Yellowstone Biographies: "N"
Who's Who in Wonderland's Past
Copyright 2009 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced
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Nauerth, Isabel Isabel Nauerth was wife of Jack Haynes. See `Haynes, Isabel’.
Nichols, Ellen Child Ellen Dean Child was the daughter of H.W. Child and married Wm. Nichols in 1905. Three years after her husband's death in 1960 she became Chairman of the Board of YPCo. Two years later she was Treasurer of the firm, but still controlled a majority of the stock with her son John Q. Nichols. The company was sold in 1966 to Goldfield Enterprises. She was known as the Grand Dame of the Yellowstone Park Co. [25L;76]
Nichols, John Q. John Q. Nichols, son of Wm. Nichols, became General Manager of YP Hotel Co. in 1935. In the 1950’s he was a vice-president of YPCo, along with Huntley Child Jr. In 1956 John became President, with his father as Chairman of the Board. He resigned in 1961 due to the increasing financial problems suffered by the company, but remained a major stockholder in the company. [25L;76]
Nichols, William Morse William Nichols was born in 1881 in Hartford, Conn. Familiarly known as “Billie”, he attended the US Military Academy at West Point from around 1899 to 1903. He graduated as a second lieutenant in 1903 and was assigned to the 11th Cavalry and sent to Yellowstone Park. He married Harry Child’s daughter, Ellen Dean Child, in 1905 and resigned his commission in the Army in September of that year. In 1907 he served as secretary to Harry Child, and two years later became Secretary of the newly formed YPHCo. He was the second largest shareholder of the Cody-Sylvan Pass Motor Co. in 1916 with 28% of the shares. With the death of Harry Child in 1931, Nichols was elevated to president of the company. The various Child/Nichols enterprises were merged together in 1936 with Nichols as President of the new Yellowstone Park Co. During the lean war years, business was bad in the park and few facilities were open. Nichols was forced to sell his shares of the Flying D Ranch in 1944 to help pay off debts to the railroad companies. During the mid-1940’s his son John Q. gradually began to take over active management of the company. In 1956 Billie resigned as president of the company to take over as chairman of the board of directors of YPCo. He remained with the company until his death on August 6, 1957 at Mammoth, after suffering a heart attack about nine days earlier. [25g] [62k;Wm.M. Nichols Papers]
Nicholls, Bill Bill Nicholls was co-owner with Harold Young of ‘Snowmobiles of West Yellowstone”. They started winter tours of the park in 1955 in Bombedier snow coaches. [25L;76]
Norris, Philetus W. P.W. Norris became the 2nd park superintendent in 1877, serving for 5 years. He was known for his explorations of the park and geyser basins, and wrote extensively of his findings. He established the first written rules and regulations for the park and had them published in local newspapers and posted on signs around the park. He obtained the 1st congressional appropriations in 1878 and set out to build a road from Mammoth to the Lower Geyser Basin. He followed a trail blazed by Julius Beltizer in 1874. He continued to build many other roads and trails in the park, but his detractors claimed he was more interested in the number of miles built, rather than in the quality of the roads. He was severely criticized for this after his departure, however funds were limited and he attempted to stretch them as far as he could. Through his efforts 234 miles of trails and crude roads had been constructed by 1879 and two years later he was responsible for 104 miles of the 140-mile road system. He built the first administrative building in the park on Capitol Hill at Mammoth in 1879. Due the Indian troubles of 1877-78, the building was erected more as a protective fort and became known as the Norris Blockhouse. In 1880 he circumnavigated Yellowstone Lake in a 20’ sailboat called the “Explorer” and deemed the Lake quite navigable. Norris Geyser Basin, Norris Pass, and Mount Norris were named after him. His tenure ended in February of 1882 and he died three years later in Kentucky. [25L;77-78]
Norton, Harry J. Harry J. Norton has been described as a "romantic-looking fellow, dark-haired and handsome, and had a history full of incident and adventures . . . He was a man of undoubted nerve; will power was the dominant trait of his character." He fought in the Mexican War, was a government scout, hunted, mined for gold and was the sole survivor of a raid by the Apaches on the Gila River. Norton was among one of the earliest tourist groups to travel the park. He explored the park in early September of 1872, leaving from Virginia City. The following year he published a guidebook entitled “Wonderland Illustrated, or Horseback Rides Through the Yellowstone National Park”. He described the wonders to be found in the park and made note of necessary or optional supplies and equipment that would be needed for the adventure. His guidebook also accepted advertisements for Virginia City businesses. In 1874 he became local editor for the New Northwest newspaper in Deer Lodge, Montana. Norton left Montana in the winter of 1874-75 and went to Silver City, Nevada where he published what was described "as a typical mining camp journal,” the Silver City Mining Reporter. Norton seems to have been a bit hot-headed as one newspaper reported an altercation he had with “Prospecting Bill.” Bill called Norton a few choice names whereupon Norton throttled Bill, drew his gun and smashed it in his face, knocking out a tooth. As he pulled the trigger to fire, another newspaperman grabbed the gun and the hammer came down upon his hand, saving Bill from meeting his maker. While in Silver City Norton fell in love with Mary Blackburn, seventeen-year old daughter of Judge Blackburn. The Judge's beautiful young daughter was besieged with suitors that Norton vied with for her affections. His most serious competitor was a rich and daring Mexican. Feeling that he might lose the battle of suitors, Norton found a pretext to challenge the Mexican to a duel, who instantly accepted. The challenger chose Colt revolvers at 20 paces with the contest set for the following morning. Norton reportedly worked late at the newspaper office that night with a cool and level head and even wrote his own obituary, which he instructed his printers to utilize should he not survive the duel. The next morning the men, back-to-back, paced off and at the count of three, turned and fired. Norton's shot was fired with deadly aim, while his opponent's shot went over his head. He immediately rushed over to Mary's house to explain what happened and told her he must flee town immediately. She agreed to go with him and they fled to Virginia City where they wasted no time in getting married. The couple traveled around the west, living in the Black Hills for a time where they apparently had a daughter. He seems to have worked at a paper known as the Black Hills Newsletter and Mining Reporter. In 1879 he wrote a book entitled “A Bird’s-eye View of the Black Hills Gold Mining Region" and traveled to New York to work on getting it published. Late in 1879 he moved on to Leadville, Colorado but sent Mary back home so as not to expose her to the dangers and wild life of that raucous town. He became editor of The Chronicle and wrote an idealized story of his life, filled with romance and history called "On the Yellowstone." It was made into a play after his death in New York City by Salmi Morse, author of the Passion Play. Critics however, were not particularly fond of the play. In the June of 1880 Norton's reckless life caught up with him and he was taken ill with pneumonia. He summoned his wife by telegram to be by his side and she arrived in town the night he died. Brokenhearted, Mary returned to Nevada to live with her parents, who eventually moved to the Pacific Coast. When a rich relative died, Mary used her share of the inheritance to move to New York City, where she became the leading lady in the play "On the Yellowstone," which Morse produced. In 1884 Morse was found floating in a New York river and an inquest reported that it was an accidental drowning, although reports persisted of suicide. [25L;79] [14u;10/24/1876; 3/1/1884] [42e;7/19/1874] [Black Hills Pioner Newspaper, 1878-80] [Galveston Daily News; 4/7/1884]