Neff, Pius

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PIUS NEFF, Chandlerville, IL 1834 - 1897

Unnamed Newspaper, probably of Chandlerville, IL

GONE TO HIS REWARD: Pius Neff, born April 29, 1834, and died March 1, 1897, aged 62 years and 10 months.

The subject of this sketch was one of Chandlerville's oldest and most prominent citizens. He was instrumental in assisting in several public enterprises, which have been of material benefit to our village and community. He was one of our oldest merchants, and his name has been connected with the mercantile interests of this town almost ever since it was a town.

He was born to Ignatz and Mary A. (Bower) Neff, in Germany. He attended public school until ten years old, when, with his parents, he emigrated to Pennsylvania, where he afterwards acquired a business education. At twenty-one he went to work on the farm, and remained there several years. He afterwards came to Illinois and went to Peoria, and there entered the Store of J.J. Mish, as a clerk, where he remained several years. In 1863 he started a store of his own in Peoria, but in '64 he sold out, and came down to Chandlerville, and engaged in the mercantile business, and has remained here in business ever since.

In 1857 he married Miss Elizabeth Clouse, a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1833. To them have been born eleven children, six of whom, with the mother, are still living, namely: Mary, wife of Jacob Euteneuer, of Havana; George, Frank, Gustavus, William and Leo.

Mr. Neff has been permanently connected with the history and progress of this community in various ways. He has been a member of the school board on various occasions, and it was while he was on the board the large school building was erected. For the last twenty-five years he has held the responsible position of treasurer of the school district, and performed his duties faithfully. He has served in the village council at various times and has held the presidency of the board four terms. He served one term as county commissioner and it was during this term of office that Cass and Mason counties were induced to build the iron wagon bridge which now spans the Sangamon river at this point; and this act alone has made his name popular with our people.

He was a Catholic in religion and a Democrat in politics, and his life has proved him loyal to both. He was an affectionate and kind hearted husband and father; a true and loyal citizen, and a good friend and neighbor and the community deeply sympathies with the bereaved family in their affliction.

The funeral services were held at the family residence yesterday morning at ten o'clock, Rev. Father Meckell officiating. The attendance was unusually large, for out of respect to his memory the business houses closed, and the high school was dismissed. The remains were afterwards laid to rest in the village cemetery.

There are many things connected with the early history of the deceased that would be of interest to the public if a record could have been kept. In the early days the mercantile business of Chandlerville was not what it is today, and all produce was bartered, and even wages were paid in skins, pelts, work or anything that could be taken in barter. Money was a scarce article in those days. He was postmaster in those early days, and as Uncle Sam required cash for postage, we do no know how the sender or receiver ever got hold of the money to pay the postage. Wolves and deer were more plentiful around here than quail and rabbit are now, and hunting must have been great.

One thing in particular endeared him to the people of his church in this community, and that was the loyalty and service rendered the church. As Father Meskell said, "It may be truly said of him, he was the pillar of the church in this community." He gave his time, his money, and of all he possessed to establish and maintain the Catholic church here. He gave up the upper room for a place of worship, and was looked up to be all the congregation as the recognized leader and advisor. "

Submitted by Joyce Rauschenberger - I am interested in making contact with any living descendants of Pius Neff.