Marriage license for Rudy Nickel (son of Acton's R.E. Nickel) and Viola Percival, 1926.
R.E. Nickel was considered the Father of Acton. That much we know. He was Acton's first postmaster; he started the Acton Rooster newspaper in 1891; he founded the Acton Hotel; he photographed everything in sight for miles around (including Newhall); and he was the foremost community leader of his day.
But what was his name? He went by "R.E." Most of our history books for the past few decades (it's 2014 now) have said Rudolph Eugene.
But in her landmark 1988 book on Acton history, "Heritage Happenings," the late town historian Merle Adams gives a different name.
According to Adams, it was Richard E. Nickel who came out (even farther) West from Kansas in October 1887 with his bride, the former miss Anna Duehren — daughter of Acton's first permanent resident, John Duehren — along with their young children, Rudy and Lottie. Also in tow were Richard's brothers Eugene and Bruno.
So was it Richard E. or Rudolph Eugene?
This marriage license tends to corroborate Adams' identifications and refute others'; and it fits with her assertion that the newspaperman moved his family to Berkeley around 1900.
The license, filed in August 1926, authorizes the marriage of Rudolph Fred Nickel (middle name not Eugene — that was his uncle), then 40, of Berkeley, to Viola Elizabeth Percival, 32, of Oakland. Both were widowed; it was the second marriage for each.
It shows that Rudy was born in Kansas in about 1886 to German-born Richard E. Nickel and Minnesota-born Anna C. Dehren [sic].
Rudy's bride (whose maiden name is alternately spelled Percival and Perceval in this document) was born in California to William C. Hull and Kate Winslow, both also California-born.
Oakland Tribune 9-24-1915.
The couple wed July 16, 1926, in Berkeley.
Rudy's California death record shows he was born January 27, 1886, in Kansas, and died April 17, 1967, in Monterey. It spells his mother's maiden name "Durham."
A wedding notice in the Oakland Tribune of Friday, Sept. 24, 1915, indicates that Rudy's first marriage was to a Miss Ethel Hughes of Oakland on Sept. 22, 1915.