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