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                                                                                                       Philippe Adélard Nicole and Rose Semilida Dufresne and their son Philippe

research by Marie-Claire Nicol

SEE IN FRENCH/ENGLISH many others photos

Philippe Adelard Nicole was born on September 27, 1881 at St Henri, Levis County, Quebec.  He was the 6th child of Alexandre Nicole and Josephine-Philomene Brousseau

He was born with a peculiarity; he was of small stature.  He had 2 brothers and 3 sisters of normal stature.  His parents had 13 children, 7 of whom died in infancy.  In his young boyhood, he was remarkably small so that he was detained from going to school at 6 years.  At 12, he quit the parish school and attached himself to circus acts and participated in vaudeville.  This brought a lot of money.  He was then able to travel and managed to accumulate a fortune.  He worked for Barnum & Bailey, Forepaugh & Sells.  He journeyed the world.  He had a gay personality and the trait of a great wish for success

He was after all an artist and a clown who loved to amuse those around him as well as the public.  He had a good mind and always had a prompt and pointed rejoinder.  He was esteemed by his patrons and cherished by the crowds.  He was personable in his relations and made all comfortable around him.  Because of the difference of his stature, he made a trump to make his life successful.  It was a fantastic mutation.  He was animated with a good soul and always had the prompt and pointed rejoinder. He took the management of his own affairs.  In fact, he was remarkably qualified in management, equipped with an alert mind and a quick, prompt intellect.  We find him at Manchester, NH USA where he runs his society the Philippe Nicol Farm for 14 years.

During this period of success he decided to call himself Count Nicol.  With the intermediary of a friend, Mr. Champagne director and manager of Louis Cyr, claimed the world's strongest man of this period, he made the acquaintance of Rose Dufresne of Lowell, MA USA.
Rose was the daughter of Charles-Gergoire Dufresne and Josephine Gagnon.  She herself was a midget.  She was born at Lowell on June 17, 1887.  She had a sister, Alice, and 2 half-sisters, Corona and Angeline Versaille

After an assiduous but short courtship, he asked for the hand of Rose from her guardian, Mr. Pierre Gagnon, brother to her dead mother. 

The marriage ceremony took place in splendor on November 21, 1906 at St Joseph Church, Lowell.  The happy couple were united in marriage by the Rev. Fr. Amyot, O.M.I.  It was a memorable day for the city's annals and a memory for a man who never saw a crowd as on that occasion.  Many commercial houses as well as numerous factories closed their doors during the ceremony.  A marriage of 2 midgets incited curiousity.

After the wedding party's tour of several weeks, the couple returned to live at Manchester, NH.  They built a small building adapted to their needs.  But he was fidgety and he retook to the roads with his wife travelling with the greatest circuses and going even to Europe


Philippe Nicol and Rose Dufresne

 Lowell Massachusset

In 1913 Philippe Nicole as he called himself decided to live at Montreal.  He again began his affairs and very rapidly his business prospered.  Philippe lived at Montreal 30 years when he decided to build his virtual palace on Rachel Street.  Here many hundreds of meters of Lafontaine Park.  The cars packed with tourists came from all over and many from the States.


The Midgets Palace was the secret of his success.  It was truly a museum of miniatures.  But it was not exactly what the Count had envisioned.  His biggest hope was to erect his palace in the center of Lafontaine Park amongst the pretty green lawns, pools of quiet water, shaded walkways, colorful flowers.  Sadly, his negotiations with the City's Zoning Committee left it impossible to reach an accord.

                  Postcard from the library of Quebec

However, in their new palace, happiness was not complete.  Something was lacking in their happiness. 
The heir so desired for 20 years was born on September 19, 1926.  They named him after his father, Philippe Nicol.  He weighed 3-1/2 pounds at birth.  He was perfectly made, very lively and normal hands, but a midget like his parents.  The doctors assured the mother  at the birth of her baby by cesarian section at Mercy Hospital on the corner of Dorchester and St-Hubert roads in Montreal  that in their opinion, he would be as small as his father and would never grow beyond 38 inches tall (3 foot 2). 
They were the only midgets in the world to give birth to a viable child at that time.



