October 29, 2022

Nuckolls Family [RG2325.AM]


RG2325.AM: Nuckolls Family

Papers: 1855-1971
Nebraska City, Otoe County, Neb.:
Size: 2.25 cu.ft.; 5 boxes


Ezra Nuckolls (1798-1857), of Rock Port, Atchison County, Missouri married Lucinda Hale (1807-1857) in 1823. Both were natives of Grayson County, Virginia, where their thirteen children (7 sons, 6 daughters) were born: Polly D. (1824-1869), Stephen Friel (1825-1879), Frances (1827-1899), Rosamond (1829-1869), Heath (1830-1907), Columbus (1833- ? ), Lafayette (1835-1860), Houston (1838-1866), Asa (1840-died shortly after birth), Sena (1842-1876), Emmet (1844-1910), Elizabeth (1846-1923), and Fielden Hale (1850-died shortly after birth). The family migrated to Atchison County, Missouri in 1846 from which point they began to make their separate ways. The lives of three of the brothers are of particular interest to Nebraska.

Stephen Friel Nuckolls occupied himself in commercial enterprises until 1854 when he left home and took a boat to Old Fort Kearney. When Nebraska was opened for settlement, he founded Nebraska City where he held several public offices and established the Platte Valley Bank in 1855. Stephen F. Nuckolls was elected to the territorial legislature in 1859, and in 1856 he moved to Colorado where he had mining interests. Heath Nuckolls came to Nebraska City in 1854 and joined his brother, S. F. Nuckolls, in extensive and lucrative land speculation. After S. F. Nuckolls left the state, Heath Nuckolls stayed in the land and mercantile business until 1875 when he began farming. He too held public office several times. Lafayette Nuckolls operated a mercantile and real estate business in Glenwood, Iowa until Nebraska was opened, after which he moved to Plattsmouth. At the age of nineteen he was the youngest elected member of the Nebraska Territorial Assembly.

Lulu Nuckolls Wesner, the daughter of Heath and Susan Nuckolls, was born in Nebraska City, Nebraska in 1880. She received her early education in the public schools of Nebraska and her college training in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She began her teaching career in a country school near Rock Port, Missouri, and later taught in Cripple Creek, Colorado, prior to returning to Nebraska City in 1902. Lulu Nuckolls married Joy Eugene Wesner of Nebraska City in 1907 and left teaching in order to stay at home and care for her aging parents. The Wesners had two daughters, Sue Wesner Allision and Mary Wesner Riley. Lulu Nuckolls Wesner was a resident of Nebraska City until her death in 1959.


This collection consists of fourteen series: 1) Correspondence, 1855-1959; 2) Ezra Nuckolls; 3) Stephen F. Nuckolls; 4) Heath Nuckolls; 5) Susan Rutledge Nuckolls; 6) Lafayette Nuckolls; 7) Della Nuckolls; 8) Lulu Nuckolls Wesner; 9) Sue Wesner; 10) Mary Wesner Riley; 11) Family History; 12) Newspapers; 13) Miscellaneous; and 14) Certificates.

The correspondence series is arranged purely chronologically from 1855-1959 and not by individual family members. There is a list of early correspondence, 1855-1879, located in the undated folder. Any correspondence which was enclosed in an envelope has been placed directly behind the envelope. In some instances, the envelope postmark was the only identifying date, and the date has been marked, typically in the upper right-hand corner of the correspondence itself. The material is unique in that most of the correspondents were active and intelligent people, and their comments provide insight into many aspects of the periods in which they wrote. The early letters were written to Ezra Nuckolls from Virginia from friends and business associates who were inquiring about the quality and availability of land in Missouri and Nebraska. Comments include: weather, crops, prices, copper mining, business adventures, scarcity of money, sickness and death, slaves and slave holding, and politics. Of particular interest to Nebraska are the letters of Joshua H. Brown (1857) Chief Clerk of the Third Territorial Assembly, who mentions the capitol controversy and encourages migration to Nebraska, calling the area the “garden spot of the world;” and those of William B. Hail (1857) a delegate to the Territorial Assembly from Otoe County in 1855 and 1857. The majority of the later correspondence is by Lulu Nuckolls Wesner and deals with her daughters, acquaintances, her sickness, as well as history of the Nuckolls family.

The remaining series are arranged in generational order. The account book of Ezra Nuckolls [in Series 2] is of interest because in addition to family accounts it contains lists of Nuckolls Family births and deaths, a list of slave births and deaths, and receipts for the sale of four slaves to Nuckolls Family members. The dairies of Lulu Nuckolls Wesner [Series 8] form a large portion of the collection and span roughly twenty-six years. They deal with the daily happenings, joys, and hardships of her life. Other diary holdings are from Heath Nuckolls [Series 4] and Sue Wesner Allison [Series 9]. An early cloth map of an island near Nebraska City, Nebraska, is also of interest in the Heath Nuckolls series.

The Family History series [Series 11] includes genealogies of three sides of Lulu Nuckolls Wesner’s family, the Nuckolls, the Rutledge, and the Wesner families. The clippings folders in the Family History series contain non-specific descriptions of the families, as well as clippings about other relatives for whom there was not enough material to merit a separate series of their own. Clippings relating to persons who have their own series are located in that series.

The Newspaper series contains a list of specific Nebraska newspapers formerly in this collection, but now available only on microfilm. The list indicates the page number and column where a Nuckolls-related article may be found. Many of the Nebraska papers deal directly with the history of Nebraska City, such as the November 14, 1954 Centennial Edition of the Nebraska City News-Press, and consequently, the Nuckolls Family. Copies of specific family references and articles from these papers are also located in the clippings folders in the series of the person to whom the item refers. Also in this series are two original Colorado newspapers containing Nuckolls Family related articles.

