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Joseph Jordan Nickerson and Family


The Rev. Joseph Jordan Nickerson, pastor of the Main Street Baptist Church of Hinton, W. Va., is one of the few professional men in the State who came from Florida. He was born in Jefferson County, Fla., on July 4, 1875. His father, the late Nelson Nickerson, was a farmer and was the son of Solomon Nickerson. The mother of our subject, before her marriage, was Rachel Thompson, daughter of Syke and Phoebe Thompson. One can picture the boy on the Florida farm, helping with the cotton, corn, cane and peanuts and the numerous other things that grow there. Between seasons he would go to the short term public schools, which even yet are poor enough. As he grew to manhood he found work in the phosphate mines, which, while more exacting than work on the farm was also more remunerative. He also learned to be a barber and used that trade to help himself through school. He was converted when he was 23, and joined the St. John Baptist Church, which was over the line in Georgia. Almost immediately he felt called to preach the Gospel and, when, in 1901, he was called to the pastorate of St. John at Ehron, Fla., he was ordained to the full work of the ministry and served that church for two years. From there he went to St. John, Ormond, Fla., and preached there two years and a half and painted the church. Feeling now the need of more adequate preparation for his life work, he went to Richmond, Va., and entered Virginia Union University, where he studied for six years, combining his literary and theological courses and completing his work there in 1912. During a part of that time (13 months) he supplied at the historic old First Baptist Church of Williamsburg, Va., and later served the same church as pastor for two and a half years. He resigned that work to accept the call of the Second Baptist Church at Hinton, W. Va., and after three years there, organized and is now (1922) building the Main Street Baptist Church. Already he has the nucleus of a good organization and his church will, when done, represent an expenditure of $20,000.00, with a property valuation of $30,000.00.

On June 28, 1907, Mr. Nickerson married Miss Carrie Nichols, of Ormond, Fla. They have one son, Joseph J. Nickerson, Jr.

Mr. Nickerson has observed conditions in several states and he believes that all the race needs to promote its progress is an "even chance."

Naturally his favorite reading is along the line of his work, that is theological. After that he has a fondness for history.

In politics he is a Republican, but takes no active part in political matters.

Mr. Nickerson has served three years as Secretary of the West Virginia Baptist State Convention and is highly regarded by the brotherhood.

He has fought his way up unassisted by others. When he went to Richmond to Virginia Union University, he arrived with only a dollar in his pocket. He was a thousand miles from home and a stranger in the city. During the first winter he went to Y. M. C. A. night school and won the Jefferson medal on Hygiene that winter. He lost his parents at an early age, and was thus deprived of parental guidance and assistance.

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