Josiah Nickels

Mechanical Engineer


Average size man, starting to get on in the years. Usually seen in coveralls and driving goggles/cap along with a large wrench on his person.


Josiah Nickels was born January 6th, 1886 in the City of Seattle to Martin and Pearle (Frisbe) Nickels. Martin had originally migrated from California (details unknown) to work on the newly opened railway in 1883, where he met Pearle and started a family. Josiah attended the local school and his father would teach him his craft the best he could. In his early adulthood, Josiah would take the odd mechanical jobs among the shipyards, train-yards and anywhere he could apply and learn his trade. When the University of Washington opened up summer correspondence classes, Josiah immediately enrolled with the electrical engineering department, but switched to mechanical engineering when that program started in 1906. He continued to work his way through this finally obtaining his degree in 1914. In 1916, Boeing began to make planes in Seattle and Josiah was able to obtain work through here. In 1917, a month after the US declared War, seeing that he would be included in the draft, Josiah was enticed by both his patriotism instilled in his schooling days and by a propaganda poster to join the First Regiment of Replacement engineers. images.jpgHe did not expect, however, that they would be placed under the 1st infantry division. After leaving training camp as a private and officially joining the 1st Engineer Regiment as Master Engineer Junior Grade, he quickly saw combat which escalated to a major event for him. October 9th, 1918, he joined two other soldiers to attempt to take down machine gun nests. While the attempt was ultimately successful by Sergeant Wilbur E. Colyer, Josiah was wounded in the leg with a pieces of hot lead. He was taken out of combat by fellow soldiers that re-enforced the position and transported by combat ambulance. When the ambulance was struck with shrapnel from a nearby artillery shell the driver, Henry Ernst, attempted to repair this himself. Josiah, the superior mechanic, insisted he was up to the task by required Ernst to keep the pressure on his leg wound and provide cover. It took the final whack of a large, now lucky, wrench to get things back into operation and the duo was split with Ernst required back in the field, swapping out ambulances first. With the war ending November 19, 1918; Josiah soon faced a medical discharge. He continued to apply his trade offering his services to ships, ultimately traveling the world but never learning any languages as machines are universal.

Josiah Nickels

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