Fred Nicholls was born in London, England in 1863. He emigrated to Blenheim, Ontario, in eastern Canada, with his parents, at the age of four.
As a young man, he came to the Ypsilanti community of Stutsman County, North Dakota, where he and Ted Daughty filed for homesteads in 1890.
Fred returned to Ontario and married his childhood sweetheart, Armina Burke, and they returned to Ypsilanti, where they first lived in the "Shane" shack whle they were building a home on their homestead property.
In 1905, Fred drilled an artisan well over 1,300 feet deep, and it was said to have shot water up into the air thirty feet, night and day, summer and winter, as the water was hot. In winter, it froze in a cone shape about twenty feet high, forming an excellent skating pond beneath it. From that pond, kids could skate seven miles to the river. On winter Sundays, there were often skating parties, which includes the Halstads, Mells, Moens, Liens, Aulto, Schultz, and Schillings. After about threee years, the well stopped due to leaks in the iron pipe beneath the surface.
Fred and Armina Nicholls were the parents of seven children: Ethel, who died at birth; Leo, who married Blanche Berge; Stanley, who was married to Ruth Gomsrud; Alma, who married Lloyd Cowger; Bert, who was married to Laura Lien; Grace, who married Rex Patrick; and Ruth, who was married to Wayne Putz.