February 24, 2012

A Nickerson Tour


In some ways, Samuel M. Nickerson was a Chicago man. This is where he made his wealth, coming to the city in 1858 newly married and penniless after a dry goods business failed in the South. Thanks to his new father-in-law’s connection to the liquor distilling trade, Nickerson amassed his first fortune on Civil War Union Army contracts; then he presciently moved on before Temperance hit and became one of Chicago’s banking giants. But when he officially retired at around age 70, he left his marble palace and the city of big shoulders behind and went back to his real roots: Massachusetts. The Nickerson name is far stronger there, since Sam’s ancestor William Nickerson was one of the first English settlers to set foot on Cape Cod in the 1640s.

Like many moneyed or influential historic families, the Nickerson name lives on through buildings, library collections, and organizations out East. Since this mild winter has activated the travel bug in more than a few of us, a Nickerson-themed trip could be arranged.

…If you like yurt camping…

Nickerson State Park, a forested 1,900-acre preserve dotted with kettle ponds, is located mid-Cape along Route 6A in Brewster.

…If you root for the BU Terriers…

Boston University’s athletes play soccer and lacrosse on Nickerson Field, named for William E. Nickerson who was among the BU Board of Trustees when he donated the original field to the university.

…If you need a vacation getaway…

You can literally stay at one of Samuel M. Nickerson’s Cape Cod summer homes. It’s called The Mansion at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club now, and it bills itself as “a seaside retreat with 429 acres to satisfy your every whim.” (If you don’t feel Victorian enough playing golf on a Nicklaus-designed course, there’s croquet available on the lawn.) The site used to belong to Fieldstone Hall, built by Nickerson for his only son, Roland. After Fieldstone Hall burned down in 1906 and Roland died, legend has it, of heartache, Sam built a new one in its stead to live in with his widowed daughter-in-law until his death in 1914.

…If you’re a Nickerson, too…

Annual reunions in Chatham for descendents of the Nickersons, organized by the Nickerson Family Association, are dedicated to celebrating the original roots of the family tree: William and his wife Anne Nickerson. This September they’ll celebrate the 375th anniversary of William’s arrival in America with a pig roast on original Nickerson property.

< Back to overview


by Lois r. Lewis on February 24, 2012 | at 06:07 PM |

Thank you, I would like to know about the speakers series that you have this winter.  God Bless


October 07, 2015
Dressing Downton Exhibition Tickets Now on Sale

Purchase your tickets now to see the costumes of Downton Abbey® in 2016. Read more

September 18, 2015
Chicago Architecture Biennial’s Public Programs Announced

The city's inaugural architecture biennial has listed their public programs for the year. Read more

Featured Program

Jewelry As Art: The Austrian Jugendstil Style
Wednesday, November 4

Janis Staggs, Associate Director for Curatorial and Publications at Neue Galerie New York, discusses turn of the twentieth century German and Austrian jewelry, otherwise known as Jugendstil. Read more

Featured Program

Evening at the Marble Palace
Friday, November 20

For the first time ever we're opening our Evening at the Marble Palace event to the public. Bring your friends for a cocktail party in the Nickerson Mansion! Read more