NEVIUS, JOSEPH O. - In looking for a reason for personal success, the seeker invariably finds that the men who rise above their fellows are those who have kept everlastingly at what they started out to accomplish, and through sheer perseverance surmount all obstacles and finally reach their goal. These are the kind of men who have brought Sangamon County to its present state of prosperity, and a prominent man among them is Joseph O. Nevius, who is carrying on agricultural and stock raising business adjoining the village of Loami on the south. Mr. Nevius was born August 25, 1868 in Calhoun County, Ill., a son of John and May E. (Joy) Nevius, the former a native of New Jersey and the latter of West Virginia.
John Nevius came to Macoupin County, Ill., with his parents, but on account of the wild state of the prairies and swamps there at that time, the grandfather left Macoupin and settled in the timber of Calhoun County, where he planted extensive orchards of all kinds of fruit, became well-to-do and resided there all of his life, dying when about seventy years of age. John Nevius remained on the farm with his father until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he crossed the river and joined the Seventy-second Missouri Volunteer Infantry, and, having been prepared for the practice of medicine, was made Assistant Regimental Surgeon. Having been captured by the enemy and thrown into prison, he contracted a chronic diarrhea, which so impaired his health that, after he had been exchanged, he received an honorable discharge on account of disability. On partially recovering his health, he located on Lick Creek and rented some land in Loami Township, but not having the strength to farm his land, he engaged in school teaching. Shortly after coming to Loami Township he was married to Miss May E. Joy, and went to Calhoun County, where he remained until the spring of 1869, in that year returning to Sangamon County, where shortly after his death occurred. His widow survived him until December 12, 1881, dying in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which both she and her husband had been lifelong members. Three children were born to this couple: Nellie, the wife of Henry J. Brown, a farmer of Talkington Township; Joseph O.; and Nora, the wife of W. F. Cleveland, a broker of Minneapolis, Minn.
Joseph O. Nevius was but one year old when his father died, fo whom he consequently has no remembrance, although he treasures a tin type of him taken in military uniform, some small surgical instruments and his meerschaum pipe. His boyhood days were spent in Loami Township, where he attended the public schools until thirteen years of age, and then hired out at $8.00 per month to herd cattle for I. H. Campbell, continuing this employment for seven years, and carefully saving his wages. On account of ill health, Mr. Campbell broke up his home and went west, and in February, 1889, Mr. Nevius made a trip to Portland, Ore., where he went to work on a farm and ranch, engaged in herding cattle for $40 per month. In May, 1892, he returned to Illinois, went to work on a farm and on October 3, 1894, was married to Miss Edith Campbell, who was born in Loami Township, March 6, 1875, a daughter of S. P. and Kate Campbell, honored pioneers of Sangamon County. She died March 30, 1896, having been the mother of one child, a daughter, Lonely, born June 16, 1895. This daughter is being given superior educational advantages, and is now attending the Bettie Stuart Institute at Springfield, after having passed through the seventh grade in the grammar school. She has been given a musical training, is a talented violinist, and sings in the choir of the Christian Church, of which she is a faithful member.
After his first marriage Mr. Nevius located on his wife's mother's estate. On March 10, 1909, he was united in marriage with Miss May Dodd, who was born in Sangamon County, Ill., a daughter of Theodore Dodd, one of the pioneers of the county, and now a farmer in Curran Township. They have one son, John G., born August 25, 1910. Mr. and Mrs. Nevius located on the beautiful home at the south end of the village of Loami, which Mr. Nevius' daughter owns, and here they have resided to the present time. Mr. Nevius has twenty-seven acres of fine land, and here he breeds Hambletonian horses, Poland-China hogs and Jersey cattle, and ships his butter to Springfield.
Mr. Nevius has been prominent in Democratic politics in this section for some time, having served as County Central Committeeman for four years and as Constable of Loami Township for two years. He is also well known socially, being a charter member and having gone through all the chairs of Loami Lodge No. 901, I.O.O.F., also having been a representative to the Grand Lodge of the State. Enterprising and progressive, he is looked upon as one of his township's representative men, and his friends and acquaintances throughout this section are legion.