Stephen Friel Nuckolls

Stephen Friel Nuckolls (August 16, 1825 – February 14, 1879) was a Delegate from the Territory of Wyoming and co-founder of Nebraska City, Nebraska. Nuckolls County, Nebraska is named after him.

Stephen Friel Nuckolls
From 1914's Pioneer Settlers of Grayson County, Virginia by Benjamin Floyd Nuckolls.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming Territory's at-large district
In office
December 6, 1869  March 3, 1871
Preceded bynone
District created
Succeeded byWilliam Theopilus Jones
Personal details
BornAugust 16, 1825
Grayson County, Virginia
DiedFebruary 14, 1879(1879-02-14) (aged 53)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Political partyDemocratic


Nuckolls was born in Grayson County, Virginia, where he completed preparatory studies. He moved to Linden, Missouri in 1846. He engaged in mercantile pursuits from 1847 to 1853. After that he moved to the Territory of Nebraska in 1854 and founded Nebraska City. He held several local offices in Nebraska City. In 1855 he established the Platte Valley Bank. Nuckolls served in the Nebraska Territorial Legislature in 1859.

Nuckolls was known for bringing the first four slaves into Nebraska, two of whom escaped in 1858. Nuckolls offered a $200 reward for the return of the two women, known as "Eliza," 16 and "Celia," 14, and organized a posse that pursued the two all the way to Chicago. Although Eliza was initially caught in the city of Chicago, the young woman once again escaped and eventually settled in Canada.[1] Meanwhile, after capturing Eliza, Nuckolls was hunted down by a mob of abolitionists, managing only to escape by sneaking out in a disguise furnished by city councilman Hiram Joy. The 500-mile journey of the two young women from Nebraska City to Chicago was recreated by a group of high school students in 2016.[2]

Nuckolls moved to the Territory of Colorado in 1860 and engaged in banking and mining. In 1864 he moved to New York City. He moved to the Territory of Dakota in 1867 and settled in Cheyenne. In Cheyenne, he engaged in mercantile pursuits. Upon the organization of the Territory of Wyoming he was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-first Congress and served from December 6, 1869, to March 3, 1871. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1870 to the Forty-second Congress. He resumed his mercantile pursuits.

Nuckolls served as a member of the second legislative council of Wyoming in 1871 and served as presiding officer. He served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1872 and 1876. He moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in July 1872 and engaged in milling. In Salt Lake City he died on February 14, 1879. He is interred in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City.


  1. McKee, Jim (February 19, 2012). "Stephen Nuckolls, a man of varied careers, firsts and a few surprises". Lincoln Journal-Star. Lincoln, NE.
  2. Wyoming Public Media (March 29, 2017). "HumaNature Episode 19: Freedom". HumaNature. Cheyenne, WY: Wyoming Public Media Statewide Network.


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming Territory's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1869 March 3, 1871
Succeeded by
William Theopilus Jones

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

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