Archived Story

Looking back to Austin’s early days

Published 5:00pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

Austin’s early history is detailed in the Austin Daily Herald Centennial issue from April 17, 1956. This week, we meet Austin Nichols.

“Nichols was born in New York state, June 13, 1814, and while still a child was taken by sled through Canada to Detroit. In 1841 he ‘set sail’ in a prairie schooner for the West, crossing the Mississippi at Dubuque. He arrived along the Cedar River at St. Ansgar and hunted along the river until he reached Austin…he drove his first claim stake June 8, 1854…

Austin Nichols is variously described as an itinerant trapper and a pioneer settler. Be that as it may, he was probably the only person to have two Minnesota towns named for him. He was here just long enough to get his first name on the little settlement. From here he went to the Blue Earth River in Faribault County. After the Civil War he went to Mille Lacs Lake, where a small settlement took his surname, and served as postmaster there for 20 years. The town of Nichols, is on Highway 169 between Mille Lacs and Round lakes in Aitkin County… Nichols sold his claim here to Leverich. …”

Back to Chauncey Leverich next week.

 This week at the HHH

Thursday: Y’s Women, at the Austin Public Library, at 2 p.m.

Saturday: Foodie Throwdown: Cuisines of the World at 6 p.m. New. “Top Chef” style competition. Come sample food from around the world and vote for your favorite team. Teams lead by Howie Crawford, Jane Arhart, Gareth Hataye, Diane Sherman and Kristine Merten. $30 ticket through the HHH. Only 200 tickets sold. Details at

 Coming soon to the HHH

Social Concerns: Bullying in our Schools by Danielle Nesvold of Community Against Bullying on Tuesday, March 20, at 10 a.m. Register at 433-4243 by Monday, March 19.


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