31 Jan 2006
Source: Past and Present of Bureau County, Illinois, Originally published 1906, Pioneer Pub. Co., Chicago, IL Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin, Tamico Area Historical Society www.tampicohistoricalsociety.citymax.com
REV. S. L. PERVIER
Sylvester L. PERVIER was brought up in the hill country of New Hampshire and enjoyed the educational advantages of rural life amid rugged mountains, lonely valleys, flowing streams and green fields and forests. Born at Andover, in 1816, the common schools, whose sessions were from six weeks' to three months' duration each year, furnished him with the rudiments of learning. At the age of sixteen he bought his time of his father and went into business for himself. Though meeting with encouraging success he soon returned home to help the family through a financial struggle.
As he came to know himself he found hungerings that business did not satisfy. Life to him had larger meaning than bread alone. Soul wants pressed him. He heard the call of religion to come up higher. Knowledge, virtue, truth, urged their demands upon him. Penetrated with such sentiments he looked around for a fitting field of activity. It was but natural that he should find it in the ministry, though painflly aware of lack of adequate preparation. Still he spoke to edification, inspired enthusiasm, and his hearers, regarding such qualities as ample proof of his being called to God to preach, gave him their entire approval. His father rejoiced that his first born was willing to dedicate himeself to the Lord.
At the age of twenty-two Mr. PERVIER went to western New York to begin his active labors as a minister, at the same time taking up a course of reading and study to better fit him for his chosen work. In Shelby, Orleans county, he planted a church to which he ministered some years and which still preserves its identity.
There, on the 7th of February, 1843, Rev. PERVIER was united in marriage with Philena COVELL, of Ogden, Monroe county, New York, who was born May 30, 1820, and is a daughter of Edward and Polly (GILMAN) COVELL, both natives of Vermonth. Mrs. PERVIER still survives her husband at the advanced age of eighty-six years. Later he became a missionary at Janesville Wisconsin, enduring not only the hardships and privations incident to a new country, but much from lack of funds being furnished by the missionary board. Thence he moved to Henry, Illinois, taking charge of a church for which he preached four years, meantime superintending the building of its chapel. Leaving Henry he located in Prophetstown, Illinois again taking up missionary work, depepending entirely upon voluntary contributions for support.
With much misgiving he finally retired from active service in the field, devoting himself thereafter to the maintenance of a home. Though his farm life continued forty years he never quite lost sight of his calling as a minister. He ever bore about with him some gospel of good news. His was no stereotyped message. It changed as wants change, as light came, as truth was revealed. He was familiar with nature, with actual things, with common facts. He thought much, observing the trend of things. He was a doubter, but all the more a believer. When in the progress of his thought the faith and methods of the popular church seed no longer true and useful, they were displaced by others responding more to his reason. The verities as represented by the sermon on the mount he accepted ever; built his character upon them, taught them at home and abroad. But the draperies of religion - its forms, philosophies, methods - he believed must change with the ever changing world. February 7, 1892, the forty-ninth anniversary of his marriage, pneumonia claimed him for its victim. Quietly, peacefully and with full assurance of a future life he passed away, leaving his wife and four children to venerate his memory. Mr. and Mrs. PERVIER became the parents of five children, but lost one child in infancy who was born May 25, 1860, and died May 27, 1860. The surviving members of the family are: Melvin E., who was born in New York, May 28, 1845; Myron C., who was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, December 31, 1847; Donna I., who was born in this county, January 29, 1855, and is engaged in teaching school; and Clayton C., who was born March 4, 1857, and is a farmer. His sketch appears elsewhere in this work.
Melvin E. PERVIER, the eldest of the family, was educated at Henry, Illinois, and in the country schools. He has devoted his entire time to farming and stock-raising and he now resideds and carries on the old family homestead in Mineral township. In 1870 he went to Kansas, settling near Greenleaf, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits, and while there he served as school director. In 1879 he sold his interests in Kansas and removed to California, where he engaged in fruite raising for seven years, remaining on th Pacific coast until 1891, whe he returned to Mineral township, where he has lived continuously since, being now accounted one of the leading and successful agriculturiests of this part of the state, his land being well developed and under a high state of cultivation.
Melvin E. PERVIER was married to Miss C. Anna MORGAN, of Kansas, a daughter of Joel MORGAN. The wedding was celebrated in 1868 and the death of the wife occurred in 1879, many friends, beside her family mourning her loss.
In his fraternal relations Mr. PERVIER is a Mason, holding membership in the Blue lodge, and held the office of junior warden while in California. He has served as assessor for three years and is now highway commissioner of Mineral township. His interest in community affairs is deep and sincere and is manifest through tangible co-operation in those measures and movements which are of benefit to the community.