James M. Nichols. One of the live, energetic and enterprising weekly newspapers of Southern Oklahoma is The American, which is edited at Comanche by James M. Nichols. During a long and active career Mr. Nichols has been engaged in various lines of endeavor, in all of which he has won a fair measure of success, but since 1903 has devoted himself almost exclusively to journalism, which it would seem is the field for which his attainments are best adapted.
Mr. Nichols belongs to a family which originated in France and came to America prior to the War of the Revolution, settling in North Carolina, and he is a native of Arkansas, having been born in Polk County, February 6, 1867, a son of James Fletcher and Charlotte (Stinnett) Nichols. His father was born in DeKalb County, Alabama, in 1840, and as a young man went to Arkansas, where he resided in Polk County until 1879, in which year he was a pioneer to Indian Territory. He settled on a farm near the present site of Waurika, Oklahoma, and commenced agricultural operations, in which he had been engaged throughout his life, but did not live long after coming to the new community, as his death occurred December 1, 1879. He was a devoted member of the Methodist Protestant Church, in the faith of which he and his wife reared their children. In political matters he was a democrat, and during the Civil war his sympathies were with the South and he served for a short time as a soldier in the Confederate army, under Generals Price and McCullough. Mrs. Nichols was born in Polk County, Arkansas, in 1843, and there her death occurred in 1873. She was the mother of four children: James M., of this notice; Sarah, deceased, who was the wife of R. R. Henington, who is now a farmer of Jefferson County, Oklahoma; Ardelia, who died at the age of four years; and Charlotte, who is the widow of the late M. C. Runyan, a barber, and resides at Maysville, Oklahoma.
James M. Nichols was six years of age when his mother died and was but twelve when his father passed away. He received his early education in the public schools of Polk County, Arkansas, and when his father died went to Montague County, Texas, where he attended school for two months, in the meantime earning his own living by accepting such honorable employment as came his way. In 1881 he left school and apprenticed himself to the trade of machinist in cotton gins, and in 1882 moved to Indian Territory, locating in what is now Love County, where he was engaged in farming until 1884. Subsequently, for three years Mr. Nichols farmed in Crawford County, Arkansas, and then spent one year in Polk County, Arkansas, this being followed by two years of work at his trade in the pineries of the Choctaw Nation. In 1889 Mr. Nichols returned to Texas, locating in Lamar County, where he farmed for one year, and in 1890 came to what is McClain County, Oklahoma, where he first worked at his trade and subsequently engaged in the mercantile business until 1903. In that year he became identified with journalism, taking charge of the Johnson Journal. Subsequently, the town of Johnson was renamed Byars, and Mr. Nichols founded Byars Banner, of which he continued as proprietor until 1912. He then came to Comanche, where he has leased The American since March 1, 1913, and of which he is also the editor. This newspaper was originally a republican organ and was established May 5, 1908, by E. A. Bourne, and March 1, 1910, was acquired by its present owner, P. W. Tucker, who changed its policy to correspond with the principles of the democratic party. It has an excellent circulation in Stephens and adjoining counties, as well as a good outside list and is considered a valuable advertising medium. Its modern offices and plant, located in the Wade Building, are well equipped in every way and include up-to-date presses and type for the best kind of job work. The newspaper circulates weekly, and as edited by Mr. Nichols furnishes the people with clean and reliable news, interesting accounts of local happenings and timely and well-written editorials. Mr. Nichols is a democrat. He is an ex-member of the Woodmen of the World, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Brotherhood of American Yeomen.
On February 16, 1905, Mr. Nichols was married in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, to Mrs. Martha (Carroll) McDowell, daughter of A. C. Carroll, deceased, of Jndian Territory, but a native of Missouri. Mrs. Nichols is the widow of John McDowell, who was a farmer of Pottawatomie County, where he died. One child has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Nichols: Eura Fae, born February 28, 1908. Three children were born to Mrs. Nichols by her former marriage: Ira Ray, who is a graduate of the graded schools and now an apprentice in the office of The American; Rua Rufus, who is in seventh grade of the public schools; and Iva, who is a scholar in fifth grade.