Published in The Garland Daily News in 1980 as part of a series by Betty Roberts



Jasper Nickens was born in Tennessee in 1849.  He moved to Illinois in his youth before coming to Texas in 1876.  He settled west of the community of Duck Creek in the Shiloh area.  His property was bounded on the north by what is now Forest Lane and on the east by Shiloh Road.  The farm was located where DeSoto, Inc. now stands.

Two other Nickens brothers also came to Texas.  James settled near Dallas.  Matthew had a farm near Centerville.  St. Phillips Methodist Church on Broadway is located on the old Matthew Nickens farm.  Nickens Road was the east boundary of the property.

In his early days in the area, Jasper Nickens was a boot maker.  For many years he made practically all the boots worn in the community.  He frequently walked to Dallas and carried the leather for the boots out on his back.

On one occasion a resident of the area offered him a ride on the brand new invention, the automobile.  He answered, “Thank you, but I don’t have the time.”

In 1883 Jasper married Miss Nancy Ann Russell.  When he died in 1925, he was survived by his wife and seven children.  The newspaper article telling of his death described him:  “He was a man of few words but scrupulously honest in his dealings and minding his own business.  He was charitable in his dealings, and was a mighty good citizen.”

William Hulen Nickens, the only Nickens son, continued to live on the home place after his father’s death.  Hulen had married Ethel Minor of Rinehardt, and they were the parents of four children.  Hulen Nickens and three of his children were born between Kingsley Road and Forest Lane.

The farm, approximately 150 acres, was sold to De Soto Paint and Varnish in the early 1940’s.

After the farm was sold, in 1945, they bought a house on the corner of Avenue B and Seventh Street.  They lived there until 1961.  During this time Mr. Nickens was one of the first school patrolmen in Garland.  They moved again when the drive-in windows for the new First National Bank were built.

The house from the Nickens’ farm was also moved to a new location.  It is now on Austin Street across from the fire station.  The top floor and two downstairs rooms were removed before the trip to town.  Four big rooms and a hall remained.  An electric outlet installed by Jasper Nickens is still in the living room.  One of his daughters had insisted they must have electricity.

Hulen Nickens died in 1965.  Mrs. Nickens and one son live in Garland.  The other children live in Washington, California, and Louisiana.