Frederick Henry Nusbickel

Frederick (or Fred as he was known) Henry Nusbickel is my wife Ellen’s second cousin, twice removed. Fred was the grandson of Elizabeth (Wagner) Nusbickel, a sister of Ellen’s second great grandfather, Jacob Wagner.

Fred was born in 1881 in Lyons, Wayne County, New York, the first son to Frederick Nusbickel and Anna Maria Kletzing. In 1905, Fred married Maisa Parker and the two subsequently left New York state and moved to California where Fred took up citrus farming. The 1910 US Federal Census shows Fred as being a ‘nurseryman’ of citrus trees in Glendora, California, which suggests he was an employee, but it appears that by the time of the 1920 US Federal Census, Fred had acquired his own lands and was listed as a Fruit Grower of Citrus Groves in San Dimas, California.

In a February 1945 letter to his sister, Tusanelda (Nusbickel) Simpson, Fred recounted a time when Ellen’s great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner, came to California for a visit: “I remember that when Maisa and I were living in Glendora, he [Cousin Henry as they called him] came to see us for about three days. He was attending a minister’s conference in Los Angeles. I remember that on a Sunday morning after breakfast, I asked him if he wanted to go to church or to the beach. He asked what we would do if he were not there. I told him we would go to the beach. He said that he would like very much to see the Pacific Ocean again. So we all went to the beach. He rolled up his trousers and in his bare feet ran up and down the sands and gathered shells. As he was over sixty at the time, it did not occur to me that he would want to go in swimming. After Maisa and I had our swim, we were dressed and lying on the sand. He came up and asked if I cared if he used my suit to go in. I told him that I was much embarrassed that I had not brought another suit for him but that it had not occurred to me that he would want to go in. So he put on that wet suit and acted like a kid in the water. In fact, I had to insist that he come out, as I was afraid that he would get too chilled after a rather long time. We enjoyed his stay very much.”

Following my last post that introduced the Nusbickel family name and my wife’s connection to it, friend and terrific genealogy blogger “Apple” provided a comment with a referral to the ‘Old Fulton New York Post Cards‘ site. The Fulton history site offers access to more than 15 million old New York historical newspaper pages and what a treasure of information these old newspapers have been for my Nusbickel family research. For example, the Lyons Republican and Clyde Times newspaper, in the April 5, 1951 edition, published the following obituary for Fred:


Frederick H. Nusbickel of San Dimas, Calif., died suddenly of a heart attack, March 31, according to word received Sunday in Lyons.

Mr. Nusbickel was born in Lyons, the son of the late Frederick Nusbickel, prominent merchant of Lyons, and Mrs. Nusbickel. He was graduated in 1899 from the Lyons Union School, valedictorian of his class, and from Syracuse University in 1903, where he was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity.

In 1905, Mr. Nusbickel began a career in California, pioneering in the perfection of pedigreed citrus stock, and developing from virgin soil his extensive citrus groves in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Mr. Nusbickel’s first wife, the former Maisa Parker, died in 1922, and in 1926 he married Marjorie MacPherson Herlighy, who survives.

Also surviving are two sons, Frederick of California. David of Winter Park, Fla.; a step-son, John Herlighy, of California: four grandchildren; a brother, Thomas Raymond Nusbickel, of Glendora, Calif.; two sisters, Mrs. O. E. Van Slyke of South Pasadena, Mrs. R. S. Simpson of Lyons, and six nieces and nephews.”

Although a newspaper account may considered as a secondary source of information, this obituary helps confirm information that I already had obtained and helps provide good clues as to where I need to look further for some primary information sources such as Maisa’s death in1922 and Fred’s second marriage. If you have ancestors who lived in New York State, particularly the Fulton, Wayne, and Erie County areas, these newspapers will be of great value to you.

One thought on “Frederick Henry Nusbickel

  1. Hi Ian,

    I know a Fred Nusbickel who lives here in the San Diego area. My guess is that he is the son Fred mentioned in the obituary. I worked with Fred at Rohr Inc., a Chula Vista commercial aircraft manufacturing company. He retired about 15 years ago, and I see him occasionally at the retired engineer's lunches every two months.

    I'll ask him if he's the son of this Fred, and if he knows your wife, his second couisn, or is it his third cousin? Who's the common ancestors?

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