Holliston’s Oldest Veteran

While most locals associate Charlie Nickerson with the founding of Out Post Farm and turkeys, Nickerson now has a new title as Holliston’s oldest veteran.

Charlie found himself in New York in 1941, hoping to join the Marines. Nickerson’s six brothers had already joined the military, but his youthful appearance didn’t fool the Marine recruiter. Farming until his eighteenth birthday in two years, Nickerson joined the Army and landed at Camp Croft in South Carolina.

“My next stop was England, just in time for D-Day,” exclaimed Nickerson. By this time Nickerson had learned that his brother Andrew had died in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.

Charlie’s baptism under fire would come as a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Dropping from the sky, Nickerson worked as the Lead Reconnaissance Scout for his unit. This job often sent him well in advance of U.S. and allied lines. Nickerson’s unit was afforded a two-month return to England before returning to the war in time for the Battle of the Bulge.

The 82nd Airborne Division met up with the Russians after Nickerson’s unit crossed the Elb River. Nickerson made it to Berlin and war’s end before returning to Camp Devens and receiving his discharge. Charlie was awarded two Silver Stars and a Russian Valor Medal along with several campaign medals for his service in Europe.

PVT Nickerson is awarded the Silver Star by Gen. James Gavin

Married and living in Dedham with five children, Nickerson was looking for land in Medway when a realtor suggested land in Holliston. He claims, “I’d never heard of Holliston,” when he ventured into the First National store on a hot August morning in 1957 to buy cookies to keep his kids quiet. An available realtor above the store showed Nickerson land on Prentice Street, and within a week Charlie said he purchased the twenty acres for $2,200.

Nickerson told the Reporter that he saw a construction company felling trees to make way for Route 128 and had the unwanted trees hauled to a mill in Dover.  These trees became the lumber for his house on Prentice Street.

“I started out with twelve chickens and ended up with twelve thousand along with hogs—the turkeys coming later,” Nickerson recalled.  

Nickerson sold his business to A.J. Collins and now lives on five acres of his previously-owned property. The bulk of his acreage was sold to Out Post Farm under a conservation restriction.

In good health, Nickerson was excited to get his Covid-19 vaccine shot at the W. Roxbury V.A. Hospital several days ago.  At 95½  years of age, he is looking forward to spring.

Bobby Blair

15 Comments

  1. Glenn Morris on February 10, 2021 at 7:22 am

    I knew Mr Nickerson back in the late 60’s and used to hang around the farm with his sons. I would like to thank him for his service to our Country and wish him well.

  2. Debi Estabrook on February 10, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Great story.

  3. Jackie Dellicker on February 10, 2021 at 7:59 am

    Congratulations “Mr. Nick”, as my boys called him. We are lucky that you settled in Holliston! Thanks Bob for the article. Amazing some of the things never known about neighbors & friends. Jackie Dellicker

  4. Steve Bradford, Commander, American Legion Post 47 on February 10, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Charlie, congratulations on becoming Holliston’s Oldest Veteran. Thank you for your service and that of your brothers and their families.

  5. Sarah Daniels on February 10, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Wow, I’ve known of Charlie since he moved to Holliston, but didn’t know this story, thankyou Bobbie. And thankyou Charlie for your service, being a survivor of D day is a rare and distinct honor.

  6. David Ruscitti on February 10, 2021 at 9:47 am

    I lived on the farm for a few years and worked with Mr Nick a lot. He was so much fun to work with and I loved the farm. Mr. Nick is a very hard working man and I always looked up to him. A great man. Thanks again to Mr. Nick. Will be visiting him in the summer if we can make it back to N.E.

  7. Anthony Buzzutto on February 10, 2021 at 11:39 am

    I knew me Nickerson as a young boy I went to school with his son Bobby. I never knew this story. God bless you and thank you. I remember when you delivered milk and sold eggs you built the outpost farm from the ground up .Congratulation Mr Nickerson on all you many endeavors

  8. Beverly Dever on February 10, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    When we first moved to Hopkinton and till this day we have gone to Outpost Farm. Both my sons worked there 1st picking pumpkins, then later working with the turkeys. Jim and Dan, my sons, were taught work ethics and hard labor by Mr. Nick and I remember Marge in the kitchen cooking. Never knew his back story, so thanks Bobby for letting us all know. Thanks to Mr. Nick for your service.

  9. Jerry Kiley on February 11, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Great article Bobby. Thanks Mr. Nick for your service. Most time when I’m back in Holliston I try and stop by for a Turkey Sandwich and say hi to A J

  10. Stacey Raffi on February 11, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Thank you for your service!! Congratulations on your latest title.
    -Stacey

  11. Mark Liberty on February 11, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    I love to hear about our history and the people who contributed to it. The greatest wisdom is to listen to those who have come before us and then to say thank you.
    Thank you at 95 plus you have contributed and witnessed so much I am in Awe.

  12. Paula Blackmer Foglietta on February 12, 2021 at 11:41 am

    There was nothing like heading to Out Post Farm to get your turkey with the fixings and the homemade pies for Thanksgiving where there was always a long line, but boy was it worth the wait every year. Now I am in Florida and oh how I miss Out Post Farm ..Also I was friends with daughter Patty.

  13. Kathy Hickey on February 13, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    What a great article about Uncle Charlie, a true renaissance man! Also a traveling Nickerson troubadour back in the day.

  14. Donald Yokes on February 16, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    I love hearing these stories. My Dad served in WWII and I never knew he was awarded the Silver Star until after he passed twenty five years ago. Mr. Nickerson has my highest respect!!

  15. Ellen McManus Cooney on September 13, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    My dad, Jim McManus ( also 82nd) and Charlie were good friends. I remember spending lots of time at their home in Canton. That was pre- Holliston. He’s godfather to my youngest brother Jim. I’m so happy to hear that he’s in good health. Charlie is a big part of my childhood memories.

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