To accord to the leading and substantial citizens of Nez Perces County a representation in this volume of its history must necessarily include an epitome of the gentleman whose name heads this paragraph, since he is one of the leading stockmen and agriculturists of his vicinity, his farm being situated one and one-half miles southwest from Genesee, Idaho. William J. was born in County Cavan, north Ireland, on December 27, 1847, being the son of John J. and Anne (Griffith) Mervyn, natives of Ireland. The father was a merchant in the home County, and the parents remained there until their death, the mother passing away in 1873, and the father going in 1880, their remains being buried in their native place. At eighteen years of age our subject retired from the schools and bade farewell to home and native land and sailed for Melbourne, Australia, reaching there in 1866, and for nine months engaged there in mining. After this he went to New Zealand and mined in the placer diggings for seven years, then in 1873 came to California, where he continued the same search in Plumas County for one year, then farmed in Humboldt for four years and in 1879 came to Idaho. He sought out a location and settled on preemption where he now resides. He gave his attention to farming and stock raising and has been attended with abundant success, having now four hundred and thirty acres of excellent farm land. His place is well improved and handled with skill and thrift and the result is that large crops reward his industry. The marriage of Mr. Mervyn and Miss Cora E. Lees, a native of Ohio, and daughter of Simeon E. and Anne Lees, was solemnized on April 26, 1884, and three children have come to gladden the home, Edith C, Elizabeth, and William Mrs. Mervyn’s father was a native of Virginia and the mother of Maryland, but they were farmers in Ohio and remained in that state until the time of their death, the father passing away in 1898 and the mother in 1887, both being buried in Holland, Ohio. Mr. Mervyn is a member of the Masons and of the K. of P. He affiliates with the Democratic Party and takes the active interest demanded of every true citizen in the realm of politics and the affairs of the County and state, although he always declines personal preferment in the way of public office. He is a man of fine ability, faithful and upright in his walk, careful and sagacious in his business matters, and a patriotic and broad minded citizen.
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903