is to be found in personal correspondence; especially so in reviewing the life of one who carried on so large and varied a correspondence, private, official and semi-official, as that conducted by Timothy Nicholson for so many years. He was, however, a long hand correspondent, for the most part, particularly in the years of his most active
service. There is therefore comparatively little record of the thousands of letters written by him during that long period. For the later period of his life, however, such source material was more available and was eagerly used. Reference has been frequently and helpfully made to various records, reports and printed proceedings of organizations with which Timothy Nicholson was connected.
While appreciative of the interest taken by many friends in this work, we wish to speak with special gratitude of the cooperative interest shown by Professor Lindley and Dr. Butler, already referred to. The former, through his long association with Earlham College and otherwise, had an intimate friendship with Timothy Nicholson which but stimulated his strong, normal interest in the preservation of historic data of achievement, particularly when related to the Society of Friends. Dr. Amos W. Butler manifested a similar concern and has contributed richly to the volume from the wealth of his long and intimate relationship to Timothy Nicholson. He was also good enough to read and criticize the Author's manuscript.
In preparing this biography, we have not been unmindful of certain limitations to which we have been subject, apart from those already suggested. We refer particularly to the time element involved. Timothy Nicholson has been gone but three years. His life is so close to us that the perspective of the long look is not yet possible. He was vitally connected with certain movements which may be said to be yet in the experimental stage. His contribution,
as related to them, cannot now be accurately evaluated, therefore. There are other movements, other contributions, however, of which there can be little or no question. The verdict of outstanding authorities in these fields is impressive.
Moreover, a biography should be more than a record and an evaluation of personal accomplishment. It should illumine its subject, giving it the flush of life, making it stand out as a living picture. This purpose we have had before us, however poorly it may have been achieved.
The Author is conscious of having taken a few liberties in details of style, for which departure from convention he is not inclined to apologize. Occasionally, the editorial aptitude has asserted itself more or less unconsciously. Frequently he has referred to his subject by first name only, an infraction of good taste ordinarily that would savor of undue familiarity and lack of dignity. We felt it to be different in this case. Why? For the good reason that Timothy was Timothy! This may seem cryptic to the uninitiated, but those who knew and loved him will understand and it was for them that we have largely written.
This prefatory statement can hardly be concluded without a brief statement of personal appreciation of our departed Friend. It was as a young man that we came to know him and it was our great privilege to know him intimately during the last decade of his life. His sympathetic interest and close cooperation will never be forgotten. On the morning following his burial we went early to the
editorial office. We picked up a copy of the latest issue of The American Friend and the thought flashed home that Timothy would never read that issue—and then we realized how through the years, consciously and unconsciously, we had edited the paper in the thought of his sympathetic and discriminating scrutiny, and how we had been spurred on by the desire for his “Well done.” The morning mail was delivered and we opened a letter containing a searching inquiry regarding the merits of an important legislative measure to come before Congress, bearing upon human welfare. Instinctively our thought turned toward Timothy for information and counsel—but he was gone. We knew that he could not be with us always, yet we could hardly imagine ourselves not being able to draw at will upon his wisdom and experience. That morning we faced the fact of realization. He was gone. Many times during the three years that have intervened, have we felt this loss as have others. But enough—for here again are we in danger of trespassing upon bookish convention, even in our Preface.
We have counted it a privilege to write the biography of Timothy Nicholson. We are content, if in doing so we have succeeded, not only in interpreting his spirit but in passing on to others a little of its inspiration.
WALTER C. WOODWARD.
October 15, 1927.
|A Personal Note of Introduction||vii|
|I||The Times and The Man||1|
|II||Light Within and Life Without—A Quaker Exemplar||16|
|III||A Quaker Home One Hundred Years Ago||27|
|IV||Out on the “Royal Pathway”||40|
|V||Haverford and On West||54|
|VI||Richmond and “New Occasions”||68|
|VII||Friends and Prison Reform in Indiana (1867-1889)||83|
|VIII||Nineteen Notable Years (1889-1908)||96|
|IX||He Wouldn't Let Liquor Alone!||136|
|X||Among the Peacemakers||148|
|XI||The Quaker in Education||164|
|XII||The Quaker Statesman||178|
|XIII||Friend Nicholson and Public Officials||202|
|XIV||The Citizen At Home||211|
|Recognition and Tribute||234|
THE TIMES AND THE MAN
IN SEVERAL respects, the year 1828 marks an epoch in our national history. It saw elected to the presidency a rough and ready son of the frontier, a man who had fought his way up from an humble birth in a backwoods section of North Carolina. The election in itself was a political revolution.
Between the political and social forces represented by John Quincy Adams and by his presidential successor, Andrew Jackson, there was all the vast distance represented by the total contrast between the two men themselves. One represented the political traditions of the Fathers of the Republic, framed on the background of old world thought and associations. The other, impetuous and aggressive, symbolized the self-sufficiency of the western pioneer, intolerant of the past. One was the exponent of the aristocracy of intellect and culture; the other of a new and rugged democracy breathing the assurance and self-assertion of the frontier. One represented the established dignity of government in the well accepted succession to the presidency; following Washington, each President up to 1828 had figured prominently, as
Secretary of State with one exception, in a preceding administration. The other exemplified the new order of scramble and catch-as-catch-can in clamoring for public office and its spoils. One embodied the rule of the conservative, commercial, and cultivated life of the East; the other the rise of the radical, contentious, democratic spirit of the West. “Colonial America, seeking to construct a union, had become national America, seeking to realize and develop her united strength, and to express her new life in a new course of politics.”
Out of the wilderness of the West had come a new, dominating force into the life of the young nation. Indeed that new force was the West itself; a West that was unlettered, uncouth and undisciplined, yet a West that had wrested homes from nature and the Indians, had coped successfully with foreign competitors for the virgin soil of the hinterland, and had added vast territories to the national domain from which new states had been admitted to the Union. It was a West which was conscious of its importance and impatient of restraint. While marked by the ungainliness and rude self-assertiveness of youth, it was of the stuff of which strong, vigorous nations are made. Writing more than a half century afterward, our discerning foreign interpreter, James Bryce, said that the West is the most American part of America; that “what Europe is to Asia, what England is to the
rest of Europe, what America is to England, that the western states are to the Atlantic states, the heat and pressure and hurry of life always growing as we follow the path of the sun.” In the laconic words of Woodrow Wilson, “A new nation had been born and nurtured into self-reliant strength in the West, and it was now to set out upon a characteristic career.”
Obviously, then, the elevation of the Carolinabred Westerner to the presidency in 1828, marked a very distinct turning point in American history. It was in this eventful year that there was born, also in an isolated section of North Carolina, one who was likewise destined to take an important, and certainly no less honorable a part, in contributing to the finer values of the great West with which he too was to become identified. As a necessary background on which to portray the manifold activities of Timothy Nicholson, it will be desirable to sketch in broad outline the development of certain national movements and events which created his field of action. As the Quaker boy grew to young manhood and maturity, what were some of the social and political trends that shaped the course of state?
Spreading rapidly across the political sky was the black and portentous cloud of slavery. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution it was but the size of a man's hand on the horizon and it was
generally expected that it would gradually descend below the sky line. How strikingly different was the sequel! Already, on the one hand, inventive genius was perfecting mechanical processes that brought cotton manufacture into its own and started the nation on its industrial career. Within four years from the time the Constitution was adopted, Whitney invented his cotton-gin, increasing enormously the output of cotton. Thereafter the extension of the cotton industry was inevitable. Dependent as it was upon the slave labor, slavery became the sacred institution of the South. Imperiously demanding the right of way, the lusty giant of cotton culture took the road of conquest, annexation and expansion, insistently ordering passports into the new territories, for its black handmaiden.
Here indeed was a situation that was to search the heart and try the spirit of the southern Quaker lad. Within a few months of the latter's birth, William Lloyd Garrison took up the task of abolition, joining forces with the veteran Quaker abolitionist, Benjamin Lundy, in the publication of the Genius of Universal Emancipation. In 1828, also, significantly enough, John C. Calhoun framed his doctrine of nullification. Within three decades that ill-omened doctrine came to fruition in the harvest of secession and civil strife.
The year 1834 saw the invention of a machine which was of almost the significance to the agricultural
North and West that the cotton-gin had been to the agricultural South. It was the McCormick reaper, among the first of a long line of farming implements, that were to transform the frontier into a vast granary and establish in free territory, the promised land of the southern Quakers, a sturdy, liberty-loving, productive people as a foil to the rising, slave-dependent regime of the South. King cotton was to do its obeisance in the lean years of rebellion and reconstruction to the upright sheaves of northern wheat fields.
While the West and South remained primarily rural, a complex industrial life, based on the factory system, was springing up in the East. Although the change was not yet reflected in the isolated Quaker community in the old North State, the age of the household system of manufacturing was being ushered out by the new era of machinery. Great manufacturing industries, chief among which were those of cotton, wool and iron, were getting under way, and were giving a decidedly new turn to our national life. People were flocking to the factories in the North and East, new towns and cities were building and characteristic urban conditions were quickly developing. Prosperity was already exacting its toll of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the inhuman labor conditions involved. Women and children, often toiling from before dawn until dark, comprised
the great majority of the factory workers, with the result that “the cradle and the home were robbed to secure victories for the natal sacrifice of the new-born capitalism.” Here were being developed those difficult problems of human welfare and social adjustment to which the Quaker boy in North Carolina was to give so largely of his sympathy and attention.
Equally serious problems of municipal government followed fast in the wake of urban development. Like Topsy, the young American cities “just grew” and theirs was indeed a topsy-turvy growth. City government became a business rather than a profession, and the chief concern of those “doing business” in politics was to “make it pay.” A generally indifferent public, its attention given only to national politics so far as it turned aside at all from its own personal affairs, was tolerant of bad government and corruption. Thus again was the human welfare jeopardized as by the baneful conditions of the factory system.
The natal year of Timothy Nicholson saw another important step taken that was of great import in the nation's development. In 1828 the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company sent a representative to England to purchase four locomotives for use on its new line from Carbondale to Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The first to arrive was the “Stourbridge Lion,” which on August 9, 1829, was placed
on the primitive wooden rails. The engineer opened the throttle and in a cloud of smoke and hissing steam the “lion,” to the amazement of the spectators, went roaring down the track at the prodigious speed of ten miles an hour. Very cautiously followed the old Mohawk & Hudson, adopting steam power for use in day time, but retaining horses for night work. It was not deemed safe to use steam after dark! However, steam railway construction ventures followed in quick succession. The canal building fever which had previously possessed the public, was now succeeded by the new and more permanent interest. Within a decade, twenty-three hundred miles of railroad were in operation in the Atlantic states. In “the hatch and brood of time,” steam railroad transportation had arrived, destined to be a mighty factor in unifying and nationalizing the Republic.
In his boyhood days, Timothy Nicholson occasionally accompanied his father in the creaking, high wheeled cart to their market town of Norfolk, Virginia, fifty miles distant. The trip required three days and two nights. It took six days to drive the 250 miles to Yearly Meeting in buggies. He lived to see the day when, in almost half that time he could make the 3600 mile journey from the National Capital to California via New Orleans, without once having to leave the comfortable Pullman car in which he started.
Most significant of all, the popular movement for public education got under way during these eventful years. During the earlier years of stress and strain of war, of winning the wilderness, and of establishing the material basis of national existence, the cause of education had suffered. This fact was becoming a matter of general concern. “We must educate,” said Webster, “or we must perish.” Jefferson had espoused “a system of general instruction which shall reach every description of our citizens from the richest to the poorest.” This gradually became the national ideal, championed by such prophets as Horace Mann. Contributing largely to the principles of the new education was the English Quaker educator, Joseph Lancaster. One outstanding characteristic of the free school system in America was the separation between religion and education, a corollary of the American doctrine of the separation of church and state.
In the newer West, where the pioneers were busy contesting with nature's forces for supremacy, the cause of education naturally lagged. This fact, combined with the divorce of religion and education in the public schools, was to lead Timothy Nicholson into a field of influence of far-reaching consequence.
It was in this period, too, that a general interest was aroused in behalf of social betterment. “It
was a time,” says Woodrow Wilson, “when the world at large was quivering under the impact of new forces, both moral and intellectual. The year 1830 marks not only a period of sharp political revolution in Europe but also a season of awakened social conscience everywhere. Nowhere were the new forces more profoundly felt than in England, where political progress has always managed to be before revolution. . . . Everywhere philanthropic movements showed the spirit of the age.”
This new social spirit was also finding expression in the United States. “No sooner do you set your foot upon American ground,” wrote the French philosopher and observer, de Tocqueville in 1835, “than you are stunned by a kind of tumult; a confused clamor is heard on every side; and a thousand simultaneous voices demand the satisfaction of their social wants.” In that very year, a wide-spread movement was focussed in a national convention and attracted his attention especially. It was the temperance movement, headed by such popular leaders as John B. Gough and Father Matthew. For ten or fifteen years the cause of temperance was pushed far and wide with all the ardor of a great moral crusade, an appeal for total abstinence being made to the individual. The movement then passed into the legislative stage, and in 1851 the famous “Maine Law” was enacted, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages
in the Pine Tree State. A few other states followed in her train, when the movement seemed to reach its peak for a considerable period. One has only to look through the old newspapers of the middle years of the century to appreciate something of the widespread interest manifested in the reform.
This was but one of the many causes for which humanitarian voices were eloquently raised. The poor and the unfortunate were given helpful attention. Sentiment was aroused against imprisonment for debt, it being estimated that as many as 75,000 debtors were sent to prison in 1833. Another reform struck at the custom of confining the insane in ordinary prisons and at the inhuman and revolting abuses associated with their sad condition. Hospitals were gradually established for their care and proper treatment. The searchlight of public concern was turned upon the wretched conditions surrounding the poor in the public almshouses, and the criminals in the prisons. Champions of working children in the factories arose and a beginning was made in securing the passage of labor laws for their protection.
Impulses of humanity were stirred more widely than all, perhaps, in behalf of the helpless southern slave, chained to the chariot wheel of a hard economic and social system that claimed the sanction of religion and manifest destiny. With a Harriet
Beecher Stowe as an interpreter and advocate, the cause of the Negro touched the popular heart, quickened the movement for abolition and prepared the way for later work among the freedmen.
Along with the plea for the paupers, the insane, the criminals and the slaves, a few early voices were raised for justice and freedom for women. But as yet they were as voices crying in the wilderness of public disapproval. In temperance reform and in the work for abolition, women here and there had taken an active part, but it was generally considered disgraceful for a woman to be heard in public.
Throughout the country, the religious influence upon the social and thought life of the people was still strong, if not dominant. Puritanism, even as a political force, continued to be felt in New England. Respectable people took their religion seriously and observed a sombre Sunday, listening to long sermons. The Sunday School movement had been launched and was making consistent headway, but though promoted chiefly for children, was framed largely in an adult mould. Frontier fervor characterized religion in the West. It was the day of the heroic, intense circuit rider, the campmeeting and of sectarian polemics. Similar devotion was not wanting in the South, though the plantation system of settlement did not lend itself so well to strong, effective church organization.
The churches reflected the social and altruistic impulses of the time. Starting from Williams College in 1806, the cause of foreign missions was espoused by the leading denominations, that of home missions on the frontier following soon after. The American Bible Society was widely supported in the printing and distribution of the Scriptures. Denominational life and the recognition of the importance of Christian education found expression in the denominational schools and colleges that were being established over the country.
These were some of the social movements in flux during the youth and early manhood of Timothy Nicholson. They marked the beginnings of the stirring of the public conscience against “man's inhumanity to man,” but in most cases the beginnings only. They faced a long, long road ahead, for some of which the turn has not come even yet. But the young Quaker in North Carolina was being prepared in mind and heart to bear heavy burdens for them in the heat of the day.
He was little more than across the threshold of vigorous, active manhood, when the storm of civil war broke upon the country. It was an especially difficult time of testing for Friends, patriotically loyal and ardently desirous of human freedom, on the one hand, but strongly committed against the system of war, on the other. In the wake of the
war came many new problems and the intensifying of some old ones.
First of all was the tremendous problem of the freedmen themselves, one of the most serious questions that a nation has ever faced. Out of the war itself came an unprecedented era of prosperity, accompanied by luxury and extravagance. During and following the struggle a shameful orgy of political corruption and sensational frauds was but too closely associated with our government, national, state and municipal. Business and industrial expansion was succeeded by reckless speculation. In the years that followed the Civil War period, foundations of great financial enterprises were laid and a new era of business organization was introduced; that of centralization and monopoly. Capitalism became ruthless of human values, reverting to the jungle spirit of tooth and claw. In self-defense the labor unions organized and struck back. Industrial strife resulted. In short, while a period of industrial progress and prosperity ensued, bringing a vast increase in the national wealth, there was a noticeable reaction from the higher, altruistic aspirations of pre-war days. Abuses against humanity were tolerated altogether too complacently. The rights of man sorely needed courageous champions. “Is it too bold a paradox,” asked Robert Treat Paine in his presidential address before the National Conference of Charities
and Corrections in 1895, “to say that while the revolutions of 1688, 1775 and 1792 liberated man, the revolution of our day in the world's best progress has again enslaved him?”
In summary, then, the early development of this new country was accomplished in a reign of individualism. With virgin resources abundant and land awaiting settlers, freedom and the pursuit of happiness were open to all. The capable, the resolute and the hardy succeeded, and the attention shown the less fortunate was individual rather than governmental. Having guaranteed equal rights to achievement, the state had not conceived much further responsibility for human welfare. With the coming of the industrial era through the age of steam-driven machinery, the laissez faire theory was soon shown to be pitifully inadequate. Human wreckage was strewn about in a way to demand attention and the growth of a social consciousness and social responsibility followed. Philanthropically inclined men and women began agitating for man's humanity to man, with the cooperation of the state. The study of social relationships was introduced in our institutions of higher learning.
Furthermore, the cause of the care and treatment of the unfortunate was advanced by the development of the scientific method and temper of the Nineteenth Century. On one hand, the
scientific spirit led away from the Middle Age attitude of submissiveness to the divine will idea, though even yet, “here and there piety still conceives itself obliged to bow in humble submission when it should look to the cellar and drains.” On the other hand, the scientific spirit led to systematic methods of dealing with the conditions to be remedied. Timothy Nicholson was the practical embodiment of this new spirit.
LIGHT WITHIN AND LIFE WITHOUT—
A QUAKER EXEMPLAR
DR. EDWARD T. DEVINE tells of a university Professor of Social Science who is fond of having his students write out three questions they may expect to have to answer in the Judgment. Invariably the questions proposed are subjective and self-centered, almost wholly individual in their viewpoint. The Professor thereupon tells the young people he thinks they are wrong; that he expects to be asked such questions as these: What kind of a city government was there where you lived? How was justice administered? What was the condition of the prisons? How were the poor looked after? And—what did you do to make it a good city? “But,” frequently reply his students, “we certainly will not be held responsible for what we cannot help. What if our efforts make no difference and we do not succeed?” The answer comes, “You must care enough to make a difference—to succeed.” How truly typical of Timothy Nicholson who cared enough to bring things to pass!
To understand properly and appreciate fully his widely inclusive activities for social betterment,
it is necessary to know his religious background; better still, to delve deeply into the religious soil in which was nurtured the social concern of which he was so fine an exemplar. This implies at least a brief interpretation of the philosophy and practice of Quakerism.
Although it has a Protestant background, the Society of Friends is a lineal descendant, not of Protestantism, but of those spiritual and brotherhood movements of inward protest against external authority. Fed from invisible springs, they have flowed almost continuously through the Christian centuries, often as subterranean streams, breaking through the surface frequently, but always enriching the sub-soil of Christianity. In distinction from the external, the priestly, the ceremonial and the ecclesiastical in religion, they have given expression to the inner, the mystical, the prophetic and the experimental. They have emphasized the individual Christian experience and deprecated the formal organization, the authoritative church. By the latter they have uniformly been persecuted and proscribed, and as rigorously under Protestant as under Catholic regime.
Quakerism arose in the Seventeenth Century as the residuary legatee of these spiritual movements. It came as a vigorous protest against the unreality of religion in Protestant England, calling men to a direct and inward experience of Christ and his way
of life as distinguished from religion as a creed and a profession. The distinctive principle of the Friends was that of the Inward Light, the light of Christ within, whereby God reveals himself directly to the human heart. There is that of God implanted in every human soul through which personal communion with the divine may be enjoyed. It was this inner, mystical fellowship that the Friends cultivated so effectively; a fellowship that was so real to them that they were able to sit serene and silent in their meetings, in rapt contemplation of the divine goodness, while a bedlam of opposition raged without and even among them. “In the silence of their meetings they became hushed, attuned, adjusted to God, from whom came the rising tides of human sympathy.”1
The rising tides of human sympathy! Here we have the ruling passion of Quakerism. “There had been mystics before,” says Alice Heald Mendenhall, “but the typical mystic had been purely introspective, passive, had seemed to make a clear distinction between the inner and the outer life; the Light of the typical mystic had been more like a pale, weird wraith of a flame, too frail and sacred to withstand the breath of day; but the mysticism of Fox seemed to be a communion with God which led to boundless activity. When he would withdraw[note]
into the inner sanctuary, it was but to gain an impulse of health and strength which would plunge him into the storm and stress of daily life, in trying to help those who were afflicted in mind and body.”
In his Journal, Fox tells how the Lord early showed him that God did not dwell in outward temples or churches set up by men, but in people's hearts. “His people were His temple and He dwelt in them.” That shrine of the divine in the human became sacred, therefore, a real holy of holies. An outrage against that shrine was an outrage against God himself. The corollary of this divine kinship between God and man is the sacredness of personality. Nothing that has to do with the welfare of men in any way is foreign to the heart of God. The life and soul of man should be untrammeled, as free as possible from physical privation and from violence, free from the compulsion of conformity, that the Inward Light may freely illumine. To work thus for the human good, was to serve God in the fullest sense by extending the kingdom of heaven upon earth.
Moreover, strange and heretical doctrine for the time, this Quaker principle of the Inward Light was a universal one. It was not a selective light for chosen Christians or for a “most favored nation,” but shone in varying degrees in the hearts of all men, regardless of color, race, creed, nation
or material circumstance. Thus came the abiding sense of human brotherhood. The true Quaker became the social servant of all humanity.
What a convincing example did George Fox, the founder, set for those who followed him! His Journal is replete with evidence of his sympathetic, social concern. What an impressive picture is that which he relates so naively, wherein we see him hurrying and even running eight miles across country to a neighboring town, as if for his very life! And the purpose? To exhort the justices not to oppress the servants in their wages, and to exhort the servants to do their duties and to serve honestly.
His harrowing experiences of persecution brought him before the courts and into the prisons all over England. Observing the abuses in judicial practice, and in the treatment of the unfortunate and the criminal, he boldly but courteously wrote the judges in behalf of reform, protesting especially against the infliction of the death penalty for trivial offenses. He admonished them to keep clear of oppressing the poor in their courts, of putting heavier burdens upon them than they could bear. Having seen the evil moral results of keeping accused prisoners together in jail awaiting trial, he urged a speedier course of justice.
George Fox's concern for the poor amounted almost to an obsession. Everywhere and always
he seems to have entered sensitively into their sufferings. On one occasion we see him running a quarter of a mile after some poor travellers, whom he had seen spurned by the hard hearted, to give them some money. But he was no mere almoner and almsgiver. With the practical sense that characterized him, he addressed the Protector and Parliament on the subject. Declaring that “want brought people to steal,” he urged that employment be provided for the poor and outlined what was perhaps the first proposed employment bureau.
His sense of humanity revolting at the ignorant and brutal treatment of the insane, he stirred the pure minds of Friends on the subject. The famous “Retreat” for the mentally ill was established a century later at York and the Quakers became the pioneers in this long neglected field of reform, setting the example of humane and scientific treatment, which came gradually to be very generally followed by both public and private asylums.
Coming into contact with slavery and the slave trade in the West Indies, he admonished Friends to see that their Negroes were treated gently, and encouraged the owners to set their slaves free after certain years of servitude.
Most significant of all, and embodying in its very name the Quaker motif of social service, is that unique organization which Fox established in 1675. From that date until now, it has met in
London every month of every year, throughout the period of two and a half centuries and more. It is the “Meeting for Sufferings,” its purpose then and now being to relieve the unfortunate, champion the oppressed and aid those suffering for the cause of Truth. Speaking of its early meetings, Fox says: “Sometimes there would come two hundred of the world's poor people, and wait there till the Meeting was done (for all the country knew we met about the poor), and after the Meeting Friends would send to the bakers for bread, and give every one of these poor people a penny loaf, how many soever there were of them.”
These and many other manifestations of the social impulse in Fox the spiritual reformer, justify this interpretation of him by the American philosopher, Josiah Royce: “His experiences in the mystical realm, important as they proved to be for his life, would have meant little to himself or others had they not always been swiftly translated into terms of human activity. . . . The religion of Fox was essentially a social religion, his ‘Openings’ were but impulses to action; the ‘Light’ taught this unresting soul how to labor amidst the storms and lurid hatreds of his day, not in vain, but humanely, valiantly, and beneficently.”
This heritage of the Founder, so rich in human sympathy and helpfulness, has never failed of inheritors; not because it became strong as a tradition,
but because it represented the very core of the Quaker interpretation of religion and life. Practically every phase of human welfare and social righteousness has found its pioneer champions among Friends.
To name a few representative ones, there was the learned John Bellers, contemporary of Fox, who joined with the scientific spirit of the acknowledged economist that he was, the sympathetic spirit and program of the social reformer. He also promoted the establishment of hospitals, advocating a free dispensary of medicine and medical service.
The welfare of the mentally ill was nobly advanced by the Tuke family, whose distinguished and pioneer service for the insane spanned a century of notable effort at York, England.
So inclusive were the altruistic efforts of William Allen in the Eighteenth Century that he was called “The Unaccredited Ambassador to All Humanity.” As the personal friend of the Emperors of Russia and Austria and of the Duke of Wellington, he exerted great influence in the post-Napoleonic period toward the abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of the peasantry of Russia. He was a man of affairs, at home with public men and one who stood at ease before kings. He was at the same time a generous philanthropist, a promoter of education, and interested himself in
the more intelligent and humane treatment of delinquents and in prison reform.
Another Friend of like universal human interest was Joseph Sturge of Birmingham. Primarily, he might be termed Plenipotentiary of World Peace, having suggested the holding of International Peace Congresses in which he participated actively. Even more heroism was required for his all but single-handed but successful championship of the blacks in the British West Indian possessions. He was one of the pillars, too, of the Adult School movement in England.
To mention the cause of the slave and the freedmen is to think at once of the socially sensitive soul of John Woolman and of his colleague, Anthony Benezet.
To think of prison reform is to call to mind the benign face of Elizabeth Fry, beloved angel of the prisons.
It was for Joseph Pease and John Bright, standing for peace, the cause of the unfortunate and for justice and righteousness generally, in their positions of official and public responsibility, to bring the impact of Quaker principles upon public life.
In the direct line of this representative group of honored social servants, the flower of Quakerism, comes the American Quaker, Timothy Nicholson. He embodies in a remarkable way, not only the intelligent and effective concern which one or
more Friends had for this or that cause, but the collective concerns of all his illustrious predecessors. It is a striking fact that there is not a single social interest noted above, and the group was selected with the thought of making the phases of social service as inclusive as possible, that his life and service did not touch.
As we pursue the inspiring story of his useful life we shall find him bending his energies in behalf of world peace, whether by promoting conferences for its consideration or bringing his influence to bear upon public officials for the shaping of policies of conciliation. He had a commanding position of respect with men in public and official life, suggestive of William Allen and Joseph Sturge. Following the Civil War he gave himself to the cause of the freedmen of the South with an abandon of sacrifice that was worthy the devotion of a Woolman. First as a teacher, and then for the greater part of his life as an active associate in school and college administration, he made an important contribution to both private and public education. In his effective efforts for temperance reform and prohibition he blazed new trails in the Quaker field of social reform. Most notable of all, perhaps, was his outstanding influence upon public charitable, correctional and penal institutions, in which work he combined the concerns of a Bellers, the Tukes and an Elizabeth Fry.
Leaving unchallenged to William Allen the honorary title accorded him, we feel justified in hailing Timothy Nicholson, Master Quaker, as Minister Plenipotentiary to All Humanity.
A QUAKER HOME ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO
I WAS well born, Eleventh month second, 1828, of Godly parents, Josiah and Anna White Nicholson, who lovingly but firmly guided and trained my restless and impulsive spirit in the good way; for which I can never be sufficiently thankful.”
In this simple statement there is an ocean of truth and behind it a picture of beauty. In “Snow-Bound,” we have an idyllic picture of a New England Quaker home of one hundred years ago. If, in addition to his many other gifts, there had been given to Timothy Nicholson the flair of poesy we might well have had a poetic portrayal of a southern Quaker household of the same period. As it is, he has left us a little pen sketch of his boyhood home in the Albemarle country of North Carolina, a sketch so clear in outline that we can readily illuminate it with the imagination and appreciate anew the far-reaching influence of its rugged virtues and its simple faith. It should be prefaced with a brief statement of colonial and ancestral background.
The three so-called “founders” of Quakerism in the southern colonies were John Burnyeat,
George Fox and William Edmundson. Of all the daring Quaker pathbreakers, none served the cause of truth more valiantly and more persistently than the doughty Edmundson who sailed with Fox from England to America in 1671. In the same year, after having participated with Fox and others in the Patuxent General Meeting in Maryland, he turned his face southward. Ten years and more before, scattering Friends had settled in the lower Roanoke district of Virginia, and in sufficient numbers to attract the attention of the testy Governor Berkeley, whom Friend Edmundson found “peevish and brittle.” Among these he labored faithfully, “settling men's minds in the truth,” after which he pushed on toward the South, in obedience to the directing needle of his inward compass. Well it was that the latter pointed the way steadfastly and surely, else he would never have found his resolute way through the swampy wilderness strip of wooded country that stretched between the Roanoke and the North Carolina border.
Thus led, William Edmundson finally found his way to the home of Henry Phillips and wife on the Albemarle river. They had been “convinced of the truth” seven years before in New England, since which time they had not seen a Friend. Meetings were held in the neighborhood, which was without religious ministry, and the hearts of the people
being open, the foundations of Quakerism in the colony were laid.
In the following year he returned with George Fox for further service, their experiences being vividly recorded in Fox's Journal. It was on this visit, it is interesting to note, that in the presence of the Governor, George Fox demonstrated to a doubting doctor, through the testimony of an Indian savage, the reality of the Inward Light. With the nucleus of Friends already gathered by Edmundson as a beginning, accessions to the Quaker faith were steadily and even rapidly made. Thus the seed of Quakerism was deeply planted in North Carolina in this evangelizing of the Albemarle, said to be the first organized effort of any kind to carry the religion of Christ into this colony.
At this time the Quakers in New England were suffering severe persecution and among them were the ancestors of Timothy Nicholson. It was near the year 1660 that Edmund and Elizabeth Nicholson came from Cumberland, England, to Massachusetts, with their six children. In Sewel's History of Friends it is recorded that following the death of the husband and father, his widow was heavily fined while the two eldest sons, Christopher and Joseph, were made to stand under the gallows certain hours with ropes about their necks and were whipped so mercilessly that one of them
swooned away under the torture. This was after the three had been cleared of the trumped-up charge of having caused the death of Edmund Nicholson, whose body had been found in the sea, the real animus behind the accusation and the persecution being apparent in the fact of “information being given that these people did sometimes show love to those they called cursed Quakers.”
As a result of the bitter treatment given them in New England, many Friends removed to other colonies, some going to the Albemarle settlements in North Carolina, following shortly the religious visit of Edmundson and Fox. The first marriage certificate recorded in the records of the North Carolina Friends, was that of Christopher Nicholson and Ann Atwood, it being reasonably certain that he was the Christopher Nicholson who had suffered at the hands of the Boston and Salem persecutors.
Thomas Nicholson, a grandson of Christopher and Ann Nicholson, became a noted minister among Friends and was the great grandfather of Timothy Nicholson. The latter's father, Josiah Nicholson, born in 1797, was the only child of Thomas and Sarah White Nicholson. The mother dying when he was an infant, Josiah was brought up in the home of his uncle and aunt, George and Miriam White, who lived some distance from his father
who remarried. He received a fair education for his time and taught several terms of subscription schools.
On January 12, 1826, Josiah Nicholson married Anna White Robinson, daughter of Jonathan and Rachel Winslow White, and widow of William Robinson, who left her with three children, Elizabeth, Rachel and Thomas. Five sons, four of whom were to take prominent place in the Society of Friends in America, were born of this union: William in 1826, Timothy in 1828, Josiah in 1831, John in 1833 and George in 1835. The latter died in 1855, on the threshold of manhood.
The Robinson farm of some four hundred acres, the greater part of it in forest, became the Nicholson home. The improvements consisted of a good, two-story frame dwelling with veranda on the entire south side, and a one-story addition on the north side; of a neat, comfortable building thirty feet distant, as was then the custom, for kitchen, loom-room, and lodging quarters for the colored men, etc.; and of other necessary farm buildings. By North Carolina law, the widow of William Robinson was entitled to the use of these buildings, together with that of one-third of the land during the remainder of her life. Josiah Nicholson was a very industrious and successful farmer and was eventually able to purchase the
interests of his step-children in the farm. When he married Anna White Robinson, he became the guardian of her above mentioned children, aged eight, six and four years, respectively. “Father's love for and treatment of the step-children were the same as for his own,” records Timothy, “and we were truly a happy family of ten.” He gives us this picture of what he terms the “simple life” of that Carolina Quaker home:
Most of our clothing, including shoes, was made at home. Father raised sheep, for wool, and flax and cotton, which Mother and sisters would spin and weave into cloth and make into garments. Cattle were raised for beef, and the hides tanned at home, and father made nearly all our shoes—chiefly in bad weather and at night, sewing them by the light made by pine knots in an open fireplace: by which light we also studied our lessons. We would lay a quantity of cotton on the hearth near the fire and pick out the seed by hand, as, when heated, the seeds were more easily removed. All the family took part in this exercise. When the flax straw or skin was thoroughly dry it was broken by a hand machine, the outside falling off and leaving the fiber, which was then drawn repeatedly through a hackle (or hatchel) comb, made of long, sharp, iron spikes fastened on a board: by which process the coarser fiber called tow was removed and of which rougher garments were made. Flax, instead of being cut by a sickle, was pulled up by hand, otherwise a large part of the best fiber near the root would be lost. I well remember pulling, breaking and hackling flax and wearing both tow and linen home-made garments.
