Richard M. Nixon


Richard Milhous Nixon came from a family with a strong heritage. His
father's side of the family were Methodists originally from Scotland. Then, in
the early 1600s, they migrated to Ireland, and to America in the 1730s. His
grandfather, George Nixon, died in the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil war.
Richard's father, Frank Nixon, was born in Ohio. His mother died when he was
only 7, and he left home when he was only 14. He went from town to town doing
odd jobs and eventually made his way to California where he met his future wife,
Hannah.
Nixon's mother's side of the family was originally from Germany. They
then migrated to England around 1688, where they became Quakers. From England
they migrated to Ireland, and from Ireland to America. During the civil war they
were part of the underground railroad. Richard's mother, Hannah Milhous, was
born in Indiana, but her family moved and she grew up in Whittier, California,
where she met Frank Nixon. They fell in love at first sight, and were married
four months later in June 1908. Frank converted to Quakerism.
Frank and Hannah's first son, Harold, was born in 1909, only a year
after they were wed. In 1908, Frank bought a lemon ranch in Yorba Linda, CA, and
built a small house there. Then, on January 9, 1913, Richard Milhous Nixon was
born in that very house. Hannah and Frank would have three more children: Donald
(born in 1914), Arthur (born in 1918), and Edward (born in 1930).
The Nixon family lived on the edge of poverty. The lemon ranch didn't
make enough money to provide for the family of seven, so Frank started doing odd
jobs (namely building houses) AND ran the lemon ranch to provide for his family.
In 1922, the Nixon's moved back to Whittier, and things took a turn for the
better. Frank bought a plot of land and built a gas station and a general store
on it. Business was good, but it took much work to keep the store running. The
whole family worked hard at the store and the children worked hard at school.
But tragedy struck in 1925. Arthur died.
Richard was always a serious child. By the age of six, he was already
reading the newspaper and talking politics with his father. He was a good public
speaker, and by junior high school, he was a master debater. He tried his
hardest to get the best grades in school. In 1926, he entered high school. He
was very busy. He did his schoolwork, he studied, he helped with the store, he
went to church, he played football, he played basketball, he ran track, he was
on the Latin Club, he was on the debate team, he was on the school newspaper
staff, he played violin for the school orchestra, and he got very little sleep.
His junior year he decided to study law and become a politician. In 1929, his
senior year, he won a part scholarship to Harvard University, but couldn't
accept. Due to the economic depression that was over the country, Nixon didn't
have enough money to pay for the rest of the immense cost to go to Harvard. But
in 1930, he entered Whittier College.
In 1933, tragedy struck again and Harold died of tuberculosis. But that
was also a year of personal triumph for Richard when he was elected president of
the student body. In 1934, Richard graduated from Whittier College, second in
his class. He then applied for a full scholarship to Duke University Law School,
and was granted it.
In 1936, Nixon was elected president of the Duke Student Bar Association.
In 1937, Nixon graduated with honors, third in his class. He returned to
Whittier and was hired by the respectable Wingert and Bewly Law Firm. When he
returned to Whittier, he met Thelma "Pat" Ryan at tryouts for a play (Nixon also
liked to act). He, like his father, fell in love at first sight. Even before he
and Pat went on a single date, he said, "I'm going to marry you someday." And,
true to his word, Nixon married Ryan on June 21, 1940.
In 1941, Nixon was offered a government job with the OPA. He took it,
and he and Pat moved to Washington. In 1942, during WWII Nixon applied for sea
duty with the U.S. Navy, but wasn't accepted. He tried again and was assigned to
a base in the South Pacific. Pat found a job and moved to San Francisco. Richard
went to sea.
Two years later, in 1944, Nixon came back to the U.S. and was sent to
Northern CA, where he and Pat lived together again. He