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Middletown, New York

Albert Nickinson moved to Middletown early in1886, and set up a printing business with then friend Seymour.  He contemplated moving to Texas at one point. 

Chicago, June 9, 1886  I think the Texas scheme a very good one if you had the money to carry it out -- but there lies the difficulty.  I cannot as you know do anything more.  I am willing to pay the two $50 notes due on the 20th of this and next month respectively -- but you would want $200 more to go comfortably to Texas.  And there you would be running the risk the same as you now are doing, although I suppose there is more chance of business growth in Texas than in Middletown

TELEGRAM
June 16, 1886  from Chicago to Middletown
Glad of your decision to remain in your present position. 

June 16, 1886 letter I must say that I felt rather happier than I have done for a week, when I read your decision to remain in Middletown for the present.  I did not wish to oppose you in the Texas affair, still I could not help thinking it was a great risk.  You are now your own master, and in Texas you would again be in partnership, and with a man whom you do not know as well as you did  Seymour.

Have a little patience.  4 months is a very short time to give Middletown a trial.  I cried all the time I was writing to you on Sunday for I felt --that if you went to Texas I might never see you again. 

Albert Nickinson, Middletown photograph 

Albert's moustache cup

Albert wrote to Neppie Feb 8, 1887  Cornelius Macardell does not seem to have approved of him. 

Miss Macardell,

If you found it a difficult matter to write the note received by me this morning, how much more so is it for me to answer it, having learned the probable cause of its indictment.

From the candid, truthful tone of the note I saw at once that the reason for your withdrawal from the engagement was not an ordinary one, and in the hope of obtaining some light on the subject I sought an interview with Walt and learned from him that in all probability your father had objected to you attending the sociable with me an entire stranger t him.

Our conversation on Sunday evening, questions I asked Walt, and the tone of your letter, all point to the above explanation as being a very plausible one, and therefore makes my position in the matter a very unenviable one and difficult to bear.

May I ask your indulgence while I recall the circumstances which have led to this condition of affairs? 

I came to Middletown just one year ago, an entire stranger. I had a partner in business who had a slight acquaintance, but it was very limited.  We worked together for three months, at the expiration of which time I purchased his interest in the business and he left town. During that time I made very few acquaintances and when he left me, I felt still more strange. I should have followed him, had not family arrangements rendered it more expedient for me to remain here. Our home in New York was broken up. Mother was just on the eve of departure upon an extended trip to California, and my sister intended spending the summer with friends in Philadelphia.  Therefore I concluded to remain here until Mother's return in Oct.  

As nearly as I can remember it was during the month of June when I first met Walt. I had met a number of the young men of the village but had not formed any friendships, preferring that the proposition of friendship should come to the stranger rather than from him.  From the first Walt seemed to have conceived a liking for me, and in an very short while his visits to my office became a daily occurrence.  At first I was inclined to resent his visits for I felt that as he was a printer, curiosity as to the amount of business done by me might be his motive in coming. I soon found however that it was his friendship he offered and his being almost the first offered I gladly accepted.

Through him, my acquaintance among the young men increased and it was not long before I became well know.  He frequently spoke of you family and home and invited me on several occasions to go there with him, and I as often declined, fearing that on his introduction I might meet with just such a rebuff as I received today.

When I received an invitation to dine at Mrs. Walton's on Thanksgiving Day, [Nov 1886] I felt very grateful to her. For six preceding years I had always been at our own home on that day but our home was broken up, Mother and sister were boarding and Thanksgiving Day was not to be with us as it had been.

If you remember it was there on that day I first met you. I found an entirely different family from my expectations and the meal at that house on that day was one of the most pleasant in which it had ever been my fortunate to participate.

What my conduct toward you, since then, has been you know as well as I. I have not forced myself upon your friendship and have accepted invitations to call with Walt only because I felt that they were extended not merely in accordance with the conventionalities of society, but as genuine expressions of a desire to continue an acquaintance formed under such favorable auspices.

You, Mrs. Walton, Crawf & Walter have all been kind to me, and I am extremely thankful to you all. My invitation to you was given with a desire to reciprocate the many kindnesses shown. That the invitation has brought about the result it has, I am extremely sorry and is no doubt my fault.  Therefore I ask your pardon for having been the means of placing you in the embarrassing position in which you must have been and can only say that the offense will not be repeated.

