Nevius/Nevins of Mercer County, Illinois

Nevius/Nevins Families

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Alternate Spellings - There are a number of transcribed records found in Mercer County for "Nevins" and they seem to be incorrect transcriptions of "Nevius" when we look at the original documents.

Links - Wilson, Gilmore.

Contacts - Dan Nelson has sent us his research on John W. and William I. Nevius of New Jersey and Mercer County. This has been most helpful in sorting out the two John W. Nevius families in Mercer County and we have revised the page accordingly. The above is a portion of a document signed by the John W. Nevius of Pennsylvania who was a justice of the peace in Mercer County.

This family is a difficult one for our project of New Boston and Eliza Township History as there were Nevius family members in several different townships. We include it here as John W. Nevius signed as Justice of the Peace on the estate papers of Isaac Willits in 1844 and 1845 and in that capacity served citizens of New Boston and Eliza Township as well as other parts of the county. William I.Nevius, son of the second John W. Nevius, purchased land in New Boston Township as well as in other townships. The History of Mercer County, 1882 tells us that William I. Nevius served as school commissioner for the County. His first term began in December, 1835, succeeding John Long who was a relative of Web Site owner Jill Martin and Web Master Nadine Holder. "Mr. Nevius was reappointed in 1837, and again in 1838, and 1839, serving until June 6, 1840 when Ephraim Gilmore received the appointment."

John W. and Hannah Wilson Nevius

This John W. Nevius was born about 1802 in Pennsylvania. He married Hannah Wilson, daughter of William and Sarah McHerron Wilson. Hannah was born about 1806 in Danville, Pennsylvania. William Wilson settled in Mercer County as well. There is more of their history on the Wilson page.

The Mercer County History states that John W. Nevius began a home in Keithsburg Township in 1837 or 1838 and lived there until his death in 1875. (not exactly true as they returned briefly to Ohio, see census records below.) In addition their first son Thomas was born in Pennsylvania in about 1837 so 1838 may be a closer date. Their second son John Wesley was born in Mercer County in 1839. John died 9/23/1875 and is buried in Greenmound Cemetery in Keithsburg. Hannah survived him and was living with their son Edmund/Edward in 1880 in Mercer County.

The History tells us that John Nevius was elected to office of Justice of the Peace in 1843 and 1847. He served as Keithsburg Town Clerk from 1858 through 1864. The family is not found in Mercer County in either the 1840 or 1850 census. We do know that at least John was in Mercer County in the mid 1840ís when he signed Isaac Willitsí estate papers (of which we have a copy of the original).

The John Nevius and family are found in Mercer County in the 1860 census: #773 [Keithsburg] John Nevius, 58, Justice of the Peace, born Pennsylvania; Hannah L., 54, Pa; Wesley, 21, clerk, Il; Frazier W., 17, plasterer, Il; Wilbur, 15, laborer, Il; Edmund, 14, Il; Sarah A., 13, Oh. The Ohio birthplace of Sarah was the clue as to why the family is not found in Mercer County in 1850. The family is found in 1850 in the 5th Ward of Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio: #16 John Nevius, 47, tanner, Pennsylvania; Hannah, 44, Pa; Thomas, 13, Pa; John W., 11, Il; Frazier W., 9, Il; Wilber f., 7, Il; Edmund K., 5, Il; Sarah Ann, 2, Ohio. We know that they returned to Mercer County at least by 1853 as John W. Nevins purchased Lot1SW of Sec 6 in Mercer Township on 7/23/1853 and Lot1NW of Section 30,Green Township on 2/18/1854. He paid no money for these parcels indicating a military ancestry that would have qualified him for land in that time period (see Mercer History Part 1 for comments on military land purchases.) We know this was not the John W. Nevius below because of the military service involvement in the purchase.

The 1850 census above completes the list of children. Son Edmund served in Co G of the 30th Ill Infantry in the Civil War (listed as Nevins). Daughter Sarah married Alexander Campbell December 16, 1869 (marriage record as Sadie) and there is a sketch of them in the Mercer County History on page 202 (giving their marriage as 1870). We have not followed this family further as they are only peripheral to our main interest of New Boston and Eliza Townships.