When not in school father found work for all of us on the farm; and under such a wise leader the training was of inestimable value to us. There were no mowing or threshing machines in those days. The wheat was cut with sickles, and oats with scythes, and the grain was tramped out by horses as was done by oxen in the time of Moses. In the barnyard the soil was removed from a circular space of 30 or 40 feet in diameter, and on the outer portions of the circle the sheaves were laid and we would ride the horses in a slow trot until the grain was tramped out.
There were no hominy mills when I was a boy, and to remove the skin or hull of corn grains, we “brayed the corn in a mortar with a pestle.” The mortar was made from a log about three or four feet long and 15 to 18 inches in diameter, by making a hollow place in one end with a chisel and mallet some twelve inches deep and as much or more in diameter. The pestle was made from the limb of oak or hickory about two inches in diameter. The larger end was split for about six inches and an iron wedge, such as was used for splitting fence rails by us and by Abraham Lincoln, inserted and held in place by an iron ring or band. The carefully selected corn was put in the mortar with some warm water and the continual “braying” with the pestle would ultimately remove the hull. This exercise was usually taken rainy days or evenings. I spent many hours at that tiresome work.
That the boy was father to the masterful, resourceful man, is shown in a humorous but an illuminating incident which he relates:
As previously intimated I was restless, progressive, energetic and daring, almost to recklessness; and ready to
undertake matters apparently beyond my age and ability. Brother Thomas was short of stature and not aggressive. Brother William was intellectual, studious and meditative. Both, however, were faithful in their duties in the family and on the farm. In 1845, my 17th year, father decided to build new buildings for a home, on another part of the farm. He had planned the buildings and engaged a carpenter (a free Negro) and being himself skilled in the use of carpenter's tools he wished to give his entire time to the erection of the buildings, and to be relieved from the care of the farm. Neither Thomas nor William was willing to take this responsibility, as there were two hired men (free Negroes) to be directed and instructed. Father then offered me the position. I agreed to accept it upon one condition—that my brothers, Thomas and William, would consent and agree to cheerfully cooperate and obey my instructions. They assented to this and they were faithful to their pledges. We had a pleasant summer and the harvesting of the wheat, oats and flax, and the cultivation of the corn, potatoes, cotton and garden vegetables were satisfactory to our father. When at work my brothers humorously called me “father.”
There being no stone in that section, brick was required for foundation or underpinning material, as well as for the construction of the chimneys. There was a strip of good brick clay on the farm, and after the cultivation of the crops was completed, the father suggested that they make and burn a kiln of brick, of which, under his instruction, they turned out about thirty thousand. So much for the industrial activities in the rural home
life of a century ago which the industrial revolution had not yet touched.
It is to other features of that home life that we must turn, however, to find those distinctive qualities that gave character to the family. The religious exercise and spiritual nurture that are now left, and too largely left, to outside agencies were then given in the home. It was before the introduction of the Bible School among Friends. “Before any of us went to our beds in the evening,” our pictured portrayal tells us, “a portion of Scripture was read by our parents, or by one of the older children, and on First Day afternoon, for a half hour or more we gathered together and each one who could read had a copy of the Scriptures and we would read in rotation such portions as our parents selected; and if our cousins or others were present they were expected to unite in this reading. Occasionally certain expressive texts were given to us to commit to memory.” It requires but little imagination to see, transplanted in the settlement of North Carolina, the Cotter's home so eloquently sung by Burns, and to feel with him that
- “From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,
- That makes her loved at home, rever'd abroad.”
And certain it is that the Friendly ideal of worship reflected in the Quaker home as well as in the
meeting, is strikingly presented in the words of the Scotch bard:
- “Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,
- In all the pomp of method, and of art,
- When men display to congregations wide
- Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart!
- The Pow'r, incens'd, the pageant will desert,
- The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;
- But haply, in some cottage far apart,
- May hear, well pleas'd, the language of the soul,
- And in his Book of Life the inmates poor enroll.”
Supplementing the spiritual influences in the home, was the group worship in the Quaker community. “Our parents were devout and faithful Elders in Friends Meeting; and as such were scrupulous in their attendance at all meetings for worship and discipline, or business. The meeting-house named Piney Woods was one mile west of the Academy or four miles from our house; yet we attended the meeting, both on First and Fifth days. All the students of the Academy attended the Meeting on Fifth day unless the weather was very unpleasant. Accompanied by the teacher they walked the mile in double file on a sandy road. Many of these meetings were held in silence; and in others there was little preaching and never any singing; but the quiet meditation was very profitable to many of us; and the good habit of regular attendance of meeting was faithfully observed by
all my brothers to the close of their lives, and by me to this date.”
Thus was laid the foundation of long periods of active service in the Society of Friends. William was first an Elder, and then a distinguished and much loved minister, a member of the Representative or Executive Committee, first in North Carolina and then in Kansas Yearly Meeting, and for fourteen years the Clerk of the latter. Josiah was an Elder for many years and until his death, and Clerk of his Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Meeting and a Trustee of Guilford College. John was Elder, Overseer, Clerk of Baltimore Yearly Meeting Executive Committee, and Chairman of the Committee on the Religious Instruction of the Indians. The manifold and important services of the fourth brother will be recounted in chapters that are to follow.
As elsewhere in the extension of Quaker settlement, education and religion went hand in hand in the Piney Woods community. The concern of the Nicholson family for the adequate preparation of their youth, as told by the son, was general among Friends.
That their children might have better advantages for school education our parents made great sacrifices. Our sisters were sent to a private school, taught by Friends in Wilmington, Delaware. The boys were first sent to a Subscription School in the neighborhood. There were no public
schools. When I was five years old a Quarterly Meeting school or academy was established by Friends three miles west of our home. Father was a prime mover in the enterprise and he continued a leading member of the committee until his death. For several years the teachers were from New England, as no Friend in North Carolina was competent to teach such a school, which was one of the best in the State.
In good weather we walked, but often we, with Uncle Jonathan White's children, rode in a cart with high wheels and high sides for support when standing, as standing in a cart without springs was more pleasant than sitting. Uncle's farm and ours joined. After several years at this academy we were sent, in the order of our ages, to Friends’ School, Providence, Rhode Island, (now Moses Brown School): William in the fall of 1845, I in the spring of 1847, Josiah and John in 1850 and George in 1852.
What better specifications for the building of character and for the stimulation of latent ability could be given than were found in this North Carolina home? There was comfort without luxury, and a comfort to which all members of the family contributed. The physical demands of the home were so largely supplied by its own members that the tasks involved furnished a variety of work that made for all-round capacity and initiative. This education of the home was well supplemented by that of the well taught school. Permeating all was the atmosphere of true Christian devotion, expressed in an attitude of reverence and faith toward God and of love and sweet consideration
toward each other. Times have indeed changed, and we cannot, even if we would, reproduce the homes of a century ago. How nakedly poor we will become, however, if with the rapid changes wrought by the progressive years, we lose the rugged strength, the spiritual enrichment that characterized such homes!
OUT ON THE “ROYAL PATHWAY”
SOME of us can recall a certain type of book that used to adorn the “parlor” table in the old home. It was a kind of pious homily dealing with the various stages of man's earthly pilgrimage and bore some such title as “The Royal Pathway of Life.” The one feature that attracted youthful attention was the series of steel engravings (each carefully faced with a sheet of tissue paper) that adorned the tome, presenting pictures of life more or less imaginative and allegorical. One of these pictured the affecting leave-taking of the son as he went out from the parental roof to make his own way, and was very real to the boy who gulped as he looked forward to a similar scene in his own experience.
A leave-taking comparable to that in the “Royal Pathway” was experienced by Timothy Nicholson at the age of eighteen years. In the spring of 1847 his father and mother fitted him out with new clothes and sent him to Friends School at Providence, Rhode Island. “I shall never forget my deep grief in parting from the dear ones at home,” he writes, a grief soon to be augmented by the tidings of the death of his half-brother,
Thomas Robinson, whose passing marked the first break in the devoted family circle.
He had never before been farther from home than Norfolk, Virginia, fifty miles away, to which city he had gone twice with his father, in a cart loaded with bacon and sweet potatoes. By this same rude conveyance was he now jostled to the metropolis of his youth, there taking boat for Baltimore.
A hearty welcome awaited him at Providence, where he was made the beneficiary of the fine record for good scholarship and character which his brother William had made two years before. That record created a happy prejudice in favor of the younger brother, not only at the School but among a number of prominent New England Friends, acquaintance with whom was no small part of Timothy's preparation for his long life of service in the Society of Friends.
In the School itself he formed friendships among the students that greatly broadened and enriched his life. Notable among these who became intimate and life-long friends were the brothers, Alfred H. and Albert K. Smiley. Living in Maine, they, too, came from too great a distance to return home for short vacation periods, and during the September holidays the three boys found employment in farm and garden work in the vicinity of Providence. In the following Spring
vacation, however, the Smiley brothers went home, taking their North Carolina friend for a delightful visit, during which his acquaintance among New England Friends was further extended.
Among other intimate friends made at the Providence School were Franklin E. Paige, Anna B. Paige, Isaac Steers, Mary Ann Buffum Evans, Theodate Lang, and the twin sisters, Mary Bean Tebbetts and Elizabeth Bean Miles. Among the younger students were the brothers John Henry and Robert W. Douglas and Timothy Hussey, with whom he did not become well acquainted until in later years. In Timothy Nicholson's friendship-making experiences at Providence, is well illustrated the fine, broadening influence which the Friends’ boarding schools have ever had in contributing to the breadth of acquaintance and understanding among a small group of people widely separated geographically; and especially so in days of difficult transportation and poor communication. Little wonder that after eighteen months at Providence, when the time came for his departure he found that parting from Boarding School friends was almost as trying as his leave-taking of home had been.
Timothy Nicholson returned to North Carolina eager in the anticipation of assuming the management of the home farm; eager, in the first place because his father needed him. Though but fifty-one
years old, Josiah Nicholson had aged prematurely through hard work and illness. The oldest son, William, was preparing for the medical profession, and it was natural for the father to look to his second son for relief from home responsibility, especially since the latter as a mere boy had already proved his ability and resourcefulness as a farm manager. The returning son was eager, in the second place, because he loved farming and planned to make it his life work. It was accordingly a disconcerting situation that was presented to him on his arrival home.
During his absence the Academy had not prospered. For the want of satisfactory instructors, chiefly, the attendance had declined until the income from tuition was not sufficient to support a teacher. As was the custom then, the latter took the school for what he could make out of it. About the only responsibility assumed by the committee was that of fixing the tuition to be paid, which the teacher collected as he was able. His salary was what he had left, if anything, after defraying all necessary expenses. The boarding department was conducted on the same basis. The last teacher had quit at the close of the first twelve weeks term, and the Academy had closed after having been maintained rather successfully for fifteen years.
This situation greatly distressed Josiah Nicholson who was a leading member of the Academy
committee. There was but one apparent solution, and he named it bluntly: “Son, thee will have to take the school.” The latter's surprise and disappointment may be imagined. He protested that he had never intended to be a teacher; that his purpose and ambition had been to be a farmer; and that by relieving his father, he wished to make some measure of return for the sacrifices his parents had made for him.
While naturally appreciating this filial sentiment, the father pressed the issue, saying he spoke the wish of the entire committee. The prompt response of the boy—he was not yet twenty-one—became characteristic of the man. As a matter of duty laid upon him, he put aside his own plans and assumed the task presented.
And he assumed it whole-heartedly and vigorously. At once he issued widely a circular letter of announcement, stating that barring his illness or death, the school would be maintained the entire year. This gave the necessary assurance to those at considerable distance who would not wish to send their children to the Academy on uncertainties.
He next addressed himself to the school building. Originally painted a dark brown color, it had never presented too cheery an aspect at best. And now that most of the paint had disappeared, the general appearance was indeed gloomy and depressing
to one just come from New England. Accordingly, with that directness for which he was to become well known, the young teacher-elect announced that the building must be painted white before he would be willing to open the school. By this edict the elders were rather dashed. Very few buildings in the community were painted at all at that time and a white house was rarely seen. But the young man with a vision circulated a subscription paper and secured half the funds required, his father furnished the other half, and the change in appearance was soon wrought. And what a marvellous change it proved! The Academy became known familiarly as the White Schoolhouse. Independent of color scheme, incidentally, the latter was very appropriate as a “place name” in a community in which the family name of White figured so prominently. While the painting was in progress Timothy accompanied his father to Yearly Meeting at Guilford, which gave him additional opportunity for spreading information concerning the Academy.
During the first term the attendance was discouragingly small. It increased for each successive term, the school year consisting of four twelve week terms, the only vacation being in August. Even so, his income for the year was less than three hundred dollars. But the Academy had been reopened and operated successfully throughout the
year and the foundation was thus laid for further success.
The young schoolmaster proved himself versatile and resourceful. He had found the desks and seats, poorly constructed to begin with, to have become dilapidated and really unfit for use. Accordingly he purchased some fine lumber for desk equipment and after allowing it to season thoroughly for a year, employed a carpenter to construct new desks according to a pattern which Timothy himself designed. Both in convenience and appearance they marked a decided advance in that part of the country.
With the opening of the second year of his administration, the attendance increased. Ere long the boarding department was filled to overflowing, some students being compelled to find board and lodging in the neighborhood. The Academy became increasingly popular, drawing students from adjoining counties and some from Virginia; so much so that on the return of his brothers, Josiah and John, from Providence in 1852, another room was occupied with John as teacher.
Soon after he began teaching, Timothy Nicholson was appointed County Surveyor by the County Commissioners. This was a position of peculiar responsibility in those pioneer days. In the older states the land was not laid out in townships and sections by meridian lines, and in entering the state
lands no concern was felt for following straight lines by north and south or east and west. A homesteader would go into the primitive forest and start out at a prominent tree which he would mark with an ax; then with compass and surveyor chain he would go in any direction he wished, so many chains to this tree or to that stream, which would be marked and recorded, and so on from point to point in a dozen or more directions, back to the place of starting. Another man might start at the same tree and make entry to his claim by following somewhat different directions. As might be expected, these surveys, following the zig zag lines of “the main chance,” were not always made accurately, but they served reasonably well since the deeds would record all directions and distances involved. When the land was brought into cultivation, however, and the “line trees” were sometimes removed, disputes over boundary lines occasionally arose. It was the work of the County Surveyor to survey the tracts involved as described in the deeds and establish the lines in question. Having the general confidence of the community, the young surveyor's findings were accepted, even though many rods of fence might have to be changed. As a rule he was able to do this work on “Seventh Day” so that it did not interfere with his school duties.
In June, 1852, following several years of declining health, Josiah Nicholson died, leaving his wife a second time a widow; not however, with a family of small children to provide for as before, but with five grown sons to care for her tenderly. Before his going, the husband and father had the satisfaction of seeing the fruit of his toil and sacrifice in a family well prepared for and assuming places of useful service. His oldest son, William, was now established in the community as a practicing physician, the second son was heading up with marked success the educational interests so dear to the father's heart, and the younger sons were making responsible places for themselves.
Happiness and bereavement for Timothy Nicholson were closely blended in those June days of 1852, for in the sorrow of losing a devoted father he was comforted in the plighted love of his future wife. John and Mary White, Superintendent and Matron of the Academy boarding department, had three comely daughters, Sarah, Eliza and Mary. Without detracting from the high sense of duty under which young Timothy yielded his personal ambitions at the behest of his father, we may yet surmise that the close association afforded him with the eldest daughter greatly reconciled him to the educational enterprise as against that of the home farm. Perhaps we may even go so far as to suspect that there was a
blend of sentiment and romance in the color scheme for the redecoration of the Academy building so resolutely carried out by the youthful Principal-elect. At any rate, Timothy Nicholson and Sarah N. White were now betrothed.
In the autumn Timothy began the erection of a house on his part of a piece of land willed to William and him by their father, and located about one mile from the Academy. The next summer the house was completed and on the eighth of November, 1853, following the close of the school year, the Quaker wedding took place in the Piney Woods meetinghouse. For a wedding trip the young Friends went from Norfolk to New York by steamer, and after spending a few days in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, returned to their new home so pleasantly situated in a grove of native trees.
Soon after, as appointed representatives from their Quarterly Meeting, they attended North Carolina Yearly Meeting. Fulfilling this appointment was by no means as simple a matter as the brief sentence in which we record it. It was 250 miles, and more or less up hill, from Belvidere northwest to New Garden in Guilford County, and in company with other Friends, they made the trip with the horse and buggy which Timothy had purchased shortly before their marriage. The journey was six days up and five days down. Strange
as it may now seem when apparently about half the population hangs out the “Tourist” sign for the accommodation of the other half which throngs the highways, there were no villages and no inns along the road, and the Yearly Meeting pilgrims would resort to welcome farm houses for entertainment over night.
It is evident that for one of his years, Timothy Nicholson had a place of unusual influence in the Piney Woods meeting and community. This was due, not so much to the position of leadership which he had as Principal of the Academy as to those native qualities of leadership which he early evinced, based on capacity and character. Those who appreciate what constituted the “weight of the meeting” in those earlier days, will catch the significance of an incident which Timothy records, which, even apart from his characteristic connection therewith, gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of a former time Quaker meeting. This is the story in Timothy's own words:
Our meetinghouse was old, unsightly and uncomfortable, both in summer and winter. Some of us had long felt we ought to have a new building on the same site; and that this year (1854) we ought to make a decided move in this direction, and introduce the matter to the Monthly Meeting.
Uncle David White, mother White's brother, and the father of Josiah T. White, was not only the leading man in that entire community, but as preacher and head of our meeting, his well deserved influence was such that whatever
he opposed would inevitably fail. Moreover he was able and liberal financially. It was known to more than one Friend he had expressed the judgment that by expending about one hundred dollars, the old house could be made comparatively comfortable for several more years.
The plan was to have the clerk, Jeptha White, (Uncle David's son-in-law) to introduce the subject and call upon every individual present for a subscription, beginning, of course, with the head of the meeting. It was the custom, and we always expected Uncle David to speak first upon any subject that was brought before the meeting. I was requested to see him before and, if possible, prevail upon him not to oppose the measure in the beginning. He, Uncle David, was a member of the school committee and he had always been kind and considerate toward me. I saw him the day before Monthly Meeting and stated we proposed to introduce the subject of a new meetinghouse the next day. He smiled and said, “And who is to do the talking?” I replied that was why I had called, to request him to refrain from expressing his opinion until others had spoken. He smiled again but made no promise. The clerk introduced the matter very nicely, and after a few others had spoken, in an encouraging manner, he called for subscriptions, naming Uncle David first, who merely said “Pass on.” I felt the crisis had passed. After all the names had been called Uncle David arose and said in substance that some Friends knew that he thought the old house, with some improvements, might answer our purpose for a number of years; but as so many Friends had manifested such interest by their liberal subscriptions the clerk might place against his name an amount equal to the largest contribution.
Timothy adds: “I have often mentioned this circumstance as a striking illustration of Christian
submission and acquiescence, in the general sentiment of a meeting when no vital principle is involved, by one whose judgment or opinion is in opposition to the sentiments; and this is my motive in thus recording it.”
The old house was removed and a neat, comfortable building erected and painted white. When revisiting the meeting fifty-four years afterward, he who as a mere stripling had dealt tactfully and effectively with the head of the meeting, found the “new” meetinghouse still neat and white and comfortable.
Pleasantly situated in the Piney Woods meeting community were the members of the Nicholson family in 1855. Following the death that year of the youngest son and brother, George, the home farm was sold to a cousin, Henry White, the local storekeeper, his store being purchased by Josiah and John. Dr. William bought Henry White's residence, which was nearer his office building on the Academy grounds. He married Sarah W. Newby in 1854, and with them Mother Nicholson made her home. Living but a mile from the Academy, Timothy was able to break the day's absence by returning home for the mid-day meal, riding back and forth on horseback or in the spick-and-span buggy. His wife, Sarah, frequently went with him in the morning to the Academy to spend the day with her father and mother, who still conducted
the boarding department. And then—“A year after our marriage,” records Timothy, “our first born added a new charm and charge. We named her Marianna in honor of her grandmothers.”
Happy as was the setting, it was soon to prove too restricted for the proper exercise of the talents with which the brothers had been so richly endowed.
HAVERFORD AND ON WEST
MOST Friends of the great emigration from the Carolinas trekked north and west over the difficult, frontier line of travel which formed the hypothenuse of the triangle of Quaker settlement. Contrary to this rule, Timothy Nicholson and family reached the West by way of the Haran of Philadelphia Quakerism! This is how it came about.
In the winter of 1854-’55 Haverford College decided to open a preparatory department and the management was seeking a competent teacher to assume its direction. It was natural that the quest should lead toward the young man who had revived the waning fortunes of the Academy at Belvidere and who had administered that school so successfully for six years. The direction the quest took was prompted by Timothy's good boarding school friends, the Smiley brothers, who, having followed with interest the educational activities of their North Carolina friend, brought him to the favorable attention of the Haverford College managers. Accordingly, the latter requested the Belvidere Principal to meet them in Philadelphia for an interview.
With much misgiving, the encouragement of his Smiley friends to the contrary notwithstanding, Timothy accepted the invitation. On his way north, he stopped in Baltimore to see his mother's cousin, Dr. John R. Winslow, who had relatives in Philadelphia and who had himself been graduated from Haverford. “I had heard much of the unusual characteristics of Philadelphia Friends,” writes Timothy, “and I felt Cousin John could give me some advice and suggestions which would be very helpful and lessen my embarrassment in meeting the managers and their families should I be invited to any of their homes. When I mentioned this to him, he seemed greatly amused and laughted immoderately. I assured him I was sincere in my request and I felt the need of his help. He finally said: ‘Simply be thyself. Act no borrowed part and thee will neither feel nor cause embarrassment.’ I found this to be wholesome advice then and ever since,” adds Timothy and the degree to which he profited by it was amply demonstrated in a long life of distinguished service in which, whatever the circumstance, he was thoroughly at ease, whether in the company of the great or the lowly; and because of his perfect candor and simplicity he likewise put others at ease whatever their station might be.
Arriving at Philadelphia, he had a conference with the managers, who wished him to undertake
the task presented. His frankness and independence of thought and action were demonstrated in the fact that their plan for conducting the department was unsatisfactory to him and he declined to accept the proffered post. At the request of the managers, he outlined a method which to him seemed preferable. They thereupon asked him to visit the College and confer with the faculty in regard to the matter, which he did. The Haverford teachers, who proved very cordial toward the young North Carolinian, approved his plan for conducting the new department and encouraged him to accept the place. On being so informed, the managers promptly acquiesced and an agreement was quickly reached. It was stipulated that the head of the preparatory school was to be a member of the faculty on equality in every respect, including salary, with the other members.
Eager that the instruction in the preparatory school should be upon a high plane equal to that of the best schools in New England, the Board arranged for the teacher-elect to visit and study similar institutions in Boston and Providence. On this tour of inspection, he had the privilege of a delightful visit at the Friends’ Boarding School at Providence where he had established so many happy friendships. In this connection he records an incident of a previous visit made when his brothers, Josiah and John, were there, which illustrates
the lighter vein which flavored boarding school life even in the staid Quaker institutions of that early day. Arriving very early in the morning, he was invited by the Superintendent and Matron, Silas and Sarah Cornell, to take breakfast with them and the students. At the table with them was their daughter, Alice, a sprightly girl who was a general favorite. As usual, at the close of the meal, the Superintendent read a portion of Scripture. The chapter in regular order that morning was the last of Hebrews and near the close is the following: “Know ye, that our brother, Timothy, hath been set at liberty: with whom if he come shortly, I will see you.” It was difficult for Alice to restrain her mirth. At the close of the short period of silence, she burst forth with the exclamation: “Brother Timothy has already come!”
On returning south from his New England trip, Timothy experienced both the difficulties and dangers of travel in those early days. It was the warmest day of the year and from Norfolk he rode by stage coach along the Dismal Swamp canal road for about sixty-five miles and then on in the night by buggy to Belvidere. The heat by day was so intense that horses and passengers were alike wellnigh prostrated. It was early spring and still cool in the North and our young Friend was accordingly not dressed for summer temperature. Following the excessive heat of the day, the cooler night air
so chilled him that he contracted a severe cold which promptly turned into pneumonia. Fortunately, he was in the hands of his brother physician, Dr. William, who from the beginning saw the seriousness of the attack and the doubtful issue. Though he gave no vocal expression to his concern, from his very frequent calls, his careful examinations and minute inquiries, the stricken brother fully realized the situation, but in quietness of mind and spirit felt to surrender his will to the will of the Heavenly Father who knew what was best for him and for his dear wife and child. As the disease progressed and the outward man seemed to be perishing, he asked his brother for a frank opinion of the situation, saying that however unfavorable or discouraging, it would not in any way disturb his mind or spirit. Dr. William replied: “Thee is a very sick man, but my hope of thy recovery is slightly stronger than my fear of thy departure.”
When the crisis was finally and safely passed, the doctor informed the managers at Haverford that it would be weeks before his brother would be able to leave and to assume his new duties in the North. Instead, therefore, of removing to Haverford early in May, it was not until in July that the departure was finally made, following a tender leave-taking of relatives and many dear friends.
A hearty welcome awaited the Nicholsons at Haverford and they quickly fitted themselves into the new field of service. They requested having their certificates of membership transferred to Radnor Monthly Meeting, held near the College, and thus became members of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. The work of instruction in the new department proceeded satisfactorily to all concerned and apparently the young Friend who had looked forward longingly to a farmer's life was now well launched on an educational career.
The little family was pleasantly situated in comfortable rooms in the dormitory building. Occupying a room close to them was Thomas Chase who came to Haverford shortly following them as Professor of Latin and Greek, and who built himself into the college life and traditions so deeply and permanently. He was very fond of playing with little Marianna. The next year, 1856, was presidential election year and Professor Chase would now and then take the little girl down to the study room, stand her up on the teacher's desk and have her hurrah for Fremont, much to the amusement of the boys. Indeed those were six happy years which Timothy and Sarah Nicholson spent at Haverford. During this time three sons, John, Josiah and Thomas, were born to them, their joy being clouded only by the death of Sarah Nicholson's father, John White, which occurred
during the year following their departure from North Carolina. When it became necessary for them to leave their pleasant but restricted quarters in the dormitory, the College built for them a substantial home among the beautiful trees on the campus.
While the Nicholsons were at Haverford, the College suffered the loss of its beloved president, Joseph G. Harlan. In connection with his death, we would recall an incident which well exemplifies the sympathetic forthrightness and kindly consideration which marked the character of Timothy Nicholson. For two years or more preceding his death, President Harlan, though attending to his regular duties and maintaining his wonted cheerfulness, had been under the care of a distinguished Philadelphia physician. On seeing Timothy at the railway station one day waiting for the train to the city, President Harlan asked him to bring some medicine from his physician. An expression from the doctor revealed the fact that President Harlan was sick unto death and that the end must come very soon. Timothy Nicholson was greatly surprised and shocked and the more distressed because he was sure that the sick man did not know his condition. On returning home and after conferring with his wife, it was agreed that President Harlan should be frankly informed of his doctor's verdict, but preferably by some older member of the
faculty. While others agreed that he should be told, no one was found willing to undertake the difficult errand, so Timothy was left to perform the object of his own concern. Accordingly, accompanied by his wife, he made his way to the President's home and while Sarah Nicholson engaged the attention of the wife and children in another room, he told President Harlan of the conversation he had had with the doctor. “Did Dr. Pepper say that?” asked Joseph Harlan, looking very calmly into the face of his young faculty member. “Then he has not been honest with me,” and then added earnestly, “I do thank thee for telling me for I have made no arrangements for the future of my family. I will send for my father for his assistance and advice in preparing a will.” And within a fortnight President Harlan had passed to the beyond. “Many times, since and before,” writes Timothy Nicholson, “I have had similar unpleasant services and duties to perform in social, civil, religious and political lines and I have ever tried to act in a kind manner but faithfully and without fear; and usually the service has been without offense and frequently with thankful appreciation.”
In the year following President Harlan's death a new Superintendent and Matron came to Haverford, upon the former devolving the general government of the students. He was a signal failure in this part of his responsibility and was not
able to fill out his year as disciplinarian, or governor. In this embarrassing dilemma, the management decided to secure someone else for this service and requested Timothy Nicholson to undertake the responsibility. Members of the faculty not only encouraged, but urged him to undertake the task, promising him their support and cooperation. In the meantime, however, he had other plans in prospect. There were now private schools in various places in which Friends’ sons could be fitted for Haverford and it had become evident to him that the preparatory department ought not to be continued indefinitely. Accordingly, he had arranged to join his brother John in business two years hence.
In a protracted interview with the committee of managers, he found it to be their intention to release the Superintendent and Matron the following spring, at the expiration of their engagement, after which it was their thought that he would assume all the duties of the Superintendent. Informing them of his plans, he protested that it would be unwise to appoint a Superintendent with the knowledge that he could remain but for a limited period. They waived this objection, saying that he could probably arrange to continue longer, but he assured them it was his deliberate intention to join his brother at the time specified. Nevertheless, in response to continued urging, he finally
yielded to their request. This action was in line with his characteristic habit of accepting responsibility, however perplexing the problem and whatever the serious difficulties involved, if it lay in the path of duty.
Giving up his place as teacher, Timothy Nicholson now assumed all the authority and duties of the Superintendent. These included the care of the buildings and the fifty acre campus and the direction of the men employees, and he was furthermore responsible for the finances of the institution as Business Manager. Even then the Haverford campus was a beautiful one with an unusual variety of trees and shrubbery, but these and the gravelled drives and walks had for a few years been much neglected. Addressing himself with accustomed vigor to this situation, the appearance of the campus was promptly and greatly improved. A once imposing stone arch, the entrance to the greenhouse destroyed many years before by fire, had become an unsightly ruin. This was restored and ivy was planted about it. “Timothy's Arch,” as it was called, still stands as a monument to his administration. Furthermore, by a simple but discerning bit of engineering he made possible a skating pond on the east campus which to this day is a center of college and community recreation during the winter months.
Happy as were the Nicholsons at Haverford, their thoughts turned ever westward where family ties increasingly drew them. In the vacation period following their first year at Haverford they visited Niagara Falls and extended their journey to Indiana for a visit with relatives, including Timothy's half sister, Elizabeth, and children at Dublin. They also met a number of friends and acquaintances and attended a few sessions of Indiana Yearly Meeting. Their visit extended to Howard County, then newly settled and largely an unbroken forest. While all railroads were poorly constructed, one road penetrating to the new settlement still operated its trains on a track of wooden rails. Wood was still used for fuel and at various points along the road would be immense piles of cord wood at which the trains would stop, and all trainmen, including the conductor, would join in loading the tender. From fifteen to twenty miles an hour was the average speed and as there were no sleeping cars, night travel was particularly wearisome.
In the early spring of 1859, John Nicholson sold his interest in the store at Belvidere and followed the course of empire westward to seek a more profitable place for business. After purchasing for him and his brother, Timothy, two quarter sections of Kansas prairie land, he returned to Indiana and coming to Richmond purchased a
shoe store. It was this business in which Timothy had arranged to join him in the fall of 1861.
Timothy Nicholson was “astounded” in the summer of 1859 by a letter from his brother, William, stating that his mother felt that it would be right for her to go from North Carolina to her daughter, Elizabeth, in Indiana. She had been much of an invalid for several years and as riding was particularly painful to her it seemed that she could hardly endure such a journey as she proposed. However, her children never felt free to oppose anything she felt she ought to do and it was arranged that at the close of the college year, William would accompany her to Baltimore where she would be met by her second son who would care for her to Indiana over the Baltimore and Ohio. On meeting her there, Timothy asked her why she must undertake this difficult journey. The reply was characteristic of her sacrificing spirit: “Son, I am sure there will be war between the North and the South. I may then be too feeble to travel and William or Josiah will have to stay with me, so I felt that I must come now in order that they might be able to get away when the war begins.” As already indicated, long distance travelling at that time was more than a mere excursion, even for people well and strong. The time involved from Baltimore to Dublin, Indiana, was nearly thirty-six hours, and some portions of the road,
especially from Dayton to Richmond, were so rough that the travellers were almost thrown from their seats. However, the journey was successfully accomplished and without undue discomfiture to Mother Nicholson who displayed an astonishing amount of endurance.
In anticipation of their proposed departure for Indiana that summer, Sarah Nicholson wished to visit once more her widowed mother. Despite the fact that early in 1861 civil war seemed inevitable, she departed for North Carolina the latter part of March, taking her four months old baby, Thomas. Within two or three weeks of her arrival, Fort Sumter was fired upon and the war was on in earnest. The Fort was captured during the sessions of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting which Timothy attended as a representative. Excitement was everywhere intense. Expecting all lines of travel in the South to be obstructed very soon, Timothy urged his wife to leave North Carolina at once, bringing her mother and sister with her. Even then they found escape difficult, having to take an unusual route. They came through safely, however, but only after some exciting and embarrassing experiences.
