DAVID S. H. NEVIUS. Those who, as boy or man, bore a part in the labors by which Calhoun County has been shorn of its primeval forests, robbed of its primitive wildness and made into a fruitful expanse, are certainly deserving of the respect and gratitude of those who are enjoying the results of their toil. A record of the principal events in the lives of these pioneer workers affords a pleasing task to the biographical writer, and he therefore turns to the history of David Nevius with delight.
In Scotland many years ago one David Nevius was born and in New Jersey, not far from the same time, the eyes of Jane Vanderveer opened to the light. This couple after reaching years of maturity, were united in marriage, making their home in New Jersey until 1837, when they removed to Illinois. Their first home in this State was in Macoupin County, where they bought land occupying it for several years. They removed thence to Greene County, residing in Carrollton for a time, and in 1842 came to Calhoun County. They established themselves on section C, of what is now Hamburg Precinct, but several years later changed their residence to section 5, Crater Precinct.
The first purchase of land made by Mr. Nevins in this county was of one hundred and sixty acres on which not a furrow had been turned, but which was covered with prairie grass and timber. While his sons managed the farm he worked at his trade, that of a saddler. He had about $1500 when he came hither and he was therefore able to give his family a better home than was the case with many who developed raw land. Mr. Nevius died in 1854 but his widow survived until 1879. They held membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their family consisted of eight sons and daughters, of whom three, Isaac, Anna and John, are deceased. The survivors are James, whose home is in Whitehall; Sarah, wife of Isaac S. Hicks, living in Jacksonville; Georgiana, wife of A. J. Kalb, their home being in Quincy; David S. H., the subject of this biographical notice; and William.
The subject of these brief paragraphs was born October 12, 1836, and was therefore about six years old when he began his residence in Calhoun County. During his early years he attended the subscription and later the public schools of the county, generally pursuing his studies in the old-fashioned log schoolhouse and passing to and fro over a slightly-traveled highway, where neighbors were few and far between. As he became old enough he began to participate in the pioneer work by means of which the parental estate was brought to a good condition, and as occasion offered prepared himself for the lifework which was before him. The fine property which he now owns has been acquired by his personal efforts, and the broad expanse of two hundred and forty acres, with its excellent improvements and fertile fields is a standing monument to his industry and prudence.
The comforts of home which Mr. Nevius thoroughly enjoys are due to the efficiency of his wife, who bore the maiden name of Sarah Lumley. Their marriage rites were solemnized December 11, 1859, and to them eleven children have been born: Eva, Dora, Charles L., Edward, Addie, Otis, Molly, Wilbur, Ray, George, and an infant who died unnamed. Eva is now deceased; Dora is the wife of James Foiles and Molly the wife of Lewis Foiles, both families living in Calhoun County. Otis, a very interesting young man of twenty-one years, was stricken down with diabetes and his family and friends were called upon to mourn his loss October 24, 1890.
Mrs. Nevius was born March 8, 1841, in the county in which she still lives and is a daughter of Turner and Nancy (Beaman) Lumley. Her mother was born in Greene County, this State, and her father was a native of Tennessee. The latter grew to maturity in Greene County and settled in Calhoun County some time in the '30s, being one of the early pioneers of Silver Creek, Carlin Precinct. He resided there until his death in 1856. Mrs. Lumley survived until December 6, 1889. She was a member of the Baptist Church. Mrs. Nevius is the second of the five children who survive from her father's family. The others are Lydia, wife of William Rugle; George and Turner, residents in Carlin Precinct; Martha, wife of Robert McConnell, whose home is in Belleview Precinct.
Mr. Nevius and his estimable wife are enrolled among the members of Summit Grove Methodist Episcopal Church and Mr. Nevius is now one of the Trustees of the organization. He has acted as Sunday-school Superintendent. In politics he is a thorough-going Republican. He is Road Commissioner of District No. 2, and in his oversight of the public highways is benefiting the traveling public and satisfying the residents in the district. Both Mr. and Mrs. Nevius are active in social circles, and are enjoying the fruits of industry and well-doing in being able to surround themselves with all of the comforts and many of the luxuries of life and assist in all worthy enterprises.
Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 391-392
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