Patricia [Santos] Nickles Oral History Interview
Oral History Interview with Patricia (Santos) Nickles, February 25, 2017
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1950; daughter of Ruth E. (Cassidy) and Charles R. Santos, Jr., (1923-1990); Ruth (Cassidy) Santos (b. 1923) was from an Irish-American, Catholic family; her father, was born in Lowell; her grandfather, Charles R. Santos, Sr., (1901-1964) was born in Lowell on Charles Street and was from a Portuguese family; his father (Nickle’s great grandfather), Albert Santos, was born in the Azores, likely on the island of Graciosa, and married Aldina Silva; Charles, Sr., attended Lowell public schools, but left upon completing elementary school; he married Mary Farley (1903-1939), of Irish-Catholic heritage, worked a few years in a small foundry in the Ayer’s City section of Lowell, purchased a house near the foundry on Marriner Street; and began a successful family-run wholesale meat company, Charles Santos & Sons, Inc. in the 1930s; one of seven children (two girls and five boys) Charles, Jr., was educated in Lowell’s public schools, graduated from Lowell High School, worked briefly as a welder at the Charlestown (Massachusetts) Navy Yard, served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the South Pacific during WWII, returned to Lowell, graduated from Northeastern University, and worked for a while in the family meat business; Santos became involved in local Democratic politics in the 1950s, working on the campaign of attorney James L. O’Day for district attorney of Middlesex County and then for John F. Kennedy’s congressional and presidential campaigns; he was appointed U.S. postmaster of Lowell in 1967 and served in this position for a about a dozen years.
Scope and Contents:
Interview conducted by local historian Mehmed Ali; focuses almost exclusively on family history, primarily on the Santos (paternal) branch, with some information on the Cassidy (maternal) family; includes the experiences of marriage across ethnic lines, education and occupational roles of family members in Lowell, the operation of small businesses, and local and state politics in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the John F. Kennedy congressional and presidential campaigns.