              Philippe and Rose Nicol  with son Philippe          Philippe Nicole with son Philippe          Philippe Nicol Jr at 20 years

Tante Rose Dufresne et cousin Philippe Nicol junior la photo de mon papa Henri Nicol à droite en soldat
Philippe Nicol père et son épouse Rose Dufresne étaient les parrain et marraine de mon père Henri Nicol.

Philippe Nicol junior a 5 ans

Le père et le fi

 Philippe Nicol died May 26, 1940 at 58 in Montreal

His wife Rose Dufresne died October 24, 1964 in
St Philippe, Argenteuil County, at 76




Philippe Nicol, Jr., had a very difficult life after the death of his father.  He decided to box since it paid well and often he would have no boss over his affairs like his father.  The spectators loved to watch midgets fight.  He died April 6, 1992 at Montreal in complete destitution.

Annonce du Palais des Nains parue dans le guide de Diamond Taxicab en 1938.
L'endroit est maintenant devenu un
sauna gay.
Sources :

Le "Palais des nains" rue Rachel


Certains se souviendront surement de cette "attraction" touristique qui avait pignon sur la rue Rachel (entre Boyer et Mentana).  Plusieurs autobus touristiques s'arrêtaient à cet endroit et de très nombreux visiteurs fréquentaient le «Palais des nains».  Cet endroit "inusité"  était entièrement meublé "sur mesure" pour les petites personnes.  L'histoire ne dit pas le rôle exact des policiers en faction devant l'entrée!

Le palais a fermé ses portes dans les années 1970.  Un souvenir du quartier!


NEWSPAPER for the wedding 

research by Maire-Claire Nicol

Lowell Dail Mail, Thursday november 22 1906


An interesting marriage was solemnized by Rev. Fr. Amyot, O.M.I., at the chapel of St Joseph’s rectory, Merrimack Street, yesterday morning when Philip Nichols, known as the McGregorville dwarf was united in wedlock to Miss Rose Dufraine, another dwarf living in Lowell.

Philip Nichols is known to the Manchester public as the dwarf newsboy, who for several years sold papers at the corner of Elm and Bridge streets in the Queen City. His diminutive figure and little cart were for several years a familiar sight at this point. Three years ago he decided to go into business, and opened a periodical store at 449 North Main street, Manchester, where he has been meeting with success.

Nichols is French, and was born 25 years ago at St. Henry, P. Q. He removed to Manchester with his parents when quite young and has always made his home in the city ever since. He attended St. Joseph’s school, St Augustine’s school and St. Marie’s school, being graduated from each with honors. He stands only 27 inches high, and weighs 80 pounds.

The bride elect is also one of the little people, her height being 39 inches and weight 77 pounds. Her age is 19 years.

She is an orphan, her nearest relative being her grandfather, Pierre Gagnon of Lowell, who, with Nichol’s father, Alexander Nichols was one of the witnesses of the marriage.

The ceremony was performed in the presence of only a few friends. Following the solemnization of the nuptials rites a reception was held at 28 Franklin St, Lowell. The couple then went to McGregorville and a reception was also held at 449 North Main street, which was largely attended.



Courier-Citizen, Thursday, November 22, 1906, Lowell, Massachusetts


Tiny Rose Dufresne Becomes the Bride of Diminutive Manchester Man

Mr. and Mrs. Philippe Nicole

The wedding bells of Lilliput rang out merrily yesterday for the most remarkable wedding ever celebrated in all of Lowell’s matrimonial history.

This diminutive union was that of two dwarfs, both French Americans, whose combined height is 6 feet 4 inches, and whose combined weight - 157 pounds - is but that of the average woman of fair size.

The heroes of the tiny romance culminating are Philippe Nicole of Manchester, NH, 25 years old, and Rose Dufresne, of 28 Franklin street, this city, 19 years of age.

