Marcus Nicholls was the only child of Hubert and Alice Nicholls. He was born and raised in the Ypsilanti community of Stutsman County, North Dakota.
He was a graduate of Ypsilanti schools, and then from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He taught school for a short time, then entered the U.S. Army in World War II.
When he returned from his military service, he worked for the Border Patrol until he retired, and was living in Fortuna, North Dakota, with his wife, Gladys, in 1982, when the Ypsilanti Community Centennial Book was published.