History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index


H. S. PRENTISS NICHOLS, esq., of Philadelphia, was born in Columbia, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, November 2, 1858, and is a son of Dr. Joseph D. and Emily (DARRAH) NICHOLS. His grandfather was also a physician and a native of H. S. PRENTISS NICHOLS, esq., of Philadelphia, was born in Columbia, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, November 2, 1858, and is a son of Dr. Joseph D. and Emily (DARRAH) NICHOLS. His grandfather was also a physician and a native of New Hampshire. Dr. Joseph D. NICHOLS, was the proprietor of an academy at Columbia, Lancaster county, and died in 1874. His wife Emily DARRAH was a daughter of Robert DARRAH of Warminster Bucks county, and a great-granddaughter of Captain Henry DARRAH of the Revolution.

The pioneer ancestor of the DARRAH family was Thomas DARROCH, native of Londonderry, Ireland, who with his wife Mary, emigrated to Pennsylvania about 1730, with the colony of Scotch Irish who settled on the banks of the Neshaminy, about the famous "Log College." He settled for a time in Horsham township, but in 1740, purchased of Mathew Hughes, a tract of land in Bedminster, Bucks county, on the Swamp Road, below the present village of Dublin, purporting to be 500 acres of land, but really containing nearly 800 acres. He died there in March, 1750. The children of Thomas and Mary DARROCH were Robert, Thomas, Agnes, wife of John DAVIS, Esther, wife of George SCOTT, William, Henry, James, and Susanna. Robert died in Bedminster in 1793, leaving a son Robert and several daughters. He represented his township in the Bucks County Committee of Safety in 1776, and was active in the struggle. Thomas also died in Bedminster leaving two sons Thomas and Mark and several daughters. William was lieutenant of Captain, later Col. ROBINSON'S company of Bucks county militia in 1775, and is also said to have served in the Colonial war of 1756-7. He left two sons Archibald and William and several daughters, one of who Hannah, married David KELLEY of Buckingham and became the mother of Hon. William D. KELLEY, for many years a member of Congress from Philadelphia and known as the "Father of the House." Another daughter Susannah, married John SHAW and was the mother of Commodore Thompson DARRAH Shaw. Still another Agnes married James SMITH of Buckingham, son of Hugh, and was the mother of Gen. Samuel A. SMITH of Doylestown

Henry DARROCH, fourth son of Thomas and Mary, was a miner at the death of his father in 1750. By the will of the latter about 190 acres of the homestead was devised to each of the elder sons, Robert and Thomas and the residue to the three younger sons William, Henry and James, subject to a life interest of their mother. On part of this residue, containing 185 acres Henry probably took up his residence on his marriage in 1760 though it was not conveyed to him by his brothers until 1763, when he was about to convey it to Henry RICKET. In 1767, he purchased a farm of 207 acres on the west bank of the Neshaminy, on the Bristol Road, between Tradeville and New Britain villages, now in Doylestown township, at Sheriff's sale as the property of his brother-in-law John DAVIS. Here he lived until 1773, when he purchased 237 acres further west in New Britain Township, on the line of Warrington township, and now included in the latter township, later purchasing about 50 acres adjoining. This remained his home until his death in 1782. Henry DARROCH was one of the most illustrious of our Bucks county patriots in the trying days of the war for independence. He was a member of the New Britain company of Associates in 1775, and was commissioned in May, 1776, first lieutenant of Captain William ROBERTS company of the Flying Camp, under Col. Joseph HART, and served with distinction in the Jersey campaign of 1776. Returning to Bucks county in December, 1776, his company was one of the few that responded to the second call in the winter of 1776-7. On the reorganization of the Militia in the Spring of 1777, his old captain and lifelong friend William ROBERTS was made a Lieut. Colonel and Lieut. DARROCH was commissioned Captain May 6, 1777, and his company was soon after in active service under Colonel, later Gen. John Lacey. In 1778, it was again incorporated in Col. ROBERTS'' Battalion, which in 1781, came under the command of Col. ROBINSON. Captain DARROCH'S company of Militia was one that was almost constantly in service and he died in the Spring of 1782 from a cold contracted in the service of his country. His will is dated March 17, 1782, and his friends, Col. William ROBERTS, Col. William DEAN and his brother-in-law William SCOTT are named as executors. It is related that George WASHINGTON was a great admirer of Captain DARROCH and visited him at his house.