The time now approached for departure to the new home to be made in the West. The years at Haverford had been “years of much pleasure and growth in grace and knowledge.” Association with
managers, faculty and students had been mutually agreeable and with quite a number of intimate friendships. Outstanding among the friendships which Timothy Nicholson long held dear was that with James Wood who was graduated from Haverford during this period. How little did these young Friends then know the large part which they were to play, one in the East and the other in the West, yet always in close cooperation, in the development and outreach of their beloved Society of Friends in America!
Following the close of the college year, Timothy and Sarah Nicholson and their four children, accompanied by Sarah's mother and sister, Mary, departed for Richmond, Indiana, where his brother, John, had made temporary arrangements for them until their household goods should arrive. Their removal was accomplished during momentous days. The disastrous battle of Bull Run had just been fought and the capture of Washington City was threatened. Naturally the North was paralyzed by the shock of defeat, business was virtually suspended and gloom and fear prevailed. Difficult for all, the situation as it developed during the years of war was to be particularly trying for Friends. Wise counsel, energetic courage and quiet self-possession would be required. Who can say that our Friend was not led to Indiana for such a time as this?
RICHMOND AND “NEW OCCASIONS”
IN 1861, Richmond was a town of approximately six thousand people. It had been settled by Friends, Whitewater Monthly Meeting having been organized in 1809, and the Yearly Meeting, which was held at Richmond, in 1821. Yearly Meeting Sunday was a notable occasion—almost an institution in fact—when hundreds if not thousands of people who were not Friends went by excursion trains from Cincinnati, Dayton, Indianapolis, Logansport and other points, to spend the day on the spacious and shaded Yearly Meeting grounds, visiting and sermon tasting. Although the Friendly population had been largely supplemented by a large influx of German Lutherans, Richmond was still known as the Quaker City of the West. It was a strategic choice of location, from which was to radiate for a period of sixty-three years, the beneficent and nation-wide influence of Timothy Nicholson, Master Quaker.
This influence was not radiated from any high or exalted station to which he had been elevated and which gave him prestige. It radiated from the shop keeper's counter. Though diligent in business, Timothy Nicholson did not allow it to interfere
with his service for the common good. He kept business where it belonged—in the place of servant rather than of master. It was thus that the little office room in the store became a holy place—a shrine of loving helpfulness.
It was not the shoe business in which he was to embark, however, as he had anticipated. His brother, John, had in the meantime sold the shoe store and purchased a book store on the south side of Main Street near Fifth. We are glad that it was so. It is altogether an honorable calling to shoe the weary wayfarers for their earthly pilgrimage, but it seems much more appropriate that Timothy Nicholson's vocation had to do with equipping their minds rather than their feet for life's fortuitous way. Eight years later their place of business was removed to its present location at Eighth Street, and through all the intervening decades, the Nicholson Book Store has been inseparably associated with the good works of him whose name it carries.
It is pleasing to record that Timothy Nicholson won recognition in his sphere of business as well as in that of his public and humanitarian service. The Oxford Bulletin for September, 1920, issued by the Oxford University Press, American branch, played up a story of our Friend under the caption, “Dean of Booksellers,” illustrated by a picture of the “Dean” at his office desk. He was characterized
as “the grand old man of the trade.” In May, 1924, the American Booksellers’ Association, in annual convention in New York, sent “its remembrances and respects to Timothy Nicholson, whom it honors as one of the three surviving members known to it as present fifty years ago at the Put-in-Bay Convention of the American Book Trade Union which was there organized into the American Book Trade Association.”
Having lived in Richmond nearly three years, John Nicholson had formed many pleasant associations among Friends and others, which fact facilitated the introduction of the new arrivals. When the certificates of membership for Timothy Nicholson and family were received at Whitewater meeting, Charles F. Coffin and Levi Jessup were appointed to welcome them. The responsible position which Timothy had held at Haverford College promptly opened the doors to acquaintance and service. At the session of the Yearly Meeting following their arrival, Timothy was appointed a member of the Earlham College Committee, and other appointments by the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings followed, including that of Clerk of the Monthly Meeting, made the second year of their residence in Richmond. In 1865 the confidence of Friends was further manifested by appointing him an Elder, and also a member of the Representative Meeting, now called the Permanent Board, of the
Yearly Meeting. Such recognition given a newcomer who was but in his middle thirties in years was marked.
There was but one Friends’ meeting (Orthodox) in Richmond at the time, located in the old section of the town, north of the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks. There were now many Friends living near Main Street and on south, at a considerable distance from the meetinghouse, and Timothy Nicholson took the lead in 1864 in securing the establishment of a new meeting south of Main Street which became known as South Eighth Street meeting.
Sarah Nicholson's retiring disposition and her faithful devotion to her large and growing family prevented her from taking a very active part in the business affairs of the church. In January, 1863, the fifth child, Sarah Ellen, was welcomed into the home, “an unusually beautiful and lovely child, the joy of the household,” who passed on in 1864 at the age of twenty months. Another child, Walter, was born in August, 1865. Contrary to past experience, complications followed his birth, but they had apparently yielded to treatment. One evening a month later, September 26, Sarah was sitting near Timothy who was writing a report to be read at the Yearly Meeting session on the following day. Suddenly she gasped and asked to be helped to her bed. Before medical help could reach
her, she was gone, leaving a grief-stricken husband and five motherless children, ranging from infancy to eleven years of age. The funeral was held on an afternoon following a Yearly Meeting session and was an impressive occasion. Joseph Bevan Braithwaite, of London, and other prominent ministers were present.
It was suggestive of our Friend that even in his grief he was thoughtful of the comfort and feelings of others. It was then the custom that at burial all would remain around the grave until it was completely filled and rounded over, despite the additional strain upon the bereaved and however disagreeable the weather. Timothy Nicholson had opposed this practice as not only unnecessary but absolutely wrong in stormy weather. While on this occasion the day was pleasant, he felt it his duty to set the example of what he had advocated, and accordingly gave instructions to have the company dismissed as soon as the casket was lowered and the closing words were spoken—an example that was duly followed by others.
For a time the bereaved husband was almost overwhelmed by the loss of her who had been so wise and faithful and loving a companion, and was likewise depressed with the sense of the increased responsibility of a father now resting upon him. He was comforted and encouraged, however, in the realization of his good fortune in being able to
rely in his time of sore need upon the devotion and very efficient care of Sarah's mother and sister, Mary, who made their home with them.
In this same year, Mother Nicholson, who had been making her home in Richmond with John and wife, again surprised her sons by announcing that she wished to return to the old North Carolina home to spend her few remaining years. The war was now over and her sons, William and Josiah, and their families had remained through it all, preserved from bodily harm in spite of their Friendly convictions. Indeed, Dr. William Nicholson's influence, especially, was such as greatly to aid and protect those of tender conscience, visiting President Jefferson Davis and pleading the cause of Friends and others who were conscientiously opposed to all war. Following the close of the war, as an influential member of the State Constitutional Convention, he secured a very liberal provision protecting conscientious objectors from military service. A desire expressed by their mother had the force of a command for her sons and accordingly Timothy accompanied her back to North Carolina. Three years later she died, in her 72nd year, her son Timothy having the satisfaction of a visit with her in her last illness.
Friends in free-state Indiana as well as those in slave-state North Carolina found themselves in distress during the later years of the Civil War.
The government had had to resort to the draft in order to fill up its depleted ranks and the various states were being hard pressed to supply their quota of soldiers for the Union armies. Friends were very numerous in Indiana, constituting not an inconsiderable portion of the population of the state. True to their peace convictions, they had not volunteered in large numbers, although almost without exception they were Republicans and thoroughly loyal to the government. The Draft Commissioner decided that Friends must stand the chance of the draft along with others, holding that those who declined to go into the active service should procure substitutes or pay the fine of $300. This course was naturally repugnant to those who held staunchly to the peace position, since a Friend would naturally decline to hire another to do an act to which he himself was conscientiously opposed. Though payment of the $300 fine be refused, this amount could be collected by confiscation of property by distraint.
The first casting of the net which included Friends drew twenty-five members in Richmond into the draft, including Charles F. Coffin, the Clerk of Indiana Yearly Meeting. It was a time of great anxiety and perplexity as the government officers might come soon to summon and, if need be, arrest those who had been drafted and take them to Indianapolis. A conference of Friends was
held, at which it was decided to send a small delegation from among those who had escaped the draft to seek an interview with Governor Oliver P. Morton, who for his extraordinary energy and efficiency in raising and equipping Indiana regiments was styled the “War Governor.” He was born near Richmond and had lived in Wayne County for many years and was thus well acquainted with many Friends and understood their conviction and testimony relative to war. Friends believed he would hear them patiently and sympathetically, and that possibly, through his great influence at the national capital, some relief might be obtained. It seemed to be the crisis in the conflict, the result of which was still uncertain, and the excitement and stress in nearly all sections of the country were intense.
Timothy Nicholson headed the deputation. “We found the Governor apparently overwhelmed by military officers and war committees,” he writes, “and his secretaries could give us no promise of an interview. A few Friends of Western Yearly Meeting headed by Barnabas C. Hobbs, on the same mission as ours, met us in Indianapolis. We requested the Governor's private secretary to inform the Governor of our presence and with our names. Jesse P. Siddall, the leading attorney of Richmond, was the Draft Commissioner, and while waiting for the Governor's answer I called upon
the Commissioner and expressed our surprise and indignation, and said that we would hold him responsible for the very serious trouble and embarrassment his act had brought upon so many of his peaceful fellow citizens. I was again surprised that he did not resent my strong language nor attempt any defense of his conduct.” This is Timothy's report of the interview with the Governor:
Finally the Governor sent for us and instructed his secretary to admit no one into his private office until after we had retired. B. C. Hobbs and I were appointed to present our grievance.
The Governor, however, understood the situation and said he was as much surprised and almost as much distressed as we at the Commissioner's course, and had he been advised of it he would have strongly objected, though he had no power to prevent it, and he did not know what he could do in the matter. Evidently more in jest than in earnest he suggested that the drafted men have three hundred dollars in their homes where it could be found by the military officer when he called to issue the summons. To this I promptly replied, “Friends do not whip the devil round the stump.”
The state election was near at hand, and the national election would occur a month later and Morton and Lincoln were candidates for re-election. Some reference was made to this. I do not remember what it was nor by whom; but its import was that if Friends were to be treated in this way they might decline to vote. Finally the Governor said (I quote from memory): “Friends, I solemnly promise you I will do everything in my power to give relief in this matter; go home and keep entirely quiet; do not talk much about this private interview and vote as usual at the State
election.” We accepted this advice and acted accordingly and none of the drafted Friends in Richmond were disturbed. I afterwards learned that Governor Morton, the night after our interview, took the train to Washington, and I suppose the draft of Friends was annulled.
After the Proclamation of Emancipation was issued by President Lincoln, the suffering and destitution of the slaves, now called “freedmen,” were so fearful as to appeal to the sympathy of the northern people and especially to Friends, who had always shown kindness to Negroes and Indians. At the sessions of Indiana Yearly Meeting held in 1863, a committee was appointed to “give special attention to the relief of the physical necessities of those who had recently been released from slavery, and to their advancement in knowledge and religion, and to receive all funds which may be contributed for this purpose, and to see that they are properly applied; to employ suitable agents to attend to their distribution; to judge of the qualifications of those who are proposed or who may offer themselves to devote their time to the work of visiting or residing among and instructing the freedmen, and otherwise to labor in every way they can to further the good cause. This committee will be an executive body and meet regularly and frequently, keep minutes of their proceedings, and appoint a secretary, treasurer and such other officers as may be found necessary.” There are clear
implications here of an enormous amount of work to be performed by the committee chosen.
The committee was organized by the appointment of Joseph Dickinson, Receiving and Shipping Agent, Isaac P. Evans, Treasurer, and Timothy Nicholson, Secretary. The Union armies occupied numerous points in various southern states and many thousands of freedmen, men, women and children, gathered around these places of rendezvous for protection. During the first year of its activity, twenty-four agents, teachers and missionaries were sent to minister to these unfortunates. From Maine to Iowa, Friends sent clothing, some school equipment and miscellaneous supplies to be distributed by agents and teachers. A total of approximately $28,000 in money was contributed. The work devolving thereby upon the secretary was said by Timothy Nicholson to be the most strenuous of his whole life. The amount of correspondence was enormous and it was painstakingly cared for in long hand. Very frequently the secretary would write until two o'clock in the morning and when he had completed the report of the committee to the Yearly Meeting, Timothy Nicholson was on the verge of nervous prostration. It was more than a year before he entirely recovered from the over-exertion.
This heroic service in behalf of the freedmen was entirely in line with the conscientious concern
which had long before been shown by at least one of his forebears. Along with many other Friends, his great-grandfather, Thomas Nicholson, once held slaves. When convinced that this was wrong he gave them their freedom. This act gave him such peace of mind that he declared to friends he would not have his slaves back again for their weight in gold.
By the good care of his grandmother and aunt, baby Walter, whose coming had cost his mother's life, was a fine, vigorous boy and was taking the place of his sister, Sarah Ellen, lost nearly three years before; and he had nearly attained her age when pneumonia brought his death in March, 1867.
Shortly before this, Timothy Nicholson and his sister-in-law, Mary White, were engaged to be married. She spent the winter in North Carolina with relatives and friends, after which the marriage took place April 30, 1868, “after the good order of Friends” at South Eighth Street Meeting-house, at the regular “Fifth day” meeting. In the course of three years two daughters, Sarah and Eliza, came to bless this union.
So far, in their eight years’ residence in Richmond, the Nicholson family had lived in rented property, all available capital being needed in the expanding book business. Being “sold out” and forced to move again in 1869, for the third time, Timothy purchased a home on South Ninth Street,
which he occupied until his death, fifty-four years later.
As the years came and went, the demands made upon Timothy Nicholson for public service became increasingly exacting. More and more time was required from his business, upon which he depended for the support of his family, yet the service to which he was called carried no financial compensation. The way in which he managed to serve and yet “carry on” at home was a tribute to his methodical, businesslike procedure as well as to his exalted sense of public responsibility.
In these earlier years he owed much, also, to the public spirit and loyal cooperation of his brother, John. When appointed by the Governor a member of the Board of Trustees of the State Normal School in 1868, he did not feel free to accept without consulting the latter, since the service involved would require frequent absences from Richmond and from their business. John Nicholson's reply was characteristic of his high ideal of good citizenship and of his self-sacrificing spirit. “All of us owe some service to the public,” he replied, “and thee is better qualified for public service than I, and can do both thy share and mine; and I can look after our business affairs for both of us when thee is away; hence I approve thy acceptance of this position.”
In 1873, John Nicholson accepted an attractive offer from William L. and Joseph P. Elliott, former schoolmates and friends of his, both at Belvidere Academy and Friends School at Providence, to join them in their cotton brokers business at Baltimore, to which city the family removed. The Nicholson brothers accordingly dissolved their partnership, Timothy purchasing John's interest in the business. Since John had been the head of the firm, and its bookkeeper and correspondent, Timothy faced a difficult adjustment of affairs. However, he encouraged his brother to accept the desirable position offered with characteristic loyalty. Moreover, the firm name of Nicholson and Brother was retained, under which the “Brother” conducted the business for fifty-one years.
About this time Marianna, the eldest of the children, spent a year in the preparatory department at Earlham College, boarding in, as no day students were then admitted. The next year she and her brother, John, attended Friends School at Providence, Rhode Island, she completing the course and returning home and taking charge of the bookkeeping in the store. Following their year at Providence, John spent a year in Earlham, after which he became Superintendent of the Book Bindery, in which he later purchased a half interest. In September, 1877, Marianna was married to
David Buffum, of Newport, Rhode Island, a classmate of hers at Providence.
In 1878, Mother White, who had ministered so helpfully to the family since the removal to Richmond, slipped suddenly and quietly out into the beyond. After paying her loving tribute as “a remarkable woman, vigorous physically, mentally and spiritually,” Timothy Nicholson says: “We hear much complaint of mothers-in-law. I am inclined to think sons-in-law and daughters-in-law are as much to blame; and I take pleasure in testifying to the kind, loving service and companionship, for seventeen years, of my beloved mother-in-law. She was a great blessing to me and our children, and her departure left a long-felt void in our family.”
Having suggested the family setting in Richmond, as the background of a long and distinguished service, may we now follow our Friend out onto some of the highways of achievement.
FRIENDS AND PRISON REFORM IN INDIANA
THERE were two good reasons why early Friends were active in the cause of prison reform. First, their concern was based on deep conviction that the Temple of God is reared in human personality. To defile the person of a man, woman or child in a prison is to defile the divine Temple within and is a sin against God and man. Second, their concern was fired into action by ample first-hand knowledge of the vile and wretched condition of the prisons of their day. Thousands of Friends knew but too poignantly of the abuses of prison life in England, George Fox spending a total of several years in jail in at least ten different prisons. One of them he characterized as “a nasty, stinking place,” and another as “an unmentionably filthy dungeon,” while all were foul enough to smell to heaven.
Outraged by the terrible experiences they had undergone, not so much on their own account, however, as on account of the unfortunates who more or less frequented prison life, Friends raised their voices in protest and exposure. And to their credit be it said that the concern stimulated by their own
sufferings has persisted on down through the generations, long after they themselves were made subjects of persecution and imprisonment. The Quaker prison reformers in England have had their counterparts in scores of Friends in America who have labored long and valiantly for the cause, and withal successfully. To mention but a few as representative, there were, in New York, Isaac T. Hopper, and more especially his daughter, Abby H. Gibbons; in Philadelphia, Robert Vaux, Isaac Collins, John Lytle, Joshua L. Baily and others; in Maryland, Richard M. Janney; in Virginia, John B. Crenshaw; in Michigan, Elizabeth L. Comstock, the “Elizabeth Fry of America,” who visited more jails, reformatories and penitentiaries in various states of the Union than any other person.
Except in Indiana, however, it appears that no organization of Friends officially undertook prison reform. Elsewhere efforts in this direction were made individually or in cooperation with other associations. In 1867, the Meeting for Sufferings, later the Representative body, now the Permanent Board, of Indiana Yearly Meeting appointed a committee of six, of which Timothy Nicholson was a member, “to organize a system for the reformation of juvenile offenders and the improvement of prison discipline.” Several reformatory measures had been adopted in the surrounding states of Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, but for some reason little
or no interest had been aroused in Indiana. We are told that a few Christian philanthropists individually saw the need; and “to will was present with them, but how to perform they found not.” Friends of Indiana Yearly Meeting undertook the difficult task of performance.
The Hoosier state was committed fairly enough to a high ideal of prison administration. It was “written in the bond” so to speak. It was stated in the first constitution adopted in 1816 and in the revised document of 1852, that “The penal code shall be founded on the principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice.” So far as practice was concerned, however, this noble statement was as “a scrap of paper.” The Yearly Meeting committee was called into action because of the general belief “that the jails and penitentiaries were badly managed; that inhuman punishments were often inflicted upon the convicts in the State Prison; that many of the jails were filthy and otherwise unfit for the confinement of human beings; that, in their construction, little attention had been given to providing for the separating of juvenile and first offenders from the more desperate and hardened criminals, and that in some of them there was no provision for the proper separation of the sexes.”
This epoch-making Committee, widely credited with having been largely influential in creating public sentiment and in inaugurating far-reaching
reforms in the Indiana penal system, continued its active work for forty-two years before it was finally released on its own request in 1909. The one member who served continuously throughout this period was Timothy Nicholson. The Committee was organized with Charles F. Coffin, Clerk of the Yearly Meeting as secretary. After his removal from the state in 1884, his mantle of leadership fell upon Timothy Nicholson.
It may easily be imagined under what difficulties and indirection, such a committee would work in striving to arouse the public conscience on one hand, and in attacking the forces of political corruption on the other. “We were nothing more than citizens,” said Timothy in recalling those early days of struggle. “We had no authority. We could visit these institutions but were not allowed to investigate their management. We could go to the Legislature and represent to the members some things we thought ought to be done.” However, by visits and personal observation, the Committee continually gathered a large fund of information which was given to the public. Subordinate meetings were asked to appoint committees of “discreet Friends” who should visit the public institutions in their respective communities, reporting the conditions back to their meetings. “Then the members, by petition, by influence on the state and county officials and the Legislature, and especially by informing
the general public, endeavored to secure redress of the evils that were found; in all cases not merely criticizing, but presenting a plan of betterment.” Thus, after several years of persistent, aggressive work, the conditions in Indiana were gradually improved, step by step, until they compared favorably with those of neighboring states.
Year after year, the Committee faithfully made its report of progress and reaction, of success and defeat. In the words of Alexander Johnson, first Secretary of the Indiana Board of State Charities and nationally famed leader in prison reform, those “annual reports made to the Representative Body form a comprehensive history of prison and other reform in Indiana, during nearly fifty years of wise, patient and patriotic effort.” In 1896, Timothy Nicholson served as President of the Indiana State Conference of Charities and Corrections. In his presidential address, entitled “Thirty Years of Struggle,” he quoted numerous extracts from the reports of the Committee, which illumine the tortuous road of accomplishment. We can scarcely do better than draw upon those excerpts freely, to indicate the nature and achievements of those pioneer efforts put forth by Friends of Indiana Yearly Meeting.
First, the Committee was partly and perhaps largely responsible for establishing the Reformatory
School for Boys at Plainfield in 1870, with the Chairman of the Committee, Charles F. Coffin, as President of the Board of Trustees. “And what do you think it was called when we first established it?” once asked Timothy Nicholson publicly in responding to a series of toasts in his honor. “The House of Refuge! Then we got up a little higher and called it a Reform School, and then we got up still higher and called it the Indiana Boys’ School.”
From the report made in 1869 we read: “Our investigations led us to believe that much corruption and wickedness existed in the State Prison at Jeffersonville, and that our County Jails were generally disgraceful to an enlightened and Christian people. After bringing these subjects through the newspapers to the people, we called a meeting at Indianapolis of prominent citizens from different parts of the State at the commencement of the session of the Legislature. A petition was prepared by that meeting asking the Legislature to radically change our prison system and provide for the erection of a Woman's Prison and Girls’ Reformtory.” By such agitation, the Legislature's committees on prisons visited both State Prisons, making a more thorough inspection than the latter had perhaps ever known. As a result there was brought to light at the Jeffersonville institution an “amount of cruelty, licentiousness (with women prisoners) corruption and other wickedness more terrible
than had been conceived.” Anticipating the exposure, the Warden resigned and the administration was radically changed for the better.
In 1871, previous to the meeting of the Legislature, the Committee called a second meeting at the State Capital and prepared another petition to the Legislative Body. It called, first for a Board of Supervisors, with authority to inspect and watch over the prisons, reformatories and benevolent institutions of the State, etc. Thus began the long struggle for the creation of what was finally secured in 1889 as the Board of State Charities. The petition asked, second, for the separation of the younger from the “seasoned” criminals in county jails, and the separation of men and women prisoners; and, third, for the erection of an intermediate prison for young and first offenders, where proper reformatory measures could be applied.
The petition was fruitless except as seed sowing and was again presented to the Legislature two years later. It was received with increasing favor, but “the influence of prison officials and contractors was brought strongly to bear against any change. Philanthropic motives were treated by them with disgust and ridicule, and some unseen influence was brought to bear which caused the committee to withhold every suggested change, and finally the Legislature adjourned without action upon the bill.” What an old and familiar story!
It was to become much more than a twice-told tale in the annals of the Quaker Committee on prison reform.
Progress was marked, however, even so. Appropriations were made for the completion of the reformatory institution for women and girls, though it required strenuous efforts to prevent the building from being diverted to other uses. It was opened in 1873, with a Friend, Sarah J. Smith, as Superintendent. Four years later it was taken from the oversight of “an unsympathizing board of men” and committed to a board of women. “We consider this an important measure,” reported the Committee, “both for the good of the institution and the State, and as affording an opportunity to demonstrate the ability of women to successfully carry forward an important public institution.”
In the Legislature which met in 1875 there were five Friends, who cooperated heartily with the Committee toward securing important legislation. One of these, Senator William Baxter from Wayne County, presented a bill which the Committee had prepared, providing for the improvement of the prison system, “and by indefatigable exertions succeeded in getting it in a favorable position upon the calendar of the Senate, when its enemies, finding it would probably pass, resorted to the subterfuge of taking it from the files,” its consideration thus being delayed too late for passage.
Four years later a remedial and constructive bill finally passed both houses, “but, through negligence or some other cause,” it failed to reach the Governor in constitutional time to secure his signature and become a law.
It was the fortune, or ill fortune, of politics that at one session in the Eighties the great majority of the General Assembly was of a different political party from that of the Governor. Accordingly he was shorn of executive control of the state institutions through his appointments, the Legislature taking over the latter for the good of the party! Scandals naturally followed in the wake of such high-handed partisan procedure, a great outcry resulting. On one occasion, General Benjamin Harrison, referring to the commissary department of a state institution, declared dramatically that “it was a race between the cholera and the knife as to which would get the hog first to feed the inmates.”
Undismayed by reverses and failure, and cheered by partial successes and evidences of an awakening public sentiment, the Committee struggled on. “It is difficult,” reads a report, “to awaken in the minds of mere politicians any sympathy with benevolent and reformatory measures, unless these measures are strongly backed by public opinion. We are not discouraged, however, because we believe the people are awakening to the immense
interest at stake and continued persevering efforts, will, in the end, be crowned with success.” Behind and between the lines of the annual reports of the Committee we feel the unfailing industry, the deep devotion and the inspiring courage of these Friends of Indiana who, almost alone at first, championed the cause of the unfortunate and the unlovely.
Despite the repeated failures to secure desirable legislation, general improvement in the management of penal institutions was made. Several reforms which were matters of administration rather than of legislation were effected. The very abuses themselves, when exposed, worked toward this end. In 1886, for example, Timothy Nicholson was accorded unusual privileges of inspection when visiting the State Prison at Jeffersonville. He found the Prison to be as satisfactorily conducted as the laws and the unsuitable condition of the buildings would allow. The abolition of cruel and degrading punishments and the operation of the “good-time law,” whereby sentences might be materially shortened, had effected a great improvement in the conduct of the prisoners.
Intense political excitement in the Legislature of 1887 made it impossible to secure any legislation upon prison matters. And then came the session of 1889, “the good parliament,” which apparently sought to atone for the many shortcomings of its predecessors.
We read from its reports that in 1888 the Yearly Meeting Committee prepared a series of statistical questions in regard to the condition of the poor houses of Indiana. Copies were sent to the County School Superintendents of the State with the request that each get two persons, a man and wife preferably, to visit and investigate the condition of their County Infirmary, to procure as definite answers to the printed questions as possible and return them to the Committee to be tabulated and used in preparing a petition to the Legislature. Letters were written to the retiring and incoming Governors asking them to recommend in their respective messages the establishment of an Intermediate Prison for juvenile offenders and the creation of a non-partisan Board of State Charities to have the general oversight of all the penal, reformatory and benevolent institutions of the State, including the county infirmaries, orphans’ homes and jails. The Committee, of which Timothy Nicholson had now been the secretary and leading spirit for four or five years, also sent to one or more persons in every county a printed form of petition to the Legislature, setting forth the necessity for such a Board.
About this time the Committee was reinforced by winning a powerful ally in the person of Oscar C. McCulloch, an outstanding minister in Indianapolis whose ministry breathed the social concern.
His voice joined those of Washington Gladden and Archbishop Ireland—pioneer voices who interpreted Christianity in terms of human brotherhood in the social life. He was President of the Associated Charities of Indianapolis and for five years had been active in the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, of which he became President in 1890. He now threw the full force of his splendid personality in support of the measure for a State Board of Charities, proving most effective in interviewing members of the Legislature and pressing upon their attention the great importance of such an advance step. So much so that Timothy Nicholson generously gives him the large credit for the passage of the bill. Even so, it was a case of reaping where others had sowed—of entering into the labors of the Quaker pioneers in prison reform.
In its report following the 1889 session of the General Assembly of Indiana, the Committee says: “We thankfully record that, to our surprise and gratification, the bill we had prepared passed both branches of the Legislature with little opposition. We rejoice to believe that, while much has been accomplished in the way of reform since this meeting first appointed a committee upon the subject, the creation of a Board of State Charities promises far greater progress; for, while the powers of the Board are only advisory, they are of such a character
as to wield great influence for good if they are faithfully exercised with wisdom and discretion.” Happily, the conditional mode of this expression became indicative of the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things which were yet to be seen in the realm of social reform in Indiana.
NINETEEN NOTABLE YEARS
IT is often difficult for a man to evaluate properly his own work. Others in his or in succeeding generations may do so more accurately, though their judgments are always limited and more or less superficial. So inclusive and far-reaching were the civic and humanitarian activities of Timothy Nicholson that it would be hard to choose between them from the point of view of their respective contributions to human welfare. Contrary to his own expressed feeling in the matter, his outstanding achievements are very generally associated with his nineteen years of service as the most influential member of the Indiana Board of State Charities. In the field of public charitable and correctional institutions this period marked the flower and fruitage of the preceding years of seed-sowing and cultivation.
In observing the Board's thirtieth anniversary, a dinner was given in honor of Timothy Nicholson, its only surviving charter member, which was attended by many nationally prominent leaders in social reform. One of the most outstanding of these was Dr. Graham Taylor, who said:
Your state board has marked one of the greatest transitions through which public affairs have ever passed (from church to state control). That movement, full of peril, full of the possibilities of mistake and error, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, was studied here in Indiana as scarcely anwhere else. Here it was that you met political bias, which attempts to exploit even the most common interests of the whole people for partisan spoils. Here you met that issue. Here, more quickly than any other state, and before some other states have begun, for a quarter of a century you have had the state institutions of this great commonwealth administered not for the sake of a party but for the sake of the people, not for the sake of those who held office but for the sake of those for whom these offices were created. Brave men they were in those days, who held their office of light account in comparison with their reverence for the great purpose for which the office existed, that steered a straight course for the ship of state and balanced it when it took on this new cargo, which might have perilously shifted one way or the other.
This certainly suggests no mean accomplishment. And Dr. S. E. Smith, now Provost of Indiana University, who through this period was so closely associated with the work of the Board declares that “Throughout the nineteen years of his membership and for long years afterward, Timothy Nicholson, wise, courageous, steadfast, was the Board's guiding spirit. He was the pilot who through long experience knew the rocks and shoals and he guided the craft into smooth waters and on to success.” Since this expression could be matched by scores of similar ones by other well qualified
observers, the caption of this chapter would seem to be more than justified.
The bill creating the Board was wisely drawn. It called for a non-partisan, or bi-partisan, Board, providing for the appointment by the Governor, who served as a member ex-officio, of six persons, three from each major party. These appointees were to serve without compensation—a very important provision upon which Timothy Nicholson had strongly insisted. “We knew,” he said, “that if there was to be any salary the governors would be troubled by incompetent persons seeking the positions.”
It was perhaps well that the functions of the Board were rather generally stated in the bill of enactment. It was authorized to investigate the whole system of public charities and correctional institutions of the State and examine into conditions and management thereof, especially of jails, prisons, infirmaries, public hospitals and asylums. Officers of these institutions were instructed to furnish the Board full information and statistics on request. All building plans were to be presented to the Board for criticism and suggestions. The Board was empowered to make investigations of all penal, reformatory and charitable institutions of the State.
Clearly, the Board was not clothed with executive powers. It was advisory only and was aptly
characterized as a continuous investigating committee. In short its accomplishments were to depend not upon administrative authority, but upon wisdom and tact—upon the manifestation of that sweet reasonableness that would gain the cooperation of officials and secure the public confidence.
Very largely, therefore, the future place and usefulness of the Board depended, first, upon its early personnel and second, upon its choice of Secretaries who would carry out its policies. In both instances the Board was singularly fortunate. Its charter members were Oscar C. McCulloch, John R. Elder, Timothy Nicholson, Mrs. C. W. Fairbanks, Mrs. W. F. Peelle and E. B. Martindale. Three of these, McCulloch, Mrs. Peelle and our Friend, had long been actively identified in social work. But one member, E. B. Martindale, was strongly partisan and he soon resigned to accept a position carrying a salary.
Apart from his peculiar fitness for the task, it was eminently fitting that a member of the Quaker Committee which had borne the burden of the fight for its creation in the heat of the day, should be on the new Board, and especially so since in those pioneer years of agitation, the reform proposals persistently urged were referred to rather derisively by the politicians as “Quaker measures.” For the man who championed them, however, they had the utmost respect.
Alexander Johnson, who had been engaged in the supervision of organized charities in Cincinnati and Chicago, was the Board's first Secretary. The fact that his boundless enthusiasm and energy were matched by a rich fund of sound judgment and common sense, contributed immeasurably to the successful work of the Board. Of like qualities and capacity were his successors during this period, Ernest P. Bicknell and Amos W. Butler. All these men attained national prominence in their field. It speaks well for the Indiana Board that not only these, its three Secretaries, but also three of its members, Oscar C. McCulloch, Timothy Nicholson and Francis H. Gavisk, won recognition of election to the presidency of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections. Amos W. Butler was also president of the American Prison Association.
Critical indeed was the initial period of work, between the time of creating the Board and the meeting of the next Legislature to which it would submit its first report; particularly so for a non-partisan Board seeking its course in a state known to have “more politics to the square mile than any other in the Union.” In his book of personal reminiscences, “Adventures in Social Welfare,” Alexander Johnson has given some engagingly intimate pictures of the Board and its early activities.
He states frankly that Oscar McCulloch, whose untimely death in 1891 was an almost irreparable loss, and Timothy Nicholson, “a man of unbounded courage, deep sympathy and inflexible honesty, both of thought and act,” were the dominating influences; “not because they desired to dominate but purely by dint of their character, knowledge and experience. It was to them that the Board owed its policy of attempting reforms of abuses, and corrections of erroneous methods, by the method of inwardness.”