Series 14 contains family certificates, mostly relating to real estate, or education. Of interest are deeds to land in Virginia, 1785; a patent for Nebraska’s Half Breed Tract; and an indenture concerning the sale of land in Atchison County, Missouri.

Note: The photo component [RG2325.PH] contains approximately 168 photographs of Nuckolls family members, related families, and friends. Items relating to the Nuckolls Family are in the collections of the Nebraska History Museum. Not all artifacts are on display; researchers must call for an appointment before scheduling a visit. See the Nebraska History Index for articles about members of the Nuckolls family. See also Otoe County Pioneers: A Biographical Dictionary for references to the Nuckolls family.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1855-1959

Box 1

  1. 1855
  2. 1856, Jan.-May
  3. 1856, June-Oct.
  4. 1856, Nov.-Dec.
  5. 1857; 1859
  6. 1866-1879
  7. 1886-1898
  8. 1901-1910
  9. 1911-1920
  10. 1923-1926
  11. 1931-1939
  12. 1944-1949
  13. 1951-1959
  14. Undated

Series 2 – Ezra Nuckolls

Box 2

  1. Account Book [with Nuckolls Family births and deaths; slave births and deaths; slave receipts]
  2. Financial Records, 1856-1857
  3. Land records
  4. Clippings

Series 3 – Stephen F. Nuckolls

  1. Biographical Material
  2. Clippings
  3. Miscellaneous

Series 4 – Heath Nuckolls

  1. Biographical Material
  2. Diary, 1891
  3. Sale Book, 1866-1887 [incl. recipes c.1920s at the end]
  4. Financial Records
  5. Land Records
  6. Plat of Island on cloth, n.d.
  7. Clippings

Series 5 – Susan Rutledge Nuckolls

  1. Autograph Book, 1852-1857
  2. Clippings

Series 6 – Lafayette Nuckolls

  1. Biographical Material
  2. Financial Records

Series 7 – Della Nuckolls

  1. Autograph Book, ca. 1789-1883
  2. Miscellaneous

Series 8 – Lulu Nuckolls Wesner

Box 3

  1. Diaries, 1932-1941
  2. Diaries, 1941-1944
  3. Diaries, 1945-1947
  4. Diaries, 1948-1949
  5. Diaries, 1950-1951

Box 4

  1. Diaries, 1952-1953
  2. Diaries, 1954-1955
  3. Diaries, 1956-1957
  4. Diaries, 1958
  5. Reminiscences
  6. Clippings
  7. Miscellaneous

Series 9 – Sue Wesner Allison

Box 5

  1. Diary, 1946-1947
  2. Clippings
  3. Miscellaneous

Series 10 – Mary Wesner Riley

  1. Clippings
  2. Miscellaneous

Series 11 – Family History

  1. Nuckolls Family
  2. Nuckolls Family Clippings
  3. Rutledge Family
  4. Rutledge Family Clippings
  5. Wesner Family Clippings

Series 12 – Newspapers

  1. Nebraska newspapers [list only, see Nebraska newspapers on microfilm]
  2. Colorado newspapers (See OB060)

Series 13 – Miscellaneous

  1. General
  2. Clippings

Series 14 – Certificates


  1. Certificates:
    Land certificate [Virginia], John Bryant, 1785 [photocopy]
    Land certificate [Virginia], Aaron Simcock, 1809
    Land certificate [Missouri], Milton D. Russell, 1853
    Diplomas, Della Nuckolls, 1881, 1882
    Land Patent, Half Breed Tract, Susie Deroin, [V01]
    Diploma & certificate, Lulu Nuckolls, 1895, 1899
    Certificates, Sue Wesner, 1924, 1929
    Dale Sieg Certificate
  2. Land certificate [Virginia], John Bryant, 1785 [original–restricted for preservation]

Newspapers from the Nuckolls Family Collection

Page and column numbers indicate location of Nuckolls Family-related articles.

Nebraska Newspapers (on microfilm)

Nebraska City News, January 10, 1885, page 3, col. 3
Nebraska City Daily News, June 7, 1905, page 3, col. 5
Nebraska Daily News-Press, March 10, 1926, page 1, col. 4; page 2, col. 1
The Nelson Gazette, March 7, 1940, page 1, col. 1; page 2, col. 3
Nebraska City News-Press, May 7, 1954, page 1, col. 1
Lincoln Sunday-Journal and Star, August 15, 1954, page 2, col. 1
Nebraska City News-Press, November 14, 1954, “Centennial Edition”
Nebraska City News-Press, April 23, 1957, page 2, col. 8

Colorado Newspapers (originals)

Pikes Peak Daily News, August 20, 1912, page 3, col. 1
The Middle Park Times, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO, March 10, 1922, page 1, col. 2

Subject headings:

Allison, Sue Wesner
Brown, Joshua H., 1841-1928
Capitols — Nebraska
Hail, William B., 1811-1893
Half Breed Tract
Migration, Internal
Nebraska City (Neb.) — History
Nebraska — Maps
Nebraska Territory. Legislature
Nuckolls County (Neb.) — History
Nuckolls family
Nuckolls, Della
Nuckolls, Ezra, 1798-1857
Nuckolls, Heath, 1830-1907
Nuckolls, Lafayette, 1835-1860
Nuckolls, Susan Rutledge
Nuckolls, Stephen Friel, 1825-1879
Otoe County (Neb.) — History
Platte Valley Bank (Nebraska City, Neb.)
Politics — Nebraska
Real estate business
Riley, Mary Wesner
Sharp, N. J.
Slavery — Nebraska
Wesner, Joy Eugene
Wesner, Lulu Nuckolls, 1880-1959

CM/KFK 05-09-1997
Encoded TMM 12-21-2010

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