John W. and Mary Roland/Rollin/Rowland Nevius Family

We thank Dan Nelson for sharing the Dutch ancestry of this family. He tells us John (Johannes) Nevius was born in 1774 in Somerset, New Jersey and that he married in 1796 at New Brunswick. He is found with his son William I. Nevius in 1850 in Township 13 N Range 3 W (future Ohio Grove Township): #157 William I. Nevius, 49, farmer, born New Jersey; Nancy A., 43, Ohio; Mary E., 16, Il; Rebecca E., 15, Il; John R., 12, Il; William D., 10, Il; Henry W., 7, Il; David, 5, Il; Adrianna, 3, Il; John W., 75, New Jersey; John McFadden, 25, laborer, Ireland; Joseph Bates, 53, laborer, Vermont. William J. Nevius bought three parcels of land in Section 16, Ohio Grove Township in 1835 and 1837 and one parcel in New Boston Township on 5/23/1835 described as Lot 27, W/2 SE quarter Section 16 Township 14N Range 5 West. All of the parcels were school lands (Sec 16 of eachtownship was reserved as school land in initial surveys across the U. S. and many were later opened up for sale to private parties.) The History of Mercer County, 1882 states that William I. Nevius settled in New Boston Township in 1835 and then changed his location to Ohio Grove Township in 1837. This coincides with the dates of land purchase by William J. Nevius.

Thanks to Dan Nelson we were able to trace the families movements west from New Jersey: In 1830 in Miami, Green County, Ohio, page 373 we find John W. Nevius, William I. Nevius , and David Nevius living side by side. John W. ( 1 male 50-60; 1 male 20-30; 1 female 50-60; William I., 1 male 20-30, 1 female 20-30, 2 females 5-10, 1 female under 5: David, 1 male 30-40, 1 male 5-10, 1 male under 5; 2 females 20-30, 2 females under 5. On the page 374 we find Joseph Beard (married to John W.ís daughter Adrianna) 1 male 30-40; 1 male under 5; 1 male 30-40, 1 male under 5. In 1840 John W. is found in Millersburgh, T14N Range 4W: 1 male 60-70, 1 male 10-15, 2 males 5-10, 1 male under 5; 1 female 60-70, 1 female 40-50, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 5-10. The extra female and children appear to be the family of Adrianna Beard, widowed, who later lived in Louisa County, Iowa. In 1840 William I. Nevius is living in Township 13N Range 3W: 1 male 30-40, 2 males 15-20, 1 male under 5; 1 female 30-40; 2 males 15-20; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 5-10; 1 female under 5. There are two great sketches of their arrival in Mercer County in the Mercer County History. When time permits we may add them here as they are a very interesting description of the hardships for the first settlers. Anyone with a direct interest in the Nevius family who would like to avail themselves of a copy of the Mercer County History can obtain one from the Mercer County Historical Society (see our Resources page for a link to the Historical Society. In one of the sketches about William Nevius in the Mercer County History [p. 452 ] we find: His father, John W., and his mother, Mary (Roland) Nevius, were natives of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and were there married. They made their home in Mercer County, in 1837, living with their son William I. until the following year. In 1838 Mr. Nevius bought property in Millersburg, where he buried his wife, her death occurring April 14, 1847. He then made his home with his son till his death October 12, 1854. Both rest in Millersburg cemetery.

William Nevius served on the Executive Committee of the 1857 Mercer County Agricultural Fair and also as Chief Marshal of the Fair (see Social Life in the 1860s for descriptions of the Agricultural Fair.)

The Mercer County History also tells us that John W. Nevius had a daughter Eliza Brady who came to Mercer County with them. They are found in the 1860 census: #1464 [Millersburg]: John Brady, 70, farmer, born Ireland; Eliza Brady, 56, born New Jersey; John Brady, 23, Ohio; Henry Brady, 16, Il.

Since the connections to New Boston Township were short and tenuous we will not continue their genealogy here. Several of the them served in the Civil War but are generally listed as Nevins.

Julius and Eva Gilmore Nevius/Nevins

Julius M. Nevins, age 38, clerk, born New York is living with a James Vernon family in Millersburg in 1860. He married Eva C. Gilmore, daughter of John and Margaret Taylor Gilmore 27 March 1861 (license) (we will be adding a Gilmore page.) They are found in the town of New Boston in 1870: Julius Nevins, 48, store clerk, born Pa; Eva C., 28, Il; Nellie, 7, Il; Bessie, 5, Il; George, 3, Il. By 1880 they had moved to Independence, Montgomery County, Kansas: J. M. Nevins, 57, clerk in store, born New York, parents birthplace not given; Eva C., 39, Il, parents born Pa; Nellie D., 17, Il; Bessie, 15, Il; George M., 13, Il: Manerva Madox, 27, servant. Julius died before 1900 and Eva is found with her mother in Millersburg in Mercer County: #172 Margaret Gilmore, widow, born April 1815, age 85, Pa, parents Pa; Eva Nevins, daughter, Dec 1842, 58, widow, Il, parents born Pa.

This family is consistently recorded as Nevins and of course we cannot read the surname one way or the other in original records so we are not sure if the name is Nevius or Nevins.