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John Mervin: Risingsun, Ohio Pioneer
JOHN MERVIN, one of the first settlers on the site where the town of Risingsun now stands, and a highly respected citizen of the place. Like many of today’s rich and famous men, he has risen to success through difficult circumstances, and his outstanding ability reflects praise upon him.
He was born in England, having begun his profession in Leicestershire, January 11, 1824. His father, Thomas Mervin, was a butcher by trade. Our story was told on a farm, near a small village, enjoying the few advantages of common schools. He showed skill in the handling and handling of horses, and at an early age found employment in that business; but the prospect of advancement seemed to him faint, and he determined to come to America. Leaving his young wife, formerly Miss Elizabeth Riley, he left Liverpool, in April, 1849, in the steamer “Joseph Badger,” and after a voyage of four weeks arrived in New York. The trip to Albany was made by river, from Albany to Buffalo by railroad, and from Buffalo he came by sea to Sandusky, where he took the Mad River railroad, the only one in this region. His destination was the town of Avon, Lorain county, but by mistake he went to New Haven, Huron county. After learning his mistake he started on foot for Lorain county, but on the way he was taken seriously ill in the town of Greenfield, Huron county, and was cared for by some friendly English people. On his recovery he had only fifty cents left of his savings from his travel expenses, and a new start in life. This money was used for wine to stimulate his weak energy, and instead of continuing, he decided to stay there and rent a farm.
At the beginning of the year 1850, his wife lived with him again. He had a difficult journey, spent four months on the road, and was shipwrecked three times. He lived there for several years, renting various farms in the area, but in the fall of 1863 he came to Wood County, traveling by wagon. Mr. Mervin bought 60 acres of land in section 36, Montgomery township, where the village of Risingsun is located. At that time the place was a little better in the dry part and a log house stood near his present house. The swampy part of the farm had to be cleared, however, and there was no hard work to be done during the early years of its existence; but the rapid development of the region brought prosperity. He still owns seventy acres of land adjoining, and also owns ten acres in Jackson township, Seneca county. In 1877 he built a fine home in Risingsun, where he has lived ever since. The death of Mrs. Mervin, on December 9, 1888, brought great sorrow to this fine home. His remains are buried in Trinity Cemetery, Scott Township, Sandusky County. They had nine children, all of whom are living: Sarah, Mrs. George Young, of Seneca county; Mary, Mrs. Adam Graber, of Risingsun; George, a farmer in Perry township; Elizabeth, Mrs. Frank Blonde, of Perry township; Eliza and Lucy who are at home; Frances, Mrs. Benjamin Bates, of Risingsun; Anna, Mrs. Courtland Essex, of the same town, and Hattie, Mrs. Russell Hoover [my great grandmother]the town of Montgomery.
The parents of Mr. Mervin came to the United States in 1855 or ’56, and located in Greenwich township, Huron county, where his father died at the age of seventy-three years. His mother later made her home in Wood County with her children, but died in Richland County at the age of ninety. Mr. Mervin is the oldest child in a family of 6 children, all of whom are alive. Thomas lives in Risingsun; George, of Longley; Elizabeth is the widow of James Brinson, of Huron county; Hannah married John Thompson, of Richland County, and Emma married first the late John Jenney, and second John Winder, of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mr. Mervin had a strong body in his youth, and he is still reserved, his unrestrained manners endearing him. An avid reader, he has an intelligent view of the questions of the day, and his interest in the education of the rising generation has led to several years of able service as a school director. In fact he is a Democrat, but he is not bound by friendships in choosing worthy men for local offices. He is a leading member of the ME Church.
– From Wood County, Ohio, history, p. 645
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