This method of “inwardness,” so-called by Mathew Arnold, was made the keystone of the Board's policy and was as thoroughly characteristic of the personal attitude and long-time service of Timothy Nicholson as it was of the Secretary. It is thus briefly indicated by Alexander Johnson:
If I found something I thought was wrong I talked to the Superintendent, not as a superior officer, which I was not, but as man to man. If he met me half way and the error was corrected, no one else ever heard about my influence in the matter. I believed that a reform brought about that way from within, was a real one while a new procedure forced on an official by pressure from without and not really appreciated by those who must practise it might have worse results than the method it had supplanted.
It was in this spirit that the Board of State Charities took up its task. Through its Secretary, first, it began a careful study of the institutions, the conditions in which were already pretty well
known by the two leading members. During the first year of his service, Secretary Johnson completed a tour of inspection of all the State and county institutions, involving some three hundred visits. He approached those in charge, “not as a preceptor or judge but as a sympathetic student.” He went not as a detective, seeking primarily to ferret out something wrong to expose, but as an inspector, looking for good things to commend as well as bad things to condemn.
Despite improvements in the conduct of some of the state institutions, already noted, conditions were, too generally, deplorable enough. For the most part, however, abuses and defects were found to be due to ignorance, to overwork or the lack of proper equipment rather than to intentional negligence, brutality or corruption. Information, help and encouragement were what was needed. The facts collected and reported by the Secretary pertaining to the county institutions were particularly startling to some members of the Board. The situation in the county jails was such as to warrant the characterization of that institution as “the common school of vice and the recruiting station of the army of professional criminals.” Conditions of filth were frequently discovered both in the jails and in the poor houses. Believing it would prove helpful to bring together the various officials connected with the charitable and correctional institutions
in the State, the Board called a state conference in 1890 for the consideration and discussion of problems of common interest. The experiment proved so successful that such conferences were regularly held thereafter.
The importance of its first report to the Legislature was fully recognized by the Board. In at least two other states, similar Boards had been wrecked on the rocks of their first reports, the drastic nature of the latter arousing enmity before a sufficient basis of confidence and friendship had been established. It is difficult in such cases, even if desirable, to combine the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove. Secretary Johnson, who drew up the report, prepared it in the spirit of “inwardness,” but there was one glaring abuse which he could not overlook. It was in connection with the Indiana State Prison North, the Warden of which was a very influential politician who was adding to his salary by an ill smelling slop contract which related itself closely to the kind of food the inmates were getting. The Secretary had been earnestly advised not to make an issue of the abuse, lest the politicians retaliate by overthrowing him and the Board. Nevertheless he felt he could not honorably remain silent.
All went smoothly when he read to the Board the proposed report until he came to that part of the draft relating to the State Prison. Oscar
McCulloch then interrupted to say: “Now, friends, this is a serious matter. It may be right for us to make this report to the Governor and publish it to the State, but if we do it let it be with our eyes open. If there are risks let us take them deliberately.” Then turning to the Secretary he asked, “Mr. Johnson, what do you expect the result will be if we make such a report?” The Secretary replied that the enmity of the most powerful politician in the northern part of the State would doubtless be aroused and that as a result his friends would probably see to it that the Board was either abolished or starved to death. Then, as reported by Mr. Johnson, Timothy Nicholson said: “Alexander Johnson, does thee think we ought to publish this report as thee has written it?” “I am sure of it,” was the reply. “We have attempted to abate the evil by quiet methods without success. If we do not tell the Legislature the facts we shall be derelict to our duty.” Very promptly, thereupon, Timothy Nicholson spoke up: “Mr. Chairman, I move that we make the report as written by the Secretary,” and every member voted aye.
It developed, incidentally, that the Warden was retiring to go into private business, and so cared nothing about the report. No attack was made on the Board, a law was passed correcting the evils pointed out and several suggestions made were carried
into effect by the Assembly. And so, the Board had turned successfully its first milepost.
Aggressive and alert as were its successive Secretaries, the State Board was by no means a non-participating, rubber-stamping body, but entered actively into their labors. The Board divided itself into a number of committees: on prisons and criminal affairs, on which Timothy Nicholson began his official service; on hospitals for the insane; on schools for defectives; on county institutions. Each state institution was to be visited annually, we are told, or oftener by the full Board or the appropriate committee, and quarterly by the Secretary. Each of the more than two hundred county institutions was to be visited annually or oftener by the Secretary. As there were twelve state institutions by 1890, it may readily be seen what demands were made upon the time of Board members, to say nothing of that of the Secretary whose work they supervised. Timothy Nicholson found that the performance of his duties required about forty days out of the year. In a word, he was giving more than his tithe of time to the public welfare.
To give a comprehensive view of the service rendered by Timothy Nicholson during these nineteen years—and afterward—would be to present a history of the accomplishments achieved by the Indiana Board of State Charities. Manifestly that
is impossible in a volume of the scope of this, even were the Author qualified for such a task. The most that he can hope to do is to picture by illustration and otherwise the nature and quality of that service, together with the spirit in which it was performed, and to suggest somewhat further the scope of its achievement.
Were an expression of the latter attempted in a sentence, it would be to the effect that he drove politics out of the management of the state institutions, changing the partisan plan of management to a non-partisan, merit system. Of course he did not accomplish such a feat single handed, but he was the acknowledged leader in the struggle. When politicians went on the rampage, threatening to undo some of the reforms that had been hardly won, friends of the human welfare turned to the resourceful, judicious and courageous Quaker to check and to confound them. And rarely did they turn to him in vain. The bane of wise, beneficent administration was “politics” and to hold the politicians at bay was to keep open the road toward progress.
While considerate and discreet in the performance of his visitorial duties, he brooked no interference with them. Following a visit which the Secretary, Amos W. Butler, and two members of the Board, Timothy Nicholson and John R. Elder, had made to the State Prison at Michigan City, the
State Prison Board had had a meeting at which it adopted a minute practically excluding members and officers of the Board of Charities from visiting the Prison. On learning indirectly of this minute, Timothy Nicholson, who was chairman of the Board's Committee on Prisons, went directly to Governor Mount to get the facts in the case. The Governor explained that the minute had been adopted on the basis of criticisms which had been made to the Board to the effect that when representatives of the Board of Charities visited the Prison they took liberties in interviewing officials and even inmates, which compromised the position of the authorities and tended to demoralize prison discipline.
Timothy promptly told the Governor that the charges were not true. “Moreover,” he said, “Governor Mount, I want thee to know that as long as that minute remains in the proceedings of the Prison Board I do not incline to visit the State Prison.” The Governor became obviously nervous over this emphatic statement from the Richmond Quaker and asked him what he meant. “I mean just what I say, Governor Mount,” replied Timothy, “that until that minute is expunged from the record, I, the chairman of the Prison Committee of our Board, do not incline to visit the State Prison.” And he thereupon left the Governor to think over the matter.
Not many days afterward Governor Mount sent out a call for a joint meeting of the two Boards to take place in the offices of the Board of State Charities. There was a full attendance of the members, the Prison Board being accompanied by the Warden, who was a purely political appointee, and the Deputy Warden. On assembling in joint session, the Governor made a few introductory remarks to the effect that he had called the two Boards together for the purpose of ironing out their difficulties and coming to an understanding on the issues which had been raised. He then called upon the chairman of the Prison Board to explain the action which had been taken. The latter accordingly arose and stated the aforementioned complaint. When he had finished, Timothy Nicholson got up and, speaking very plainly, but quietly, flatly denied the charges as absolutely untrue. Under his unequivocal denial, the chairman of the Prison Board got red in the face and interrupted to say that these charges had been plainly made to them. Timothy Nicholson proceeded not only to deny the charges, but also to go further and make certain criticisms of the management of the Prison on the basis of the observation which members of the Board had made. This again nettled the chairman of the Prison Board, who was reminded that the Deputy Warden was present and could probably give him some information, first hand, on the matters
presented. On being appealed to, the official promptly said that all that Timothy Nicholson had said was true. “Why did you not give us this information?” he was asked by the chairman of the Prison Board. “My duty was to present the facts to the Warden, which I have done,” was the reply.
Thereupon the chairman of the Prison Board arose and made a frank statement saying that the information there disclosed had never come to their Board, that he saw that they had made a serious mistake, and apologized for the unnecessary trouble which they had made. He gave assurance that the offending minute would be expunged from the records and that the representatives of the State Board would be welcomed to the Prison as in the past.
The sequel to this dramatic incident was that Timothy Nicholson was thoroughly vindicated in his position, he and the chairman of the State Prison Board leaving the State House arm in arm. Not long afterward the Warden of the State Penitentiary was discharged.
As a significant sidelight, it is interesting to know that following Timothy Nicholson's statement in the joint session, John R. Elder, another member of the Board of Charities, arose and said, “Timothy Nicholson has made a truthful statement of the situation.” “It pays to have good backing,” said Amos W. Butler, in reporting this incident.
He explained that while John R. Elder was a man of positive convictions, he invariably followed Timothy Nicholson's lead with some such words as, “If Timothy Nicholson thinks this is the right thing to do, I will back him up.”
Illustrative of the point that Timothy Nicholson was always prepared for emergencies, is the following incident. Early one morning of the day on which there was to be a meeting of the State Board, the Secretary found Timothy at the State House even before the doors were opened. Timothy at once said that he wanted to look up the statute creating the Board. When having it laid before him, he read it very carefully, remarking, “It is as I thought. The Governor is merely a member of the Board, although president, and has no more authority than any of the rest of us.” Timothy had anticipated that in the session to follow, the Governor might raise this question in order to influence the Board and he wished to be prepared for it, asking the Secretary to have the statute at hand where he could turn to it at once.
When a particularly difficult task was to be performed in connection with the work of the Board of Charities, it was natural for the members to look to Timothy Nicholson. On one such occasion when criticism and reprimand were required, Amos W. Butler, the Secretary, went to Richmond to tell Timothy that the members of the Board felt that
he was the man to perform the unpleasant duty. Timothy replied that if that were the feeling he would accept the responsibility. He then went on to say, in effect: “Sometimes we Friends have to use very plain language. But when a duty like this is to be performed, I have long ago learned to first dip my sword in oil in order that it may heal as well as cut.”
Once, when visiting one of the large state institutions in his official capacity, Timothy was being escorted about by the Superintendent who showed him something in great need of repair but for which he could not get the necessary funds. The Superintendent expressed himself relative to his Board of Trustees with some warmth, using language that was far from above reproach. In his gentle manner Timothy said, “Thee would have been just as emphatic if thee had not used that word.”
Timothy Nicholson was admirably qualified as an inspector of state institutions. He was a keen observer, and while he observed critically he also observed sympathetically and constructively. “During my term as Secretary of the Board,” writes Alexander Johnson, “we were called on by the Governor on two or three occasions for rather full investigations of certain institutions. Mr. Nicholson always responded when called on for such duty and he was an invaluable member of an investigating
committee. There was something in his manner of asking a question, his tone of voice and bearing that inspired a witness to tell all he knew. And he seemed to have an intuitive comprehension of people's motives. But he always spoke for a charitable interpretation of anyone's actions, if it were at all possible.”
He was intensely practical with all his idealism and was fertile with helpful suggestions. Well intended officials found in him a friend and counsellor. His interest and concern were matched by his adequate knowledge of details, the general result being that an inspection by Timothy Nicholson was anything but perfunctory. Reporting on a certain visit to the State Reformatory at Jeffersonville, for example, he reported on the general discipline and morale, the working of the parole system and what the men had to eat. He seemed to see everything and was frank in his expression of encouragement and admonition. “The Superintendent was absent the greater part of the previous week,” he wrote, “and he left again shortly before we left. I suggested to him that probably he was absent more than was best for the Reformatory.”
Not only by personal inspection but by written inquiry did he keep in touch with conditions in the state institutions. He followed up his visits by correspondence, thus keeping informed on such situations and developments as were of particular concern
to him. It is a marvel how he was able to deal effectively with so many varied interests, for it must be remembered that while he was so deeply engrossed with the welfare of these public institutions of the State, he was also devoting attention to other fields of social activity.
Well illustrative of the nature of these inspections, and of the painstaking manner in which they were made, is the report of a tour of institutions made by Timothy Nicholson just about a year before his retirement from the Board, and made when he was nearing his eightieth year. On visiting the proposed colony for epileptics near New Castle he found the new building well arranged in most respects. “The only serious objection is the location of the attendants’ beds, which are too far from the door into the inmates’ dormitories. The doctor acknowledged the force of the objection, which had until then escaped his attention.” A trip over the farm was made and the prospects of the various crops noted. On going to the dairy he found that the eleven cows were very large and fat but gave very little milk. He suggested that Holstein or some similar breed of milch cows best serves the state institutions, adding naively that milk and not beef is the product required.
He reported very discouragingly on one institution, in which inefficiency was sadly apparent. Many of the attendants seemed deficient in knowledge
and spirit, their work being slovenly and without interest. Defects in floors, closets, and wash bowls were observed. Beds were found to be “inhabited.” Medical chests were unlocked and the locks sometimes broken. No warm water was available for baths, not even for those in the sick wards. “It is exceedingly unpleasant,” wrote Timothy, “to be compelled to report again these very serious facts” which had repeatedly been pressed upon the attention of the Superintendent and his Board as evidence of their inefficient administration in the care of the unfortunate patients. A good deal of the blame was charged to the Hospital Board for inadequate inspection as required by the law.
At the Indiana Reformatory, on the other hand, he found much to commend and little to criticize. While examining the beds in the cells, the inspecting committee was offered by the officer in charge five dollars for every bed bug it could find! This seemed to be the acid test of inspection-proof efficiency.
And thus the round of seven institutions was made, in which conditions were examined, not from the mere viewpoint of mechanical efficiency but from that of the welfare of the inmates, whether of the epileptic colony, the insane hospitals, or the reformatories. Fortunate were the unfortunate in having at court so sympathetic and influential a friend as Timothy Nicholson.
These visits, sometimes arduous and taxing, were flavored with the pleasure of congenial companionship on the part of the visiting committee and oft times lightened with flashes of humor, in which Timothy Nicholson was by no means wanting. On a desperately hot summer night John R. Elder, Amos W. Butler and Timothy Nicholson found themselves in a hotel in southern Indiana, in connection with a visit to the Southern Hospital. It was too hot to go to bed and they were sitting up gasping for breath, when Mr. Elder said, “Timothy, I know you are a good Quaker, but wouldn't you like to have a drink of good whiskey just now?” Quick as a flash, Timothy replied, “Why, John, I didn't know there was such a thing.”
On another occasion, officers and members of the Board of State Charities were making a periodical visit to the Easthaven Hospital for the insane, at Richmond, Timothy Nicholson being one of the number. In the evening they were observing a dance participated in by the inmates. Someone in town called up the hospital for Timothy and was informed that just then he was in at the dance. Next day this friend twitted Timothy for being present at such a place of amusement, Timothy replying quickly that dancing was all right for crazy people!
This story recalls a similar one in entirely another connection, which illustrates the sympathetic
adaptability and happy resourcefulness of the man. During the later years of his official connection with Earlham College, that institution departed considerably from the somewhat sober and austere regime of its early days. May Day, with its frolicsome gambols on the green, had become a major event on the College calendar. Some concerned Friends protested against the nature of the celebration, charging that in connection with it the College was introducing dancing. As usual, the complaints reached Timothy's ears, and he characteristically went out to the campus to see for himself. After observing the frolics and the folk plays, he remarked judicially, “Why, that isn't dancing—that's just lightly stepping around!”
In 1896, Timothy Nicholson served as President of the State Conference of Charities and Corrections. His colleague in a similar position in Ohio was Dr. Washington Gladden, and their pictures appeared side by side in the National Bulletin for November of that year. On being presented to the Indiana Conference at its meeting in 1895 as its new president, Timothy Nicholson said:
My friends, if I were seeking an honor I should consider it a great honor to be called to preside over the next Conference, but I believe I have gotten beyond that. The position embraces opportunities to do good and I have got to that position in life in which it seems to me that when I see an opportunity to do good, censure or praise are just about alike to me. I never expect to be able to go on in the
work that this association has been doing now for years, without getting on somebody's corns. I expect to call down criticisms. I am always ready for them and pray God that I may never flinch but go on and on and do and say that which I think ought to be done and said.
It was at the Conference in 1896 held at his home city, that he chose as the subject of his presidential address, “Thirty Years of Struggle,” already alluded to. It made a deep impression and was widely referred to and quoted.
A humorous and at the same time a significant incident occurred at this meeting of the Conference. Those interested especially in prison reform were active in promoting certain changes in the garb of prisoners whereby the old traditional prison stripes uniform was replaced by different uniforms in accordance with the standing as to conduct of the individual prisoner. There were three grades of uniforms proposed, the grades ascending according to the prison record in each case. The officers thought to demonstrate to the Conference the proposed changes by having different ones appear in the suggested uniforms. John R. Elder, a member of the Board of Charities, agreed to be one if he could wear the first grade, and E. P. Bicknell, then the Secretary of the Board, consented to wear grade number two. When it came to a consideration of who would don the uniform suggesting the lowest rank in the convict record book, it was commonly
agreed that there was but one man who could carry off easily and without reproach that mark of untoward distinction, and he, of course, was Timothy Nicholson.
What Timothy Nicholson's loyal trust and friendship meant to those in need of sympathy and understanding is well set forth in an incident related by Alexander Johnson, as follows:
On one occasion I had been very bitterly arraigned by a newspaper, my actions and motives having been distorted and misrepresented. The attack was of such a nature that no public reply to it was possible. My actual words had not been misquoted but had been twisted to convey a most injurious meaning. Mr. Nicholson wrote to me the day the attack appeared in the Indianapolis paper. He did not wait to have me deny the accusation, or to offer any excuse, or explain away the injurious meaning that had been foisted onto my words. His letter was brief and did not even mention the newspaper article. It consisted of reference to five or six verses of the Bible, from the Sermon on the Mount and other passages with only a sentence or two of his own. But its effect on my bruised spirit was like that of a healing balm on a sore wound. It gave me courage to go on with my work, because it showed me how completely he understood and believed in me.
Timothy Nicholson's official connection with the work of charities and corrections, established through membership on the Indiana State Board, brought him promptly into the broader, national field. The Secretary and at least two members of the Board were expected to attend all annual meetings,
both of the National Prison Association and of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections. Our Friend was a very frequent attender, thus establishing an acquaintance with the leading authorities of the country, whose friendship he cherished through the remainder of his life.
The first national meeting he attended was that of the Prison Association held at Nashville in 1889, over which Ex-President Rutherford B. Hayes presided. He, with other visitors, was outspoken in condemnation of the shameful treatment which they found meted out to Tennessee convicts whose labor was “farmed out” by contract, and roundly criticized the wretched conditions observed in the State Penitentiary, the criticisms proving fruitful of better and more humane administration.
The frankness and fearlessness with which Timothy Nicholson exposed any public abuse is further illustrated in connection with the National Conference of Charities and Corrections held at Atlanta, Georgia, in 1903. While in attendance upon the Conference Timothy, with some other of the Conference visitors, inspected a brick factory near the city, labor for which was furnished by state convicts, nearly all Negroes. Another visit was paid to the city prison called the “stockade.” In both cases a most wretched state of affairs was found, the unfortunate prisoners being treated most inhumanly. On the following day, Timothy
spoke, by invitation, in both the Presbyterian and Congregational churches, and on both occasions made a statement of what he had seen, and declared it to be a disgrace to the city. The Monday morning paper contained his picture and quite a report of his rather sensational disclosure concerning the prison and its management. The keeper of the prison was naturally highly indignant, so much so that he would not admit any further Conference visitors to the prison until ordered by the State Commissioner of Prisons to continue to admit all visitors. Timothy's free-lance crusade against injustice alarmed the President and Secretary of the National Conference, fearing it would cause an unpleasant reaction against their meeting. Accordingly, they called to see the Mayor regarding the incident, wishing to appease him for any displeasure he might feel over the disclosure which had been made by the Friend from Richmond. On learning of their visit Timothy asked why they did not let him go with them and said, “What did the Mayor say?” The President of the Conference replied that the Mayor said “Please tell Mr. Nicholson I thank him for his plain statement and say to him that this shameful condition shall cease.”
In 1890, Timothy and wife attended the National Conference of Charities and Corrections held at Baltimore, which gave them the opportunity of a visit with their brother, John Nicholson,
and family. In a preliminary visit to Washington, Timothy called upon President Benjamin Harrison, with whom he was well acquainted, who expressed his interest in the approaching Conference at Baltimore. Some one had previously asked him if he would receive the delegates should they come over in a body to call upon him. “Certainly,” he replied, “they are the people I train with.” Following the close of the Conference a large number of the delegates did go to Washington and met President Harrison and his Cabinet at the White House. Following a brief address to the President by Oscar C. McCulloch, President-elect of the National Conference, the visiting delegates were presented according to states. Timothy Nicholson was chosen to present the Indiana delegation of twenty-seven members, which included another well known Friend, Barnabas C. Hobbs. “It was a grand affair,” says our Quaker chronicler, “and one long to be remembered.”
In speaking of his connection with these national conferences, Timothy Nicholson says he rarely prepared papers or made extended remarks but served on several committees, including frequently that on organization for the next year's conference, and made in his own State practical application of advanced methods advocated by strong leaders, and experienced officers in various institutions.
Though retiring and unobtrusive in public appearance and address, Timothy Nicholson made a deep impress upon those associated with him in the work, as the following incident, related by Amos W. Butler, testifies. It was at Cincinnati, in 1899, in connection with the meeting of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections. A large number of those in attendance were breakfasting in the large dining room of the headquarters hotel. Timothy Nicholson entered quietly a little late. He was observed and someone impulsively clapped his hands in recognition. It was caught up by the others and then the whole room rose to their feet in appreciation, while someone shouted out, “There's the salt of the earth!”
The National Conference was held at Washington in 1901. In his “Adventures in Social Welfare,” Alexander Johnson tells how the chairman of the nominating committee asked him to suggest a president for the next year. In response he named Timothy Nicholson. “Now, Timothy, though often attending, had been seldom heard,” says Johnson. “His theory of participating in discussions was to keep silent unless the thing which needed saying was not being said by someone else, and Jeffrey Bracket (the chairman) questioned his ability. But I knew the man, what sterling qualities, what knowledge, wisdom, balanced judgment, fairness, insight, sympathy and absolute integrity
of thought were his; what ability of leadership he had shown for fifty years among his people. In choosing him they gave the Conference one of the worthiest in its long line of worthy presidents. There have been few so useful citizens in Indiana or any other state, as this grand old Quaker.”
At the same time that Alexander Johnson was giving such good counsel to the nominating committee, Timothy Nicholson was using his influence for another man for president—one who later was accorded the honor. “I did not desire the place nor did I know any one considered me worthy of it,” writes Timothy. “Had I known my name was before the committee I would have strongly objected, for the place is one of great responsibility and constant care and labor for an entire year.”
As a matter of fact his year of presidential service proved unusual in respect to its emergency cares. Homer Folks, the General Secretary, the executive officer of the Conference, resigned in the middle of the year to accept a better position, making it necessary to find a new man to assume the responsibility of detailed arrangement for the next Conference. Moreover, the city that had asked for and received the Conference, went back on its contract and cancelled the arrangement which necessitated the choice of another Conference city, which proved to be Detroit.
All the difficult situations were wisely handled and the Detroit Conference in 1902, over which Timothy Nicholson presided, was accounted the best that had been held. It was the privilege of the President to secure some distinguished minister to deliver a sermon on the Sunday of the Conference in some church of the city, in the forenoon, when the delegates were expected to attend in a body. A few broad-minded Catholic priests had joined in the work of the Conference and it was the desire of the latter to encourage such cooperation. To this end Timothy Nicholson had proposed to his executive committee that he invite a Catholic to deliver the sermon and that it be given in a public hall in the afternoon so that a much larger audience could hear it. The suggestions were enthusiastically approved, and Timothy Nicholson had secured Bishop Spaulding of the Catholic Church who delivered a strong sermon in the Armory. Quite a number of Catholics from over the country attended the Conference and took part in the discussions.
In commenting upon this Conference, Alexander Johnson says in his book: “Mr. Nicholson's Conference at Detroit was marked among other things by the presence, as the preacher of the Conference sermon, of a dignitary of the Catholic Church, Bishop Spaulding, who gave us one of the great Conference discourses. That a Quaker president
should deliberately choose a Catholic Bishop to preach for him, is a striking evidence of the spirit of the Conference and of the man. Six years later a Catholic president showed the same fine spirit, when he had me choose a Baptist preacher for the same high duty.”
In his presidential address, Timothy Nicholson gave voice to his conception of “the golden age of charity and correction” in these words:
We know that much has been accomplished, for which we thank God and take courage; but we also know the “golden age” is “on before.” But we now occupy vantage ground never before attained. This is the scientific age of our work. We are studying as never before the underlying causes of the evils, the results of which we have been so long combatting. So numerous, varied, and scientific are the present and prospective social and legal forces that we should confidently expect immensely greater progress in the physical, mental, and moral elevation of the masses of our people. When in every state and in every county there shall be a non-partisan, advisory board of charities and corrections, composed of both men and women and serving without pecuniary compensation, their needful expenses being paid; when, in municipal elections and municipal government, partisan politics shall be ignored; when by compulsory school laws all our normal children shall receive at least a fair education; when the imbeciles, including feebleminded women and epileptics, shall all be provided for in institutions, and so instructed as to become well-nigh self-supporting; when by properly administered indeterminate sentence and parole laws at least eighty per cent of those sentenced to all our reformatories and state prisons shall be
returned to society so far reformed as to become law-abiding citizens, and the unreformed permanently retained in confinement; when by means of juvenile courts and probation officers no more delinquent children shall be imprisoned in jails; when all the dependent children, who are sound in body and mind, are placed by state and county agents in good family homes and carefully supervised in these homes; when the crippled and deformed are collected in buildings adapted to their comfort; when county jails shall be abolished and district workhouses for minor offences established and controlled by the state; when all the insane shall be provided for in state institutions; when wife-beaters and wife-deserters shall be imprisoned at hard labor and the proceeds of their labor remitted to their families; when the good example of a few of our large railroads and other industrial corporations, in refusing to employ persons who use intoxicating liquors, shall become general; when through the scientific instruction of schools of philanthropy, such as has just been organized by the Charity Organization Society of New York City, overseers of the poor and church societies and charity organizations shall cease to pauperize citizens by supplying relief without investigation,—when these and other similar reforms are adopted,—and by determined, united, persistent effort all of them may be secured during the next decade,—shall we not then begin at least the golden age of charity and correction? With decreasing egoism and increasing altruism, let us unitedly strive for this ideal, and thus glorify God by promoting “peace on earth and good will to men.”
This was a vision in 1902, but one that has in many respects been realized in Indiana, and Timothy Nicholson gave yeoman aid in bringing it to pass. As proof of its large realization, one who
has been closely connected with the work points to the following achievements. The non-partisan advisory boards of county charities which Timothy Nicholson advocated now exist in eighty-one of the ninety-two counties of the state. Composed as they are of representative citizens of their respective communities, with the welfare of their fellow-men at heart, they are accomplishing the good which he foresaw. Compulsory school attendance, increased provision for the feeble-minded and insane, an institution for epileptics, the strengthening of the indeterminate sentence and parole laws, a law providing for life imprisonment of habitual criminals, definite provision for a juvenile court and necessary probation officers in every county, a great lessening in the number of children in county jails, the establishment of two state institutions for misdemeanants (formerly sentenced to county jails), great improvement in the administration of relief to the poor, a “lazy-husband” law, the elimination of partisan control in state institutions,—all these are accomplished facts in Indiana's system of charities and correction.
At the meeting of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections held at Philadelphia in the spring of 1906, Timothy Nicholson performed important service. Shortly prior to the meeting, Edward T. Devine, President-elect of the Conference, was called to California to represent the Red
Cross and the government in directing the relief work necessitated by the San Francisco disaster and was thus prevented from attending and delivering his address in person. As a member of the Executive Committee, Timothy shared the responsibility of presiding over the sessions of the Conference. He was also called upon to give a tribute to the work of Philip C. Garrett, a past president of the Conference who had passed on during the year. It was a case of Friend evaluating Friend, Philip Garrett having been a prominent member of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting who was active in the leadership of various causes of social reform and civic righteousness.
On January 21, 1908, in his eightieth year, Timothy Nicholson submitted his resignation to the Governor as a member of the Indiana Board of State Charities, after having served nineteen years in this capacity under Governors Hovey, Chase, Matthews, Mount, Durbin and Hanly. In accepting it, Governor J. Frank Hanly replied: “Your services have been of such high order, so faithful and unselfish that the severance of your relation with the Board is a distinct and substantial loss to the Board, the institutional work of the State and to the State itself.” At the next regular meeting of the Board, the following minute was adopted:
Timothy Nicholson has been a member of the Board of State Charities since its organization in 1889. He has given his time and service to the State unreservedly and faithfully. The results are clearly visible in the progress made by charitable work in Indiana. Not only in Indiana has his influence been felt, but in the country at large as an attendant upon the National Conference of Charities and Correction and the National Prison Association. Of the former he has been the honored president. Now that he retires from this Board, we as individuals and as a Board desire to make a minute of our profound respect for him and his services to the unfortunate of our commonwealth. His good work will be an incentive to us. We deeply regret his retirement.
Timothy Nicholson naturally supposed, having reached the ripe age of four score years, that his time of active service drew shortly toward a close. It was far otherwise. While relieved of his official responsibilities, he seemed released for an even wider service as counsellor-at-large which he was permitted to render for sixteen years.
He continued to attend the national and state conferences and participate actively in them. Notable among these was the meeting of the American Prison Association held at Washington in 1910, in connection with the Congress of the International Prison Association, the visiting members of which from abroad he helped entertain, especially on their preliminary tour of inspection of American penal institutions. At the request of its President, Timothy
prepared for the International Association a paper upon Prison Reform Work by Friends.
Timothy Nicholson's last national conference was that of Charities and Corrections held at Memphis in 1914. He continued, however, to attend the Indiana State Conferences as strength and circumstances permitted, almost until the close of his life, the last one being that held at South Bend in 1922, when he was in his ninety-fourth year. Although absent from the national gatherings he was by no means forgotten. Invariably he received greetings from them in session, of which the following, sent from Columbus, Ohio, in 1920, is typical:
The American Prison Association sends semi-centennial greetings to you as a recognized leader in your state and the nation in efforts to accomplish the principles for which the Association stands. . . . You have been permitted to witness the adoption throughout the land of the Adult Reformatory, the indeterminate sentence and other principles of penology whose influence you have so ably championed and in many ways contributed to their acceptance. We delight to send this unanimous tribute of honor and affection. During the coming half century this Association will continue to build upon the foundations which you have assisted in laying.
In connection with the fiftieth anniversary session of the National Conference on Social Work, as it is now known, seventeen ex-presidents of the Conference, when dining together, united in sending
“hearty greetings to Timothy Nicholson of Indiana, their senior in years and social service.” Among the seventeen were such distinguished leaders in social work as Hastings H. Hart, Homer Folks, Graham Taylor, Francis H. Gavisk, John M. Glenn, Alexander Johnson, Amos W. Butler, Edward T. Devine and Owen R. Lovejoy.
He was surprised and pleased in 1919 at the receipt of the following:
Honorable Timothy Nicholson: The India Prison Commission sent by the Government of India to study the correctional system of the United States is visiting in Indiana. The fame of your State reaches far beyond its own borders and we were told in England something of what we would see here. In the upbuilding of these institutions you have borne a distinguished part and we beg to offer you our greetings and appreciation of your long and useful life.
A particularly valiant piece of service was performed single handed by Timothy Nicholson when he was eighty-seven years old. Governor Samuel M. Ralston strongly advocated the revolutionary plan of substituting for the separate Boards a central Board of Control composed of four men to manage the nineteen public institutions. He held that the same high degree of efficiency as then marked their management could be maintained at greatly less expense. Governor Durbin had held a similar idea early in his administration, but after a thorough discussion of his plan with the Board of State Charities, every member of which, including
the Secretary, was in opposition, he did not recommend his plan to the Legislature. Despite similar opposition in the Board, however, Governor Ralston persistently advocated his theory, devoting the larger part of his speeches in the political campaign of 1916 and of his message to the Legislature, to this subject.
“Something had to be done,” says Timothy. “The Board of Charities and the institution Boards were appointed by the Governor, hence it would be discourteous for any of these to publicly oppose him, and this duty devolved upon me.” Accordingly, with the same degree of thoroughness that had always marked his efforts on such occasions, he went into the whole subject at issue. He first traced the history of the Indiana institutions, giving briefly his personal experience in connection with their management, and then proceeded to present an impressive compilation of facts of the situation as found in other states over the Union. Eminent authorities were quoted on the question. On the basis of all this data, Timothy combatted the Governor's position. His effective material was published in a twenty page pamphlet, a copy of which was sent to all state officers, to every member of the Legislature, to over two hundred newspapers and to members of the National Conference of Charities in other states. The demand for the pamphlet from other states soon exhausted the
supply and upon the request of the Board of State Charities a second edition was printed.
Timothy Nicholson received letters from prominent welfare authorities far and wide complimenting him on the pamphlet. “I think it is the most vigorous presentation of the argument against a central Board of Control I have yet seen,” wrote Dr. Thomas W. Salmon, of New York, Medical Director of the National Committee on Mental Hygiene. Similar expressions were received among others, from John M. Glenn, Director of the Russell Sage Foundation, and Professor Frank A. Fetter, of Princeton University. “It is a complete and powerful statement of the case,” wrote Professor Fetter, “and will serve an admirable purpose.”