Captain Henry DARROCH married August 13, 1760, Ann JAMISON, daughter of Henry and Mary (STEWART) JAMISON of Warwick township, Bucks county. Tradition relates that Henry JAMISON did not approve of the attentions of young DARROCH to his daughter, because he was too much of a dashing young man and too fond of fast horses to settle down to the life of a farmer; and that the young people settled the matter for themselves by his taking her up behind him on one of his fast horses and outdistancing the irate father in a race to the parson's. Henry JAMISON was a native of the north of Ireland, and came to Bucks county with his father, Henry JAMISON and brothers Robert and Alexander about 1720. Henry the elder is said to have been born in Midlothian, Scotland, and removed to the Province of Ulster, Ireland in 1685, with his parents, from whence he migrated to Pennsylvania. He purchased in 1724, 1,000 acres partly in Northampton township and partly in Warwick, and was one of the founders of Neshaminy Church in 1727. In 1734 he conveyed the greater part of his real estate to his sons and returned to Ireland, where he died. His son Henry, J., the father of Ann DARROCH, was one of the original trustees of the "new lights" of the Neshaminy Church in 1743, a large landowner and prominent man in the Scotch-Irish settlement on the Neshaminy. He sailed for Florida in 1765, and was never heard of afterwards. His wife Mary STEWART was one of a large and influential family of the names that were early settlers in Warwick, New Britain, Warrington, Plumstead and Tinicum. The children of Henry and Mary (STEWART) JAMISON were, Isabel, who married - Tristram Davis, brother of John who married Agnes DARROCH; Jean, wife of Captain Thomas CRAIG; Ann, wife of Captain DARROCH; Alexander; William, Robert and John.

In the possession of the descendants is a beautifully written letter yellow with age written by Ann DARROCH to her husband while he was in the army. The children of Captain Henry and Ann (JAMISON) DARROCH, were, James, see forward Ann, who married Hugh SHAW; Margaret who married William HEWITT; William, born 1767, died July 11, 1838; John and George, the last two of whom died young.

James DARROCH, eldest son of Captain Henry and Ann (JAMISON) DARROCH, was born in 1764, and reared in New Britain township. In 1789, the executors of his father's will conveyed to him 170 acres of the homestead tract in New Britain and the balance 114 acres to his brother William. James married Rachel HENDERSON, born in Warminster July 27, 1762, daughter of Robert and Margaret (ARCHIBALD) HENDERSON, of Warminster. In 1794 James DARRAH purchased of his wife's sisters and their husbands the 250 acres farm in Warminster belonging to the estate of Robert HENDERSON, formerly the property of Rev. Charles BEATTY, pastor of Neshaminy Church, and they sold the New Britain farm and made their home on the Warminster farm, all of which is still owned by their grandsons, John M. and R. Henderson DARRAH. Rachel (HENDERSON) DARRAH died November 18, 1802, and James married second Rebecca MCCREA. James DARRAH died February 17, 1842, aged 78 years. His children, both by the first wife, were Robert HENDERSON and Henry. The latter married his cousin Martha STINSON, daughter of Elijah and Mary (HENDERSON) STINSON and lived for a time in Warminster, but removed later to Richboro, Northampton township where he died August 10, 1849, aged 58 years.