Asking your forgiveness for trespassing so long upon your time, in making the above statement, which for my own vindication I deem necessary with my best wishes for y our future happiness, believe me   Yours respectfully AE Nickinson

Albert and marriage prospects
New York, April 4, 1887 I know you had felt the pangs of disappointment by your manner the night we all met at Mrs. Nagle's room, for I saw you turn white when saying goodnight.  But I never thought it had been so serious as for her to give her word to you.  I should never have been pleased to have her for my daughter-in-law.  She had always too many strings to her bow to please me, and I congratulate you on your escape [from whom?].

Still you have had time to think of all that, or rather to forget it.  If I had not explained to you in my letters, and when you were here about my financial affairs, I should not be so surprised.  But I told you, so that you might be careful.  If I had the money, I would give it to you, as I have always done.  But Albert my son!  I have not got it! 

There is no use in your remaining in Middletown.  You can always succeed in that work.  Remember the money I gave you was the saving of years.  The $100 you had in the Bank for me, I had saved five years before you put it in the bank.  The four months I was idle in the summer of 1885 [when the Union Square Company was disbanded] took everything for our support except that $100.  Then I began on a reduction of $10 per week salary. 

April 11, 1887 Albert writes to Neppie about sister Hattie's wedding in Philadelphia

And by June  20th 1887 things looked better.

To: Miss Neppie Macardell,
My dear friend --
The idea of the probability of my having been caught in a heavy thunderstorm which prevailed in this section on yesterday afternoon, having excited your risibilities too such an extent that you were compelled to indulge in a broad smile. I imagine that the thought of my starting on my homeward journey in the face of the threatening elements and the seeming certainty of my receiving a thorough drenching, caused the broad smile to ext3end to a more hearty expression of appreciation of the ludicrous situation and that as  you sank into blissful arms of Morpheus, you had given vent to your feelings by vociferous outbursts of laughter at my pitiable plight. 

The first mention of Mary Penelope  "Neppie" Macardell in the letters we have from EJ Phillips to Albert  is dated July 4, 1888 "Sorry I shall not see Neppie when I visit you."

Mary Penelope "Neppie" Macardell Nickinson

Albert and Neppie were married on Thanksgiving 1889 and celebrated their anniversary on that holiday thereafter.

47 East 21st St. N. Y. Octr 18th/89 
So you think Thanksgiving will be the time!  Is it to be in Church or at the house?  

New York, Jan 6th, 1890 Too bad you both missed the first Sunday of the new Rector in the church. I am glad he made a success and hope his influence may be the means of bringing the people together in love and harmony. Has the church "Pew seats" or "Free seats"? if rents, how much per year? 

Grace Episcopal Church, 12 Depot St. Middletown NY Middletown: A Photographic History: Religion http://thrall.org/middletown/c9_2.htm 

Neppie's parents Cornelius and Esther Macardell lived in Middletown at 15 Highland Ave.


Cornelius Macardell c. 1900

Cornelius Macardell obituary New York Sun April 10, 1904
One of the foremost citizens of Middletown, New York died yesterday of pneumonia at the age of 66 years.  He was founder of the Middletown Argus and the Middle town Mercury Democratic daily and semi-weekly papers, which his son Cornelius, Jr. . now publishes.

Mr. Macardell received his education in the public schools of Brooklyn.  In 1859 he published a paper in New Orleans. At the beginning of the War he became active in Wall Street and in 1886 was elected to membership in the New York Stock Exchange. A few years ago he sold his seat for $40,000 which was the highest price that had ever been paid for a seat at that time. Mr. Macardell has been president of the First National Bank of Middletown for the past twelve years. He is survived by his wife [Esther Crawford Macardell] and seven children. [There had been thirteen children born between 1861 and 1881 -- Neppie, and sisters Jess, Agnes, brothers Con and Abram. Sister Grace had died at 22 in 1895. [find names of others]

Albert & Neppie Macardell's  Engagement & marriage  Oct 1889

Birth of son Edward Phillips Nickinson Oct. 1890

Albert was active in amateur theatrics and the volunteer fire department

Albert's Excelsior Hook & Ladder Co. card

Bibliography
Laskaris, Peter A., Middletown: A Photographic History http://www.thrall.org/middletown/ Digital History Initiative
Historical Society of Middletown photographs http://thrall.org/photos/contents.htmMiddletown Local History Links http://www.thrall.org/lhlinks.htm

Last updated May 15, 2004

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