Captain James M Ervin of Fayette County, Ill.

in Miscellaneous

From the History of Fayette County

ERVIN, Captain James M., a veteran of the great Civial War, and a substantial and representative citizen of Lone Grove Township, residing on a magnificent farm of 280 acres of improved land, is a native of the State of Ohio, and is of Irish and Welsh extraction.  He was born near Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio, Spetember 10, 1825, shortly after his parents had settled there as pioneers. 

His father, James Ervin, was born in Maryland, and served as a soldier in the War of 1812, taking part in at least one battle with the British.  He was married to Rachel Devine, in Virginia, she being a native of that State, and in 1825 they moved they moved to Knox County, Ohio.  In 1839 they removed from there to Fayette County, Ill., and James Ervin bought a saw and grist mill on Hickory Creek, in what is now Wheatland Township, three miles northwest of old Loogootee.  This mill had been built by Ezra Griffith, in 1835, and was primitive in its equipments, having but one corn burr and an old upright saw.  James Ervin added flour machinery, including a tread mill to use when water was low.  He operated this mill for ten years, and then sold it back to Ezra Griffith.

It was in 1849 that James Ervin sold his mill and turned his attention to farming, buying land about one and one-half miles from old Loogootee, the postoffice at that time being Hickory Creek.  He died on his farm in 1855, aged sixty-four years, and was survived by his widow until 1872.  The old farm is now owned by Peter Schwarm.  Nine children were born to James and Rachel Ervin, six of whom reached maturity; the three sons of this number were James M., William and Frederick Brown.  William died in early manhood.  Frederick Brown moved from Fayette County to Laclede County, Mo., in 1868, where he died in 1907, aged seventy-two years.  The three sisters of James M. Ervin, who grew to womanhood, were:  Elizabeth, widow of Simpson Gibford, lives at Altamont, Ill.; Sarah Ann, who died aged seventy-two years, was the wife of Berry Edwards, a merchant , miller and farmer of old Loogootee; and Ellen, who married Robert Perkins, accompanied him to Missouri, and both died there.

James M. Ervin was fourteen when his parents came to Fayette County, and he assisted his father in the mill until he was twenty-one years on age.  His first independent business enterprise was the putting up and selling of tobacco.  He bought the leaf from the farmers and made plug tobacco, disposing of his product through Northern Illinois.  For two years he traveled over the country with his wagon, selling on time to grocers, and thus established a regular route, making the business profitable.  He then turned his attention to farming, moving to Shobonier, Fayette County, Ill., where he took charge of the farm of William H. Lee for one year, after which he removed to Lone Grove Township, Fayette County, and rented a farm near his present one, on which he lived for two years, leaving it when his first wife died, in the fall of 1855.  He then managed his father's farm until the outbreak of the Civial War, when, like so many other patriots, he put aside all thought of personal gain and took up arms in defense of his country.

James M. Ervin enlisted in April, 1861, in answer to the first call for troops, becoming a member of the Company G. Eleventh Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and during this first enlistment his services were confined to Villa Ridge and Young's Point, Mo.  In August, 1862, Mr. Ervin re-enlisted in Company H, Ninety-seventh Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, a company which he assisted to recruit, and of which he was elected First Lieutenant.  On July 29, 1863, just after the fall of Vicksburg, he was promoted to the rank of captain and served in this capacity until his honorable discharge, July 29, 1865, at Galveston, Tex.  During this protracted period, Captain Ervin was ever at the post of duty, bravely leading his company and setting an example of courage which excited the admiration and confidence of his men.  At the siege of Vicksburg his company was under fire for forty-three days, in the trenches.  After the city's capitulation the company was sent to the South, and thus was in the great railroad disaster that resulted in seven of them being killed, and so many of the regiment being disabled that the organization was broken up for months.  Upon the company's being again recruited, it was sent, in command of Captain Ervin, to Morganza Bend, La., and finally to Mobile; they assisted in the capture of the latter city and in the capture of Fort Blakely, their last battle.  From there the company went for its discharge to Galveston.

Captain Ervin, after his years of hard military life, was glad to return to the peaceful pursuit of agriculture, and soon after the war he purchased 160 acres of the farm which he still owns and occupies.  To the original purchase he added until he now owns 280 acres, comprising a fine estate.  At different times he has traded in other lands, but has disposed of all but his home farm.  Here the old soldier has lived in peaceful independence for many years.  His army days and comrades, however, are not forgotten, he is a charter member of Loogootee Post, Grand Army of the Republic, No. 756, which he has served as Commander, and has attended a number of National Encampments and District Reunions.  His political convictions make him a Republican, but beyond performing the duties of a good citizen, he no longer takes much interest in politics.  He was once an independent candidate for the office of Sheriff, and has served as School Director.

In 1852, Captain Ervin was marreid (first) to Sarah Ann Daggett, who died three years later.  In the fall of 1866, he was married (second) to Sarah Smail, of Wheatland Township, a most estimable woman, whose death in February, 1902, after a happy married life of thirty-six years, brought great sorrow to her family.  Two sons survive, - Willie S. and Frederick D.  The former is the senior member of the general mercantile firm of Ervin & Miller, of Loogootee; he married Lillie Cates.  The Latter is the manager of the home farm, and married Martha Stevens.

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Capt-James-M-Ervin-Fayette-County.pdf2.03 MB
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william-s-ervin-death-info.pdf30.98 KB
lillie-cates-ervin-death-info.pdf30.37 KB
fred-d-ervin-death-info.pdf32.59 KB

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