In his message to the Legislature, as already stated, the Governor gave more space to this matter than to any other. A bill in agreement with his plan was introduced and referred to the appropriate committee, but nothing more was heard of it during the session. In the succeeding administration, Governor Warren T. McCray also took up the cause of Central Board Control. In an editorial the Indianapolis News told the Legislature it would not go wrong if it took the advice of Timothy Nicholson. No change was made. The “Grand Old Man” had won his last big fight for the efficient administration of public institutions for the unfortunate.
The 1915 meeting of the Indiana Conference of Charities and Corrections was held at Richmond. Dr. Edward T. Devine was its “headliner,” and this chapter could scarcely be better closed than by quoting the following tribute which he gave:
I came to the Indiana State Conference not primarily to read this brief paper on the Economic and Social Foundations of Public Health. That is only an excuse. I ask your indulgence for the pretense which deceives no one. Your Committee could not very well ask me to come and I could not very well tell them that I intended to come for the real reason that brings me. It is an old distinction—I dare say I heard it first from Alexander Johnson, at least it sounds like him—that there is often a good reason for doing a thing and besides that, a real reason. Well, my real reason for accepting this invitation was that I might tell Timothy Nicholson to his face what I think of him while he is alive and vigorous with the abounding life and unabated vigor of, shall I say, at most three score and ten, here in his home town, in the presence of his friends, and his enemies, if he has them, here where for at least the quarter of a century of the recorded history of the Board of State Charities and the State Conference, and how much longer I must leave others to say, he has wisely and shrewdly and sincerely and simply and courageously, and persistently worked to protect the weak, to cure the sick, to teach the teachable, to restrain the perverse, to set round about the wards of the state a strong wall of defense—not walls of masonry or iron bars, but a great defense of helping hands, restraining, guiding, protecting hands which yet make way eagerly for the cured, the restored one, to take his place in society. I congratulate you, Timothy Nicholson, on the great opportunity which Indiana has given you in its experimental, pioneering spirit,
in its freedom from sectarian bigotry, in its progressiveness and readiness to learn from experience.
I congratulate you personally on the appreciation and good-will which in widening circles, till they touch the oceans, flow around you this First-day afternoon, in this great commonwealth which you have helped to build, in this October harvest time of the year, symbol of the harvest, assured to a good life given so largely to service of those who are in trouble.
Long life to you,—Timothy Nicholson, here and hereafter, not only over yonder where the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the Nations, but here also in the thoughts and lives of men made nobler and better by your life among them.
HE WOULDN'T LET LIQUOR ALONE!
A GERMAN saloon keeper of Richmond circulated a petition for opening a saloon in a certain ward of the city, Timothy Nicholson figuring prominently in getting up a remonstrance, as usual. When it came to the hearing before the authorities, the saloon keeper was being questioned by his attorney.
“Do you know Timothy Nicholson?” he was asked.
“Yas, I know Meester Nicholson.”
“Have you known him long?”
“Yas, I haf known Meester Nicholson for a goot many years.”
“What is your opinion of him?”
“Vell, I tink Meester Nicholson is a wery goot man if he vould only let liquor alone.”
Timothy Nicholson used to tell this story with great glee. As a matter of fact, he began very early in life his policy of not letting liquor alone—a policy which grew continually stronger with him as his years advanced. We find this entry in his record book:
My father, like many other Friends, when I was a small boy, occasionally used intoxicating liquors as a beverage;
and he kept it in a case, with compartments in half gallon, square glass decanters. When the neighbors came to assist in butchering hogs, or in rolling logs into piles for burning (when clearing up new land) it was customary to offer them brandy. When I was about eight years old, a man from the North delivered a temperance lecture in a school house near our home. Father attended the lecture and took his boys with him. The speaker showed the danger and great evils of intemperance, and of moderate drinking, and advised his hearers to sign a total abstinence pledge. Father was convinced and signed the pledge, and upon his advice his sons also took the pledge and always faithfully kept it.
Soon after this, Friends, by act of discipline required their members to abstain from intoxicants as it had previously done in regard to slavery. Being thus instructed and trained, when I became a man I actively and publicly opposed the manufacture, sale and use of all intoxicants as a beverage. I joined with others in holding temperance meetings on First Day afternoon in school houses, and sometimes in churches.
As indicated in the above story, Timothy Nicholson was far from a doctrinaire reformer who contented himself with propaganda and exhortation. He was a doer of temperance reform. In the long and difficult struggle for Prohibition, he bore an honorable and an effective part in securing the necessary legislation from the local to the national unit. While keeping the ultimate goal ever in mind, he did not disdain the way-point achievements. “The trouble with the long Prohibition campaign in this country,” he once said, “was that too much was wanted at once. You can not get a moral
question out of the jaws of politics in one effort. My policy was to take half a loaf when I could not get a whole loaf.”
Furthermore, while working earnestly for the reform in principle, he addressed himself with equal vigor to local conditions. While seeking prohibitory legislation, he saw to it that the existing legislation of recognition and license was enforced as far as possible. And wherever he was able to do so, he checked the encroachments of King Alcohol and out-maneuvered him. That he allowed no personal considerations to lead him from this path of service is demonstrated in an incident of the days of his academy principalship in North Carolina.
One of the prominent citizens of the neighborhood, a cousin of the young lady to whom Timothy was betrothed and whose wife was Timothy's cousin, kept an inn and store near the Academy and was granted a license by the County Commissioners to sell intoxicants by the drink. There was provision in the State constitution, or in a statute, by which the sale of liquor could be forbidden within two miles of an academy. Young Timothy proceeded, regardless of what to some would have been the deterring ties of kinship, present and prospective, to carry out this provision by preparing a petition to the Legislature asking for a special act and advertising the same by a copy tacked up
in a public place. The cousin's store was the most public place in the vicinity! As Timothy tacked up this petition in the veranda he remarked pleasantly to Cousin Henry, that he was merely conforming to the provision of the law. The bill was passed and signed by the Governor and became effective. The incident in no way marred the pleasant and cordial relations between the two families.
On his removal to Richmond, Timothy Nicholson took an active part in the temperance movement, in which he was soon accorded the leadership. This was in the days, let it be recalled, when it meant something to enter the lists aggressively against the legalized and powerful liquor interests. If life were not endangered and business threatened, one was often made to feel the disfavor of even respectable citizens who looked upon the temperance reformers as fanatical agitators. In the face of all this our Friend never flinched.
He stood staunchly by the women in their crusade, assisting them in their meetings on the street in front of the saloons. Gospel temperance meetings led by the noted anti-liquor evangelists of that day were frequently held in the city and Timothy Nicholson was at the head of them.
At one time when the city authorities were in sympathy with the lawless element and many of the saloons were a terror to the citizens, Timothy sent word to thirty people, asking them to meet him to
consider an important matter. Fifteen responded. He called their attention to the lawlessness of the saloons which ought not to be tolerated longer. He declared that the saloon men should be prosecuted and that remonstrances against the renewal of their licenses by the County Commissioners should be issued. To accomplish this he proposed that a guarantee fund of ten thousand dollars be subscribed and that a committee be appointed to attend to the prosecution and remonstrances. Both propositions were approved. Half the proposed amount was subscribed by those present, and the committee was appointed, of which Timothy Nicholson was made chairman. Two of the best lawyers of the city were employed, and within two years the committee and its supporters had driven out of business, and generally out of the city, the worst offenders.
An interesting “exhibit” found among the papers and pamphlets left by Timothy Nicholson was a personal notebook or memorandum, in which he had made ten pages of entries giving examples of the non-enforcement of law and the gross abuses countenanced by those in office. Gambling joints, bawdy houses, etc., were definitely located over town by street and number, and specific instances of law violations under protection of the city administration were given. It was a significant demonstration of the thoroughness with which Timothy Nicholson made his investigations. When
he led forth the forces of civic righteousness to battle against intrenched iniquity he was always well armed with ammunition from the armory of carefully collected facts.
Under one administration, the Mayor invited the First Ohio Regiment of Home Guards to camp for a week in the Richmond city park. The visitors were given the freedom of the city, including open saloons on Sunday, in flagrant violation of the law. A chorus of protest arose, which focussed in a largely attended mass temperance meeting held in the East Main Street Friends Meetinghouse on the following Sunday afternoon. Timothy Nicholson took the lead in voicing the righteous indignation of the better element of Richmond, criticizing the Mayor not only in the meeting but in the local newspapers. In defending himself the Mayor came out in the press with a letter headed, “A Summing Up As It Were.” Timothy replied with an article under the caption, “A Summing Up, Not As It Were, But As It Is!”
The Mayor was a high-strung man of inflammable temperament and writhed under the stinging criticism to which he had been subjected. One day he met Timothy on the street and in the presence of others, threatened him with bodily injury. It was of course inconceivable that the Quaker exemplar would strike any man; neither did he wish to be struck. Taking the initiative, he suddenly threw
his long, sinewy arms around the irate official and held him helpless in a vise-like embrace. Afterward, when the Mayor's passion had cooled, he confided laughingly to friends that Timothy almost squeezed the very life out of him.
Timothy Nicholson was naturally very active in furthering all temperance measures introduced in the Legislature, the enactment of which marked Indiana's long struggle for emancipation from the slavery of the liquor interests; such enactments as the Nicholson law, (Introduced by S. E. Nicholson, a Friend and distant relative of Timothy) the Moore amendment to the Nicholson law, the local option and the county option laws, and finally the state-wide Prohibition law. He was a well known figure about the State House, especially when the Legislature was in session, where he labored and “lobbied” diligently for Prohibition legislation.
Ardent as he was for Prohibition, Timothy Nicholson never became a member of the Prohibition party, as he considered its methods impracticable. While remaining a Republican in politics, he was an independent one, and did not hesitate to oppose any candidate of his party if that candidate were not sound upon this or any other moral issue. The general knowledge of this fact, together with a wholesome appreciation of Timothy's wide influence, tended to put the fear of God into the hearts of the office-seeking politicians.
When, in 1898, the Indiana Anti-Saloon League was organized, Timothy Nicholson's leadership in the State was recognized by his election as President. This occurred in the very midst of his active career as a member of the Indiana Board of State Charities, to the work of which he was giving such faithful attention. None the less he gave a similar devotion to the leadership of the newly organized Prohibition forces. He was retained as President of the Anti-Saloon League as long as he lived, presiding over its deliberations in annual meeting as late as in 1921 when he was in his ninety-third year.
This was not a mere titular, nominal leadership, not even during the later years of Timothy's life. His grasp of conditions, his broad experience and his ability to interpret a situation, were so well recognized that he was continually called upon for counsel and guidance. Moreover, when emergencies arose before the Legislature, calling for wise generalship and effective personal work, there would come to Timothy from the State Capital, an appeal to “come over and help us.” Thereupon he would take an early train for Indianapolis and help straighten things out. It is recalled that on one such occasion, when he was perhaps well launched in his nineties, he took a before-breakfast train for Indianapolis on a winter morning, spent the day in vigorous work with legislators at the State House, and returned in the evening in time to attend a
night meeting of some kind in Richmond. Among his “keepsakes” was a Lobby Certificate, dated January 10, 1917, issued to Timothy Nicholson as “Agent and Counsel” of the Indiana Anti-Saloon League in matters relating to Temperance and Prohibition.
A humorous incident recorded by Timothy occurred in the era of state prohibition in connection with his attendance upon the National Conference of Charities and Corrections held at Memphis in 1914. There were several hundred saloons in that city at the time the Legislature passed a state prohibitory law. Many of them ignored the law and the city authorities made little effort to enforce it. Some months before the Conference meeting, a new administration had come in which secured such thorough enforcement that Timothy saw neither saloons nor drunkards. Soon after the arrival of the delegates, an active member of the local reception committee came to a group of them at the hotel, including Timothy, informed them very quietly of the Prohibition law, and added, almost in a whisper, that if any of them desired a drink, he would try to satisfy their wants. Imagine such a bootlegging overture being made to Indiana's doughty champion of Prohibition and law enforcement! Timothy rose gracefully to the occasion, however. He did not wish to be discourteous to the man, who was in the line of duty as a member
of the reception committee, so replied pleasantly that he took a little rum on the back of the neck on tonsorial occasions, but apart from that the Conference group did not indulge!
While working aggressively in Indiana for state-wide Prohibition, Timothy was looking forward to the larger, national goal. To this end he kept in close touch with United States Senators and Congressmen, especially those from his own State. In a letter to the Indiana members in Congress, written in 1914, he asked, for example, these characteristically searching questions:
Last summer it was generally believed that all of you would support the Hobson resolution if it came to a vote. Now it is reported all of you will vote against it next week. Is this report true? If so, for what reason? . . . . To vote against it will be undemocratic, a manifest opposition to the democratic principle that the people should rule. . . Are you ready to assume this position?
Though invariably respectful and courteous, Timothy Nicholson could speak very plainly if the occasion seemed to warrant plain speaking. When the question of war-time Prohibition was before Congress in 1917, one of the Indiana Senators, a good friend of Timothy, seemed to be rather uncertain on the issue. Accordingly he received this timely reminder from the Friend who “wouldn't let liquor alone:”
I can understand how difficult it is for thee to ignore the apparently overwhelming “Wet” influence of thy home
city. But permit me kindly to remind thee thou was not nominated and elected Senator by this influence, nearly all of which opposed thee. Thou represents the entire State and not merely, nor chiefly, Indianapolis and the other large cities. Especially thou should represent those to whom thou owes thy position as United States Senator; and it is safe to say that at least three fourths of these favor state and national prohibition of the manufacture and sale of intoxicants. And it has been abundantly demonstrated that a vast majority of all the citizens, men and women, of Indiana, also favor and demand this prohibition as a War Measure.
Timothy Nicholson fought the good fight for moral reform without manifesting bitterness toward those he was compelled to oppose. And they, appreciating his high sense of conviction and duty, rarely failed to accord him due respect. The following incident in connection with the passage of the Indiana state-wide Prohibition bill in 1917, was referred to by Timothy with very great satisfaction. On the morning following the enactment of Prohibition, the principal owner and manager of the Richmond Brewery called at the Book Store and said: “I know you are a very happy man this morning, Timothy Nicholson, and although you have virtually put me out of business, I congratulate you. I have admired the spirit you have manifested in your persistent struggle to secure this result.” “I greatly admired this noble act,” says Timothy, “and a year or so later when this gentleman was elected Secretary of our Commercial
Club it was my privilege and pleasure to be the first to congratulate him, which he seemed greatly to appreciate.”
It was a great satisfaction to Timothy Nicholson to have lived to see the principle of Prohibition written into the National Constitution as part of the fundamental law of the land. And he was just as active in behlaf of getting Prohibition enforced as he had been in getting it enacted. Though unable, at the last, to lead the law enforcement cause in person, he gave sympathetic cooperation to those who bore that responsibility. As touching evidence of this, these words were spoken at the memorial service to Timothy Nicholson by Dr. E. S. Shumaker, Secretary of the Indiana Anti-Saloon League:
It was a year ago that I had the privilege of addressing Indiana Yearly Meeting on the temperance question. A few minutes before I was presented, Timothy Nicholson who was sitting down there, got up and with some difficulty climbed the stairs to the platform and seating himself just to the rear of me and reaching forward, shook my hand saying, “I wanted thee to know that I am behind thee.”
AMONG THE PEACEMAKERS
TO TIMOTHY NICHOLSON, Peace was more than a theory of international relationships. It was that, to be sure, but it was something else first. It was a principle growing out of his inner life. His conviction concerning right world relationships was based on the experience of his associations with his neighbors. These associations were grounded in absolute candor, understanding and appreciation. He looked upon his fellow men, whether in Richmond, or in Japan, not as inherent enemies but as inherent friends. And he found that by treating them as such they became actual friends.
He found this personal experience of his to have been justified in history. He had lived in a State whose colonial history had been distinctive for its pleasant and friendly relationship with the Indians; and because they had been met on the basis of fair dealing and friendly consideration, rather than upon that of suspicion, fear and threatened force. Among Friends, and others, there had been striking individual demonstrations of how, in times of imminent danger, a display of confidence and sympathetic interest had proved to be the way of safety and security. Indeed it had
proved to be much more than that—it had laid the foundation for future peace.
Timothy Nicholson well exemplified the position of Friends on this great issue. This position was founded upon his conception of the human heart as the temple of God and the indwelling Christ, each heart illuminated to some degree by a divine light and warmed by the divine spirit. To seek to regulate the relationships of these human, divine temples by ravaging them with hatred and force was as preposterous as a matter of policy as it was abhorrent in principle. It was fighting against God himself, seeking an adjustment of human relationships in violation of his fundamental laws of life. It made, not for Peace but for further strife. Timothy Nicholson was not a mere doctrinaire Pacifist, therefore, any more than he was a doctrinaire reformer in any phase of social betterment. He was a Pacifist in the literal, etymological sense—he was a maker of Peace.
In this brief interpretation is found the reason why the Society of Friends has always declined to participate in war, however good the cause in which it is proclaimed; why Timothy Nicholson, while deeply sympathetic with the Union cause, and strongly opposed to slavery, did not espouse the Civil War; and why, when his country was crossing the sea in a crusade to make the world safe for democracy, he ministered to the conscientious objectors.
The same fundamental principle of life that actuated him in his work for prison reform, and in his efforts to help free men from the slavery of the lawless liquor traffic, actuated him in his attitude toward war.
While not a prominent leader in this field of reform to the extent to which he led in other fields of Friendly concern, he gave it much attention. He heartily supported those who were in the forefront in the advocacy of the principles of Peace, and those who exemplified its principles in a practical demonstration of service. On the one hand, he energetically encouraged all proposals providing for the peaceful and judicial settlement of questions arising between nations. On the other, he gave practical proof of his approval of those measures of helpfulness and relief which make for friendship and good will between peoples and nations.
Timothy Nicholson derived great satisfaction from the contribution which Friends made toward “pacifying” the western Indians in the Administration of President Grant. Having been exploited and despoiled by government agents and unprincipled white settlers, the Indians had retaliated from time to time by warlike outbreaks. These outbreaks had to be suppressed by United States troops, but in their suppression no solution of the difficulties was found—no basis for Peace was
established. Moreover the policy of military suppression was too expensive to appeal to thrifty Uncle Sam. It was estimated that the Cheyenne War of 1864 involved a cost of more than a million dollars for every Indian killed. This was a high price even for “good” Indians.
“Against this background of pillage, massacre and waste,” says Rayner W. Kelsey in his book, “Friends and the Indians,” “there stood out in clear relief the efforts of the peace-loving Friends for the Indians;” not only their voluntary ministrations but their official efforts as well, for individual Friends had been conspicuously successful in dealing with the Indians on behalf of the government. Influential voices were being raised in behalf of a more conciliatory Indian policy. In September, 1867, the Weekly Chronicle of Washington, D. C., made the following definite suggestion:
The treaties made by William Penn were always respected by both parties, and the peaceful sect of which he was a distinguished member have been traditional friends of the aborigines, and always kindly regarded by them. We have often thought that if the Society of Friends, who so successfully colonized and civilized the Senecas in western New York, and with such judgment and benevolence managed their affairs with the Government, could be induced to take charge of the subject of colonizing the Indian territory, and instructing the Indians, they might prepare them for the inevitable future.
That year proved a difficult one on the Indian frontier, being marked with continued massacres and reprisals. General W. T. Sherman himself admitted the failure of the policy of coercion, declaring that fifty Indians could checkmate three thousand soldiers, and joined his voice with the voices of others in behalf of peaceful negotiations.
The deplorable situation was naturally one of much concern among Friends. Various Yearly Meetings joined in a movement which shortly developed into the Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs. A conference, participated in by representatives of seven Yearly Meetings, was held at Baltimore in January, 1869, at which a memorial to the government was prepared. The members of the conference presented the memorial in person to various officials at Washington who were influential in Indian affairs. They also secured an audience with President-elect Grant, with whom they had a very satisfactory interview. Within a month, General Grant had a letter directed to the various bodies of Friends, asking them to send him names of Friends suitable to serve as Indian agents, and assuring them of his hearty cooperation in efforts made by the Society of Friends for the improvement, education and Christianization of the Indians.
Joyfully, but under due weight of the responsibility imposed, Friends proceeded promptly to cooperate
with the Administration as requested. In his first annual message to Congress, delivered on December 6, 1869, President Grant, referring to the Indians, made the following statement:
I have attempted a new policy toward these wards of the nation. . . . The Society of Friends is well known as having succeeded in living in peace with the Indians in the early settlement of Pennsylvania, while their white neighbors of other sects in other sections were constantly embroiled. They are also known for their opposition to all strife, violence, and war, and are generally noted for their strict integrity and fair dealings. These considerations induced me to give the management of a few reservations of Indians to them and to throw the burden of the selection of agents upon the Society itself. The result has proven most satisfactory.
As a matter of fact, the area of Kansas and Indian Territory, allotted to the Associated Executive Committee, comprised 144,000 square miles and included about 65,000 Indians. It constituted the Central Superintendency, while the tribes in Nebraska were put under the supervision of the Liberal branch of Friends and that area was known as the Northern Superintendency.
Timothy Nicholson had no direct responsibility for this most interesting experiment in human relations, apart from that of other interested and concerned Friends. He did have a personal relationship to it that accentuated his natural interest in it as a Friend. The Associated Executive Committee
found it necessary to employ a General Agent to keep it in intelligent touch with its then remote field of operations. Because of his commanding and helpful influence among Friends of the South during the war, because of his leadership exemplified in the Constitutional Convention of his State, and also because of his success as a physician, Dr. William Nicholson of North Carolina was selected. He therefore removed with his family to Lawrence, Kansas, which became his headquarters. In this position he showed such executive ability that in 1875 he was appointed head of the Central Superintendency by the President, which included some twenty thousand of the most savage and warlike Indians in Indian Territory.
The success of President Grant's Quaker-administered Peace Policy with the hitherto intractable Indians was such that Timothy Nicholson and other Friends could “point with pride” to this Nineteenth Century experiment as further substantiating the results of William Penn's experiment in Peace two centuries before. Once more the policy of armed force had been discredited as a method of adjustment, while that of friendly conciliation had been vindicated.
Because of their fundamental opposition to war, Friends have naturally faced the problem of conflicting loyalties in times of national conflict. Not only to define and protect their own status in the
matter, but also to establish so far as possible the rights of conscience and to win recognition for the principle of Peace, they have urged the legal right of exemption from military service. As Chairman of the Committee on Legislation appointed by the Five Years Meeting of Friends in America, Timothy Nicholson rendered characteristically aggressive and effective service in this connection in 1902 and 1903.
By the time of the holiday recess of Congress in 1902, a new Militia bill had been adopted by the House and its consideration almost completed in the Senate, before Friends realized that the bill contained no exemption from military service on the part of those conscientiously opposed to all war. Timothy Nicholson, accompanied by several other Friends, called upon Senator Albert J. Beveridge, who was at home in Indianapolis for the holidays, and laid the situation before him. “The interview was very earnest and impressive.” Not having given much attention to the bill, Senator Beveridge had not discovered the omission of the exemption clause, declaring emphatically that such a provision should be included. The bill had gone so far on its way toward passage that he saw great difficulty in securing its amendment but promised to do his best. He urged that all members of the Committee on Legislation communicate at once with the Senators
of their respective States, requesting their support of the desired amendment.
It was not a question of months nor even of weeks, in getting action upon Congress, but of days. The burden of the effort was borne by Timothy Nicholson, ably assisted by his friend James Wood of New York. The letters and telegrams which rained upon the national legislators gave abundant evidence of the resourcefulness and driving energy of Timothy Nicholson in time of crisis.
Consideration of the Militia bill was resumed in the Senate in January, Senators Beveridge of Indiana and Hoar of Massachusetts, being the outstanding champions of the exemption clause proposed by the former. Discussion on the Amendment was spirited but friendly, calling forth appreciative expression concerning the Society of Friends. “Probably never before,” says Timothy, “was the testimony of Friends against war brought out so prominently before Congress.” The amendment, as agreed to by the Senate without vote, and as later adopted by the House with little opposition, was as follows:
Provided: That nothing in this act shall be construed to require or compel any member of any well-recognized religious sect or organization at present organized and existing whose creed forbids its members to participate in war in any form, and whose religious convictions are against war or participation therein, in accordance with the creed of said religious organization, to serve in the militia or any
other armed or volunteer force under the jurisdiction and authority of the United States.
The report of the Committee on Legislation, made by Timothy Nicholson to the second quinquennial session of the Five Years Meeting held in 1907, and setting forth this achievement, was enthusiastically received. Having been won in the name of the new and larger body, it was hailed as prompt and impressive evidence of the increased Friendly influence made possible through the national organization of Friends.
When the big navy sentiment was gaining momentum in 1908, Timothy Nicholson labored diligently with the Indiana Senators in the effort to dissuade them from giving their support to the Rooseveltian policy of the “big stick.” Senator A. J. Beveridge replied that he was supporting the increased navy project “purely as a matter of peace,” while Senator J. A. Hemenway agreed with Timothy in that he did not believe that large navies tend to bring about Peace among nations.
In the period of nearly three years following the outbreak of the World War, Timothy Nicholson worked valiantly, not only to keep the United States from entering the conflict, but also for laying the basis for constructive Peace in the future. A mass Peace meeting was held in Richmond on July 18, 1915. It adopted the following resolutions which were prepared by a committee of which
Timothy was chairman and which may be taken to illustrate his attitude and efforts:
Whereas, The circumstances attending modern warfare demand new limitations of the rights of belligerents in order to safeguard the rights of neutrals and,
Whereas, The rights of neutrals cannot now be secured by military measures owing to the violation of these rights by both sides—
Be it resolved that the government of the United States call a Congress of the neutral nations of the Western Hemisphere, thus creating a unit of powerful influence to promote the following purposes:
1. To make such interpretation of international law as will define in the light of modern warfare, the rights and duties of neutrals.
2. To [illegible text] [illegible text] permanent Congress for the sake of promoting the mutual interests of such nations in times of peace as well as times of war.
3. To discuss those vital problems of international relations connected with securing the future permanent peace of the world and to devise a definite, constructive program.
4. Such Congress to serve as a nucleus for a federation of all nations as may from time to time see fit to join.
That copies of these resolutions be sent to President Woodrow Wilson, Senators John W. Kern and Benjamin F. Shively and Representative Finley H. Gray.
In January, 1916, a letter from Timothy Nicholson to Representative Finley H. Gray, is indicative of his continued but despairing admonitions to the national legislators. In it he says:
I write to remind thee I am increasingly and unalterably opposed to the “Preparedness Craze” which seems to
have drawn into its vortex such peace men as thyself, Senator Kern and President Wilson. I cannot think any of you in his heart of hearts believes this a wise policy. I fear, as with many others, your convictions have been almost smothered by the tornado started by Army and Navy officers, powder makers, armor plate people and the Steel Trust combine, and continued and increased by Theodore Roosevelt and his like and by subsidized newspapers and magazines.
Following the entry of the United States into the war, Timothy Nicholson wrote vigorously to President Wilson, Secretary of War Baker and Senators Watson and New, protesting against the Universal Service Military bill as ill-befitting a free republic, and appealing for an exemption clause for members of religious bodies opposed in principle to war. As to exemption, the amendment secured to the Militia bill of 1903 was embodied in the Military Service act of 1917, with the addition of the trouble-making clause that the exemption did not extend to such service as the President should declare to be non-combatant.
Because of this last provision, conscientious objectors were drafted and had to report with others to the military encampments. Many young Friends not only declined to do combative service but felt that to accept what was designated as noncombatant service would compromise their convictions since they would be under military command and would be contributing to the purpose of the
military regime. It was an exceedingly trying and difficult situation for them, in which they were in great need of Friendly counsel and sympathy. The Permanent Board of Indiana Yearly Meeting made arrangements with a few Friends to visit from time to time members of the Yearly Meeting who were held at Camp Taylor, Kentucky, as conscientious objectors. Timothy Nicholson was asked to make such a visit, and despite his eighty-nine years, made the journey and cheerfully “fulfilled the object of his appointment.” A segregated group of Mennonites, Dunkards and Friends was found whom he “visited for their comfort and encouragement.”
Shortly after the entry of our country into the war, the Friends of Richmond and vicinity held a mass meeting on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at which the Quaker Peace position was interpreted and at which tentative plans were outlined for doing alternative service in the way of relief work and food production and conservation. Committees were appointed by the various meetings represented to have this work in hand and Timothy Nicholson was appointed chairman of the committee named for his meeting.
Before many weeks the American Friends Service Committee was organized and within a short time was sending a steady stream of young men and women across the Atlantic to do relief
and reconstruction work in the war-stricken areas. Timothy Nicholson took an active part in supporting this work of mercy, helping to stimulate interest and a sense of responsibility among Friends and appealing for funds with which to carry it on. It was with profound satisfaction that he received word from time to time of the splendid contribution which Friends were making abroad, particularly when that word came from former colleagues of his in humanitarian work; such for instance as a letter from Ernest P. Bicknell, Commissioner of the American Red Cross for Belgium, later to become head of the Red Cross organization in America, from which letter these excerpts are taken:
It has been a very great pleasure to me to be somewhat closely associated with the American and English Friends who are engaged in relief work in France and Belgium. The English Friends were doing admirable work before the American Red Cross came to France, and we have been greatly indebted to them, because of the generous manner in which they have shared with us the benefits of their valuable experience. I was extremely glad when I learnt that the American Friends were preparing to send over here a group of young men and women for relief work. I became well acquainted with Mr. [J. Henry] Scattergood and Mr. [Morris E.] Leeds, who crossed the Atlantic with us, and they were good enough to discuss their plans with me many times. Since those early days, groups of American Friends have been arriving in France from time to time, and have taken up their work shoulder to shoulder with the English
Friends and the American Red Cross. I am easily within the truth when I say that none of the Americans who have come to France for relief work within the past year have surpassed in spirit, intelligence, or industry those who have been sent by the Friends Committee in America.
Not only during the war but in the years immediately following, when the Quaker work of relief was extended into the “enemy” countries, did Timothy actively support the world-wide program of “peaceful penetration,” after the manner of Friends.
When troublesome issues arose between this and other governments, Timothy Nicholson was faithful in his presentations to our public servants at Washington for peaceable adjustments. “I do not understand,” writes a Congressman in September, 1919, “why Wayne County is getting so terribly excited about this Mexican situation. I receive letters every day which would indicate that somebody down there thought I was conducting a campaign for intervention in Mexico.” Timothy had evidently been busy as usual and the testy tone of this congressional communication would indicate that also, as usual, he had found a live trail.
In 1921, at the call of the Governor of the State, Timothy Nicholson accepted the responsibility of organizing the Sixth Congressional District, comprising eight counties, for the purpose of raising funds in behalf of the starving millions in
North China and Armenia. His first feeling was that the Governor had made a serious mistake in expecting such a formidable service from an old man, but he wired his acceptance, “for it has long been my desire to accept opportunities for service to my fellowmen, as the best way to serve our Heavenly Father.” A similar service was performed in the following year when he acted as chairman of the Wayne County Division of the Indiana Russian Relief Committee.
His passion for Peace did not abate nor did his activities cease as life's sands ran lower and lower. Timothy Nicholson was intensely interested in world organization as a preventive of war, and six months before his death, when in his ninety-sixth year, he was writing to influential members of the United States Senate, urging this country's entry into the World Court.
THE QUAKER IN EDUCATION
AT THE meeting of New York Yearly Meeting on Education held at Glens Falls in 1884, an address on Denominational Education was delivered by Joseph John Mills. It was such a forthright, forceful presentation of the subject that it was published in booklet form, a carefully cherished copy of which was found among Timothy Nicholson's books and pamphlets. Timothy had a habit of marking striking passages in addresses and papers that appealed to him. He thus marked the following excerpts, among others, which give us the clue to his “ruling passion” for Christian education:
The conception of a church which regards only the conversion and nurture of souls is inadequate. . . . The church must take cognizance of the conditions and surroundings under which men and women, when converted, are to live. A missionary who preaches the Gospel to a plague-stricken town, though he may speak with the tongue of an angel, if he make no effort toward the removal of the filth and garbage that breed the pestilence, has a “zeal of God” indeed, but “not according to knowledge.” To bring a drunkard to Christ and leave the open door of the dram-shop along his pathway, is to discharge but half our duty toward him. The man half dead along the Jericho road has need of oil and wine for his wounds and care at the inn. The service
of Dorcas’ needle was as acceptable, for aught we know, in God's sight as were the sermons of St. Peter.
It is manifestly the duty of Christian people to bring the truths of the gospel to bear upon the discussion of all great questions affecting the welfare of men in society and the state. But to be influential upon these public questions we must be intelligent. Zeal here of itself is insufficient. Brain is in demand as well as heart power—arguments as well as prayers. Leaders are needed; men and women of intelligence as well as of faith. Not always great scholarship it may be, but trained minds, able to grapple with great questions, and competent, like the eloquent Apollos in Achaia, to “mightily convince” the people of the truths which we advocate. There is great significance in the apostolic injunction, “Gird up the loins of your minds.” Ability to organize forces, and to adapt means to ends, insight into affairs, and judgment in dealing with men, are elements which must not be left out of account in our estimate of the kind of men and women needed in the Society of Friends today. The work to which, as a people, we are called, demands increased intelligence and mental power, as well as increased consecration and faith.
Timothy Nicholson considered education as basic to all his manifold humanitarian and religious activities. In a day of intense religious zeal tending towards obscurantism, he saw no incompatibility between the highest intellectual culture and the deepest spiritual life. He appreciated the story told by Bishop Wilberforce, of a conversation he had with a Roman Catholic servant girl, in which she expressed the belief that, although he was outside of the true communion, he might possibly
be saved because of his “hinvincible hignorance.” Timothy Nicholson echoed the expression of J. J. Mills that “the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of light; that wherever a revival of true religion has arisen amongst the people, it has been followed by a revival of learning.”
