William R. Nichols
(Glendale's Star Route Mail Carrier)
Story furnished by
Clarence Crocker

The Federal Census was recorded by the Enumerator as he understood the registrant who oft time could neither read nor write which led to numerous errors in dates and names. I have tried to copy as recorded. Where errors occur, I apologize. Click Glendale Community Cemetery to read grave marker dates.

William R. “Willie” Nichols, born May 24, 1901 in Clyde, North Carolina, was the son of John Patrick and Margaret Rhinehart Nichols. Census and obituary records show that he had 8 or more siblings. Willie married Susan Nina Byars, daughter of John Benjamin and Rilla Mae Biggerstaff. They had no children.

The 1940 Spartanburg/ Glendale Census listed the household as;
William R. Nichols 38, husband/cloth room             Wife; Nina 28
Margaret Nichols 79, mother/widow

From early 1900 until 1935, mail was transported by trolley car from Spartanburg to the Glendale Post Office. (Also see More about the Trolley).When the passenger bus replaced the trolley in 1935, mail was transported by the bus. Starting somewhere in the early to mid - forties, mail was transported by a “Star Route Contract” mail carrier. To my knowledge, William R. “Willie” Nichols from Glendale was the first “Star Route” contractor. He was the carrier when this writer started serving as Postmaster in the mid-forties. He was a soft spoken, easy going, congenial person and carried the mail for a number of years.

An instance with Willie that I shall never forget; It was a hot dry summer day. Red clay would flash burn on the road banks. When Willie came in early that morning, I commented to him about the heat and dry weather and said, boy, I sure hope it rains today! No! No! Willie quickly replied. The roofers decided it would be a good day to replace the roof on my house. Everything was torn off yesterday and if it rains today, everything in my house will be ruined. My answer, Willie, here’s a good lesson for both of us; leave the weather to One who knows what’s best.

Excerpts from the obituary of William R. Nichols published Wednesday, May 1, 1968; “William Ralph Nichols, 66, husband of Mrs. Nina Byars Nichols died in the Spartanburg General Hospital Tuesday following a long illness. Son of the late John and Margaret Rhinehart Nichols, member of the Glendale Methodist Church, former employee of Glendale Mills and a retired mail carrier. 

Survivors were his wife; brother, Walter Nichols; sisters, Mrs. Etta Burnett and Mrs. Annie Jackson. Services at Glendale Methodist Church with interment in the Glendale Community Cemetery

Excerpts from the obituary of Susan Nina Byars Nichols published June 24, 1996; “Nina Byars Nichols died at the age of 85, June 23, 1996 in the Mary Black Hospital. She was the daughter of the late John Benjamin and Rilla Mae Biggerstaff and a member of the Bethesda Baptist Church. She was survived by one sister, Maggie Ina Byars of the home. Funeral services and interment to be in the Glendale Community Cemetery.” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Family of John Patrick and Margaret (Maggie) Nichols, parents of Willie Nichols;
The 1910 Spartanburg/Glendale Census listed the household as;
Maggie (Margaret) Nichols 49, widow/head of household, mother of 9 children, 7 living.
Children; Walter 21     illegible 17     Homer 14     Etta 11     Willie 9    
R. Hayes 30, boarder

The 1920 Spartanburg/Glendale Census listed the household as;
Margaret Nichols 58, widow/head of household
Children;     Holman 25, cotton mill     Willie 18, cloth room

John Patrick Nichols died February 21, 1904 and is buried in the Glendale Community Cemetery. No obituary found.

Excerpts from the obituary of Margaret Rhinehart Nichols published Tuesday, April 10, 1945; “Mrs. Margaret Rhinehart Nichols, 84, died Monday night at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Etta Burnett in Glendale. Born in Clyde N. C., she was the daughter of Liaac (?) and Mary Rhinehart. She had been a resident of Glendale for a number of years and was a member of the Glendale Methodist Church. She is survived by four sons; J.R. Nichols of Chandler, N. C., Walter, Homer and William Nichols of Glendale; two daughters, Mrs. Etta Burnett, Glendale and Mrs. Nannie Jackson of Leister, N. C.; a number of grand and great grand-children. Funeral arrangements to be announced.” She was buried in the Glendale Community Cemetery.

Walter Nichols married Eva Allen Bagwell. (For family story click on John Walter Nichols)
Eva Allen Nichols died October 29, 1954.
Walter Nichols died February 18, 1970.
Both are buried in the Glendale Community Cemetery.


No records of J. R. Nichols were found.

Homer Nichols married Alta Riddle and had two children, Charles and Vaudie Mae.
Homer Nichols died October 24, 1956.
Alta Nichols died August 25, 1987.
Both are buried in the Glendale Community Cemetery.


Etta Nichols married Jefferson S. Burnett and had three children, Bobby, Frances and unnamed infant. Jefferson S. Burnett died February 11, 1948.
Etta Nichols Burnett died November 12, 1897.
Both are buried in the Glendale Community Cemetery.


According to her mother’s obituary, Nannie Nichols married a Mr. Jackson. No other records found. 


All census records and obituaries, courtesy of The Spartanburg County Library. Researched and written July, 2013  by Clarence E. Crocker,

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