Richard Nicoll

First Governor of New York

Richard Nicoll was born at Ampthill in Bedfordshire, England in 1624. During the English Civil War, he commanded a royal horse troop and when the King's forces were defeated, he fled to Europe with the Stuarts. Charles II was restored to the throne of England in 1660 and Richard Nicoll returned to England in the service of the Duke of York. In 1664, when Charles resolved to enforce England's claim to New Netherland, Richard Nicoll was appointed to command the English fleet, and named governor of the future colony of New York.

Governor Nicoll indicated to the Duke of York that he wished to return to England and on August 25, 1668, the denizens of New York held a farewell dinner in his honor following which they formed a large procession and escorted him to his ship. Contemporaneously, Boundary Commissioner Samuel Maverick wrote a letter to Lord Arlington in which he stated that Richard Nicoll "hath done His Majesty and His Royal Highness very considerable service in these parts, having, by his prudent management of affairs, kept persons of different judgments and of diverse nations in peace and quietness, during a time when a great part of the world was in wars. And as to the several nations of the Indians, they were never brought into such a peaceable posture and faire correspondence as by his means they now are."

Back in London, Nicoll again became part of the Duke of York's retinue and served with him in the fleet under his command in the Third Anglo-Dutch War. Richard Nicoll was killed by a cannonball on May 28, 1672, in the North Sea naval battle of Solebay.


Peter R. Eisenstadt and Laura-Eve Moss. The Encyclopedia of New York State (2005)

Martha Joanna Lamb and Mrs. Burton Harrison. A History of the City of New York: Its Origin, Rise, and Progress