Agnes Robina Easton and Charles Albert Nichols

Agnes Easton was born about 1847 or 1848, based on her stated age of 7 when she arrived with her family in February 1855 aboard the Wanderer. Agnes was the sixth child of Thomas Easton and Mary Waldie. According to that passenger list Agnes could read, so like her other siblings she received an early education, either formally at school or at home from her parents.1

Agnes Easton, as Alice Robina Easton, a stonemason's daughter, married Charles Albert Nichols, a carpenter, on 30 October 1876 at the "home of Mrs Easton" in Bothwell, Tasmania. The witnesses were David Easton and Sarah Brookes.2 Charles Albert was born on 8 November 1847 in the Green Ponds district of Tasmania, the son of John Nichols and Ann Fortnam. Charles' birth or baptism registration has not been located but his birth family has been associated based on the use of the middle name Fortnam for a couple of his children, and later documentation concerning his birth date and place. Agnes and Charles had the following children.

  • Un-Named Male Nichols, born on 18 May 1877 in Bothwell, Tasmania.3
  • Clyde Albert Nichols, born on 10 January 1879 in Bothwell, Tasmania.4
  • Jessie Robena Nichols, born on 15 July 1881 in Bothwell, Tasmania.5
  • George Arthur Nichols, born on 4 May 1884 in Bothwell, Tasmania.6
  • Douglas Fortnam Nichols, born on 14 February 1886 in Bothwell, Tasmania.7
  • Nina Easton Nichols, born on 20 November 1887 in Bothwell, Tasmania.8
  • Violet Irene Nichols, born on 26 October 1888 in Bothwell, Tasmania.9 Violet Irene Nichols died on 17 June 1889 in Bothwell, Tasmania.10
  • Ina Maud Nichols, born on 4 June 1890 in Bothwell, Tasmania.11
  • Clarice Annie Nichols, born on 16 January 1892 in Bothwell, Tasmania.12 Clarice Annie Nichols died on 4 December 1892 in Bothwell, Tasmania.13

From later documentation it is known that Charles was "For many years ... wheelwright, general blacksmith and undertaker at Bothwell.". Charles and Agnes' children started to marry in the second decade of the twentieth century.

Clyde Albert Nichols married May Hayden on 21 February 1911 in Hobart, Tasmania.14 No equivalent birth record for May has been found. Only one child for the couple has been traced.

Douglas Fortnam Nichols married Ruby May Hull on 8 January 1912 in Chalmers Manse, Hobart, Tasmania.15 No equivalent birth record for Ruby has been found. Only one child for the couple has been traced.

Nina Easton Nichols married Robert Hawkins on 6 April 1914 in Chalmers Manse, Hobart, Tasmania.16 Robert was probably the Robert Hawkins born on 7 July 1888 in Evandale, Tasmania, the son of Joseph Hawkins and Emma Heathcote.17 That year of birth tallies with his age stated when he died. Nina and Robert had one daughter that has been traced.

Agnes Robina Nichols, nee Easton, died on 31 August 1916 in Bothwell, Tasmania.18

NICHOLS. -On August 31, 1916, at Bothwell, Agnes Robina, beloved wife of C. A. Nichols, aged 69 years. Funeral Saturday, September 2, at 3 p.m.19

Memorial notices were published the following year:

NICHOLS. -In loving memory of our dear wife and mother Agnes Robina Nichols, died August 31, 1916. Sadly missed. Inserted by her loving husband C. A. Nichols and family, Bothwell.

NICHOLS. -In loving memory of my dear mother Agnes Robina, who died August 31, 1916. Inserted by her loving son and daughter-in-law, Clyde and May.20

Ina Maud Nichols married Frederick Charles Keeling on 16 August 1919 in Bothwell, Tasmania.21 Less than two months later however Ina Keeling, nee Nichols, died on 13 October 1919 in Bothwell, Tasmania.22

KEELING.-On the 13th October, at her father's residence. Bothwell, Ina Maud, the dearly beloved wife of Frederick C. Keeling, and youngest daughter of C A and the late Agnes Nichols, aged 29 years. Funeral will leave her father's resldence at 3 p.m. Wednesday.23

George Arthur Nichols died on 12 January 1930 in Bothwell, Tasmania.24

NICHOLS - . On January 12, 1930, at Bell's Marsh, George Arthur, third eldest son of C. A. and the late Agnes Nichols in his 46th year. Late-A.I.F.

