William Nixon was the tavernkeeper in Locktown in 1861 when Benjamin Ellicott and wife Mary Ann Warford set up residence there. The story of the family’s move from Baltimore to Locktown can be read here: Benjamin Ellicott’s Diary.
Nixon is a hard person to research and I am reluctant to say much about him at this time. A superficial search makes me think he was probably the son of Hon. William Nixon (c.1776-1839), of Quakertown and Bethlehem Twp., and wife Harriet (c.1791-1869). William Nixon Jr. married his first wife Delilah about 1850-1852. She died in 1870 and was buried in the Cherryville cemetery. The next year Nixon married his second wife, Matilda Quick.
William Nixon, Jr. really moved around. He was tavernkeeper at the Boarshead in 1847, and at Cherryville in 1857. I failed to locate him in the 1850 census, when his widowed mother Harriet was living with his brother Justus L. Nixon in Franklin Township.
William Nixon was somewhere in Readington Township in 1860. But according to the Ellicott diary, he was running the Locktown Hotel in 1861. In 1864 he was in Union Township where he served as poundkeeper and constable. He was probably running the hotel/tavern at Perryville at the time. And yet, by 1866 he was elected Constable of Alexandria Twp., and running a hotel at Everittstown. I’m beginning to wonder if there might have been two William Nixons because while he was running the hotel in Alexandria in 1869, he was running the Cherryville Hotel in 1870.
In 1870 one of these William Nixons announced his veterinary practice in an ad in the Hunterdon Co. Republican, and at the same time, was chosen as poundkeeper for Franklin Township. In 1871, a William Nixon was granted a tavern license for Alexandria Township, but in 1872, another (?) William Nixon was refused a license for a tavern in Kingwood.
By 1873 Nixon was in financial trouble, being unable to pay a mortgage to Mary Ann Warford Ellicott. His property in Franklin Township was seized in 1873, to satisfy his debt, but the same year William Nixon was granted a tavern license in Delaware Township.
On Jan. 6, 1876, this ad appeared in the Republican:
“ELLICOTT & NIXON have at their Nursery, 1 mile south of Quakertown, 60,000 Peach Trees, as fine as the State can produce, comprising 20 varieties. The buds were cut with care from good, healthy trees.”
I believe this Nixon was William’s brother Justus L. Nixon.
Meanwhile, what must be another William Nixon got tavern licenses for a temperance inn in Everittstown, and was chosen as poundkeeper for Alexandria Twp. In 1878, that Nixon was refused a license for Everittstown.
According to Snell’s History, he was still residing at the hotel in Locktown by 1880, and the census of that year puts him there also, employed as a veterinary surgeon, married to his second wife Matilda—unless, of course, this was a different William Nixon. I was unable to find an obituary for him in either the Democrat or the Republican newspapers.
If anyone can straighten me out about the various William Nixons I would be most grateful.