Charles Nickel, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Charles Nickel


The Nickel family traces its ancestry to eastern Germany where Karl (Charles) Nickel was born August 26, 1848 in Neudeck near the ancestral home of Von Hindenburg, German Army Chief of World War I. He was inducted into service during the Franco-Prussian War. Being a tailor, he was assigned the task of making the uniforms for the army.

Having been honorably discharged he set out for America arriving at Castle Garden, New York in the Fall of 1872. From there he went to Chicago and secured work in a large tailoring concern. After a few years he established his own tailoring shop on the North Side of Chicago.

On February 4, 1882 he was united in marriage to Louise Gutperlet who was born April 2, 1860 in Stargard, Germany. At the age of 12 she had emigrated to this country with her parents, Johann and Maria Gutperlet who were born in Pomerania, both the same year, namely 1815.

In January 1887 Karl Nickel sold his tailoring shop because of ill health and purchased ten acres in the south part of Chesterton. A log house stood on the property but was replaced by a cottage completed by July. Here were born three of the four children, Arthur E. having been born in Chicago on February 7, 1883 and deceased July 9, 1959. Charles J. was born July 24, 1887, Lillian L. January 29, 1893 and Elsie A. August 29, 1895.

Arthur attended Valparaiso College and became a pharmacist pursuing that profession over 50 years; the greater share of the time in Chesterton. On January 8, 1905 he married Miss Amanda Graubman.

Charles was employed by several local hardware dealers who dug wells for the townspeople as well as the farmers in the community. He entered the New York Trade School in 1906 and became Chesterton's first school trained plumber. Later he opened a plumbing and heating shop.

On October 5, 1910 he was married to Miss Emma Harbrecht and to this union was born a son, Arthur, who graduated from Purdue with a BS degree and has been employed in the chemical laboratory of the metallurgical division of U.S. Steel, Gary Works, for 40 years. He married the former Avis Pillman and they have a daughter Lynda and a son Robert.

On June 30, 1915 Lillian was married to Hans W. Vetter who served the community as a prominent painter and decorator for many years. They have one daughter, Gretchen, who married Dumont Loomis May 20, 1951. To this union were born two daughters, Cheryl and Debra.

Lillian Nickel Vetter taught for several years in the Westchester Township schools and is the author of two books, "A Nickel's Worth" and "A Nickel's Worth and More". Both deal with the family history and also contain bits of early history of the town and vivid descriptions of town characters.

Elsie entered the teaching profession in 1914. Her first school was at City West which meant walking 7 miles a day and receiving $42 per month. After serving three years in country schools she began teaching Third Grade in Chesterton, retiring after 40 years.

Both Lillian and Elsie have resided their entire lives on the plot of ground on which they were born.

Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 139

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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