He felt too, the force of the observation made by John Bright in a letter to a Friend in the West. Alluding to the increasing membership of the Society of Friends in America, the English Quaker statesman voiced his opinion that our influence upon our government was not so great in proportion to our members as was that of English Friends upon the British government. He offered as a reason for this difference the fact that American Friends had given less attention to education than had Friends in England. Timothy Nicholson's own experience in public life, in which too often, nearly single-handed he had fought for legislative recognition of Friendly ideals, led him to appreciate the lamentable truth of John Bright's statement.
On this background of conviction and experience, Timothy Nicholson's own evaluation of his life service may be easily appreciated. “God permitted and enabled me,” he stated publicly, “to render important services to the Church, and the State and the community, which have attracted public attention and brought much honor; but I consider the work He gave me at Earlham College, in its
relation to the past, present and future welfare of the Church and the world, the most important service of my long life.”
This service began in 1862, when, in the year following his arrival in Richmond, Indiana Yearly Meeting made him a member of the Earlham College Committee or Board of Trustees. From that date until 1914, except for an interval of three years (1877-1880) when he withdrew because of ill health, he served in this capacity. And during the remaining ten years of his life his continued active interest and support were hardly less helpful.
Timothy Nicholson's well rounded ability made his contribution to the College an inclusive one. His experience as a teacher made him appreciative of the strictly academic problems involved. As an administrator at Haverford College he had a background of business management that was helpful. And little that a practical man of affairs is able to contribute, is foreign to the general interests of such an institution. For many years he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board and also of its very important committee on Faculty and Officers. He was Chairman of the Building Committee when Lindley Hall and Parry Hall were built. Living in Richmond and being easily accessible, he was in such frequent consultation with the College authorities that his services during
the many years of his connection are all but immeasurable.
Two concrete examples of his watchful concern and vigorous action may be given. The explosion of a lamp and a resulting small fire in the girls’ basement of the dormitory in 1873, aroused him and another Board member, Isaac P. Evans, to an effort to extend the city gas mains across the river to the College. A very satisfactory arrangement was made with the Gas Company, but the Yearly Meeting declined to make the small appropriation necessary to the improvement. Thereupon these concerned Friends raised most of the required amount by individual subscriptions so that the dangerous oil lamps were discarded for gas light. Some years later, in a similar manner, Timothy was responsible for the extension of the city water mains to the College for more adequate protection against fire.
From the beginning to the very close of his relationship to Earlham, Timothy Nicholson was actively identified with efforts to increase its financial resources. As illustrative of this activity, his first and his last efforts may be cited. Previous to 1870, several attempts had been made to endow the College, but at that date the fund was less than $4,000. The Board planned that year to raise $50,000 by an intensive canvas of Indiana and Western Yearly Meetings. Timothy Nicholson was
appointed to present the matter and to appeal for contributions at the next session of Indiana Yearly Meeting, at which time one third the desired amount was subscribed. The remainder was subscribed through personal canvas during the following fourteen months, more than seven hundred Friends contributing to the fund.
Fifty-four years later, the College authorities were in the midst of a three year campaign to raise $400,000 in endowment funds, and thereby secure a conditional gift of $200,000 toward endowment, which had been offered by the General Education Board. With accustomed interest, Timothy Nicholson had kept in close touch with the campaign, though his official connection with the College had ceased ten years before. He frequently advised with the President and Financial Secretary of Earlham and occasionally accompanied the latter to see a prospective contributor.
Within three months of the time limit set by the General Education Board, there remained to be raised nearly one hundred thousand dollars and the available territory had apparently been pretty thoroughly canvassed. Then it was that Timothy girded himself once more for vigorous action. “For the last three months,” he later wrote to a friend, “I resumed my ‘calling’ as a ‘promoter’.” He threw himself into the campaign locally, canvassing Friends of his own meeting for subscriptions. In
addition he wrote a number of letters to personal friends, from whom came some liberal responses, including a gift of $5,000 from a “dear Methodist brother.” It was only by his energetic and timely assistance at the critical period that the goal was reached, whereby the amount of $600,000 was added to the endowment funds of the institution. At the chapel service on the morning following the successful conclusion of the campaign, the following resolution, submitted by the Financial Secretary, was unanimously adopted:
In securing pledges for $400,000 for Earlham endowment, the College is deeply indebted to a host of friends and desires to express her sincere thanks to every one of them. On this occasion we desire once more to acknowledge particularly our gratefulness to Timothy Nicholson. Therefore as students and faculty we hereby present our high appreciation of the service of our venerable friend in the campaign just closed.
That night the College community made merry at a supper and jubilee meeting in the Indoor Field, when the honored and much-toasted guest of the evening was Timothy Nicholson who, in his ninety-sixth year, had done so much to make the celebration possible.
At the suggestion of Timothy Nicholson, there was organized in 1890 an endowment and investment committee for the more adequate management of the Earlham College trust funds. He was a charter member of the committee and became its
first secretary, serving continuously in that capacity for thirty-one years. It was a proud boast of his that in all that period the College did not suffer the loss of a dollar in the management of its endowment funds.
Interests of the College other than financial were likewise followed intently by Timothy Nicholson. In 1921, in response to a feeling on the part of some Friends that the instruction given at Earlham was not in entire accord with long established doctrines of the church, a joint committee was appointed by Indiana and Western Yearly Meetings to investigate the situation. The committee conducted hearings on the charges preferred, and it is safe to say that no one not immediately involved in the investigation was so thoroughly informed on the issues presented as was Timothy Nicholson, so deeply concerned was he that the College make a successful presentation of its educational policy. The painstaking manner in which he studied a question was most strikingly demonstrated by the fact that he went carefully through the several hundred type-written pages of testimony and discussion in connection with the investigation, of which he laboriously made a complete digest in long hand—a formidable task in any case, especially for one in his ninety-third year. The favorable report made by the joint-committee gave him much satisfaction.
Upon his retirement from the Board of Trustees in 1914, the Permanent Board of Indiana Yearly Meeting adopted the following minute:
Our friend Timothy Nicholson is released, at his own request, from serving longer on the Board of Trustees of Earlham College. His many friends will greatly regret that he has found it necessary to withdraw from active service as trustee of the college after serving on the Committee and Board of Trustees for forty-nine years. He has been efficient, prompt and faithful in the discharge of constant and many responsibilities coming to him through this office and we wish to express on behalf of all friends of Earlham College our warm and hearty appreciation of his services.
At the next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the College, the following expression of appreciation was made:
The Board of Trustees express their appreciation of thy long and efficient service in connection with the Board and they regret that thy active connection with it has come to an end. We hope still to have the benefit of thy counsel in times of perplexity and we feel sure we can always count upon thy interest and sympathy. We shall cherish the memory of our former association. We wish for thee all the joys of a life well spent and the rewards that are found at the end of the race.
In connection with Commencement Week in 1922, the College fittingly celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of its establishment, and Timothy Nicholson was an outstanding figure in the observance. The Senior Class dedicated to him its Class Book, “The Sargasso,” with this tribute: To
Timothy Nicholson, who, through his fifty-nine years of faithful service to Earlham College, has exemplified in every way the spirit of her seventy-five years of history, we, the Class of Nineteen Twenty-two, reverently dedicate this volume.” On Commencement Day, the College honored itself by conferring upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.
A Friends educational conference was held at Baltimore in 1877, some twenty-five Friends participating, upon the invitation of Francis T. King and James Carey Thomas of that city. It proved so profitable that an organization was perfected, and a second conference, held at Haverford College in 1880, was attended by nearly one hundred delegates, representing all the Yearly Meetings in the United States. Among these was Timothy Nicholson, his brother John, who had attended the 1877 conference, again being present. At Haverford, Joseph J. Mills was chosen President, and Timothy Nicholson Secretary of the Friends Educational Conference for the ensuing three year period. It was decided that sectional conferences, Eastern, Central and Western, be held annually during the triennium. The Central section conferences were held at Earlham College in 1881 and 1882, J. J. Mills and Timothy Nicholson serving as officers of the first one and arranging the program, on which
President Thomas Chase, of Haverford College, was the principal speaker.
In 1883, the National Conference took place at Earlham, and as its officers, J. J. Mills and Timothy prepared the program and selected the leading writers and speakers. All this, together with the general arrangements, involved a great amount of correspondence, the burden of which naturally rested upon the Secretary, resident in Richmond where the Conference was held. Moreover he took copious notes of all the discussions and prepared the proceedings for the printer. One of the outstanding papers was that entitled “Conscience in Education,” written by Dr. William Nicholson, and read by his brother Timothy.
Timothy Nicholson's educational activities were not confined to the interests of the Society of Friends. In 1868 he was appointed by Governor Conrad Baker as a member of the newly organized Indiana State Normal School at Terre Haute, in which capacity he served until 1873. During this time he was chairman of the committee which had the duty of selecting the first President and Faculty of the institution, and also the second President of the Normal School, and was very influential in the launching of a movement that has developed into such an important feature of the educational system of the State. In 1877, a vacancy occurred in the Board of Trustees by the resignation
of a member. The Board was in session and sent Timothy a wire message asking him if he would consent to fill the vacancy if Governor Williams, a Democrat, could be induced to appoint him. Timothy wired in reply this characteristic message: “Such positions should neither be sought nor too lightly declined.” To his surprise he received the appointment and served two more years on the Board.
At the time of the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, Timothy Nicholson received a letter from the head of its Educational Department requesting him to serve on the jury of awards. An answer by wire was required, as the service would begin at once. Having no definite information regarding the service involved, his first inclination was to decline the offer, true to one of the cardinal principles of Friends that their members “should not undertake any business beyond their ability to manage.” However, on the encouragement of his family, who reminded him that in all his long career of public service this was the first ever tendered him in which he was not required to “work for nothing and board himself,” he accepted and reported promptly for duty.
The forty jurors, selected from all over the world, were divided into six groups, each being assigned a certain part of the work. Timothy was made chairman of his group, the other members
being a Superintendent of Schools from Arkansas, a German Professor from Berlin, a librarian from Florence, Italy, a woman teacher from Sweden and a St. Louis business man. The part assigned to them included school and college textbooks and general school supplies and equipment. “My colleagues were all very intelligent and agreeable,” says Timothy, “and our work, though strenuous and taxing upon mind and body, was interesting and instructive.” At the conclusion of their task the other members of the group gave an elaborate dinner, “in honor,” as the German Professor said, “of our beloved chairman.” The judging of the exhibits could not be completed within the time specified, and Timothy remained as one of the final jury, composed of the chairmen and secretaries of the sections or groups, which completed the task.
In a large way, all of Timothy Nicholson's work was educational in character. He approached the various problems presented to him from the educational viewpoint. His work in connection with the state institutions involved phases of education, such as the establishment of the School for boys at Plainfield and the School for girls at Clermont. He was always interested in Indian and Negro education, and in discussing the general problem of the Negro not long before his death, he said, “It is a Christian education that the Negro needs.”
Indeed it was Timothy Nicholson's dominating conviction that Christian education was the paramount need of all—a conviction so strong that the educational concern commanded his active interest and effective support throughout his long and busy career.
THE QUAKER STATESMAN
IT IS often, and perhaps generally, true that men who give themselves to public service have little part in the active life of the church with which they are affiliated. Their absorption in the one seems to wean them from the other. This is most unfortunate and partly explains why religious ideals do not more readily permeate our public life. Public men wander too far from the base of their spiritual supplies.
Timothy Nicholson furnished a striking exception to this tendency. Busily occupied as he always was with public affairs, his first allegiance was to the Society of Friends and to its own immediate work. His meeting activities furnished the training ground for his wider service. It will be recalled that it was his appointment on the Yearly Meeting Committee on Prison Reform that led him out into the state and national field of humanitarian effort.
Very properly and naturally, his church activities began in his home meeting. In 1865 he was appointed to the station of Elder, which was then the position in the Society of Friends carrying the
heaviest spiritual responsibility, and served in that capacity throughout the remainder of his life.
When the East Main Street meeting was established, there seemed to be no one in the new meeting well fitted to organize and superintend the Bible School. Timothy Nicholson was asked to assume this responsibility and accepted the invitation, which later resulted in the removal of the Nicholson family membership from South Eighth to East Main Street. For twenty years he served as Superintendent of the Bible School and five more as assistant to his successor and for twenty-five years as a Bible School teacher.
This practical experience in his home meeting naturally led him into interdenominational relationships which are worthy of mention. He became President of the County and State Sunday School Conventions. He wrote not only an historical sketch of Bible School work among Friends but at the request of the President of the Ohio State Sunday School Association, prepared an article on the history of Sunday Schools in Indiana which he read at the Ohio State Convention in 1891. For several years he was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Sunday School Convention, and was a delegate to the World Convention held in St. Louis in 1893. In connection with his attendance at St. Louis, Timothy relates the following diverting and illuminating incident:
Six of us, members of five religious denominations, were the guests for the week of the leading dry goods merchant of that city, himself a S. S. Superintendent. After breakfast we returned to the parlor for devotional services in which we took turns as leaders. Four of our number were preachers, and one of them very prominent in the Methodist church, and the writer of the notes and instructions on the International S. S. Lessons. He had been assigned to preach in one of the city churches on First Day night. After supper I asked if I might accompany him, and he replied he would be very glad to have me go with him.
On the way he remarked the Friends he knew in New Jersey were rather reserved and exclusive, and did not associate much with members of other churches, but he had been informed Friends in the West were more social with other people. He further said he had learned that Friends were noted for their study and knowledge of the Bible: and he wondered why they discarded the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. I replied, “It is because they are such close Bible students.” This amused him.
I then proceeded to show in a few words that water baptism was not a Christian but a Jewish ordinance: “John said, I indeed baptize with water but He shall baptize with the Holy Spirit. The first Christians were Jews and while Jerusalem remained they would continue the Jewish customs. Jesus did not baptize with water. Paul was one of the first to break away or give up Jewish ways, and he tells us he baptized only a few; that he was sent not to baptize but to preach the gospel. So with the Passover. It was Jewish and would be observed while Jerusalem remained, by Jewish Christians. What is called the Lord's Supper was merely the passover, so called by Christ himself. He knew they would continue at least for awhile to keep it; therefore He said, ‘Do it in remembrance of me,’ I am the real paschal
lamb, not the lamb slain in Egypt. John, the most spiritual of the disciples, and who is supposed to have written after the destruction of Jerusalem, and who narrates in whole chapters what Jesus said and did at the last passover, says not a word about keeping this feast permanently. So Friends do not believe that Christ instituted any rite or ordinance to be continued by his followers, not even foot-washing; and that we have far more Scripture to sustain our position than have those who contend for the keeping of the so-called ordinances.”
I, of course, expected my friend to defend the ordinances with great vigor, for I knew he was one of the strongest ministers in the Methodist church; but to my great surprise he merely said, “Well, brother Nicholson, there is not much in the ordinances after all.” So much for a Methodist minister!
Perhaps few Friends ever thought of Timothy Nicholson in the role of evangelist. Whitewater Quarterly Meeting, at its June session in 1872, appointed a committee for special service in accordance with the following minute:
We appoint Levi Jessup, Joseph Moore, Abijah J. Wooten, William Roberts, William H. Coffin, Mordecai Gilbert, Isaac Pigeon, Daniel Williams, Isaiah Gilbert, Jonathan Baldwin, Franklin Elliott, Josiah T. White, Isaac P. Evans, Mordecai Hiatt and Timothy Nicholson, in conjunction with women Friends, to hold meetings for divine worship in such places in the limits of this Quarterly Meeting, where no meeting of Friends is held, also at Friends Meetinghouses, as in the Wisdom of Truth may seem to them right, for the purpose of stirring up our own membership to greater dedication in the work of the Lord, for the
preaching of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, for teaching the ignorant in the way of life and salvation, for exhorting the careless and indifferent and in the comprehensive language of George Fox, to pray with and for all whose hearts may be drawn to meet with them. In separating these brethren for this work to which our hearts are drawn, our desire and earnest prayer to God is, that they may be kept watchful, and that they may seek continually for that wisdom which alone can qualify to labor successfully in the vineyard of the Lord.
Taken from the Minutes,
WILLIAM H. COFFIN, Clerk.
Rebecca Talbert, Rhoda S. Mote, Lydia Miles, Margaret Test, Margaret Burson, Anna S. Richie, Pharaba Toms, Sarah Wilson, Mary Albertson. [Appointees by the Women's Meeting.]
Timothy Nicholson was appointed Clerk of this committee and a faithful record of its meetings and of the meetings over the Quarterly Meeting which it appointed and held, is to be found in a quaint, time-stained little notebook kept by him. The meetings held were evangelistic in character, meetings for children and young people being a prominent feature. Generally they were limited to one or two days in a place, but in the following record made by Timothy we find a nearer approach to the later type of “revival” meetings:
The meetings were held at Dublin, opening as appointed, and were continued three sessions daily until Second day evening, the 23rd of 12th Month; on the next Fifth day evening they were resumed, and continued until the following
First day evening. Sixteen meetings were held. Several members of the committee were present from time to time. On account of the severe cold weather the meetings were somewhat smaller than they would have been. A deep and earnest feeling was manifested that individually and collectively we might realize a fresh baptism of the Holy Ghost and of power. We think we can say our expectations were realized. The Gospel of Christ was preached with power; to the comfort of God's children; to the strengthening of the Faith of those that are weak and to the convincing and converting of the sinner; as was evidenced by the many testimonies that were borne by those who had received these several blessings. With thankful hearts we can acknowledge the presence and blessings of the dear Saviour from season to season.
As early as 1866, the four thousand Ohio Friends belonging to Indiana Yearly Meeting requested for a Yearly Meeting, to be held at Wilmington, Ohio, the request being renewed in 1868. The committee appointed to investigate the matter, of which Timothy Nicholson was a member, reported unfavorably. Since the request, however, was based primarily upon the fact that so few members in Ohio could attend the Yearly Meeting at Richmond, the Yearly Meeting decided in 1868 to hold some General Meetings to continue two or three days in various parts of the outlying territory, not only in Ohio but elsewhere, for teaching Friends doctrines and preaching the gospel. Timothy Nicholson was a member of the committee appointed for this service. These General Meetings
were held until 1880, when, in reporting to the Yearly Meeting, the committee made this recommendation:
We would suggest to the Yearly Meeting that in order to retain the benefits of these meetings there is great need of following it up by suitable pastors and teachers being sent among them. And if the work is continued under the care of a committee an appropriation should be given to enable the committee to carry on the work.
In accordance with the recommendation, the Yearly Meeting appointed a committee of ten persons to have general oversight of its meetings and ministers, in cooperation with the Quarterly and Monthly Meetings, and to take into consideration the condition of meetings without regular ministry, the necessary funds being appropriated and subscribed for carrying on the work. Thus began the present-day Evangelistic, Pastoral and Church Extension Committee.
When Kansas Yearly Meeting was organized by Indiana Yearly Meeting in 1872, Timothy Nicholson was a member of the committee appointed to attend the opening at Lawrence, Kansas. This service was a particularly delightful one for him from the fact that his brother, Dr. William Nicholson, was made Presiding Clerk of the new Yearly Meeting, a position which he held until his removal to California in 1888. In unofficial capacity, Timothy Nicholson attended from time to time
nearly all the American Yearly Meetings by which he was always most cordially welcomed.
In addition to positions of service and leadership already mentioned, Timothy Nicholson served his Yearly Meeting in the following capacities. For approximately sixty years, he was a very influential member of what is now called the Permanent Board, which functions as the Yearly Meeting ad interim. For twelve years he was Clerk of Whitewater Monthly Meeting, and for twenty-one years was Clerk of the Yearly Meeting body of Ministry and Oversight. When he was in his seventy-sixth year, the Yearly Meeting appealed to him in an emergency to accept the place of Presiding Clerk. He consented to serve with the understanding that his tenure be temporary on account of his age, but he continued as Clerk for eight years before he was finally released on his own insistence.
For thirty-five years he served as secretary of the Yearly Meeting Book and Tract Committee, which was the active agency for supplying the membership with literature setting forth Friends principles, and with religious literature in general. While done in the name of the Committee, this work devolved primarily upon the secretary.
Having thus far suggested the scope and content of Timothy Nicholson's work within Indiana Yearly Meeting, may we begin to follow him out into the larger field of American Quakerism, the
development of which was affected by peculiar conditions and difficulties. Very important among them was that of geographical isolation. Typical pioneers and frontiersmen that they were, Friends kept pushing westward over a vast expanse of territory. By the third quarter of the nineteenth century, they were scattered from coast to coast, with a dozen widely separated groups as nuclei known as Yearly Meetings. Apart from that afforded by epistles and visiting ministers, there was comparatively little interchange of ideas between them. There were few common purposes. Friends on the frontier were far from the home base in thought and practice, as well as in distance. They reacted to new conditions and movements around them. Tendencies away from historic Quaker principles became manifest. At best, there was growing danger that American Quakerism would lose its common perspective.
Doubtless the clearest manifestations of divergent and divisive tendencies was given in Ohio Yearly Meeting, some of whose leaders were championing the ordinance of water baptism and attempting to show that George Fox, William Penn and other early Friends did not oppose the ordinances. They not only practiced the rite of baptism in their own Yearly Meeting but sought to introduce it in others, including that of Indiana.
On this issue Timothy Nicholson arose as “defender
of the faith” and a doughty defender he proved to be. This was the controversial period of his career, and for one who was primarily concerned with action rather than with thought, with Christianity in life rather than in theology, he proved a resourceful controversialist. He took an active part in getting the Yearly Meeting to take an unequivocal stand in opposition to the water baptism propagandists. Since the Christian Worker, the organ of western Friends was far from sound on the question, Timothy Nicholson joined eleven other Friends of Indiana and Western Yearly Meetings in publishing in Indianapolis another paper, the Morning Star, for the purpose of combatting the erroneous teaching. It exerted sufficient influence to change the policy and attitude of the Christian Worker, and having served its purpose, was discontinued.
But Timothy's outstanding contribution as a controversialist was made in still another way. The Central Book and Tract Committee requested him as its secretary to compile from the writings of Friends full and accurate quotations on the subject of baptism and the Lord's Supper, to be published in pamphlet form for general distribution. It was a formidable undertaking and occupied all his leisure time, if leisure time it could be called in so busy a life, for several weeks. A vast amount of reading from numerous volumes was required,
involving definite citation of every quotation used. The compilation was printed and published in 1892 as a seventy-two page pamphlet and was widely circulated. It proved very effective in making clear the true position of Friends on the ordinances and was greatly influential in allaying the “great unrest” on the subject.
Such an apostasy as that which had taken place in Ohio demonstrated the weakness of Quaker polity in America. Confusion and disintegration were bound to result from a lack of common understanding and acceptance of the fundamental principles of the Society of Friends. As early as 1866, Timothy Nicholson was appointed a member and the clerk of a large committee of Indiana Yearly Meeting to consider the first suggestion of a uniform book of discipline for all the Yearly Meetings. The committee reported “that way did not open to propose any action by the Yearly Meeting at this time.” Western Yearly Meeting took the lead in pressing the issue, making overtures to other Yearly Meetings on the subject in 1871 and again in 1875. In 1876 it reported that New York and Ohio had united with its proposal and asked if Indiana would not now consent to participate in a general conference for the consideration of a uniform discipline. The urgency of the matter was not yet sufficiently apparent, however, to persuade the
largest of the Yearly Meetings to join in the movement.
“But this was a living concern,” says Timothy, “and would ultimately win.” Moreover, the conference idea among American Yearly Meetings leading to cooperative effort was growing. They had held a conference in 1869, resulting in joint action in work for the Indians. They had joined in establishing the Friends National Conference on Education in 1877; and on arranging cooperative action in Foreign Mission work in 1879. In spite of hesitation and delay, the next step became increasingly obvious. In Timothy Nicholson's own words, that step was taken as follows:
During Indiana Yearly Meeting in 1886, I invited, of the ministers attending the Yearly Meeting, one from each of five other Yearly Meetings and Francis W. Thomas of our own, to take supper at our house one evening; and at the table I introduced the subject of a General Conference of the Yearly Meetings. I briefly advocated and expressed the conviction that this was the time for Indiana Yearly Meeting to take the lead in the matter. Barnabas Hobbs of Western Yearly Meeting, which under his leadership had twice proposed such a conference, ably supported what I had said; all the others agreed and we requested Francis W. Thomas to introduce the subject the next day to the Meeting.
This was done and the matter was referred to a committee of thirty, of which I was one, to consider and report to a future sitting. That committee reported in favor of the proposed Conference, named six men and six women for delegates, [recommended] that at least five Yearly Meetings
must unite in it, and that the Conference be held in Richmond the next year, 1887, on Sixth Day, following the close of Western Yearly Meeting; and that a cordial invitation be extended to London and Dublin Yearly Meetings to send delegates to the Conference.
All these recommendations were approved by the Meeting. The committee requested me to act as chairman of the delegation and make all needful arrangements for the meeting of the Conference, if as many as five Yearly Meetings united with the proposition. As the Yearly Meetings occurred all of them accepted the plan and appointed delegates, and the Conference was held at the time and place indicated. (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting having neither corresponded with, nor affiliated with the other Yearly Meetings, for many years, was not invited to take part in this Conference.)
Timothy Nicholson called the Richmond Conference to order, and became a member of the Business Committee. After effecting permanent organization, with James Wood as Chairman, the Conference addressed itself at once to the question of the desirability of having one Declaration of Faith, or Christian doctrine, for all the Yearly Meetings. After much discussion, in which Timothy Nicholson had a guiding part, the question was decided in the affirmative and a committee of twelve, of which Dr. William Nicholson was a member, was appointed to draw up the statement. The Conference was to adjourn the night before the opening of Indiana Yearly Meeting and after its appointment, the committee had but thirty-six
hours in which to draft so important a document. This intimate picture of its deliberations is given by Timothy Nicholson:
Dr. James E. Rhoades, President of Bryn Mawr College, was amanuensis for the committee. Joseph B. Braithwaite [of London Yearly Meeting] was the distinguished leader. No other man could have accomplished the feat in the time allowed. He brought with him numerous books of Discipline containing Yearly Meeting declarations of faith, pamphlets on Friends’ doctrines, and many of the issues of the London Yearly Meeting's General Epistle, which, for at least twenty years, he himself had drafted. From all this material his marvelous legal ability evolved or compiled this unique Declaration of Faith. No entirely new matter was introduced, but it was the grouping together of what had already passed London and other Yearly Meetings from time to time.
At three P. M. the last day a part of the document was presented to the Conference, read, discussed and approved, but much yet remained to be done. J. B. Braithwaite stopped at Allen Jay's, a mile distant, and there is where the committee met. The work must be completed by 7 P. M. and every minute was important. Our home was only a square from South Eighth Street Meetinghouse in which the Conference was held. James Wood asked me if it would be possible for dear Mary to provide supper for the committee of twelve and their clerk (it was then after four o'clock). I replied I would run over and find out. My dear good wife said, “Yes, we will be ready by a few minutes after six.” The committee came before five. We placed a table in the front room for J. B. Braithwaite and Dr. Rhoades. When supper was ready all but these two went to the table. After the others had eaten, Mary and James Wood, at the latter's
suggestion, took some tea and crackers and quietly set them on the table of the two workers and in a few minutes after seven the work was completed, taken to the Meetinghouse, read, discussed and approved.
The Declaration of Faith thus prepared and approved by the Conference, naturally stressed the historic Quaker position on the ordinances, in view of the issue that had arisen over the question of baptism. It was therefore not satisfactory to some, including a few active members of Indiana Yearly Meeting who might be expected to oppose its acceptance. Since Indiana would be the first Yearly Meeting to pass upon the document, its action, both in content and form, was a matter of great import. Allen Terrell, the Presiding Clerk, felt no little anxiety on this account, and requested Timothy Nicholson to draft a proper minute for the occasion. Timothy consented on the condition that the Clerk be free to reword the statement to his own liking.
As a demonstration of Timothy Nicholson's leadership and of his ability to meet situations as presented, his own personal account of what took place in the sessions of Indiana Yearly Meeting when the Declaration of Faith was brought up, is here given.
The Declaration was to be presented the next afternoon. That night or the next morning I drafted with pencil a minute. I felt it would not be safe to say adopted, and
accepted would be too weak, so I used the word approved. That night Allen Terrell was summoned home by wire by the critical illness of his mother. Levi Mills was first assistant clerk. Allen informed Levi he must return home and said what he had asked me to do. The next morning Levi came to me and said Allen was summoned home and that he had asked me to prepare a minute and he wanted it. I said, “Thee don't want any help. Thee is a lawyer.” He replied, “I want that draft and I want it bad.” Upon the same condition that he should change it to suit himself—that it should be his minute—I handed it to him.
As I was considered the father of the Conference it seemed to be expected that, if necessary, I would answer, in the Yearly Meeting, any objection that might be made to the Declaration. The larger number of the delegates remained to attend the Yearly Meeting and this was very helpful to us.
After the document was read, the minister who was baptized in England twelve years before, arose and after commending (mildly) the Declaration, proposed that it be referred to the Representative Meeting (now Permanent Board) for examination, as required by our discipline. This was a very adroit, dangerous, and wholly unexpected move and must be immediately met. (Our discipline did not permit any of our members to publish any book or pamphlet on Christian Doctrine until it had the approval of the Representative Meeting.) Before any one could unite with the proposition, I stated that the Representative Meeting was merely a committee of the Yearly Meeting, and that its province was to represent the Yearly Meeting when the latter was not in session; that the provision in the discipline alluded to, applied to our individual members and not to the Yearly Meeting. Then another minister in sympathy with the former asked with much emphasis: “If we accept this
document are we to throw away all our Disciplines which contain our own Declaration of Faith?” To this I replied that the question of a book of discipline was not before the meeting; the only question before the meeting was the approval of the proposed Declaration of Faith which had been prepared by the late Conference. The clerk then stated: “As has just been said, the question before us is the approval of this document—does the Meeting approve?” To this question there was an unusual response in the affirmative and none in opposition, and the clerk read the minute as originally drafted. After the session closed, J. B. Braithwaite said to me in his stammering way: “Approval is the right word.”
With the exception of Ohio, the various Yearly Meetings which sent representatives to the Richmond Conference followed the example of Indiana Yearly Meeting in approving the Declaration.
Dr. William Nicholson read a very able paper before the Conference, in which he recommended the establishment of a Conference of Yearly Meetings to exercise certain delegated powers and to meet regularly. The suggestion (except as to delegated powers) was referred to the Yearly Meetings. Timothy Nicholson was a member of the committee appointed by Indiana Yearly Meeting to consider the matter, the Yearly Meeting adopting the committee's favorable recommendation. Representatives appointed by concurring Yearly Meetings met at Oskaloosa, Iowa, in September, 1891, and appointed a committee to arrange for a Conference
to be held once in five years, the first to be held in 1892. Timothy was again made Chairman of the Committee on Arrangements, and as in 1887 at Richmond, called the Conference to order when it met at Indianapolis.
It is well worthy of note that all four of the Nicholson brothers were present as delegates to this Conference: Josiah from North Carolina, John from Baltimore, Timothy from Indiana and William from Kansas Yearly Meeting. This is a record of active family participation in the high councils of the Society of Friends that perhaps has rarely if ever been duplicated. John and Timothy Nicholson were on the committee of five to formulate the “Conclusions of the Conference.”
Among the many important subjects considered at the Conference in 1892, was that of a uniform discipline, which was strongly advocated in a paper by Francis W. Thomas of Indiana. A long and spirited discussion showed that the Friends assembled were not yet ready to go forward in the matter. However, Timothy Nicholson took this hopeful, statesmanlike, view of the Conference:
The effect of the Conference, as was that of the one of 1887, was to more closely unite in sentiment and feeling and action and encouraged us in the belief that ultimately we will have one Book of Discipline, as well as one Declaration of Faith for all American Yearly Meetings, and the formation of a delegate body of ultimate authority and
appeal, in all matters pertaining to Christian Doctrine, Discipline and Practice.
The 1897 Conference was also held in Indianapolis and as on the two preceding occasions, Timothy Nicholson was head of the Indiana Yearly Meeting delegation, was Chairman of the Committee on Arrangements and opened the Conference.
While, as in 1892, may important questions received consideration, the one of paramount interest had to do with the forming of a closer bond of union between the various Yearly Meetings in America. The addresses by Dr. William Nicholson in 1887 and by Francis W. Thomas in 1892, with the thorough discussion provoked by them, were slowly but surely effective in developing favorable sentiment among Friends; so much so that from four Yearly Meetings, Wilmington, Indiana, Western and Kansas, recommendations were sent up to the 1897 Conference similar to the following from Indiana, in which Timothy Nicholson's statesmanlike hand is seen:
It is the judgment of this Meeting that the Conferences of 1887 and 1892 have strengthened the bonds of fellowship in the Yearly Meetings and promoted unity in some important matters; and we request the approaching Conference to consider whether the time has not come to advise the Yearly Meetings to confer delegated powers upon the Conference so that in the future its conclusions shall be
binding on all the Yearly Meetings that unite in granting such authority.
The live question at issue was presented to the Conference by an address, “Shall Future Conferences Have Legislative Authority?” by Rufus M. Jones, and an address, “A Uniform Discipline for the American Yearly Meetings,” by Edmund Stanley. Extensive and searching discussion followed the delivery of these papers. The Conference this time committed itself to the principle of closer, organic relationships between the Yearly Meetings and appointed a committee to formulate, first, a plan for a closer union, and second, to prepare a draft of a uniform discipline, both to be submitted to the Yearly Meetings for their approval.
This committee within three years completed the draft of the Uniform Discipline, which embodied the plan of organic union, and submitted it to the Yearly Meetings for their consideration. Eleven Yearly Meetings—New England, New York, Baltimore, North Carolina, Wilmington, Indiana, Western, Iowa, Kansas, California and Oregon—adopted the proposed constitution and discipline and thus constituted the Five Years Meeting of Friends in America. In 1902, the representatives of the Yearly Meetings met in Indianapolis as a quinquennial Conference, accepted the report of the committee appointed in 1897 and
thereupon resolved themselves into the Five Years Meeting, the Yearly Meetings having appointed the same Friends as representatives to the Conference and as delegates to the new body in course of organization. And a new experiment in Quaker history and polity was launched.
