Biography - William McNichols

WILLIAM H. McNICHOLS. For many years this representative citizen has been a resident of Montgomery County, Ill., and during that time has been prominently identified with the farming interests of the same. Although just in the prime of life, he has made his way to the front ranks among the energetic, thorough going farmers of the county, and owing to the attention he has always paid to each minor detail, he has accumulated a fair share of this world's goods. Upright and honorable in every walk of life, he is well respected by all, and has a host of warm friends. He served his country faithfully during the Civil War, was ever to be found at the front, and was a loyal, true-hearted soldier.
Mr. McNichols was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, January 14, 1842, and is the eldest of a family of eight children born to Joseph and Jane McNichols. But little is known of the McNichols family, except the mere fact that his father was a native of New Jersey, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. In 1855 the family came to Montgomery County, Ill., and located on the farm where our subject now resides, and there the father passed away in 1874. The mother is still living on the old homestead. Our subject grew to sturdy manhood on this pioneer farm, and secured but a common-school education. When the Civil War broke out he flung aside the implements of peace to take up the weapons of warfare, and, although a boy of only twenty summers, he enlisted early in 1862 to fight for the Old Flag. On the 11th of August his name was on the rolls of Company B, Seventy-third Illinois Infantry (called the Preachers' Regiment), as a private, and he was mustered in at Camp Butler. He was immediately sent to the front at Louisville, Ky., and there joined the Army of the Cumberland, Sheridan's division. Our subject's command was sent to Covington at the time Kirby Smith made his daring raid, but soon returned to Louisville. He was in the heat of battle at Perryville, this being his first general engagement, and next he was in front at the bloody battle at Stone River. After this he was in the vicinity of Murfreesboro, engaged in scouting and skirmishing, until his command was ordered to the siege of that great and bloody battle of Chickamauga. On the second day, while his regiment was making a desperate charge on the works of the enemy and the bullets were falling like hail, and the field covered with his dead and wounded comrades, our subject fell too, pierced by the Confederate bullets. He was carried from the field, and by an ambulance to a hospital fifteen miles away. There it was found that one ball had lodged in his right hip, another in his left thigh, and a third had plowed its way through his left thigh. The one in his right hip was removed, but the one in his left thigh could not be found, and to this day he carries it as a memento of that bloody day.
Mr. McNichols remained in the hospital for some time, and suffered great pain. When able to travel he procured a furlough and returned to his home in Illinois. In the spring following he returned to the front, but was not able for duty, being in the different hospitals, including Quincy and Chicago, until the close of the war, or July 2, 1865. He was discharged at the last-named city. In his regiment were two uncles, C. W. and W. B. McNichols. The latter was taken prisoner at the same battle in which our subject was so severely wounded, and after fighting starvation in Libby prison for thirteen months, died a terrible death. He now lies in an unknown and unmarked grave.
The former, C. W. McNichols, served through the war, and is now living in Shelby County, Ill. After his discharge our subject returned to his home and engaged in farming, which has been his business ever since. He has continued to live on the old homestead, but in 1872 he bought another farm for himself, about two miles south of the place where he now lives. With the exception of one sister, who lives in the Sunflower State, the children are all living in the vicinity of the old home. Mr. McNichols has ever been a stanch Republican in politics, and is an enthusiastic Grand Army man, being a member of the post at Nokomis. He has never held any political offices, but has been School Trustee, and has held other such positions. He has never married, and is a man highly spoken of, and one of true worth.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 397-398.

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