Captain George Nichols (1714-1788), one of the wealthiest
and most influential men in early Waterbury and Westbury,
owned at least one slave, whose name is unknown. Nichols'
sons, John (1751-1815) and William (1744-18??) were both
William Nichols owned one slave, a man named Joseph Munn.
During the Revolutionary War, Joseph fought in the Continental
Army and William left Waterbury to join the British army.
William's estate was confiscated, and he moved to Nova
Scotia. Before leaving Waterbury, however, William Nichols
sold Joseph Munn to Timothy Hickcox, Jr., a cousin of
John Nichols was a graduate of Yale College and lived in
the house his father built for him on East Main Street in
Waterbury. He practiced law in the justice courts, but was
not a member of the bar. John helped establish a deer park
and club house in the western part of Waterbury.
He owned land throughout Waterbury, including land on the
Abrigador, a large hill in Waterbury. Nichols deeded his
Abrigador property to Stephen Judd, Jr. in 1803, stating
that, while he had a small landed estate, his
neighbor had nothing. Nichols gave the property to Judd
out of benevolence, duty and charity.
John Nichols is listed in the 1790 census as owning three
slaves, and two slaves in the 1800 census. In 1793, the
Litchfield Monitor reported on the death of a negro
girl of about nine years old who was enslaved by
John Nichols. The unnamed girl had been left alone in
the home of Rev. Hart, Waterburys Episcopal minister,
where she drank the contents of a bottle of spirits
and died of alcohol poisoning. She may have been the daughter
of the other two people enslaved by John Nichols.
John and Williams sister Susannah married Dr. Dan
Southmayd in 1773. Southmayd was a grandson of Rev. John
Southmayd, and was cared for by Rev. Southmayds
slaves, Sampson and Fillis, during his early childhood.