NICHOLS. - The funeral of the late Mr. G. A. Nichols, of Bell's Marsh, will leave his father's residence at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14.25

George died in unusual circumstances however that demanded an inquest.


George Arthur Nichols, aged 45, a single man, son of Mr. C. A. Nichols, of Bothwell, was yesterday morning found dead at Bell's Marsh, near Serat, in a creek in about two feet of water. He was last seen alive by Mr. J. Skelly, at Serat, when the deceased went to him for meat about 5 p.m. on Saturday. As he was not seen on Sunday, it was feared that something may have happened to him, and a search was made by Mr. J. Skelly and two sons, Messrs. Andrew Nell, Frank Watkins, and Robert Brown and son. The search was unsuccessful, and at 8 p.m. Mr. Skelly reported the matter to Senior-Constable Jackson, who communicated with Superintendent Lonergan.

Trooper Mlllhouse left Bothwell for Serat before 4 o'clock yesterday morning, and the body was found at 7 o'clock in the creek, near a small footbridge, which was broken. An inquest will be opened this-morning.26

The inquest returned an indeterminate finding:

Mt. Serat Tragedy
Evidence at the Inquest

The Inquest on the body ot George Arthur Nicholls, a single man, aged 40 years, who was found In a small drain leading off the Clyde River, at Mount Serat, near Bothwell, on January 13, was resumed before the Coroner (the Rev. A. E. ' Hutchinson) at Bothwell yesterday. Superintendent Lonergan conducted the inquiry.

James Skelly, shepherd, said he last saw deceased alive about 5 p.m. on January 11, when he was far from being well. It seemed as though deceased was suffering from the effects of drink. When later Andrew Neil came to witness and said deceased was not at, his house, he drove to Bothwell and Informed the police. At daylight on the morning of January 13 Trooper Millhouse. witness, and others set out in search of deceased, and witness found his body In a drain near the Clyde River, lying in about 2ft. of water. The body was quite cold, and was fully dressed. There were no marks of violence, and no signs of a struggle having taken place.

Trooper John Millhouse said that about 6ft. above where the body was found there was a small flimsy structure used as a foot bridge, or as a means of crossing the drain. It was built of palings, and showed signs of having been broken down recently, as though someone had stepped on to it heavily.

Dr. Claude Bryan, of Bothwell, said death was due to drowning.

The Coroner gave a verdict to the effect that deceased was found drowned, there being no evidence to show how and when he got into the water.27

Charles Albert Nichols lived well into his nineties and became a local identity. The following report was published on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday:

Mr. C. Nichols, Bothwell, Looks Back
(By Our Travelling Correspondent.)

One of the best-known Identities of Bothwell, Mr. Charles Albert Nichols, corner of Alexander St. and Dennistoun Rd. attained the age of 90 years yesterday. He was born at The Wilderness, Kempton (formerly Green Ponds), on November 8, 1847. Wheelwright, general blacksmith, and undertaker for many years at Bothwell, M., Nichols, although relinquishing, active work at his trade about 12 years ago, still retains a lively interest in the business and affairs in general. The smithy, which fronts on Dennistoun Rd., has been in his possession for more than half a century, and Mr. Robert Hawkins, a son-in-law, has been the "village blacksmith" since Mr. Nichols' retirement.

When Mr. Nichols was an infant, John Mitchel and John Martin, exiles of the Young Ireland movement, were transported to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania), and lived at Nant Cottage, Bothwell, from 1850 until the former's escape to America in 1853. On April 13, 1850, Mitchel wrote: "The village of Bothwell, where John Martin and my self are privileged, by ticket-of-leave, to live or to vegetate, contains about 60 or 70 houses; has a church (now St. Luke's Presbyterian Church), where clergymen of the Churches of England and of Scotland perform services, one in the morning and the other in the evening of Sunday: has four large publlc-houses, or hotels, establishments which are much better supported on the voluntary system, and have much larger congregations than the church; has a post office and several carpenters' and blacksmiths' shops for the accommodation of the settlers who live in the district; and a police office and police barrack, with the Police Magistrate of the district predominating there."

