John Nyce, 4th Pennsylvania Reserves

COL. JOHN NYCE, deceased. This in his day well-known citizen of Milford. Pike county, who passed to the unseen life April 13, 1880. was for many years a prominent member of the legal fraternity. His progressive mind, and warm sympathy with the needs of the people, made him a determined champion of various reforms, and while his professional work was notably successful, he will, perhaps, be best remembered for his loyalty and devotion as a citizen to the welfare of his community.

Col. Nyce was born July 22, 1831, in Sandyston township, Sussex Co., N. J., a son of Major John W. And Maria (Van Campen) Nyce, and a grandson of John Nyce, who resided at an early day at Egypt Mills, Penn. Major John W. Nyce was a native of Egypt Mills, Penn., and for many years followed farming in Sussex county, N. J. He was a man of much ability, and public spirit, and his title was gained by active service in the State militia, for which he organized and trained a company. Our subject was fifth in a family of nine children, the others being: Eleanora, widow of Foster Armstrong, of Wentzville, Mo.; Abram (deceased), who married Julia Ramie ; James, who married Jane Brink; Mary, wife of Eben Kilpatrick ; Catherine, wife of John Ramie, of Orange county, N. Y. ; Sarah, wife of John Kyte, of Sandyston, N. J.; Jacob, a carpenter at Port Jervis, who married Dorcas Shay ; and George, a physician at Saratoga, N. Y., who married Maria Ennis.

Our subject was reared to farm life, and his education was begun in the public schools near his home. In early manhood he removed to Delanco, N. J., to work in a lumber yard of which he was soon made the manager, but later he went to New York City, where he clerked in a dry-goods store for several years. In 1856 he located at Stroudsburg, where he began the study of law with Hon. Charlton Burnett as preceptor, but the breaking out of the Civil war interrupted his plans. As soon as it became apparent that a long struggle was inevitable, he began organizing a company which was mustered into service June 11, 1861, as Company F, [4th] Pa. Reserves. Our subject entered as second-lieutenant, and was soon advanced to the post of adjutant, while on June 2, 1862, he was promoted to the rank of major. On November 9, 1862, he was appointed colonel of the 174th Pa. Militia, for meritorious conduct in the field, and with this rank he served until mustered out on August 7, 1863, at Philadelphia. During his term of service he took part in many important engagements, and received wounds which left their mark upon him to his death. At Charles City Cross Roads he had a sabre wound across his right arm; at Malvern Hill he was shot through the right arm, and received a shell wound in the knee ; and at Antietam he was shot through the right lung, which caused him to fall from his horse and injure his hip. His soldiers, who one and all appreciated his gallantry and courage, presented him with a valuable chronometer, which he prized greatly and always carried, while the officers of his regiment presented him with a handsome gold- and silver-mounted sword. On returning to the paths of peace Col. Nyce remained in Stroudsburg for a few months, and in February, 1864, he was admitted to the Bar in the Monroe County Court. In April, 1864, he located at Milford, where he speedily gained a large and lucrative practice, and at his death he left a handsome competence. He was active in municipal affairs, and twice served as chief burgess of Milford. Although a Democrat in politics, he accepted the Greenback nomination tor State Senator in 1878,, his opponent being Hon. Allen Craig, of Carbon county, and while he failed to carry the election he received a flattering vote in his own county. In religious faith he was a Methodist, and for many years he was an active worker in the Church, serving as superintendent in the Sunday-school until failing health compelled him to relinquish the duties of the position. Socially he was identified with the I. O. O. F. G. A. R. Post No. 458, at Milford, is named Col. John Nyce Post after him.

On December 28, 1853, Col. Nyce was married at Port Jervis, N. Y., to Miss Martha Ann Allen, and six children blessed the union: (1) John W., born July 15, 1855, married Margaret A. Quick, and resides at Caldwell, Kans. ; for some years he operated the Caldwell Stock Exchange Bank, but retired in 1895 on account of ill-health, and July 3, 1897, he was appointed postmaster of the town by President McKinley. In September, 1877, he was admitted to the Bar in Pike county, Penn., and practiced there for a number of years ; served as district attorney two years, resigning that office in 188 1, when he removed to Caldwell, Sumner Co., Kans., as just stated, and soon afterward was admitted to the Bar of that county. For two years he was mayor of the city ; also served as president of the school board of Caldwell, as city attorney, city treasurer and city clerk, also as clerk of the district court of Sumner county. He is a prominent member of the I. O. O. F., A. O. U. W., and F. & A. M., being a Knight Templar and Shriner. (2) Isabella C. resides with her mother. (3) Clarissa M. married Asa Overall, and died in Kansas in September, 1876. (4) Mattie L. married J. Willis Caldwell, and died at Caldwell, Kans., November 23, 1889. (5) Bertha W. died at Stroudsburg in childhood. (6) George McC, who is unmarried, was for some time a grocer in South Dakota; when the war with Spain broke out he enlisted in the service of his country, being one of the famous “Rough Riders,” and subsequently re-enlisted in the Eighth New York Cavalry, in which he holds the rank of corporal, and at this time he is with his regiment at Puerto Principe, Cuba.

Mrs. Martha A. Nyce is a native of Orange county, N. Y., and belongs to an old and highlyrespected family. Her grandfather, Sandford Allen, was a prominent citizen of New York City, and for many years held public office. He married Clarissa Hoddard, and had the following children : Wiliam C, Sandford, Henry, Thomas, Billins, Roxellina, Prudence J. and Bashby. Major William C. Allen, father of Mrs. Nyce, was born in New York City, and learned the carpenter’s trade there in his youth. For some time in later life he made his home with Mrs. Nyce, but while on a visit to Port Jervis he died on January 14, 1894, at the age of eighty-two years. His wife, Elizabeth (Writer), a native of Otisville, N. Y., died at Port Jervis, January 8, 1888, aged seventy-two, and the remains of both were interred in the cemetery at Mil ford. This estimable couple had ten children : Clarissa J., deceased wife of Marvin Bowen; Martha A. (Mrs. Nyce) ;. Amanda M., widow of Michael Nearpass, of Port Jervis; Catherine, widow of Richard Hemmingway, of New York; Jeannette, who died in childhood; Sandford, who went south, and was never heard from afterward; and William H., Isabella, Elizabeth and Alferetta, who all died in childhood.

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Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.