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Nichols, J. Howard



  • Existence: 1838 - 1905


John Howard Nichols was born in Kingston, New Hampshire in 1838. At the age of 19, while working as a clerk in a wholesale grocery store in Boston, he attracted the attention of some China merchants. In 1857, he was sent to China by John L. Gardner and Company as supercargo of one of their ships. He decided to stay in China as an agent buying tea, cloth, straw hats,and other dry goods for his employers, and shipping them back to America for resale. He worked closely with several other companies involved in China trade, including Augustine Heard & Company, Olyphant & Co., and Russell & Co. It does not appear from the content of his correspondence that he himself interacted much with the Chinese at all, but he seems to have had friendly relationships with his business associates and other Westerners in the area.

Nichols was in China during three separate periods, 1857-1863, 1865-1868, and 1873. In December 1873, he returned to America permanently and in January 1876 was offered the position of treasurer for the Boston, Massachusetts textile firm Dwight Manufacturing Company. He also served as treasurer of the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, and as presidentof the board of directors of the Lyman Mills and the Manchester Mills. He invested in property in Galveston,Texas, which his brother Frank Nichols managed, and in Kansas City, Missouri. He died in Newton, Massachusetts, at the age of 67 on September 15, 1905.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

J. Howard Nichols papers

Collection Identifier: Mss:766 1856-1905

Personal and professional papers of China trader and textile manufacturing firm treasurer J. Howard Nichols, 1856-1905.