It was natural, perhaps, that Mr. Nichols should assimilate something of the reminiscent spirit of Bothwell's early history, associated with which are such well-known names as Reid, Blake, McDowall, Baker, Bale, Wood, Nicholas, Taylor, Archer, Allison, White, Bowden, Sealy, Hale, Swindells, Medhurst, Wilmore, Campbell, Mandeville, Stuart, Moriarty, Howells, Synnott, Hurst, Moodie, Wise, Chivers, Reardon, Branch, Batt, Hutchinson, Edgell, Gatenby, Ellis, North, Goggins, Butler, and many others. The township was laid out in 1821, the year the River Clyde (on which it stands) was named, it formerly being known as the Fat Doe River, probably so called after a species of deer which frequents the locality today. The White Hart Hotel at Bothwell, recently destroyed by fire, also derived its name from an albino deer.

The romantic story of the founding of Bothwell and the settlement of the district, with its fine agricultural and pastoral properties of Ratho, Logan, Nant, Wetheron, Dennistoun, The Square, Blue Hills, Hunterston, The Hermitage, Sherwood, Montacute, Rothamay, Thorpe, Meadsfield, Hartfield, Ibbotvale, Norwood, Rockford, Woodspring, Castle Hill, and Springfield, makes interesting reading, and Mr. Nichols' fund of valuable information relating thereto would fill a large volume.

Mr. Nichols' wife died many years ago, the surviving members of their family being Edgar (Bothwell), Clyde (Hobart), Jessie (Mrs. Jamieson, Melbourne), and Nina (Mrs. Hawkins, Bothwell). Retaining all his faculties to a marked degree, Mr. Nichols is hale and hearty.28

The following article was published when Charles turned 95:

Mercury Article for Charles Nichols 95th Birthday

Mercury Article for Charles Nichols 95th Birthday
National Library of Australia

Charles Albert Nichols, husband of Agnes Robina Easton, died on 14 February 1944 in Bothwell, Tasmania.

NICHOLS.-On February 14, 1944, at his residence, Bothwell, Charles Albert, dearly loved husband of the late Agnes R. Nichols, in the 97th year of his age.

NICHOLS.-Funeral of the late Charles Albert Nichols will leave his late residence. Bothwell, at 3.30 pm Tuesday (This Day) for Presbyterian Cemetery, Bothwell. Friends are respectfully invited to attend.29

An obituary was published which echoed the contents of earlier articles published each year on Charles' birthday.

Mr C. A. Nichols

Mr Charles Albert Nichols, of Bothwell, died on Monday in his 97th year. He was born at The Wilderness, Kempton, then Green Ponds), on Nov 8, 1847. For many years he was wheelwright, general blacksmith and undertaker at Bothwell, relinquishing active work at his trade about 18 years ago. He had a fund of information about the founding of Bothwell and the settlement of the district. Mr. Nichols wife died many years ago. Surviving members of his family are Edgar (Bothwell), Clyde (Hobart), Jessie (Mrs Jamieson, Melbourne), and Nina (Mrs Hawkins, Bothwell). The funeral took place at Bothwell yesterday.30

Robert Hawkins, the husband of Nina Easton, died on 17 September 1945 in Bothwell, Tasmania.

HAWKINS.-On September 17, 1945, at his residence, Bothwell, Robert, dearly beloved husband of Nina E, and beloved father of Nina (Mrs D. F. Hallett), and loving grandfather of Bobbie, aged 57 years.

HAWKINS.-The funeral of the late Mr Robert Hawkins will leave his late residence at 3 pm This Day (Tuesday), for Church of England and Cemetery, where friends are respectfully invited to attend.31

An obituary was reported on 20 September 1945.