Mr Nicole is exactly 36 inches tall. He says he is sure he is the smallest man in the world. He has traveled a lot but has never seen anything which “amounted to so little” as himself, he says. His bride is appreciably taller, being 40 inches, and he says he will never be able to exact that this “tall woman” should obey him. He is quite a joker, is little Monsieur Nicole.

The wedding took place at 7 o’clock at the private chapel of St. Joseph’s rectory. Though every effort had been made to avoid notoriety, the news of the “grand mariage” had spread somehow, and the sidewalk was packed with spectators in front of the rectory to see the wedding party alight. Promptly at 7 o’clock the carriage arrived and both little people were lifted bodily out of it by their attendants and deposited on the steps which they proudly mounted arm in arm.

The bridegroom is the biggest little swell ever, and on his wedding day he was more resplendent than ever. He wore a long black frock coat, almost reaching to his heels, black trousers, a tall hat, the regulation white tie and a white carnation buttonhole bouquet.

The bride wore a white lansdowne gown, with net lace yoke and trimmings of white satin baby ribbon, white shoes and stockings and a long veil caught with orange blossoms over her dark hair. She carried a beautiful bouquet of white roses and maidenhair, almost as big as herself. She made an especially charming and childlike little bride, looking more like a little maiden of 10 making her first communion, than like a woman mature enough for marriage.

Rev. Fr. Amyot, O.M.I., performed this unique marriage ceremony, in the presence of about a score of relatives of the two midgets. The chapel had been prettily decorated with large bunches of flowers for the occasion, and for each of the little people, a special little prie-dieu, and a special little chair, of a size fit for little children of four or five, had been provided. The ceremony went off smoothly, both pronouncing the traditional “oui” in a high, clear voice. After the mass Rev. Fr. Amyout made a short allocution, extending his best wishes to the little couple, who looked all radiant happiness during it all.

Mr. Nicole’s father, Mr. Alexandre Nicole of Manchester, was his witness, and the bride’s grandfather, Mr. Pierre Gagnon, with whom she makes her home, gave her away. The bridegroom’s father is a tall man, standing nearly 5 feet 11, while two of his brothers, Joseph and Henry Nicole, of Manchester, who were also present, are men near the six-foot mark.

When the little couple reappeared at the rectory door after the ceremony, all smiles, the crowd could not contain its enthusiasm, and gave them an ovation, all commencing to clap hands. They were lifted bodily again into the hack, and taken by Amedee Archambault, who had the honor to drive them around, to Fontaine’s studio to have their pictures taken.

After the taking of their image, they returned to the bride’s home in Franklin street, where

A Wedding Breakfast

Was served. The two heroes of the day were seated at the head of the table in ordinary high chairs, this permitting them to be on the level with the rest of the merrymakers and within reach of the many good things. There never was a merrier breakfast party, and the little couple were showered with such a mountain of good wishes that it is a wonder they were not forever engulfed by them.

Tonight a reception will take place at the bride’s home to the families on both sides. The bride’s aunt, Mrs. Antoine Dufresne, and her sister, Miss Alice Dufresne, a pretty girl of normal size, assist Mr. and Mrs. Nicole in doing the honors.

The little couple will leave today for Manchester, where a rousing reception awaits them. A delegation will go to the station with a brass band to meet them, and will serenade them all the way up to their home. A big reception, with several hundreds of guests, will take place at the Nicole residence. The little bride, who is timid and retiring, is a little afraid of all this fuss, and would rather have had a very quiet affair. Her husband, who is a jolly and vivacious little man, would have preferred to have a high mass here right in the big St. Jean Baptiste church, with lots of singing and everybody welcome, but she would have none of it, only a very quiet low mass at an early hour, with no noise about it.

The meeting of the two dwarfs took place last June in quite a romantic manner, through J.O. Champagne of this city, who wanted them to go jointly upon the vauderville stage under his management. Mr. Champagne said to Mr. Nicole one day: “Philippe, I have found a wife for you. Come to my house next Sunday and you will meet her.” The next Sunday the little man accordingly went to Mr. Champagne’s home, 472 Moody street, and there met Miss Dufresne. The attraction was immediate and mutual, and the courtship soon began, first by letter, then by frequent visits interchanged between Lowell and Manchester.

