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Charles & Jessie Nicklos

Charles & Jessie (McDowell) Nicklos

This posting is not meant to give a complete treatment Charles and Jessie (McDowell) Nicklos. That information is covered in “The Scent of Oil: A Nicklos/Perkins Family Saga” by Gary May and Joan (Baker) Darby. However, this posting has lots of pretty photos, and includes additional snippets of information about this interesting family.

Charles Nicklos
Brief Biography from “The Scent of Oil”
Charles: “Born Rochester, New York 1853; died Glendale, California, 1939. An oil refiner, he went to Galicia in 1887 and stayed there with the family for 27 years. Married Jessie McDowell in 1874. Eight children.”

Additional Insights
Charles and Jessie’s first house in London, Ontario is located at 521 Simcoe St (per the obituary notice for Isabella McDowell, Jessie’s mom). Ernest Nicklos was undoubtedly born there. The following tribute is written in a “Petrolia Advertiser-Topic” on 16 Feb 1939, based on an interview with Thomas Draper, who may be connected to Mary Draper (Rachel Jardine’s half-sister)

Late Charles Nicklos Built First Refinery in Austria
The historic early days of the Petrolia oil industry were recalled by Mr. Thos. Draper to the Advertiser-Topic upon receipt of the February 6th issue of the “Oil Weekly,” an international journal published in Houston, Texas. Of particular interest were brief obituaries of two former well known Petrolians, Charles Nicklos and Richard Callinan.

Mr. Nicklos, as stated in a recent issue of this paper, passed away at his home in Glendale, Cal., at the age of 85 years. He was born in Rochester, N.Y., and as a youth went to London to work for the Smallman, Menhenick and Co. refinery. While still in his “twenties,” Mr. Nicklos came to Petrolia as a chemist or “treater,” to use a term of those early days, to work in the M.J. Woodward refinery. He held this position for about ten years, at which time he was engaged by the late William McGarvey to serve in the newly discovered oil field at Maryinpol, Galicia.

Mr. Nicklos’ name should go down in history as one of the pioneers of the oil industry who carried the fame of Petrolia to the foreign fields and operated the first oil refinery in Austria, asserted Mr. Draper. At Maryinpol this man constructed the first refinery for the Bergheim and McGarvey interests and also had charge of the production in part of the company’s fields. The career of Mr. Nicklos in Europe and on this continent has been closely followed by Mr. Draper through regular correspondence with the family.

Upon retirement from the Galacian oil industry just before the world war started in 1914, Mr. Nicklos returned to the United States, making his home at St. Croix, Wis., where he lived for eight years. Since then his home has been in California. Three sons are still in the oil industry, Ernest and John, prominent drilling contractors and oil producers in Louisiana and Texas fields, and Fred, field superintendent of the Texas [rest of article missing]

Charles Fredrick Nicklos (Fred)
Brief Biography from “The Scent of Oil”
“Fred: Born Petrolia 1884; died New Mexico 1971. Married Adleen Kaiser 1931, They had no children. Fred traveled to Mexico to work with Earnest in 1907 and later worked in Venezuela. Joined the Nicklos company in 1935.”

Additional Insights
Fred died in 1971. Rumor has it that Fred married again after Adleen died in 1969, and that this second wife used her spousal status to take possession of the Fred and Adleen’s cherished household items. Although Fred never had any children of his own, he did help raise a step-daughter, Jane (Brown) Carpenter. Jane passed away in 1997, but her daughter Nancy wrote these recollections a few years ago:

“Fred and Adleen moved from Basin, Wyo. to Albuquerque, NM sometime in the 50’s., which is where we lived. I spent many hours with him collecting coins and stamps, working in yard or just hanging out with him. He was a very special person and an old world gentlemen. My mother always referred to him as “Uncle Fred”. After my grandmother died, she was Fred’s caretaker. He ultimately died from Alzheimer’s.”

John Chester Nicklos
Brief Biography from “The Scent of Oil”
“John: Born Petrolia 1886; died Houston 1954. Never married; no children. Worked in Algeria and with the Nicklos company in Texas.”

Additional Insights
John was married in 1946, albeit briefly, to Mildred Crozier if the following newspaper article is to be believed:

Mildred Crozier, librarian of Eunice High School, was married on June 12, in New Orleans to John C. Nicklos.
From “The Bulletin” By Louisiana Library Association, 1946

His death certificate even states that he was divorced. According to family legend, Ernest tried to have the marriage annulled. John’s big hobby were his horses. There was “Brown Bomber”, and multiple others where he would compete in horse shows.

Kathleen Blanche Nicklos and Edith Alberta Nicklos
Brief Biography from “The Scent of Oil”
“Kathleen: Born Galicia 1891; died California 1964. Never married. Lived with her parents and sister Kathleen.
“Edith: Born Galicia 1898; died California 1982. Studied voice in Vienna. Never married and lived with her parents and sister Kathleen.”

Additional Insights
In pictures, the two sister looks very similar and it can be difficult to tell them apart. Edith was the historian who wrote down the oral traditions of the family. According to family legend, Edith was engaged at one point to a young doctor, who, unfortunately, passed away prior to their marriage. Of the two sisters, Edith was considered the “fun” one, while Kate was considered more serious.

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