I am also researching James Nichols of Salisbury, CT and Panton, VT. Like many of the speculators in VT lands, he may have never left Salisbury. He was "of Salisbury" in 1775 according to a legal notice after his death.
His son was the Rev. James Nichols who ended up in Arlington, VT in 1786 and later Sandgate, VT. A good biography of the family appears in Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College Vol III (found by googling "james nichols" salisbury ct and then scrolling through the search results.
I'm trying to find a David Nichols connected with this family whose daughter Phebe married John Knickerbocker of Salisbury (I speculate).