Mr. Nicole had been for some time looking for a bride, but had not before found a French-American girl who was a dwarf like himself. He wanted no other. When he had found her and had commenced to court her it was understood at once that they would soon be married, “for little people like us, you understand,” he says, “don’t go around flirting without meaning business.”

As betrothal gifts little Mademoiselle Dufresne received from her fiance a beautiful diamond ring and a diamond studded watch and gold chain, both very valuable.

The bridegroom is very well off, and owns a prosperous variety store in Manchester, as well as a large tenement block property. He runs his store himself and is as quick as a bird attending to his sales. He has a platform built all around back of his counter, upon which he stands to wait on people. His size is a mine for him in a business way, hundreds of people being attracted to the store through curiosity. He says there isn’t a soul among Manchester’s 60,000 who doesn’t know him. He says his store is always full.

He has always strenuously refused, strange to say, to appear in shows, though offers by the score have been made him, with salaries of several hundred dollars a week. It may be that now, however, with the added attraction of there being a couple of them instead of one, such large sums may be offered Mr. and Mrs. Nicole that they will finally consent to go on the stage.

Neither of them has ever had a sick day, and they are normally constituted in spite of their tiny size. The bride is perfect as to form, while her little husband’s only defect is his feet, which are wrong side out, as it were. In the picture you would think his feet had been cut off, but such is not the case. They are turned in with the side in view. This fault in the muscle of his ankle is what has prevented him from growing to normal size. Mr. Nicole says the doctors have told him, as he weighed 14 pounds and was of normal height when born. Thirteen children were born to his parents, all normal. His bride, on the other hand, weighed only three pounds at birth.

The little man was born at Levis, Que., and came to Manchester 20 years ago. He was then as large as he is now, never having grown from that time. He is exactly three feet tall, and his arms and legs are like those of a child of four. He weighs 80 pounds, which is very stout in proportion, and measures 32 inches around the waist, which is probably coming as near being as broad as he is long as any man ever did.

He is in the habit of carrying a cane when he goes out dressed up, this “big stick” measuring exactly 18 inches, half his height.

Mrs. Nicole was born in Lowell. Two other children born to her parents were of normal size. Her father and mother, now dead, were also normal. She is 40 inches tall, and weighs 77 pounds. Her arms are 12 inches long and everything abut her is on this diminutive scale, though perfectly formed. Like her husband, she is well educated, both speaking and writing good French and English. She went to St. Joseph’s convent and also to the public schools here. Her friends till lately were young children of abut 12 or 14, as owing to her size she was always petted like a child in spite of her age, and also felt timid with older people. She is very strong and is an excellent housekeeper and cook, and her General Tom Thumb of a husband feels that he has secured a great prize of the kind coming in small packages, of course.

All of Franklin street was astir yesterday, calling on the little bride to offer congratulations, and gifts in quantity were offered the little people by Lowell friends, while there is no end to the offerings awaiting them from Manchester friends. Their home there will be at 449 North Main street, above the store kept by Mr. Nicole in the Queen City’s chief business thoroughfare.


Wedding News from the Manchester, NH newspaper (supplements to Lowell, MA)
Research by Marie-Claire NICOL

L'Avenir National, jeudi le 21 novembre 1906 

Mariés à Lowell

Philippe Nicol, le jeune infirme de McGregorville, a épousé hier à Lowell, Mass., Melle. Rose Dufresne, une naine comme lui, à l'église St. Joseph.  Un grand nombre de personnes ont assisté à ce mariage remarquable.  Les témoins étaient M. Alexandre Nicol, père du mariée et M. Pierre Gagnon, grand-père de la mariée.

M et Mme Nicol résideront à Manchester.  M Nicol possède à McGregorville plusieurs propriétés et un magasin sur la rue Main.

Married at Lowell

Philippe Nicol, the young infirmed of McGregorville, married yesterday at Lowell, Mass., Miss Rose Dufresne, a dwarf like him, at St. Joseph’s church.  A large number of people assisted this remarkable marriage.  The witnesses were Mr. Alexandre Nicol, father of the groom, and Mr. Pierre Gagnon, grandfather of the bride.

