Biographical Profile: Pvt. John B. Nicklin, Company K, 100th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers

From the Standard History of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chas. D. McGuffey, 1911 as posted on the Hamilton County, Tennessee Genealogical Society website

John Bailey Nicklin

  No history of Chattanooga, for the past forty-four years, would be complete if it did not make some record of J. B. Nicklin, who, for that length of time, has been a factor in everything that was for the upbuilding of the city.

Mr. Nicklin was born in 1845. He was descended from that sturdy German stock that has ever been characterized by honesty of purpose and devotion to our country's best interests. He was a Philadelphia schoolboy. His ancestry, having served in the Continental army and ever being ready to take up arms for our country's cause, made him only the more anxious to follow their example, and in 1861 he volunteered in the Federal army, when only sixteen years of age. For four years he served as a Federal soldier, and was mustered out in 1865. His regiment was the One Hundredth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. He came to Chattanooga, in 1866, and went into the drug business, which has ever since been his occupation.

For fourteen years, he was a member of the Chattanooga Board of Education; two years of that time he was president of the board. His broad fraternal nature caused him, when only twenty-two years of age, to seek admission into the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons; receiving all the degrees from Entered Apprentice to the Holy Royal Arch in 1867, and the Orders of the Commandery in 1872. In all those bodies he filled the various offices, and in 1885, was elected right eminent grand commander of the Grand Commandery of Tennessee. He received the Scottish Rite degrees up to and including the thirty-second in 1892, and in October, 1903, he was crowned an inspector-general, honorary, of the thirty-third and last degree. He has an unbroken record of forty-three years as secretary of Hamilton Chapter No. 49, R. A. M., and for eighteen years has been the recorder of Lookout Commandery No. 14, Knights Templar. During all these years his attendance has been regular, and his devotion to the order supreme.

September 6th, 1871, he married Miss Lizzie Kaylor, of this city, and to that union four sons were born, viz.: V. P., S. S., D. P., and J. B., Jr. All these have grown to manhood and form a group of brothers seldom equaled. In yellow fever time, in 1878, Mr. Nicklin remained at his post, kept his drug store open, and was in close touch with the relief committee, whose members had a warm feeling for their associate in those trying times.

In 1871 he was elected mayor of the city of Chattanooga, and served for two years in a manner to reflect much credit on himself and honor on the city. Had he asked for re-election it is doubtful if any man could have defeated him.

It has been truly said that the brave soldier never fights after his enemies lay down their arms, such was the case with J. B. Nicklin. As soon as the South laid down her arms, he was ready not only to treat them as honest citizens and brothers of this great republic, but was ready to cast his lot with the South and help rebuild her shattered homes. From that day to this, no one has ever heard him utter one word of censure for any man who espoused the cause of the Southern Confederacy. Nor has he any patience with the man who would, in the slightest degree, perpetuate the feeling that existed between the North and South during those unfortunate times. This same broad, liberal spirit has characterized his business and social life, and on this basis more than any other rests his universal popularity.

He has always been interested in athletics, and gave his moral and financial support to all matters for the innocent entertainment or sport of young men. He is an ardent admirer of the great American game of baseball, and was for years president of the Southern League of Baseball Clubs. Even to this day, he will attend a game at any time his business demands will permit.

In politics, he has always been Democratic, but of him it might well be said:

"'We join ourselves to no party that does not carry the flag, and keep step to the music of the Union. "

You will travel far before you will find a better friend, a better neighbor, a better citizen, than John Bailey Nicklin.

Standard History of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chas. D. McGuffey, 1911


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