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Former Lieutenant Governor and Chief Justice of Supreme Court
Served as Chairman of Grant Memorial Commission; Headed Red Cross
Source unknown; circa 1941

Judge Photo

A pall of gloom was cast over Clermont County Tuesday morning when a radio announcement revealed that Judge Hugh L. Nichols, beloved jurist, had passed away in Jewish Hospital, Cincinnati, earlier in the day. Judge Nichols had been confined in the Cincinnati Hospital since October 19, following vertebrae fracture he suffered in a fall at his Batavia home.

Judge Nichols, who had reached his 77th year, was born in New Richmond on March 25, 1864, the son of Perry J. Nichols, a lawyer, and Jeanette Gilmore Nichols He attended Batavia High School, Ohio Wesleyan College at Delaware, later entering the Cincinnati Law School, from which he graduated in 1886.

In 1887 Judge Nichols was admitted to the Bar and started a law career which led him to the bench of the highest tribunal in the State of Ohio. On March 2 of that year, he married Miss Louisa Dean Sterling, who survives him.

Starting his political career as a State Senator at the age of 22, Judge Nichols was appointed Lieutenant Governor by Governor Judson Harmon in 1911, when the late Atlee Pomerene resigned to become a United States Senator. In 1912 he was elected to the Lieutenant Governorship.

Judge Nichols won national recognition when he was campaign manager for Governor Harmon in his race for the democratic nomination for the Presidency in 1911. Woodrow Wilson won the nomination.

In 1913 Governor James M. Cox appointed him Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the first constitutional Justice in Ohio. Subsequently he was elected to the post and served until 1921.

Returning to his home in Clermont County, Judge Nichols entered into the practice of law in Cincinnati under the partnership name of Nichols, Morrill, Stewart and Ginter. At the time of his death, he was senior member of the firm of Nichols, Wood, Marx and Ginter, with offices in the Traction Building in Cincinnati.

In Clermont County Judge Nichols was known by everybody, loved by everyone, and his passing will be on of the community's greatest losses.

No political meeting in the part of Jefferson held in Clermont County was complete without the presence of Judge Nichols. Regardless of the importance of a gathering, when requested, he never failed to be present to lend a hand to further the principles for which he had devoted his life.

Despite the many important offices he held he still found time to serve as chairman of the Grant Memorial Commission, and largely through his efforts the national Shrine at Pt. Pleasant is one of the nation's most beautiful, attracting many thousands of people from every section of the country. The Grant memorial Bridge also stands as a token of his untiring efforts to perpetuate the memory of a famous Clermonter, soldier and President.

A great admirer of General Grant, Judge Nichols spoke on many occasions on General Grant's life. It was he who was responsible for moving the cabin in which General Grant was born, from the state fairgrounds in Columbus to its original location.

In early life, Judge Nichols was county correspondent for the Enquirer, writing an extensive story on reminiscences of boyhood friends and relatives of General Grant at the time of Grant's death.

His interest in historical research led him to write a biography of Judson Harmon for the Ohio Historical Society.

Judge Nichols was a member of the Cincinnati Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

Judge Nichols headed the Clermont County Red Cross Chapter for several years. His unselfish zeal to help others will remain in the memory of hundreds whom he had helped to rehabilitate themselves after disaster had overtaken them.

He served as an elder in the Batavia Presbyterian Church for almost a half a century. For the past thirty years Judge Nichols had conducted the Christmas morning services in this church. Many adults in the county seat can recall going to these services in their childhood days.

Besides his widow, Judge Nichols leaves on brother, Allen B. Nichols, Batavia attorney; two nephews, Harold D. and Hugh C. Nichols, both of whom are Batavia lawyers; two nieces, Mrs. Dwight Martin, and Mrs. George Hatfield.

Source unknown

Ceremonies marking the unveiling of the portrait of former Chief Justice High L. Nichols, Batavia, in the consultation room of the Ohio Supreme Court, Columbus, were held Tuesday. The portrait is the first to be hung in the supreme me Court room during the lifetime of a former Chief Justice.

The portrait is to hang over the hearth in the consultation chamber where, as Chief justice Carl V. Weygandt said, the jurist, figuratively, may keep watch over the deliberations of his successors.

The presentation was made by G. A. Ginter, Cincinnati, a partner in the law firm of which Judge Nichols is the head. Ginter told the story of the appointment of Judge Nichols by former Governor James M. Cox, hwo called over the telephone to the jurist, then a country lawyer at Batavia, to say "Good morning, Mr. Chief Justice.:

Filling the difficult position as first constitutional Chief Justice, Ginter said, 'Judge Nichols speedily won the "respect and admiration" of bench and bar. In private life among his associates, Ginter continued, "Judge Nichols is a spur and a restraint."…