Nichols Family Legacy Continues

Posted on November 29, 2020 by ROMI WHITE

Santa Rosa County Creek Indian Tribe Chief Thomas E.  “Blue Eyes” Nichols has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. He has been blessed with a beautiful family, and his sons are intent to carry on his legacy of community and public service.

Tom was born in Atmore, Alabama in 1953 but has been a lifelong resident of Santa Rosa County. He attended Milton High School and Pensacola Junior College and is married to the former Miss Laure Wheeler. They have adult two sons, Sam and Tommy, who now have families of their own.

Tom is a professional land surveyor and owner of Benchmark Surveying in Pace.

He has been affiliated with the Creek Indian people for many years. Nichols’ ancestral history dates back to the Creek Indians who fought alongside the Americans in the War of 1812. His ancestry is documented in the Creek Indian Census of 1832, and his ancestors were part of the Wing Clan.

In 1994 Nichols became the twenty-third Native American in Florida history to be granted minority status in the States of Florida and the first Native American minority-owned business in Santa Rosa County. That same year he was also elected President of the Creek Confederation of Florida, where he served for a term of one year.

He has previously served on the Florida Consume Council and The Santa Rosa County Zoning Board and is a past president of the Pace Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

Santa Rosa County Creek Indian Chief Tom Nichols, center, pictured with his sons, Sam, left, and Tommy, right. The trio attended were pictured Tuesday at a private celebration for newly installed Santa Rosa County District 3 Commissioner James Calkins. Photo by Romi White.

“My dad has sacrificed many days and nights, missing many events in his own life for the betterment of his people and the people of SRC,” said Tommy. “I didn’t appreciate the sacrifices he made until I grew up and saw what all he had accomplished, being the founder and original Chief of the Santa Rosa County Creek Indian Tribe and then watching many great leaders come to him for political advice and serving on many boards locally and statewide.”

In 1990 a group of Creek descendants formed the Santa Rosa Creek Indian Tribe to recapture the history and heritage of their ancestors. Under Nichols’ leadership the tribe has grown to hundreds of members. The tribe aims to raises awareness of their culture through educational programs and other activities. In 1999 for the first time the opening prayer for the Florida legislature was recited in  Creek by a tribe member.

“He is truly my hero and inspired in me to always be the best and to always put God and your home first and for my brother and myself there is no bigger honor than to be able to serve our home and our fellow citizens – just as our father has done,” added Tommy. “I just pray when all is said and done we can say we were half the man he has been and are able to help our home as much as dad has! He is truly one of a kind and I’m honored to call him dad.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to the Santa Rosa County Creek Indian Tribe for information included in this story