NICHOLS, Washington Irving

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NICHOLS, Washington Irving (1838-1895), New York-born judge from Siskiyou County and investor in one half interest of San Miguel Island in 1887 for $10,000. He bought the interests of his friend, Warren Mills, thereby becoming partners with Captain William G. Waters who bought the other half for $10,000. In 1889 and 1890, Nichols practiced law in Santa Barbara. In 1895 he formed a partnership with C. A. Storke and practiced his profession until his death later that year. “His humorous and genial nature made him liked and respected by all.” In 1895, Judge Nichols died in Santa Barbara at age 57. He is buried in the Santa Barbara Cemetery. He was survived by his son, Charles Percy Nichols.

February 17, 1888 [Minnie Waters diary]: “The schooner [Ocean King] came in to anchor in the harbor today, bringing mail and Mr. Mills and his friend, Mr. Nichols from Siskiyou County... Mr. Mills is going to sell his interest in the island to Mr. Nichols... I think Mr. Nichols ia a very nice gentleman.”

February 20, 1888 [Minnie Waters diary]: “The wind blew so that Mr. Nichols did not dare to go out on such a small boat as the Ocean King, so they remained [on San Miguel Island] another day... Mr. Nichols has about concluded the bargain and will be Will’s partner instead of Mr. Mills. He wanted to sell out as he has more land that he can attend to and was tired of the island.”

In the News~

April 14, 1888 [SBDI]: “The sloop Ocean King arrived from San Miguel Island this morning with twenty-three bales of wool for Waters & Nichols.”

September 24, 1888 [SBDI]: “H. G. Harvey will leave for San Francisco Tuesday to bring his new steam yacht Lillian, built expressly for him, to Santa Barbara. He will bring as a cargo 35,000 feet of lumber to be used in constructing a hotel on San Miguel Island. The gentlemen interested are Judge W. I. Nichols and W. G. Waters, the owner of the island. The intention is to build a first class rustic hotel, with eating accommodations for about 100 guests. All the beef, mutton and fish used will be from the island, and parties going over will live as well, if not better, than on the mainland. In connection with the hotel scheme, the steam yacht Lillian will convey passengers across the channel and will run excursions during the winter. The boat will be a welcomed addition to Santa Barbara’s fleet, and she already has work enough to keep her busy for some time. The site for the hotel has been selected and work will be commenced as soon as the material arrives.”

June 20, 1889 [SBMP]: “The schooner Ethel left yesterday afternoon for San Miguel Island with a party consisting of Judge W. I. Nichols and A. E. Putnam and their families who will spend a month on the island. The party expected to get away several days ago but were delayed by the non-arrival of the boat’s papers from San Pedro.”

June 21, 1889 [SBMP]: “Putnam and Nichols, the attorneys, have gone on a cruise to the islands.”

July 30, 1889 [SBMP]: “The swift and pleasant yacht Challenge is for charter for passage and freight in the Channel and to the islands. Terms reasonable. Apply at the office of Putnam & Nichols, Fernald Block.”

December 19, 1889 [SBCounty Deed Book 26: 203-204]: “W. I. Nichols to William Schilling... in consideration of the sum of ten thousand dollars legal money... the undivided one half of, in and to San Miguel Island... also the undivided one half of all the following described personal property now on said island consisting of horses, cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, mules, poultry, hay farming implements, wagon, cart, harness, and saddles, blacksmith and other tools, improvements on said island, household and kitchen furniture, one other boat, one dory, one lighter, one skiff, the moorings in the harbor... also the undivided one third of the sailing yacht Challenge...”

September 11, 1890 [SBMP]: “Judge W. I. Nichols left yesterday for San Luis Obispo where he will open the Republican campaign on Saturday night.”

January 14, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “Mrs. Jennie T. Nichols of this city died yesterday morning at the Faith Mission of an overdose of gelsemium, taken last Friday as a medicine… Mrs. Nichols was a former wife of Judge W. I. Nichols of Lompoc.”

July 24, 1893 [SBDI]: “Judge W. I. Nichols sold his home in Lompoc to Mrs. D. W. Gruwell. The Judge will soon go East with his family to visit the great Fair.”

September 7, 1895 [SBMP]: “The funeral of the late Judge W. I. Nichols was held yesterday afternoon from his residence [1108 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara]. A large number of friends were present, including several Orders of which the Judge was a member, and a feeling of regret pervaded the concourse that has assembled to pay the last tribute of respect to the deceased.”

Nichol’s Point, San Miguel Island is on the northeast quarter of the island to the southeast of Bay Point. Presumably it is named for Judge W. I. Nichols, one-time part-owner of San Miguel Island.