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Rev. Henry Nichols, Missionary to Pennsylvania

November 23, 2015 , , , , , ,

St. David's Church, Radnor, Pa.

St. David’s Church, Radnor, Pa.

My 8th great grandfather was born in Wales and died in Maryland.  He came to Pennsylvania on a mission for the Anglican church.  He wrote his own epitaph in Latin which is telling about his beliefs.  He was harsh on himself.

Rev. Henry Nicholls, B.A., 1703 & M.A., 1715, Jesus College, Oxford, Wales. He was sent to Pennsylvania, 1702-1708, during the reign of King James II. He ministered at Chester, Pennsylvania.   The Chester Church is described as of good brick fabric, one of the neatest on the continent, furnished with handsome furniture and pews.  He also served St. David’s Church, Radnor, Pa. and at Concord and Montgomery, Pa. Later, he was transferred to St. Michael’s Parish, Talbot Co., Maryland where he served, 1708-1749, (41 years).

From William King and Virginia Watkins – Their Ancestors and Descendents compiled by Maellen King Ford

Henry Nichols was the first residential missionary to Pennsylvania for the “Society for Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts“, arriving in 1703. His churches were located in Chester, Concord, Radnor, and Montgomery. The members were regular and constant in divine worship, and they contributed 60 pounds a year toward their pastor’s support. The Radnor Church is still in excellent preservation, known as St. David’s Church and has been in use since 1708. Rev Nichols requested a transfer in 1708 and became rector at St. Michael’s Parish Church. Talbot Co., MD – a post he occupied until his death. For years, all records of his life were lost. The early church books had disappeared! Until June 1878 when workmen, employed to demolish the old church building, found his tomb under the Chancel in good preservation.

The following is a translation of the Latin inscription found on the slab over his tomb: “Here lies the remains of Henry Nicols, M. A., formerly a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, England, and a pastor of this church for 41 years – most unworthy. Born April 1st, 1678; died Feb. 12, 1748. Save his soul, O Christ for Thy own merits. Tread upon salt without savor.” (Henry has ordered these works to be inscribed before his death.) A number of his descendents still worship at St. Michael’s Church. They placed a tablet there to his memory where he ministered for so long. (From the Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 1943, by Mary Clement, M. A., Principal of the Girls County School Board, Bridgend, Glamorganshire, Wales.)

Rev. Henry Nichols (1678 – 1748)
is my 8th great grandfather
William Nicholls (1709 – 1776)
son of Rev. Henry Nichols
Amos Nicholls (1740 – )
son of William Nicholls
Amos Nicholls (1780 – )
son of Amos Nicholls
Amos Nicholls (1808 – 1868)
son of Amos Nicholls
Emiline P Nicholls (1837 – )
daughter of Amos Nicholls
Harriet Peterson (1856 – 1933)
daughter of Emiline P Nicholls
Sarah Helena Byrne (1878 – 1962)
daughter of Harriet Peterson
Olga Fern Scott (1897 – 1968)
daughter of Sarah Helena Byrne
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Olga Fern Scott
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

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comments early church seeder. Someone actually sent there to do it. Very interesting


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

November 27, 2015

Hello Pamela. It appears that we are 9th cousins! Rev. Henry Nichols is also my 8th great grandfather. I am a descendant through the line of his son Jonathan Nichols, and Mary Challis.



March 8, 2017

Very cool. I would love to know more about this branch.


Pamela Morse

March 8, 2017

Hi Pamela.

Sorry for the delay in responding. I would love to share with you how I connect to Henry Nichols. My direct email is

Both of our lines are part of the American fabric although, woven in different ways. It’s interesting to be able to reconnect the lines.

Take care and I hope to chat with you soon!




March 22, 2017

Cool, and thank you…


Pamela Morse

March 22, 2017

The Rev Nichols is my 7th great grandfather too. His granddaughter, Elizabeth Nichols, married a King, in 1748. My paternal Grandmother’s family. I serve as an Episcopal priest in Mississippi of a mission parish. I care on his work. The Rev. John David Simpson


John David Simpson

February 28, 2018

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