Mr R. Hawkins

Mr Robert Hawkins, of Bothwell, after some years' indifferent health, died suddenly on Monday morning. He was for many years secretary of the Bothwell Lodge, UAOD, and the Bothwell Racing Club, and was elected a councillor for the West Clyde Ward in 1943. He was also an active member of the Civil Defence Legion and Civil Evacuation Committee. He leaves a widow, formerly Miss Nina Easton Nichols, and a daughter, Mrs D. F. Hallett. The funeral took place on Tuesday. The service was conducted by Canon W. Walters. The Druids' service at the graveside was read by the Grand Secretary (Mr F. H. Ralph), of Launceston. Chief mourners were Messrs George Hawkins (brother), D. F. Hallett (son-in-law), C. E. and Clyde Nichols (brothers-in-law), and Reg Nichols (nephew).32

Nina Hawkins, nee Easton, died on 18 May 1978 and was buried in the Bothwell Municipal General Cemetery.33

Jessie Robina Nichols married A. F. Jamieson and, based on the obituary published for her father, lived in Melbourne, Victoria. Nothing further is known of her fate.

John Horton
John Horton's picture
The Nichols Family

Charles Albert Nichols was the son of John Nichols and Ann Fortnam. John Nichols has been reported as being born in March 1800 in Kent, England but that has not been substantiated.1 John Nichols married Ann Fortnam on 10 December 1832 in Hobart Town.2 A discussion about the origins of Ann Fortnam is on The Fortnam Family topic in the General Genealogy forum. John and Ann had the following children.

Name Birth Marriage Spouse Death
Henry Fortnam
05 Apr 1835
Green Ponds, TAS3
15 Oct 1870
Bagdad, TAS4
Mary Ann
09 Aug 1918
Dysart, TAS5
Eliza Elizabeth
02 Jan 1837
Green Ponds, TAS6
24 May 1859
Brighton, TAS7
Arthur Charles
00 XXX 1906
S Y, Victoria8
Elisha William
22 Sep 1838
Green Ponds, TAS9
16 Nov 1865
Hobart, TAS10
Eliza Bilton
03 Oct 1916
Hobart, TAS11
Mary Ann
16 Jul 1840
Unknown, TAS12
    01 Jul 1913
Dysart, TAS13
Robert John
07 Apr 1843
Brighton, TAS14
03 Feb 1864
Brighton, TAS15
15 Dec 1928
Dysart, TAS16
13 Apr 1904
Unknown, TAS17
Martha Edith
Amelia Emily
12 Aug 1845
Brighton, TAS18
18 Sep 1873
Unknown, TAS19
William (Jack)
21 Feb 1933
Dysart, TAS20
Charles Albert
08 Nov 1847
Green Ponds, TAS
30 Oct 1876
Bothwell, TAS
Alice Robina (Agnes)
14 Feb 1944
Bothwell, TAS

John Nichols died on 11 August 1863 in Green Ponds, Tasmania.24 The Tasmanian Pioneer Index and the local papers at the time differ about the date.

At the Wilderness near Green Ponds, on the 10th inst., Mr. John Nichols, aged 63 years.25

Ann Nichols died on 10 May 1886 in Carlton, Victoria. Ann's parents were recorded as John and Ann Fortenam.26

NICHOLS.—On the 10th inst., at her late residence, Bangalore-house, Drummond-street south, Carlton, Ann, relict of the late John Nichols, Green Ponds, Tasmania, aged 79 years.27

The Ancestral File entry for this family includes one additional child, Emma Fortnam Nichols, born on 25 July 1829 in Pentonville, London, England, which was not included above as it represents a significant anomaly to the known family, born as she was three years before her parents' marriage in Tasmania. That said, there is evidence supporting the fact that she in a member of this family, perhaps a child of Ann Fortnam before her marriage to John Nichols who took on the Nichols surname.

Emma Fortenam Nichols married Albert Charles Maybee Moore on 3 February 1850 in the home of John Nichols, Green Ponds, Brighton, Tasmania. Emma was aged 20 and Albert aged 29, a mariner. John and Ann Nichols were witnesses to the event.28 They obviously moved to Victoria and Emma died on 8 November 1871 in Drummond street, Carlton, the same address as Ann Nicholls, nee Fortnam. Emma's parents were recorded as John Nichols and Ann Fortenam and her birth place recorded as London. Emma was reported to be aged 41.29

MOORE.-On the 8th inst., at No. 1 Drummond street, Carlton, of organic disease of the heart, Emma Fortenam, relict of Captain Charles Moore, late of the barque Formosa. Tasmanian papers please copy.30