Mr. and Mrs. Nicol will live at Manchester.  Mr. NIcol owns many properties in McGregorville and a store on Main street.


L'Avenir National, vendredi le 22 nov 1906

Réception chez M. Nicol

M. et Mme. Philippe Nicol, les deux nains qui se sont mariés à Lowell hier, sont maintenant à leur résidence, 11 rue Wayne, Manchester Ouest.  Hier soir, un grand nombre de parents et amis sont venues les féliciter et leur présenter de nombreux cadeaux.

M. et Mme. Nicol ont reçu les cadeaux suivants:

Bol à punch et verres par Mlle L. Pouliot, Mme. Parent, M. Clément et famille, de Lowell, Mass; un huilier, la famille Millette de Lowell, Mass; une demi-douzaine de pats fantaisie et nécessaire à barbe, M et Mme Arthur Gagnon, de Lowell, Mass; deux vases à fleurs et collier par M Ed. Clément, de Lowell, Mass; deux vases de fantaisie, Mlle B. Dumas, Lowell, Mass; un vase, Mme Holland Lowell, couvre-pieds, par M. G. Gagnon de Lowell; lingerie, M. M. Gagnon de Lowell; mouchoirs de soie, Mlle Angelina Chenelle de Lowell; service à thé de fantaisie, M. et Mme Alfred Hébert; plateau à fruits, M. Henri Plantier; service à vin, M. Joseph Nicol; poivriàre et salière en argent, M. Thomas D. Paris; cuillère en argent, M. Herman Lampron; deux chaises de salon, M et Mme Henri Nicol; une douzaine de serviettes, M et Mme J Lagassé; une catin, donnée par des amis; un  biberon rempli de lait, M. Henri Nicol.

Reception at the home of Mr. Nicol

Mr. and Mrs. Philippe Nicol, the two dwarfs who were married at Lowell yesterday, are now at their residence, 11 Wayne street, West Manchester.  Last night a large number of family and friends came to celebrate with them and present them with gifts.

Mr. and Mrs. Nicol received the following gifts:

A punch bowl and cups from Miss L. Pouliot, Mrs. Parent, Mr Clement and family of Lowell, Mass; an oil can from the Millette family of Lowell, Mass., a half dozen soaps for barbering from Mr and Mrs Arthur Gagnon of Lowell, Mass; two collared vases of flowers from Mr. Ed Clement of Lowell, Mass; two fantasy vases from Miss B. Dumas, Lowell, Ma; a vase, Mrs Holland, Lowell; overshoes from Mr. G. Gagnon of Lowell; lingerie, Mr. and Mrs. Gagnon of Lowell; silk mouchois from Miss Angelina Chenelle of Lowell; a fantasy tea service from Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hebert; a platter of fruits, Mr Henri Plantier; a wine service, Mr. Joseph Nicol; silver salt and pepper shakers, Mr. Thomas D. Paris; silver spoon, Mr. Herman Lampron; two parlor chairs, Mr and Mrs Henri Nicol; a dozen napkins, Mr and Mrs J. Lagasse; a catin from friends; a bottle filled with milk, Mr. Henri Nicole.


Note:  M. Joseph Nicol, père de Wilfred.

Note: Henri Nicol (Jocelyne NICOL's
grandfather and his first wife Corinne Béland /
Presence of Henri NICOL's second wife  Miss Angelina Chenelle.


The Union, Manchester, NH, Friday, November 23, 1906


Smallest Couple Home Again

Mr. and Mrs. Philip Nicols, the midgets who were married Wednesday at the rectory of St. Joseph's church, Lowell, arrrived home late yesterday afternoon, and last evening a reception was held at the home of the groom, 11 Wayne street.  During the evening, the couple received a large number of friends and a wedding collation was served.

The smallest couple in Manchester have already laid plans for the future and the bride will assist her husband in managing affairs about his store on Main street.  They will make their new home at 409 North Main street.

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