Robert DARRAH, eldest son of James and Rachel (HENDERSON) DARRAH, was born on his grandfather's homestead in New Britain, February 8, 1789, and removed with his parents to the Warminster homestead at the age of nine years, and spent the remainder of his days there. He was an ensign in the war of 1812. Among the cherished mementoes now owned by the family are three swords, that of Captain Henry DARROCH, of the Revolution; the sword of Ensign Robert DARRAH of the war of 1812 and that of Lieutenant Robert Henderson DARRAH of the Civil war. Robert DARRAH was an industrious and enterprising farmer and accumulated a considerable estate. He had a sawmill on the farm which he operated in connection with his farming. He also had a lime kiln and burned the lime used on his plantation. He early realized the value of a dairy and gave much attention of this branch of husbandry, marketing the product in Philadelphia. He married September 4, 1819, Catharine GALT of Lancaster county, born January 26, 1799, a woman of fine intellectual ability and both she and her husband took a deep interest in and devoted their energies and means to the cause of morality, temperance, education and religion. In 1835, at the urgent request of his wife, he erected a school house on his farm which was afterwards enlarged and in connection with Joseph HART and others secured college graduates as teachers for their own and their neighbors children for many years. In 1849, he built a fine stone mansion house on the Bristol Road and retired from active farming, introducing water, bath, any [sic] many modern improvements, and this was the happy home of his family for forty years. His wife entered into all his plans and was his wise and prudent adviser. She lived to the good old age of ninety-one years, surviving her husband thirty years, he having died August 5, 1860. The DARRAHS were of strong Scotch-Irish Presbyterian stock. For more that a century the family have occupied the same pew in the historic Neshaminy Church, and the first two generations were intimately associated with the equally historic church at Deep Run, near their first Bucks county home, then presided over by Rev. Francis MCHENRY. Robert DARRAH left a family of three sons and six daughters. His eldest son, Rev. James A. DARRAH, born in 1821, was one of the pioneer home missionaries and teachers in the West. He graduated at Princeton in 1840 and studied law under Judge John FOX at Doylestown and was admitted to the bar in 1843. But feeling called to the ministry he took a three years' course in the Theological Seminary of Yale College and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia September 23, 1846. For some months he labored as a missionary at Winchester, Va., and then removed to St. Louis, Mo., where he was pastor of a church and principal of the preparatory department of Webster college for nine years and then was called to the pastorate of a church at West Ely, Mo. He died at Zanesville, Ohio, Feb.24, 1882. The other children of Robert and Catharine (GALT) DARRAH were, Rachel H., first wife of Rev. D. K. TURNER, the eminent Presbyterian divine of Hartsville, lately deceased; Eliza M., who married Dr. FREELAND of Chester county; Emily, the mother of the subject of this sketch; Rebecca, the second wife of Rev. D. K. TURNER; Mary A., who died unmarried; John M., of Hartsville; Kate, who married Theodore R. GRAHAM of Philadelphia; and R. HENDERSON, still residing on the homestead.

Prior to the death of her husband Dr. Joseph D. NICHOLS, Mrs. Nichols returned to Bucks county and resided with her mother at the old stone mansion, on the Bristol road now owned by the subject of this sketch, her son M. S. Prentiss NICHOLS, where she died in 1898.

H. S. Prentiss NICHOLS came to Philadelphia in 1872, and since that time has had a home in the old homestead on the Bristol Road at Hartsville, Bucks county, though most of his time has been spent in Philadelphia. He graduated from the college department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1879; studied law and was admitted to the bar of Philadelphia county, where he has since practiced with success, and has since been admitted to practice at the Bucks county bar. He is a member of the Bucks county Historical Society and takes a lively interest in Bucks county, the home of his distinguished maternal ancestors. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution.

He married, June 4, 1895, Isabel MCLIHENNY, of Germantown, daughter of John and Berenice (BELL) MCLIHENNY, both natives of the north of Ireland, now living in Germantown, but formerly of North Carolina, where Mrs. NICHOLS was born. Mr. and Mrs. NICHOLS reside at 346 Pelham Road, Germantown, but the summer months are generally spent at their county home at Hartsville, Bucks county.

Text taken from page 138 - 141of:

David, William W. H., A. M. History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed November, 2000 by Donna J. Kling of Pennsylvania as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published December 2000 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks

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