Thomas was born in 1820 at Nenthead, Cumberland, to parents Edward Nicholson, a lead miner (1841), and Jane Shield. He was baptised on 28 May 1820 at Alston, Cumberland.
He married Mary Ann Grant (1824-1878) in early 1846 in the Canterbury Registration District, Kent. Census returns identify eight children.
- Elizabeth (1846-1863)
- Thomas Richard (1848-1859)
- Joseph Shield (1850-1927) – a professor of political economy (Edinburgh University)
- Ebenezer Thomas (b1852)
- Mary Ann (1854-1872)
- Martha Jane (1857-1906) – married William Johnson Shilson, a wool-stapler, in 1886
- Amy Blanche (1861-1926)
- Christiana Havercroft (1864-1952)
Thomas died on 9 February 1897 at Banbury, Oxfordshire.
- 1842 Isle of Wight
- 1844 Canterbury
- 1846 disappears
- Albion, Kingston upon Hull – evangelist
- Isle of Wight – evangelist
- 1848 Wrawby, Lincolnshire – Congregational minister
- 1851-1880 Wroxton & Great Bourton, Oxfordshire
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Surman Index id:20050
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers