John A. Nicholson

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John A. Nicholson
John A. Nicholson.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1865 – March 4, 1869
Preceded byNathaniel B. Smithers
Succeeded byBenjamin T. Biggs
Personal details
Born(1827-11-17)November 17, 1827
Laurel, Delaware
DiedNovember 4, 1906(1906-11-04) (aged 78)
Dover, Delaware
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Angelica Killeen Reed
ResidenceDover, Delaware
Alma materDickinson College

John Anthony Nicholson (November 17, 1827 – November 4, 1906) was an American lawyer and politician from Dover, in Kent County, Delaware. He was a member of the Democratic Party, who served as U. S. Representative from Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

He was born in Laurel, Delaware, and was the son of Jacob Cannon Nicholson and Susannah Fauntleroy Quarles Nicholson.[1] He began preparatory studies in Laurel, completing them at a seminary in Nelson County, Virginia, possibly the Presbyterian school at Lynchburg. After four years study, in 1847 he graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He married Angelica Killeen Reed in August 1848 and John Reed Nicholson was one of their children.

Professional and political career[edit]

Nicholson began his career as briefly the superintendent of the free schools of Kent County in 1851. At the same time he studied law with Martin W. Bates in Dover, was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1850, and began a law practice in Dover. In addition he served as brigadier general of militia in Kent County in 1861. In 1864 he defeated the Republican and Ultimate Unionist candidate Nathaniel Smithers, another Dickinson graduate, and was ultimately elected as a Democrat to the 39th and 40th Congress, serving from March 4, 1865 to March 4, 1869. During the first term he was on the Committee of Elections and in the second the Appropriations Committee. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1868 and continued his practice of the law.

Death and legacy[edit]

Nicholson died at Dover and is buried there in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery, on the grounds of the Delaware State Museum. His son, John Reed Nicholson was the chancellor of Delaware between 1895 and 1909.

His home, Wheel of Fortune, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.[2]


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. U.S. Representatives took office March 4 and have a two-year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Representative Legislature Washington March 4, 1865 March 3, 1869
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1865–1867 39th U.S. House Republican Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
1867–1869 40th U.S. House Republican Andrew Johnson at-large
Election results
Year Office Subject Party votes % Opponent Party votes %
1864 U.S. Representative John A. Nicholson Democratic 8,762 52% Nathaniel B. Smithers Republican 8,253 49%
1866 U.S. Representative John A. Nicholson Democratic 9,933 54% John L. McKim Republican 8,553 46%


  1. ^ The Stout Family of Delaware: With the Story of Penelope Stout. 1915. pp. 89–.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  • Martin, Roger A.. (2003). Delawareans in Congress, the House of Representatives 1789-1900. ISBN 0-924117-26-5.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nathaniel B. Smithers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Benjamin T. Biggs