The framework of the new order had been set up and it remained to breathe into it the breath of life. The first sessions were devoted largely to a consideration of various phases of common activity, several Boards being created to carry on different departments of work. Among these was the Board on Legislation, of which Timothy Nicholson was made chairman. The signal success of this Board, in its achievement of securing the exemption clause in the Militia bill of 1903, has already been cited in a preceding chapter.
For the fifth time, Timothy Nicholson served in 1907 as Chairman of the Committee on Arrangements, this service covering a period of twenty years. He declined further appointment, but continued to be an influential figure in the succeeding sessions of the Five Years Meeting. Despite his plea of advancing years, Indiana Yearly Meeting always named him as one of its delegates, his last session being that of 1922, two years before his death.
The Uniform Discipline, which went into effect in 1902 with the establishment of the Five Years
Meeting, provided for an associate membership for children, preliminary to their being received as active members. At the sessions in 1907, quite a formidable protest was made against this change, there being a strong expression in favor of returning to the time-honored principle of birthright membership. Near the close of an extended and earnest discussion of the question, Timothy Nicholson arose and said:
I like to see a little more stability in the Church, and I do not like to see us so willing to be changing. Let us give this matter a fair trial. The babes that have been born are not suffering very much for a change. They are only five years old . . . . I should be sorry to see this Discipline changed until we had given it a fair trial.
This incidental expression was characteristic of Timothy Nicholson's general attitude. While intensely loyal to historic Quaker principles, he was not bound to a mere traditional expression of them. He was alive to the “new occasions” which called for orderly progress. While appreciative of past achievements and sensitive to the responsibilities of the present, he kept his eyes on the possibilities of the future. His was the statesmanlike view. And having taken the forward step, he had little patience with the vacillating attitude that would consider retracing it.
In a remarkable way, considering his many and varied interests, he kept the detailed affairs of the
church, locally and at large, within his watchful oversight. If there were divisive influences at work, it was his concern to see that they were brought to naught. Anticipating their stratagems, he set plans in motion to defeat them through constructive action. He had a saying to the effect that he had no unity with politics in the church but “things must be looked after.” His watchful care, thus exercised, was not based on any desire for personal control or dominance but upon his deep concern for the integrity and progress of the Society of Friends he loved so well.
One of Timothy Nicholson's cardinal virtues was that of loyalty. He was not only loyal to good causes as such, but also to those who were officially responsible for promoting those causes. This was notably true of his relationship to the church he served so long and ably. Very significant and appropriate, therefore, were the words he uttered at the closing session of the Five Years Meeting in 1922. They constituted his last public message to the church at large and were received both as admonition and benediction by those who heard them. Those words were summarized as follows by the Recording Clerk in the Minute immediately preceding the concluding Minute:
Timothy Nicholson stated that he had attended every Meeting and every session of the Five Years Meeting since its organization. Earnestly and eloquently did he enjoin the
duty of thorough loyalty upon his hearers. Every failure in loyalty makes trouble. He said that in his long experience in the work of the church, work which had been broad and varied, he had discovered that the wise course to pursue was to express one's judgment frankly and in a respectful manner and that if the church adopts something that is contrary to the personal judgment it is the duty of the individual to accept the decision of the church and join heartily in carrying out the united judgment. This is absolutely necessary, he said, if unity and progress are to be achieved.
FRIEND NICHOLSON AND PUBLIC OFFICIALS
ON ONE occasion when the Indiana Legislature was in session, many years ago, a bill to legalize Sunday baseball was being considered in the Senate. During the discussion preceding the vote, the Senator from Wayne County explained his position, saying that while personally, he was not opposed to the measure, his colleagues were aware of the fact that he represented a constituency that was very conservative in such matters, and he would accordingly have to vote against the bill. A fellow Senator thereupon arose and in a conspicuous manner cast his eye over the Senate chamber as if looking for somebody. After thoroughly scanning the floor and gallery he said, “I think the Senator from Wayne County might vote his sentiments since Timothy Nicholson does not seem to be present.”
This was a clever bit of horseplay, to be sure, but obviously it would have had no point except for its basis in fact. Timothy Nicholson did frequent public executive offices and legislative halls, but whether present or not, his restraining or encouraging influence, as the case might be, was a factor to be reckoned with. He certainly “had a way”
with public officials and politicians. Uniformly he treated them with the respect and courtesy due their office—and due themselves if worthy—but at the same time he dealt with them frankly and firmly, as occasion seemed to require, as certain incidents already related have demonstrated.
An ex-Governor of Indiana once introduced Timothy Nicholson to a friend as “the man who spanked me when I was Governor,” saying that he would rather be criticized by Timothy Nicholson than praised by most men. To say the least, this was a graceful acceptance of a fait accompli!
While always a staunch Republican, Timothy Nicholson knew no politics in dealing with officials in regard to public affairs. The Governor just alluded to was a Republican, under whom Timothy held office as a member of the Board of State Charities. Timothy Nicholson's clash with Governor Ralston over the latter's proposal for a Central Board of Control of State institutions, has been cited. In writing him on the question, Timothy, while freely granting his entire sincerity, said, “I am as sincere in my judgment thou hast made a serious mistake.”
In a sharp letter to President Wilson, dated July 6, 1917, Timothy Nicholson called his attention to the fact that the man whom he had appointed as Commissioner to the International Prison Congress was a publicity man for the United States
Brewers’ Association. After calling to the mind of the President the distinguished predecessors to the Brewery-connected appointee, Timothy asked: “Is it honoring their memory and the great tradition which they represent, to have as their successor a man engaged in the enterprises which Mr. — is now concerned with?” With his characteristic Quaker simplicity, Timothy Nicholson addressed the President as “Dear friend.”
When public officials disagreed with Timothy Nicholson on action or policy they did so “with regret,” and with a regret that was more than conventional, and took the pains to explain themselves thoroughly. Timothy watched men's records carefully, and even relentlessly as it must often have seemed to those scrutinized, but he was as quick and generous in praise as he was in criticism. Candidates hard-pressed for re-election, whether to local office or to Congress, looked to Timothy Nicholson for a word of recommendation and praise as a famished traveller in the Sahara would scan the horizon for an oasis. And if it were deserved they got it.
“It is always pleasant to have a word from you,” wrote United States Senator Charles W. Fairbanks in 1903, “for you take an exalted and kindly view of those questions which deeply concern the State and our general welfare.” Timothy Nicholson's concerns and importunities were distinctive
in that they were for the “general welfare,” and were so recognized by everybody. They were not for place hunters, and least of all and never for himself in any particular.
“I trust that you will feel not only at liberty to write me as the spirit moves you but that you will consider that you are specially invited to do so,” wrote Senator Harry S. New, addressing Timothy as “Friend Nicholson.” It was a gracious and sincere invitation, but an unnecessary one. When the spirit moved Timothy he awaited no senatorial invitation. It was “Dear Timothy” and “My dear friend Timothy” with Senator James E. Watson, in addressing his distinguished and alert constituent of Richmond.
Writing his letters in long hand, Timothy Nicholson did not leave many carbon copies available for use by his biographer. Reading letters to Timothy in reply to his, is therefore much like listening to one end of a telephone conversation; especially so, considering the politician's bent for generalizing, hedging and evading. However, even the wily politician found it hard to evade Timothy Nicholson or to generalize him out of court.
There was naive directness in Timothy's communications that disarmed criticism. From most others it would have appealed as presumptuous and would have aroused resentment, but Timothy spoke as one having authority—the authority of good
judgment, long experience, and a righteous concern. He would write thus, for example, to his representative in the State Legislature: “I want to request and encourage thee to oppose and vote against the bill to legalize prize fighting in Indiana.” The representative in question would doubtless have been disappointed not to have received from Timothy such word of admonition.
Knowing from long experience with politicians “the way they take,” he spoke to them rather peremptorily if the circumstances seemed to warrant it. He thus addressed the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Indiana Legislature in 1905: “Permit me respectfully to request that thou give the House the opportunity this afternoon or tomorrow forenoon to accept these amendments.” The reference was to a bill for the better regulation of marriage licenses. The letter also called the attention of the Speaker to a bill for divorce reform, which had been passed by the Senate and amended by the House Judiciary Committee, frankly suggesting that the Speaker get action on the bill soon, so that the Senate might have time in which to pass upon the amendments.*[note]
Always alive to the faithful discharge of their responsibilities on the part of public officials, Timothy Nicholson was especially zealous when the management of the state institutions was concerned. That involved the welfare of the unfortunates who could not defend themselves, and as a member of the Board of State Charities he looked upon them as his wards. It was thus that the Board fought so persistently “the partisanship of the spoilsmen.” Timothy never hesitated to expose members of Boards whom he had caught playing politics at the cost of the best interests of the state institutions. On one occasion the very efficient and satisfactory Superintendent of one of the institutions was removed by the Board of Managers, despite the efforts of the State Board of Charities to have him retained. Timothy Nicholson promptly prepared a statement for the Indianapolis papers in which he published correspondence that had passed between him and the member of the Board responsible for the discharge, showing that the latter had deliberately deceived him in the matter. The correspondence spoke for itself and the man stood before the public, branded by his own words. Such exposure, and the fear of it, tended unmistakably to make men in public office watch their political steps as they knew Timothy Nicholson was watching them.
A former member of the Board of Managers of the Indiana Reformatory at Jeffersonville, has given this picture of Timothy Nicholson as an inspector, and of the Board's attitude toward his work:
Frequently, at least as often as it was possible for him to do so, he would be found at this Indiana Reformatory, there talking to the inmates, examining into their physical, moral and educational condition. Early in the morning, late at night, he would be seen upon the galleries running along the four stories of the convict cells, peeping into each cell, talking to the young unfortunates there incarcerated, asking them as to their condition and advising them as to their spiritual welfare, and in that way getting all the necessary data and information that could be obtained in reference to the institution and its inmates. And all this labor, this energy, this ability, was expended by him without one penny of compensation and for the single purpose of bettering the condition of these fellow human beings. His only recompense was that which comes to a man in doing something for his fellow men in this world.
The Board of Managers of that institution always felt very much relieved after Mr. Nicholson had made an examination of the institution and made his report to the Governor. If, in such report, there was no condemnation of the management, we felt that things were going along quite well, for we knew if anything was wrong, either in the way those unfortunate inmates were treated or in the business management of the institution, that the keen perception of this lynx-eyed reformer and untiring worker in the cause of humanity would find it.
Timothy Nicholson had the habit of writing men, when appointed or elected to public office, to express his good wishes for a successful term of faithful service. His personal interest was thus shown and the one receiving the letter was made aware of sympathetic observance on the part of the Quaker veteran in philanthropic service. In reply to such a letter came this beautiful expression from Rabbi Morris M. Feuerlicht—a delicate tribute in plain language from a Jewish Rabbi:
I was honored indeed by the rare compliment of thy note. The honor of membership on the State Board [of Charities] becomes magnified by virtue of such words as thine. I trust I may be able to measure up to the high standard of responsibility and service which thy own membership has so signally established. May thou be blessed with many years of health and contentment to witness the fruitage which the seeds of thy planting in this and other holy causes so richly merit.
Letters of good wishes and encouragement by Timothy were not restricted to officials connected with his own State. His alertness to the public welfare was shown by an occasional letter to officials of other states, encouraging them to pursue a progressive policy in administering state correctional and charitable institutions. Governor-elect Henry A. Buchtel, of Colorado, acknowledged such a letter from Timothy Nicholson early in 1907, promising to make the most of his opportunity.
In 1924, Timothy wrote D. H. Blair, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, a North Carolina Friend, protesting against the threatened removal of the Director of Prohibition enforcement in Indiana. Commissioner Blair's reply on the point raised was rather noncommital, but striking the personal note, he said: “I note with interest that thee is in thy 96th year . . . I am indeed glad to have a line from thee—I have known of thee all my life.” Politicians always knew of Timothy!
This brief exhibit of correspondence with public men may be concluded with a quotation or so from letters received from Congressman Thomas S. Butler of Pennsylvania, who said, “Will thee allow me to present to thee an expression of the high esteem in which I hold thee.” The use of the plain language by the aggressive, Big Navy Chairman of the House Committee on Naval Affairs, albeit a confessed Friend, seems no more appropriate, to say the least, than does its use by the Rabbi of the Indianapolis Synagogue. This aside, however, the veteran Pennsylvania Congressman wrote appreciatively: “All of the different members of Congress from thy district have known thee and we have at times had much interesting conversation concerning thee. We have all spoken of thy strong leadership with all sorts of men whose minds were turned in the right direction.”
THE CITIZEN AT HOME
A STATESMAN has been defined as a politician away from home. It was not such a type of statesmanship that Timothy Nicholson represented. We have called him a Quaker statesman and have shown how his large contribution to the development and unity of American Quakerism was based upon faithful and painstaking work in his local meeting. Similarly, his public and far-reaching service in the field of education, philanthropy and social reform has been emphasized. It remains to be seen how that service was also backed up by consistently aggressive efforts in his home community. He was a statesman at home as well as abroad.
His large-scope educational activities, having to do with the Indiana State Normal School, Earlham College and the Friends National Conference on Education, have been spoken of. He was equally alive and faithful to the educational interests of Richmond. As to his services connected with the City Library, allow Mrs. Sarah E. Wrigley, for so many years the Librarian, to speak. The following
words, written by her, were read at the Richmond banquet given in his honor in 1908:
In the public testimonial to Timothy Nicholson, it should be recalled that he was one of the founders of the Public Library.
He was a member of the committee chosen by Robert Morrisson to select and purchase books with the $5,000 donated for that purpose.
A few years later, the City Council appointed him to fill a vacancy, when he became Secretary of the permanent Library Committee. This office was retained for twenty-two years. During this time, the librarian was in a position to know that much of the success of the library was due to his enthusiastic and constant effort for its improvement. He was not afraid of hard work, and frequently laid aside his private business to devote hours, or even days, to advancing the interests of the library.
In 1864, public libraries were almost unknown in the west. At Morrisson Library every detail of administration had to be worked out as occasion demanded. There was no precedent to follow.
Mr. Nicholson was a methodical business men—all rules were strictly enforced; not a book was ever furnished the library without an order from the committee.
He was at one time appointed a member of the City School Board but soon resigned, deeming it improper for a bookseller to be also one of the official book buyers, as it were.
Early in the Eighties, Timothy Nicholson was chairman of a committee in Richmond which organized a private Normal School. It was opened
with the hope that the Legislature would take it over as a state school for eastern Indiana, corresponding to the State Normal at Terre Haute in western Indiana. This hope not being realized, the school was discontinued after operating for three or four years. Timothy Nicholson was President of the Board of Trustees.
Apart from any official connection, he was always recognized as an ardent supporter of the general educational development of his city. In recognition of this fact, one of the Richmond schools, located in the older section of town in which the old Yearly Meetinghouse stood, was named the Timothy Nicholson School shortly following his death.
In 1889, Timothy Nicholson directed a thoroughgoing, city-wide survey of Richmond in the interests of Sunday School work, as a result of which, Bible School attendance increased twenty-five percent. “If you were a Methodist, we would make you a bishop,” said a Methodist pastor, publicly addressing Timothy in complimenting him upon his well directed, efficient work.
Timothy Nicholson was a charter member of the Richmond Y. M. C. A., with which he was actively identified. In recognition of his faithful service, his picture hangs in the Association rooms, along with those of two other pioneer supporters
and long-time neighbors and intimate friends of his—George H. Knollenberg and Benjamin Johnson.
The man who to so large a degree was the pioneer and path-breaker in Social Service and Reform in his State, served that cause in his home town. For many years he was a member of the Richmond Charity Organization Society, and was keenly interested in all those phases of work that were later focussed in the Richmond Social Service Bureau.
By no means foreign to Timothy Nicholson were the more general civic and business interests of the city. With all his outside and humanitarian activities, he was always a Richmond business man among business men and joined heartily with them in promoting the business and industrial interests of the community. He was an active member of the Commercial Club, and he was faithful in attendance at its night meetings at an age far beyond the mark at which most men are content to sit at home in the dim light of the fast fading embers of their firesides.
Fighting so valiantly for clean government in state administration, it would have been strange indeed had he not shown the same vigorous concern at home. And, too often, there was ample occasion for the display of such concern. Twice did Timothy Nicholson serve as the leader of a citizens committee to defeat unsatisfactory Republican
nominees for Mayor, in protest against pernicious ring rule in city government. Such leadership called for courage and resourcefulness of a high order in a day when the powerful saloon influences flagrantly flaunted their power in defiance of law and order. Following the overthrow of boss rule in Richmond in the fall election of 1905, a local paper gave this graphic picture:
There was scarcely a business house in the city but that was represented in this fight against Boss —, and in the thickest of the fight there was no more heroic figure, none who stood out firmer than Timothy Nicholson, the bestknown man in Richmond. Seventy-seven years lay on his shoulders and yet he stood all day at the polls in his precinct in the fourth ward, fighting against bossism in the party which he saw born and with which he had always voted since its birth. It was a stirring example of lofty patriotism that had its effect.
As noted in a former chapter, Timothy Nicholson served as chairman of a “Law and Order” citizens committee to assist in law enforcement in Richmond, especially upon saloonists. And whether on a stated committee or not, he constituted a permanent and vigilant committee of one, to promote observance of the law. On this point, and also as to his general stand on clean politics, Charles E. Shiveley gave the following tribute at the 1908 recognition banquet:
My first impression of Timothy Nicholson was made upon me thirty-two years ago—in the spring of 1876—when,
as a boy, I came to the city of Richmond from Cambridge City, where I then lived and had started in the practice of my profession, to participate in our Republican County Mass Convention. The question was there precipitated as to the use of money in our primary elections. I remember quite well Timothy Nicholson as he stood upon the floor of that convention, advocating a delegate convention as against a primary nomination for our county officers, to the end that there would be less corruption of the voters by the way of use of money. As for long years before that and ever since, there he stood—advocating the purity of the ballot box and ably, courageously, keenly and logically insisting that our politics should be kept clean and that all ballots cast should be honestly and squarely counted. There were those who took the opposite position and insisted that the use of money to pay those who worked in our primaries was not wrong and that it was but right that it should be done; but friend Nicholson did not cower or waver before the strong advocates of this crime and corruption. He here fought the battle of civic righteousness and good citizenship, and made an appeal to the conscience of those present for the future of our Republic.
Again, a few years after that, when I became Prosecuting Attorney, and took upon myself the discharge of the duties of enforcing the criminal laws of the State in this county, there again I came in contact with our distinguished guest, and found him always ready, willing and forceful to assist in the enforcement of the law. He insisted that it was due the people that the laws should be enforced, and, as I now recall my administration of four years, no man or citizen of the county gave me greater aid and support in my attempt to enforce the laws of the State than did Timothy Nicholson. He was always courageous, fearless, sagacious and to the point.
While loyal to the principles of his party, and though actively supporting it at the polls if its candidates were satisfactory to him, Timothy Nicholson was not an “organization” Republican. The only official position he held in the party was that of chairman of Wayne County during the Grant and Wilson campaign of 1872. Among other meetings energetically promoted by him was one in Glen Miller Park, addressed by Henry Wilson, the candidate for Vice President, and another in a Richmond theater addressed by Ex-Governor Morton. Timothy Nicholson presided at both meetings and introduced the speakers. Throwing himself more and more into the cause of social and political reform, the party harness bound and chafed him too greatly to allow the full freedom of effort which his concerns demanded.
Without seeming presumptuous or offensively Puritan, Timothy Nicholson might have been termed the Censor of the city's morals and civic integrity. If abuses existed or if evils threatened, he boldly challenged them. Two instances in point near the close of his life are recalled here. In 1921, a proposal for granting a license for a public dance hall in the City Park was considered by the city authorities. It was characteristic of Timothy that he wrote around to various cities of the State to inquire whether any of them allowed dance halls in their parks. When fully armed with statements
in the negative, he made a successful attack on the project in the city press. At about the same time, the city government was allowing Richmond to be imposed upon by granting licenses to cheap and disgraceful carnival companies. With similar vigor, Timothy Nicholson attacked this noisome nuisance.
When questions of deep conviction were concerned, he did not hesitate to speak out and do his part toward developing a right public sentiment, whatever the force of popular opinion against him. In 1886, a brutal murder occurred in Wayne County, and the murderer was sentenced to be hanged. Public feeling was greatly inflamed over the crime, and the circumstances were peculiarly difficult for making an issue of capital punishment. Even the ministers of the city, the majority of them, approved the verdict. Nevertheless, Timothy Nicholson drafted a petition to the Governor to commute the sentence to life imprisonment, which was approved by Whitewater Quarterly Meeting in session, a committee being appointed to present it in person. Furthermore, Timothy discussed the question in the local press, challenging the ministers to defend their position on Christian and Scriptural grounds and setting forth the position of leading authorities in penology who opposed capital punishment. While this public protest and discussion did not save the convicted man from the hangman's
noose, the community was forced to do some profitable thinking on the issue presented.
As his eightieth year approached, Timothy Nicholson sent his resignation to the Governor as a member, and the last charter member, of the Board of State Charities. So far, then, as his official public service was concerned, this step marked the close of a long and honorable career. Richmond had furnished the background for the major period of his eminently useful life and was proud of its rightly conspicuous citizen. It was deeply appreciative also of his service at home—“of his moral courage in the advocacy of right, of his active participation in every movement having for its object the public welfare, of his recognized wisdom in council and his industry and energy in action.”
The event of the resignation was accordingly seized upon as the occasion for a home town testimonial. Twenty-eight representative citizens got together and decided upon a public banquet in honor of Timothy Nicholson—“a banquet given by the men and women, citizens of Richmond alone, as a testimonial of their appreciation of his long and distinguished service in all lines of his work, and of their confidence, friendship and esteem.” The function was given on the evening of February 11, 1908, in the Reid Memorial Church. “The rooms were brilliantly lighted and tables were handsomely decorated with flowers and candles,
and in all its appointments the banquet was elegant and complete.” Three hundred persons were present and the number could doubtless have been duplicated, and more, had the capacity of the rooms allowed. It was indeed a notable occasion.
- There was a sound of revelry by night,
- And Wayne County's capital had gathered there
- Her beauty and her Chivalry, and bright
- The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men.
This was an occasion of peace and friendliness, to be interrupted by no tocsin of war. “Fair women and brave men” left the banquet halls to do battle only for the righteous ideals which had so long been exemplified by their honored and revered guest.
After the lapse of nearly twenty years, that testimonial banquet to Timothy Nicholson is still talked of by those privileged to attend. It was finely representative of the citizenship of Richmond, known alike for its cultural and its industrial interests. Bankers and manufacturers were there, physicians, college professors and teachers, ministers and lawyers, and the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. As one expressed it, it was a group composed of “rich man, poor man, beggar man, chief.”
It was properly a happy, joyous time, its key being well struck by E. Gurney Hill, another distinguished citizen, in introducing the toastmaster,
Professor David W. Dennis. The spirit of the occasion was truly interpreted by Dr. Dennis in these words:
You have read in our invitation that we are here to celebrate a chapter's end in the long and distinguished public life of Mr. Timothy Nicholson, our fellow townsman. We would have the right to boast according to Scripture at this putting off of the harness, and we would do this just now, only we can't. The truth about Mr. Nicholson's work outruns hyperbole. There is not a page of the long record of which we are not proud. So long it is that we can't epitomize it. We can and we will tell our happiness over it—that is just our purpose—a carnival of joy.
An array of brilliant toasts of tribute followed. Hilarity and good cheer ruled the hour, but always behind the jest and the repartee was the sincere, serious expression of love and appreciation, matched by scores of telegrams and letters received and presented from people of prominence all over the country. Of all the tributes given, among the most discriminating and truly interpretative was that given by Mrs. Mary Foulke Morrisson, speaking on “Reform Movements:”
It is in no boastful spirit, but with a very humble desire to sit at the feet of wisdom that I have come here tonight. The gentleman we have met to honor knows all the moves in the great game of good government and law enforcement. He was a reformer when that occupation wasn't as popular as it is just now. When he began work few dared question that “to the victor belongs the spoils,” and abuse, indifference,
slander and contempt were his portion, year in and year out.
He knows, too, the devious ways corruption will take to gain its ends, the plausible compromise, the discrediting of honest work by innuendo and untraceable slander, the evasions, the brutal defiance. And in spite of all this he has gone steadily on, in season and out, hammering away, creating public opinion, forcing abuses on people's notice, showing them the remedy—always with a high ideal ahead of him—and yet big enough not to sacrifice everything to an ideal, but to take what could be got now and go patiently out again after the rest of it. It is hard to over-estimate the value such work and such example have on a community.
It remained for Miss Sarah Hill to sum up Richmond's sentiment for Timothy Nicholson in the following words adapted from Whittier:
- What better can we name than this?
- A life of brave unselfishness;
- Wisdom for council, eloquence
- For Freedom's need, for Truth's defense.
- The steadfast friendship changing not
- With change of time or place or lot,
- Hatred of sin but not the less
- A heart of pitying tenderness
- And charity that suffering long,
- Shames the wrong doer from his wrong:
- God bless him now and grant that he
- Has yet his happiest days to see.
ON AN October night in 1924, Earlham College suffered the loss of Lindley Hall, its administration and class room building, by fire. Outstanding among the irreparable losses of the fire was the destruction of Robert W. Grafton's painting of Timothy Nicholson which hung in the President's office. At the time of the execution of the portrait, Mrs. Cleveland K. Chase described and interpreted it in a local newspaper, from which characterization the following excerpt is taken:
To the uncritical, the portrait will have all the attraction of a salient likeness; to those who view with a more critical eye there are manifold attractions. Mr. Grafton has had the problem of representing a man old, but not aged, a gentleman of the old school of courtliness, but by way of contradiction representing the Quaker tradition of simplicity and directness; and we may well be content with the fashion in which Mr. Grafton has given us back Timothy Nicholson. Quietly but not idly Mr. Nicholson is seated in an armed chair, with a few books and a lamp by his side; the sense of repose which is such an excellent accompaniment of ripe years is admirably balanced by the strongly felt latent forces which sparkle from the eye and rule the firm lines of the mouth; the hands, too, although in repose, have energy written in every line of them.
Gone is that deftly painted portrait whereby Timothy Nicholson was fairly made to live on a canvas all but sentient. He will continue to live, however, in intimate pictures of memory and in countless cameos of friendly fellowship.
Long will the writer remember his first characteristic picture of Timothy Nicholson. When a college boy in Earlham he attended some of the sessions of Indiana Yearly Meeting. There on the high bench of observation above the Clerk's desk sat Indiana's monitor intently surveying the Friendly scene. Every now and then he would espy entering the room some Friend whom he thought entitled to recognition. Rising quickly to his stately height and extending the long, sinewy arm and the pointing index finger, he would execute a series of spiral invitations forward, which could hardly be declined; especially when accompanied by a beaming facial expression of friendly entreaty. Frequently repeated, it was the most striking picture of Indiana Yearly Meeting that the college boy carried away with him.
Figuratively as well as literally, Timothy Nicholson sat on the high seat of observation in Indiana Yearly Meeting for some fifty years. He viewed the whole field of activity and when, from this point of vantage, he motioned this Friend and that to come hither they had a habit of coming. He generally dominated the situation, not because
he lusted for power but because the force of his personality and the wisdom of his judgment gave him authority. He entertained no false modesty as to the value of his own opinion in a matter. When an issue would arise he was able to evaluate it promptly and mark out what appealed to him as the course of action to be taken. And he would urge that course earnestly and often aggressively, if necessary, though as a rule his conviction carried the weight of decision.
No halo of saintly perfection adorned the brow of Timothy Nicholson. He would be less to us than he was had he not been intensely human, with a considerable blend of human imperfection in his personality. By a curious paradox, his frailties were the frailties of strength. Paradoxically, too, this man of Peace was a born fighter. His marvellous capacity for marshalling and maneuvering his resources in controversy was comparable to that of a successful commanding general. He was at once a good strategist and a daring tactician.
He was dauntless and sometimes all but relentless in purpose. To those whom he opposed he must even have appealed as almost implacable on occasion. No friendship was too dear to deter his stern purpose where he saw an issue at stake, and doubtless he was too rigorous at times. When he struck he struck hard, and in a few cases he was so intent in the path of duty that he perhaps failed
to show to his antagonist the Scriptural “bowels of mercies” that so generally characterized his service. There was very little of the vindictive in his nature, however, and an issue having been fought out, Timothy Nicholson cherished little or no spirit of animosity against those whom he had felt led to oppose. In fact he was known to make it a point to show himself friendly to them. Once when some subject was under consideration by the Board of State Charities, John R. Elder said to his fellow member:
“Timothy, Timothy, I did not know you were such a fighter. I thought you were a peaceful Quaker.”
“When I do fight, I do not use carnal weapons,” replied Timothy.
These rugged qualities of strength made his corresponding gentleness the more appealing. Though he might seem autocratic at times in the exercise of his personal power, he was most democratic in heart and action in association with his fellows. For all he had the warm hand clasp of cordial greeting, the sympathetic ear and the helpful word of counsel and cheer. It was thus that his little office room in the store became so well known as the “inner room of hallowed memories, where humanity found a friend.”
As Timothy Nicholson moved about among people he did so on the basis of equality and mutual
appreciation. He stood on his own feet without fear or favor and expected others to do the same. He liked people for what they were rather than for any social or official position they might hold. Friendliness was instinctive with him and sociability a habit, and he did not allow formality and convention to stand in the way of them. “My name is Timothy Nicholson,” he would say, extending his hand, “what is thy name?”
While a friend to all, there was the inner chamber of intimate friendship for those friends who were especially dear to him. His tender feeling for such is manifested in his expression concerning Allen Jay at the time of the latter's death in 1910, whom he generously characterized as “easily the first Friend in America in his personality and influence.” “After my immediate family,” he recorded, “Allen Jay was my most intimate friend. Ever since he came to Earlham, thirty years before, we were intimately associated in Earlham and in church activities, and our love was similar to that of David and Jonathan. I most keenly felt and I still feel [writing in 1914] the separation.”
To enter the home was to find a loving and considerate husband and father, to whom its cherished relationships were beautifully sacred. Only when the tenderness of his devotion to his loved ones is realized, can one appreciate the heavy cross
he bore in the numerous bereavements which he was called upon to suffer. The loss of his wife Sarah and that of two little children, have been mentioned. In 1888, his married daughter, Marianna Buffum, the eldest of his children, and whose home was in Rhode Island, died while on a visit at her old home in Richmond. Far separated from husband and children, her passing was peculiarly sad, though she was greatly comforted in the loving presence of her father during her closing days and hours. The affection which existed between Timothy Nicholson and this beloved daughter was counted an unusual one, and again was the father's heart bowed in grief. From 1906 he observed the gradual decline in health of his son Josiah, associated with him in business, who died in 1908.
And then, in May, 1911, he was “a second time bereft of a loving and devoted companion, who,” in his own words, “for forty-three years had been my comfort and most efficient helpmeet, encouraging me in all my service for the church and state, cheerfully taking upon herself the care of the family during my many absences from home.” He was now left entirely alone, so far as his immediate home was concerned. The brave way in which he met this and previous sorrows, is indicated by the entry: “I keenly felt the bereavement but by God's grace I continued as usual all my business, social and church services, as I had advised others to do
under similar circumstances, as the best way to overcome sorrow and loneliness.” Thus was increased the ointment of love which he bestowed upon others.
While living alone, by wise preference, Timothy Nicholson was rich in the devotion of children and grandchildren, whose loving kindness, manifested in many ways, he gratefully characterized as one of the chief comforts of his old age.
Early in 1890, John Nicholson wrote from Baltimore to his brother Timothy, saying: “I sympathize with thee in thy reflections upon the fact that we are all growing old—are on the shady side of life and must know that our remaining days must be few.” And Timothy Nicholson lived thirty-four years after his old age reflections alluded to, during which period the major part of his public service was performed. As already pointed out from various viewpoints, his alert service continued to the very close of his life. This required something more than mere physical preservation and mental clarity, remarkable as they were. It called for a largeness of faith and a resilience of spirit that kept him in sympathetic touch with the march of events.
In one of those nobly conceived letters which passed between the Nicholson brothers, William Nicholson wrote to Timothy in 1890 saying: “This is a rapidly changeful world in almost everything
and it requires more alertness than most of us possess to keep up with it—that is to keep in harmony with the changes.” He went on to express his faith that there is real progress in the midst of much seeming retrogression from things once thought fixed and final. “The eddies and little whirlpools seem to have a backward movement,” he continued, “and they really have in part, and yet there would be no eddy nor whirlpool but for the rapid movement of the stream.” For those who are able to embody in thought and action such a philosophy of life there is no old age.
Twenty-eight years later, on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday, Timothy Nicholson received a letter from a Richmond business man which read: “You told me at one time that one of the many secrets of a ripe old age was to learn early in life that the world moves and if you want to keep in touch with your surroundings you must move with it. This you told me many years ago and your physical and mental vigor at ninety proves the truth of your statement.” Thus it was that Timothy Nicholson maintained his capacity for constructive service to the very end.
As was the case in his younger years, nothing that impinged upon the public welfare was foreign to the interest of Timothy Nicholson. It was to be expected that his interest would be kept up in those causes which he had long served so well, but it was
by no means restricted to them. For example, in a letter written July 30, 1913, to Senator John W. Kern, he replied to a request for suggestions on the proposed law establishing the Federal Reserve Bank system. Timothy said he was no banker but had read the bill carefully and as a common business man ventured a few suggestions. There followed nearly two typewritten pages of well considered criticisms of the important measure.
