JOHN MERVIN, one of the early settlers at the site of the present town of Risingsun, is a highly respected resident of that place. Like many of the prosperous and influential men of the day, he has made his way to success through adverse circumstances, and his well-won competence reflects credit upon him.
He is of English birth, having entered upon his mortal career in Leicestershire, January 11, 1824. His father, Thomas Mervin, was a butcher by trade. Our subject was reared upon a farm, near a small village, enjoying only the limited advantages of the common schools. He showed ability in the management and care of horses, and at an early age found employment in that work; but the opportunities for advancement seemed to him discouraging, and he determined to come to America. Leaving his young wife, formerly Miss Elizabeth Riley, he sailed from Liverpool, in April, 1849, in the ship “Joseph Badger,” and after a voyage of four weeks landed in New York. The trip to Albany was made by river, from Albany to Buffalo by rail, and from Buffalo he came by lake to Sandusky, where he took the Mad River railroad, then the only one in this region. His destination was Avon township, Lorain county, but by mistake he went to New Haven, Huron county. On learning his error he started on foot for Lorain county, but while en route he was taken very ill in Greenfield township, Huron county, and was cared for by some friendly English people. On his recovery he had but fifty cents left of the sum which he had saved from his earnings for his journey, and a new start in life. This money was spent for wine to stimulate his impaired energies, and instead of going on, he decided to remain there and rent a farm.
In the spring of 1850 his wife rejoined him. She had a difficult voyage, spending four months on the way, and being shipwrecked three times. They lived there for several years, renting different farms in the locality, but in the fall of 1863 they came to Wood county, driving through in a wagon. Mr. Mervin purchased sixty acres of land in Section 36, Montgomery township, where the village of Risingsun now stands. At that time the land was partially improved in the dry portion and a plank house stood near his present home. The swamply part of the farm had to be cleared, however, and there was no small amount of hard work to be done in the first years of his stay; but the rapid development of the locality brought prosperity. He still owns severnty acres of land in the vicinity, and also has ten acres in Jackson township, Seneca county. In 1877 he built a fine residence in Risingsun, which he has since occupied. Mrs. Mervin’s death, December 9, 1888, brought deep sorrow to this pleasant home. her remains are interred 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], of Montgomery township.
Mr. Mervin’s parents 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 afterward made her home in Wood county with her children, but died in Richland county at ninety years of age. Mr. Mervin is the eldest of six children, all living. Thomas resides in Risingsun; George, in 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 possessed in youth a powerful physique, and is still well-preserved, his strictly temperate habits being in his favor. Fond of reading, he has intelligent views on the questions of the time, and his interest in the education of the rising generation has led to several years of able service as school director. In principle he is a Democrat, but is not bound by partisan ties in the choice of suitable men for local offices. He is a leading member of the M.E. Church.
– From Wood County, Ohio, history, pg. 645