In September 1875, there was a special meeting of the Largo School Board - the purpose of which was to elect a master for Kirkton Public School. Each Board member handed in a list of three candidates - 13 men being named in total. The 16 September Fife Herald noted that "it was agreed that each member should select his best man and thereby reduce the leet to 5" however "there was considerable difficulty in agreeing the manner of election, as each member proposed his own man as the best one, and consequently there were no seconders". A scoring system was then agreed and a Mr Forbes of Dundee was elected. However, it transpired that this candidate had already accepted another post. So, Mr Nicoll, being second, was elected instead. And thus began Thomas Nicoll's long spell at Kirkton.
Thomas married Anne Fotheringham Morgan in 1879 and the first of their five children was born the following year. At the time of his marriage he was presented by his pupils with a "handsome marble timepiece with the latest improvements and got up in the neatest style", according to the 13 November Fife Herald. Attached to the front was a silver plate bearing the following inscription:
"Presented to Mr T. Nicoll, Teacher, Largo, Fife, by his affectionate scholars and a few friends, on the advent of his marriage. October 1879."
The Nicoll family became actively involved in local life, with Thomas being an elder in the Upper Largo Church and Secretary and Treasurer of the Lundin Golf Club (he was instrumental in the 1909 course alterations). When wife Anne died in 1902, Thomas - who was also local Registrar - recorded her death as he did all the others in the Parish.
After 35 years service at Kirkton School, and suffering from heart trouble, Thomas Nicoll resigned as Head Master. He died only a fortnight later. Part of his role as Registrar was to complete the summaries of the 1911 census. The census was taken on 2 April and Thomas Nicoll worked on the resulting data with his daughter. Apparently, after completing the census work, he had indicated to his daughter that his life's work was done. He died on 16 April at the Schoolhouse.
At a meeting soon after his death, locals "paid a high tribute to his worth and character" noting that "some of us who call recall Mr Nicoll's first years in the parish, remember him as a quiet, unobtrusive young man; but a man who, when he put his hand to the plough would not turn back". The account in the St Andrews Citizen (13 May) continued "the innumerable services rendered by him to the community during his long residence in Largo constitute a great record..."well done good and faithful servant"".