At the age of ninety-four, he wrote to his friend Asa S. Wing, of Philadelphia: “I spend five or six hours daily at my desk in our book store occupied chiefly with a large general correspondence—all with my own pen—upon church affairs, other benevolences, state and national matters, with our Governor, members of Congress,” etc. When an issue would arise which he thought should have Friendly attention and action, he would promptly make his way to a few Friends about town or ask one or more Friends to come to his office, when the matter would be considered and a course of procedure agreed upon.
In his later years, after he had relinquished his posts of official responsibility in church and state, Timothy Nicholson gave a further and unmistakable mark of a great man. For long, long years, by the very fact of his outstanding character and sheer ability, he was the leader in those great causes dear to his heart. It was he who saw, he who
planned, he who executed. But the time came when he voluntarily yielded the active responsibility of leadership to younger men. He resumed his place in the ranks. How generously and with what rare tact did he cooperate with and yield to the leadership of others! He followed them with his loving thought and counsel, ever seeking ways in which to be of assistance. How it moved and humbled but stimulated the younger leaders when from time to time he would come to them, asking their counsel and deferring to their judgment in matters in which he had had so long an experience. Such was the beautiful grace of consideration shown by this veteran of the common good to those who were seeking to follow in his footsteps, though in ability and wisdom they must follow afar off.
One day between the sessions of Indiana Yearly Meeting when Timothy Nicholson was in his ninety-fourth year, he was observed running across the Yearly Meeting grounds to catch a street car. “Will you be doing that when you're his age?” asked one by-standing, middle aged Friend of another. “I'm not doing it now,” was the laconic reply. The time soon came, inevitably, when this remarkable agility of the physical departed; when it was with some difficulty and considerable concern on the part of his friends that he made his way from his home to the store, a walking companion finally proving necessary for his safety.
But he still pressed forward with his wonted eagerness on the wings of the spirit.
As usual, he was in attendance upon the sessions of Indiana Yearly Meeting held during the last week of August in 1924, occupying his accustomed seat at the head of the Meeting. With pertinent concern he admonished lagging Friends to speak promptly to questions before them that the business of the Yearly Meeting might be facilitated. Very shortly afterward, he developed a hemorrhage which his failing body could not withstand, and on September 15 the community learned that Timothy Nicholson was gone.
In the larger sense, such a man never goes. The spirit of Timothy Nicholson walks the streets of Richmond and permeates its life. It moves in the Society of Friends as inspiration and incentive. Its beneficent influence is as healing ointment to the unfortunate in the public institutions of his State. Timothy Nicholson still lives in the distinguished work and achievements of national figures who found in him their ideals and standards of service for humanity. Wherever there are wrongs to be righted, wherever the defenseless need a champion and wherever truth calls for an advocate, is to be found the brave, the compassionate, the discerning spirit of Timothy Nicholson, Master Quaker.
WHERE HUMANITY FOUND A FRIEND
- This inner room of hallowed memories,
- Where sits the man of God, his friends to meet,
- As, one by one, so many come to greet
- Him, seeking counsel how to use those keys,
- Which open doors into life's mysteries,
- Is where we often held communion sweet,
- Together sitting at the Master's feet,
- To know his will, the judge of equities.
- What holy benedictions hover here!
- What happy secrets could these walls disclose!
- That vacant chair reveal how spirits blend!
- Much richer they, who knew his word of cheer,
- Now that he is gone, their testimony shows;
- For here, humanity had found a Friend.
- —JOHN R. WEBB
RECOGNITION AND TRIBUTE
A LITTLE girl living fifteen or twenty miles from Richmond was excused from the day's attendance at school that she might attend the funeral service of Timothy Nicholson, held on September 17, 1924. Young as she was it was a day which she will doubtless long hold dear in memory. For though absent from the school room, she nevertheless attended school that day, learning the lessons which only a long life nobly lived can teach.
Indeed it was a rare experience for all those who could attend. Very few there are whose lives approach, in richness and completeness that of Timothy Nicholson and who may therefore inspire the varied chorus of tribute expressed in his honor. The atmosphere of the memorial service was well reflected in the opening paragraphs of the account given in a local paper:
Seldom, if ever, in the history of Richmond has there been such a gathering of reverent folk, representing every conceivable class and creed, as that which filled East Main Street Friends Church Wednesday afternoon to pay tribute to Timothy Nicholson.
There was no line between, as sorrowing friends met in the huge, high ceilinged room to pay their respects to the man, who more than any other in Indiana perhaps, knew no one but as a friend, regardless of religious belief or color of skin.
Perhaps never in the city's history has there been a meeting similar to this where so many sincere tributes, representing an almost endless list of activities, were paid to one individual. And as these words of appreciation and respect were spoken it seemed as though the spirit of the
venerable Friend filled the room and touched the heart and life of every mourner.
In that gathering were men and women whose lives are nearing their close. White haired and stooped, they sat with bowed heads as they contemplated the loss of their friend. There, too, were young people, many of them Earlham College students. There were rich and poor, merchants, manufacturers, laborers. There were social workers, educators, ministers, professional men and women. There were those who, at some time in life, had crossed the boundary line into territory which Timothy Nicholson was fighting to save for humanity's sake and who felt the force of his fighting strength but who, nevertheless, came to show their regard for the man who was above the reach of petty malice.
The service, which lasted for more than two hours and might have extended much longer had everyone who wished had an opportunity to speak, was unusually impressive. The simple manner in which it was conducted was characteristic of Timothy Nicholson and in accord with the directions which he left for his funeral. There was no music, no ostentation. There was Scripture reading and prayer and a number of talks by friends whom he had known in various activities with which he was associated.
Tribute was expressed at the memorial service by the following: President David M. Edwards of Earlham College, who presided; Dr. Robert L. Kelly, Executive Secretary of the Council of Church Boards of Education, former President of Earlham; Rev. Francis H. Gavisk, member of the Board of State Charities; Dr. Samuel E. Smith, Provost of Indiana University; Rev. E. S. Shumaker, Superintendent of the Indiana Anti-Saloon League; Rev. H. S. James, Pastor of the United Brethren Church, and Rev. J. J. Rae, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, speaking for the Ministerial Association of Richmond; Joseph A.
Goddard, long associated with Timothy Nicholson on the Board of Trustees of Earlham College and in the activities of Indiana Yearly Meeting; Fred E. Smith, Chairman of the Evangelistic, Pastoral and Church Extension Board of Indiana Yearly Meeting; Walter C. Woodward, General Secretary of the Five Years Meeting and Editor of The American Friend; Theodore Foxworthy, Pastor of the East Main Street Friends Meeting; Louis T. Jones, Pastor South Eighth Street Friends Meeting. From a few of the tributes thus given the following excerpts are taken.
In his address President Edwards emphasized the way in which Timothy Nicholson exemplified the spirit of Christ in that he “went about doing good.”BY PRESIDENT DAVID M. EDWARDS
Timothy Nicholson was a man of unusual mental ability and this, together with a simple unostentatious rearing, backed up by an ancestry of many generations of frugal people of simple life, accounts for the splendid personality and unusual life of service and devotion which he lived. But underneath all, and saturating all was his intense religious nature. But his religion was the truly gospel type, and after the manner of the Christ himself, for he had very little to say about religious experiences, and was constantly engaged in some type of religious service. Without doubt Timothy Nicholson had some of the most remarkable religious experiences that could come to anyone, for he was unreservedly committed to the religious life. Without question his spiritual condition was of the highest order; but notwithstanding these facts no one ever heard him say much about his experiences, and no one ever heard him boast of his spiritual condition. Whenever he gave words of admonition and advice it was in the direction of the activities of the church.
The Society of Friends always had a large place in the affection of Timothy Nicholson. In this connection he will be most remembered and most sorely missed because of his splendid judgment and wonderful insight. None of us who have ever known him will ever forget the masterly way in which he set forth his sane, well-balanced decisions concerning the matters under consideration.
Earlham College has been in existence for seventy-seven years. No man has rendered it a more significant service than Timothy Nicholson. Much of the good of Earlham, no little of the customs and practices which have characterized it, no small portion of the high idealism that has prevailed, must be credited to this man who gave it the devotion of his heart and soul.
Timothy Nicholson, that great and good man whom we have had among us for so long a time, whose life has touched almost every phase of the activity of our city, state, and nation, to whom we have been wont to go for advice and counsel in times of perplexity, whose tall form we have seen so many times as we have gone about the streets, who could always be found in his place of business, being diligent in business, has gone from us. This wonderful life of service, simple, unostentatious, and yet masterful, has come to an end. We are all losers by his going. However, this is not a time to mourn, but a time to rejoice; to rejoice that in the providence of God such a man has been permitted to live so long, to retain his faculties to the very end, to be relieved from physical disabilities so that he could get about and be with us, and help and encourage by his words of counsel and wisdom.BY DR. ROBERT L. KELLY
I have come, my friends, as you have come, to pay tribute to the life of a great and good man. I am not here with any unusual gift of insight to depict to you, his friends, the secrets of his greatness. The only qualification I can possibly claim is that many years ago as a student, and as a member of the Board of Trustees and later as a member of the Faculty of Earlham College, I discovered something of the greatness of this man, and it has been one of the
greatest discoveries and one of the greatest sources of strength of my life. I am come here today simply to say that thing.
We have been invited just now to consider something of the mysteries of death. I have not been able to understand the mysteries of the life of Timothy Nicholson. I think I have some insight into it, but I have not been able to fathom it. I have just been reading a piece of fiction in which the author undertakes to say that his hero had a peculiar and miraculous influence working in his life. Among the manifestations which possessed this man was that he had the capacity to feel north—in the midst of the dreariest day or darkest night he had a sense of which direction was north. He didn't always have that sense. When he had it he seemed equipped for life's service and when he did not have that sense he seemed lost and incapacitated. Perhaps that is a crude way to explain the life of Timothy Nicholson, but I have been impressed that for a generation Timothy Nicholson had the sense of feeling north as few men have had that I have known anything about. In the midst of the most complex situation which would require insight and mental capacity of analysis and synthesis, Timothy Nicholson would deliberately say “This is the way out.” In the midst of a great moral situation where social forces were at work and where ethical values were under consideration, Timothy Nicholson would say “This is north.”
It was because Timothy Nicholson knew how to commune with the spirit of God. He had that ability to hear that still small voice leading him out into the solution of problems, into the achievement of great victories in the midst of complicated difficulties. Without being a graduate of a theological seminary and without erudition in the field of church history, he was an ecclesiastical statesman recognized by Protestant, Catholic and Jew. Without being a professional politician, without having had a course in political science, without having occupied any political office except one, which he immediately made non-partisan, he was a political statesman known, and beloved, and followed, and feared by men who lived in the community and men who lived in the state and men who lived in the nation. Without having had
the training of the men, some of whom are on the platform today, in that very unusual science of social service, which has its own language, and its own method, he was yet a leader among the men of that science and was so recognized that for years they have been honoring him with the highest positions and sending him messages of love and appreciation from the state and national associations.
So I might go on, but after all the thing which makes us know and appreciate him best is the fact that he was a personal friend and guide and counsellor. That little room at the back of the bookstore, just large enough to hold a desk and two chairs by crowding—that little room was one of the greatest courts of equity and justice that Indiana has ever known. I have gone to that room over and over as have President Edwards and the rest of us, and I have stood there and taken my turn until others got through; and there a stream of humanity has been passing, white and black, rich and poor, Protestant and Jew, asking questions and getting advice. Usually he felt north, and knowing north, let the rest of the problem straighten out for itself. I can't explain it, but I can say this—Timothy Nicholson was a servant and disciple of Jesus Christ. He believed in Him and acted it out in his life. I am here to pay tribute to this gift of God among men.BY DR. SAMUEL E. SMITH
Only two nights ago I sat in a group of forty or fifty very successful business and professional men in Indianapolis, and when the opportunity permitted I made this remark: “Indiana today has lost her greatest citizen.” Every man present knew the man and approved my statement. One characteristically said, “That man with principles.” Another, “That man with conviction and courage.” And so on down the line. Thus he was generally esteemed.
He was a brave man and a wise man. He was my counsellor and he was a father to me in a way for thirty-odd years. His counsel was always good. I have been long in this work of the State and know his devotion to it and how he gave so much of his time and effort, without compensation or desire for personal preferment. He was a man
who loved humanity; a man who was interested in the uplift of all the people; a friend to every man and every woman deserving of his confidence and goodwill.
He was well named—Timothy—which, being interpreted, is “Honoring God.” Note the present participle—honoring God—every day and every hour. He was consistent in his faith; consistent in his religion. He justified that name.
- “He above the rest
- In shape and gesture; proudly eminent,
- Stood like a tower.”
Suggestive of the many messages of tribute sent by friends far and near, the following are given:
I have loved and honored him for more than thirty years. He was one of the finest characters I have ever known. His sympathy, his understanding and his practical, common sense distinguished, and his personality was most delightful . . . As I write, his beneficent face and his fine figure come clearly up in my recollection. I have been a better man for many years for having known him.—HASTINGS H. HART, Director Russell Sage Foundation, New York.
I have many times said in speaking of him to others, that I regarded him as the only living example of a perfect moral character. If there was anywhere a blot upon his escutcheon during the whole course of a life that covered almost a century, I have never seen or heard of any evidence of it. No tear need fall from the eye of the Recording Angel as he puts upon the page the record of Timothy Nicholson's life. There have been few such characters as he in all time. I never knew another. His entire life was devoted to the advancement of the good of mankind—moral, physical, and social. The world is better for the sojourn here of Timothy Nicholson. His loss will be deplored by all who came to know him for what he was, and among these I count myself one.—THE HON. HARRY S. NEW, Postmaster General.
I trust I may be permitted to mingle my sorrow with yours in the passing of your now sainted father whom it was my proud and happy privilege to know as a personal counsellor and friend. Not only as a devoted family and the great religious denomination of which he was an honored chief, but also Indiana and the nation, regardless of creed, have lost a notable leader and guide along the paths of higher and holier living. He was a noble and indefatigable champion of justice to all and peace with all; an upstanding patriarch in wisdom and demeanor; a courageous prophet of righteousness and love. To me as a Jew, he was a splendid exemplar of what I conceive to be a practical as well as a theoretical Christianity. May you have the fullest comfort from the assurance that his reward above is but the well merited continuation of the reward he always enjoyed in his long and blessed career on earth.—RABBI MORRIS M. FEUERLICHT.
I want to speak of him as a Christian Gentleman. A gentleman has been defined as “one who assumes self-imposed obligations.” The thousand things, the doing of which goes to make the man the gentleman, are not imposed upon him by the laws of the state or by any controlling authority. He does them because it is his nature to. Timothy Nicholson never shirked a duty but he did multitudes of things that contributed to the happiness and the pleasure of others. And this is not all. We have seen how he grew old gracefully. Many of us grow narrow as we grow older. Timothy Nicholson grew wider in his grasp and broader in his interests as his years increased. Many grow intolerant of others as age increases and indifferent to their interests. Our friend was ever considerate of others and treated their opinions with great consideration. Some old people lose their attraction for the young but our friend grew in attractiveness, a rare achievement, and the young sought his company. In all his career he was never assumptive, never intolerant, never overbearing. But it is not gentlemanliness alone that assumes self-imposed obligations. The Christian does it also. It is a part of the fruitage of his religion. So in the “Christian Gentleman” we have a combination that results
in the most attractive character known to man. Timothy Nicholson was such a Christian gentleman. We would there were more such!—JAMES WOOD.EDITORIAL EXPRESSIONS FROM THE PUBLIC PRESS
He had a marvelous capacity for friendship. He was the staunch friend of humanity collectively and he was the loyal, personal friend. He made no distinction in his friendship between the great and the lowly. It mattered not to him whether the friend were white, black, or brown, or whether he were Catholic, Protestant or Jew. He looked beyond color, creed and worldly circumstances, straight to the heart. If he found a good heart he made a friend. He was even the friend of those whom he stoutly opposed. He was manifestly so sincere, so straightforward, so little moved by personal considerations, that he commanded the respect of all. He fought not against men—he fought for them, for the greatest good of all men, and was therefore the friend universal.
With the attitude of a true Quaker, Timothy Nicholson made his emphasis in the field of conduct rather than of opinion—of life rather than of thought. Not that he did not have intellectual convictions, and strong convictions, which he was able enough to defend. As is always true, however, he made the best defense of them by living them. He was willing to think and let think, to believe and let believe. He did not catechize men—he served them; he bound up their wounds, wounds of body and of the spirit, and drew them to the Master in whose spirit he labored.
Two great qualities of character he had to a remarkable degree—unswerving loyalty and unfaltering courage. He was unassailably loyal to principle and to ideal, and loyal to those who represented them. What fine demonstration he gave for example, of loyalty to the Society of Friends and its organized work! Hardly anything so moved and distressed him as disloyalty, to which he largely attributed spiritual apathy and denominational inertia. Although a leader he did not always have his way—yet he bowed to the voice of the church and went loyally forward. The same
spirit dominated his attitude toward his country. How he loved his nation! So great was that love that he gave his life to make it free in spirit and noble in action. He had the high courage to point it ever to a higher standard of action than the popular standards of the hour appreciated. Maintaining the integrity of his own ideal for his country, he calmly but resolutely declined to lower it to the expediency of popular clamor, whether in war time or peace. What higher patriotism could be conceived?
Timothy Nicholson taught us that youth is not a matter of years but a state of heart and mind. The roots of his life grew far beneath the soil of earthly circumstances, thrusting themselves down to the very springs of living water. It was thus that he never grew old in outlook or sympathy. He did not disdain the past experience, he did not fail to cherish the present opportunity, but his eye to the very last was turned to the future possibility. Each day he looked out upon a new horizon of hope and helpfulness.
“It seems like a familiar star gone from the sky,” Rufus Jones writes us. Is it not truly so? And the North Star, we would add. For no more truly do the uncertain wanderers on land and sea turn for reckoning and guidance to that beacon in the starry heavens than have countless pilgrims of the night looked to our departed friend for reckoning and guidance in the great and complex issues of life. It is not that they have turned to mere human aid in looking to him, but as to one of God's lighthouses through whom shone the divine light of wisdom and righteousness to illumine the paths of those who seek The Way.
—The American Friend.
In the passing of Timothy Nicholson, this city loses one of its staunch and sterling citizens, and the Quaker church one of its ablest and most widely known leaders. His career is so intimately connected with the city of Richmond that it is nearly impossible to single out any one of his achievements as the outstanding one of his career.
It is difficult to appraise comprehensively the influence of such a man as Timothy Nicholson was. From him radiated
influences so complex and manifold that they permeated all strata of society and invaded thousands of homes, ennobling and enriching the individuals with whom they came into contact, and uplifting and bettering the entire community and state. In his quiet and unassuming way, in the courage with which he enunciated his convictions, in his tolerance of the opinions of others, in his patience to await the consummation of his ideals, in his forbearance and generosity, Timothy Nicholson set an example that is worthy of emulation by the children of this generation.
Mr. Nicholson rightly merited the title of “the grand old man of the Quaker church.” Grand he was in every sense in which that term may be used—as a churchman, educator, reformer and citizen.—Richmond Palladium.
In the death of Timothy Nicholson, Richmond's loss is the whole Nation's loss, as well. He was an American of a fine type—a thorough, consistent, resolute Christian citizen. He would never condone sin of any sort in public affairs. He stood foursquare for a sober nation, a clean nation, a humane nation, a just and peaceful nation.
Timothy Nicholson, the venerable man we all knew, is gone from us. But the Timothy Nicholson who showed such a high standard of American citizenship still lives and will live for generations to come, in the work which he wrought in our public affairs. A courtly gentleman with that fine breeding that comes with clean living and honest thinking, his name was known across this entire nation and beyond the seas as he exemplified the highest type of the Christian American citizen.
At times, almost single handed, he fought against the enormous wealth and political influence of the saloon. His pleas for more humanity towards the poor, the insane, the law-breakers, in our public institutions, seemed to fall on ears dulled by apathy and indifference, for many years. Yet he fought on and on, until he lived to see the dawn of the brighter day after those years of night. Because he believed his cause was God's cause he never doubted, he never slowed step, he never lost confidence that God's cause is mightier than an army with banners. And he lived to see his faith rewarded with the assurance of final victory. And now his
face is turned home, as he bears his noble sheaves of a wonderful life and its fine accomplishments with him!
Many men live to extreme old age; some are fortunate enough to retain their mental faculties in good degree and also a fair measure of physical health, but there are few indeed who remain in business life and concern themselves actively with affairs of the community up to four score and fifteen years. Timothy Nicholson, dead at 95, was one of these few exceptions. His was indeed a full life.
Coming of a long line of Quaker ancestry, beginning in England, he seemed to have in himself a concentration of the faith, the energy and the enthusiasm that had distinguished these ancestors in their labors for the Society of Friends. His work for and in the church covered a period of nearly seventy-five years, and long ago he became perhaps the most widely known member of that denomination in the United States. It was said there was never a representative gathering of leaders of the Friends’ church during more than sixty years in which he was not conspicuous for leadership.
Mr. Nicholson's activities were not by any means confined to church undertakings. His aid and influence were always to be counted on in the promotion of what appealed to him as good causes in civic and political life. He was, for example, given credit for doing more than any other individual toward bringing about the non-partisan direction of Indiana's penal and charitable institutions. It would be difficult to name any important movement in the way of moral uplift, local or general, in behalf of which his voice was not heard. His words had weight and his influence was sought. He was a leader in the fight against liquor in this country.
When Mr. Nicholson, having reached 80 years, withdrew from further official participation in a number of his activities, he was probably influenced by the thought that this was a landmark in life beyond which most people had not far to go and that his time would also be brief. But for fifteen years more he had his part in the affairs of life and was
regarded by the public with even increased respect and reverence. He was a remarkable man, a good man who showed his faith by his works.—Indianapolis Star.
The story of Timothy Nicholson's life and work can not be told by a recital of dates, names and places. It is one thing to know when he came to Indiana, where he lived, the movements with which he was connected and the reforms he established, but the real story of his life will be found in the hearts of those who knew and loved him, those whose affection for him grew as they better understood the moral courage, the broad vision and the rugged honesty of the man.
Timothy Nicholson seemed born to lead. There was nothing spectacular about him. On the contrary he was particularly quiet and unassuming, but he possessed a strength of character that went well with his ideals, and when he spoke others not only listened but were convinced. So it was with the cause of prohibition, a movement near and dear to him. For many years he led the fight in Indiana against the liquor traffic, and what he did in this state had its effect throughout the nation.
Mr. Nicholson was particularly conspicuous in the movement to elevate charitable and correctional institutions not only in Indiana but throughout the world. His reputation as a prison reformer was international, and his advice was sought by thousands. At the meetings of the state conference of charities and correction Mr. Nicholson always was a prominent leader and a wise counsellor. No member of the Friends church was more prominent or in a position to command greater respect. He watched Earlham College grow from a little school to an important institution, and he had much to do with its expansion. Ripe in years and in wisdom—he was more than ninety-five years of age—he had grown old in years but not in spirit. To the last he was a guide and inspiration to those who were fortunate enough to be numbered among his friends and who sat at his feet to learn from him the real meaning of humanity. Timothy Nicholson is dead, but the work he did for the cause of righteousness will go on gaining strength.
Adams, President John Quincy, 1
Albemarle Country, 27, 29, 30
Albertson, Mary, 182
Allen, William, 23, 25, 26
American Bible Society, 12
American Friend, The (Preface) 237, 243, 244
American Friends Service Committee, 160, 161
Anti-Saloon League, Indiana, 143 ff.
Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs, 152, 153
Atwood, Ann, aft. Nicholson, 30
Baily, Joshua L., 84
Baker, Governor Conrad, 174
Baker, Secretary of War, Newton D., 159
Baldwin, Jonathan, 181
Baxter, William, 90
Bellers, John, 23, 25
Belvidere Academy, 36, 43 ff, 54, 81
Benezet, Anthony, 24
Berkeley, Governor William, 28
Beveridge, Senator Albert J., 155, 156, 157
Bicknell, Ernest P., 100, 117, 161
Blair, Commissioner D. H., 210
Bracket, Jeffrey, 122
Braithwaite, Joseph Bevan, 72, 191, 194
Bright, John, 24, 166
Bryce, James, 2
Buchtel, Governor Henry A., 209
Buffum, Marianna Nicholson, 53, 59, 81, 82, 228
Burnyeat, John, 28
Burson, Margaret, 182
Butler, Amos W. (Preface), 100, 106, 109, 110, 115, 122, 131
Congressman Thomas S., 210
Calhoun, John C., and Nullification, 4
Charities, Board of State, 94 ff., 203, 207, 219
Charity Organization Society, Richmond, 214
Chase, Governor Ira J., 128
Mrs. Cleveland K., 223
Thomas, 59, 174
Christian Worker, 187
Coffin, Charles F., 70, 74, 86, 88
William H., 181, 182
Collins, Isaac, 84
Commercial Club, Richmond, 214
Comstock, Elizabeth L., 84
Cornell, Alice, 57
Silas and Sarah, 57
Crenshaw, John B., 84
Davis, President Jefferson, 73
Dennis, David W., 221
Dickinson, Joseph, 78
Devine, Edward T., 16, 127, 131, 134
Douglas, John Henry, 42
Robert W., 42
Durbin, Governor Winfield T., 128
Earlham College, 70, 166 ff. 223, 238
East Main Street Friends Meeting, 179
Edmundson, William, 28, 29
Edwards, David M., 236-238
Elder, John R., 99, 106, 109, 110, 115, 117, 226
Elliott, Franklin, 181
William L. and Joseph P., 81
Emancipation, Proclamation of, 77
Evans, Isaac P., 78, 168, 181
Mary Ann Buffum, 42
Fairbanks, Senator Charles W., 204
Mrs. C. W., 99
Fetter, Professor Frank A., 133
Feuerlicht, Rabbi Morris M., 209, 241
Five Years Meeting of Friends in America, 155, 157, 197 ff.
Folks, Homer, 123, 131
Fox, George, 19 ff. 28, 29, 83, 186
Foxworthy, Theodore, 237
Fry, Elizabeth, 24, 25
Garrett, Philip C., 128
Garrison, William Lloyd, 4
Gavisk, Mgr. Francis H., 100, 131, 236
General Education Board, 169
Gibbons, Abbie H., 84
Gilbert, Isaiah, 181
Gladden, Washington, 94, 116
Glenn, John M., 131, 133
Goddard, Joseph A., 236, 237
Gough, John B., 9
Grafton, Robert W., 223
Grant, President Ulysses S., and his “Peace Policy,” 154
Gray, Congressman Finley H., 158, 159
Hanly, Governor J. Frank, 128
Harlan, Joseph G., 60, 61
Harrison, President Benjamin, 91, 121
Hart, Hastings H., 131, 241
Haverford College, 54 ff., 167, 173, 174
Hayes, President Rutherford B., 119
Hemenway, Senator James A., 157
Hiatt, Mordecai, 181
Hill, E. Gurney, 220
Hoar, Senator George F., 156
Hobbs, Barnabas C., 75, 76, 121, 189
Hopper, Isaac T., 84
Hovey, Governor Alvin P., 128
Hussey, Timothy, 42
India Prison Commission, 131
Inward Light, 18 ff, 29
Ireland, Archbishop, 94
Item, The Richmond, 245, 246
Jackson, President Andrew, 1
James, Rev. H. S., 236
Janney, Richard M., 84
Jay, Allen, 227
Jefferson, President Thomas, 8
Jessup, Levi, 70, 181
Johnson, Alexander, 87, 100, 101, 102, 104, 111, 118, 122, 123, 124, 131, 134
Jones, Louis T., 237
Rufus M., 197
Kelly, Robert L., 236, 238, 239
Kelsey, Rayner W., and “Friends and the Indians,” 151-154
Kern, Senator John W., 158, 159, 231
King, Francis T., 173
Knollenberg, George H., 214
Lancaster, Joseph, 8
Lange, Theodate, 42
Leeds, Morris E., 161
Lincoln, President Abraham, 77
Lindley, Harlow, (Preface)
Lovejoy, Owen R., 131
Lundy, Benjamin, and the Genius of Universal Emancipation, 4
Lytle, John, 84
“Maine Law,” 9
Mann, Horace, 8
Martindale, E. B., 99
Matthew, Father, 9
Matthews, Governor Claude, 128
McCray, Governor Warren T., 133
McCulloch, Oscar C., 93, 94, 99, 100, 101, 104, 121
Mendenhall, Alice Heald, 18
Miles, Elizabeth Bean, 42
Military Service Act of 1917, 159
Militia Bill of 1902-3, 155-157, 159, 198
Mills, Joseph John, 164, 166, 173, 174
Moore, Joseph, 181
Morning Star, 187
Morrisson, Mrs. Mary Foulke, 221, 222
Morton, Governor Oliver P., 75, 76, 77, 217
Mote, Rhoda S., 182
Mount, Governor James A., 107, 108, 128
New, Senator Harry S., 159, 205, 241
News, The Indianapolis, 133, 247
Nicholson, Anna White Robinson, 27, 31, 32, 52, 65, 66, 73
Christopher, 29, 30
Eliza, aft. Johnson, 79
George, 31, 38, 52
John, brother of Timothy Nicholson, 31, 37, 38, 46, 52, 62, 64, 70, 80, 81, 120, 173, 195, 229
John, son of Timothy Nicholson, 59, 81
Josiah, father of Timothy Nicholson, 27, 30, 31, 43, 48
Josiah, brother of Timothy Nicholson, 31, 37, 38, 46, 52, 56, 65, 73, 195
Josiah, son of Timothy Nicholson, 59, 228
Mary White, wife of Timothy Nicholson, 48, 67, 73, 79, 191, 228
Sarah, aft. Coffin, 79
Sarah Ellen, 71, 79
Sarah N. White, wife of Timothy Nicholson, 48, 49, 66, 67, 71, 72
Sarah W. Newby, 52
Sarah White, grandmother of Timothy Nicholson, 30
Nicholson, S. E., 142
Thomas, great-grandfather of Timothy Nicholson, 30, 79
Thomas, grandfather of Timothy Nicholson, 30
Thomas, son of Timothy Nicholson, 59, 66
Timothy, Passim School, 213
Walter, 71, 79
William, Dr., 31, 34, 37, 38, 41, 43, 48, 49, 52, 58, 65, 73, 154, 174, 184, 190, 194, 195, 196, 229, 230
Oxford Bulletin, 69
Paige, Anna B., 42
Franklin E., 42
Paine, Robert Treat, 13
Palladium, The Richmond, 244, 245
Pease, Joseph, 24
Peelle, Mrs. W. F., 99
Penn, William, 151, 154, 186
Phillips, Henry, 28
Pigeon, Isaac, 181
Piney Woods Meeting, 36, 37, 50, 52
Prison Reform, Committee on, appointed, 84 ff.
Providence Friends School, 38, 40 ff., 56, 81
Radnor Monthly Meeting, 59
Rae, Rev. J. J., 236
Ralston, Governor Samuel M., 131, 132, 203
Rhoades, Dr. James E., 191
Richie, Anna S., 182
Richmond Conference, 190 ff.
Richmond Declaration of Faith, 191 ff.
Richmond, Quaker City of the West, 68
Roberts, William, 181
Robinson, Elizabeth, aft. Wilson, 31, 64, 65
Rachel, aft. Pritchard, 31
Thomas, 31, 34, 41
Roosevelt, President Theodore, 159
Royce, Josiah, 22
St. Louis Exposition, 175, 176
Salmon, Dr. Thomas W., 133
Scattergood, J. Henry, 161
Sherman, General W. T., 152
Shiveley, Charles E., 215, 216
Shively, Senator Benjamin F., 158
Shumaker, E. S., 147, 236
Siddall, Jesse P., 75, 76
Smiley, Alfred H. and Albert K., 41, 54, 55
Smith, Dr. Samuel E., 97, 236, 240, 241
Fred E., 237
Sarah J., 90
Social Service Bureau, Richmond, 214
Society of Friends, An Interpretation, 17 ff.;
established in North Carolina, 27-29;
its work among the Indians, 150 ff.;
its peace testimony before Congress, 156;
Educational Conference, 173-174;
position on the Ordinances, 180, 181, 186 ff.
South Eighth Street Meeting, Richmond, 71, 179
Spaulding, Rt. Rev. John Lancaster, 124
Stanley, Edmund, 197
Star, The Indianapolis, 246, 247
State Normal School, Terre Haute, 174
Steers, Isaac, 42
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 10, 11
Sturge, Joseph, 24, 25
Sufferings, Meeting for, 22
Talbert, Rebecca, 182
Taylor, Dr. Graham, 96, 131
Tebbetts, Mary Bean, 42
Terrell, Allen, 192, 193
Test, Margaret, 182
Thomas, Francis W., 189, 195, 196
James Carey, 173
Tocqueville, de, 9
Toms, Pharaba, 182
Tukes, The, 23, 25
Uniform Discipline, 197, 198
Vaux, Robert, 84
Watson, Senator James E., 159, 205
Webster, Daniel, 8
Weekly Chronicle, 151
White, David, 50
Henry, 52, 138, 139
John, 48, 59
Josiah T., 50, 181
Mary, 48, 73, 82
Rachel Winslow, 31
Whitewater Monthly Meeting, 68, 70
Whitney, Eli, and the cotton gin, 4
Williams, Daniel, 181
Governor James Douglas, 175
Wilson, Henry, 217
President Woodrow, 3, 9, 158, 159, 203
Wing, Asa S., 231
Winslow, Dr. John R., 55
Wood, James, 67, 156, 190, 191, 242, 243
Woodward, Walter C., 237
Woolman, John, 24, 25
Wooten, Abijah J., 181
Wrigley, Mrs. Sarah E., 211
Young Men's Christian Association, Richmond, 213