Joseph Nevison was born in Winton, England, and came to Canada with his parents, settling in Verulam Township. The 22 year-old Nevison is listed in the 1871 Census as a harness maker in Somerville Township. In 1876 he opened shop in Fenelon Falls; “A new harness shop is opened here by Mr. Nevison [sic]. He should advertise” [CP 29 Dec 1876; 2]. By 1880 he had moved to the west side of Colborne Street, next door to the Mechanics Institute [FFG 10 July 1880; 3], and in 1882 to his brother’s [Thomas] vacated stand, one door south of Kennedy and Newman’s brick block. Thereafter the business moved frequently1. He appears to have attempted a partnership in a livery business2 with William Golden in June 1890, but it lasted only a few weeks [FFG 20 June 1890; 4].
A brief notice concerning Nevison appeared in The Globe (Toronto) in 1894. “Bradstreet’s reports these assignments; Jos. Nevison, saddler, Fenelon Falls to W.E. Ellis” [Globe 11 Jan 1894; 8]. Nevison was making plans to leave. In the summer of 1895 the Gazette announced that Nevison was leaving the Falls1 for Minden where he was to open a harness shop. “Mr. Nevison has lived here for 32 years and his wife (Isabella) for a still longer period.” [FFG 12 July 1895; 4] The Nevison family, and Mrs. Heeley (Mrs. Nevison’s sister in law) who also went to Minden to open a millinery shop, left in late September [FFG 4 Oct 1895; 4]. The Minden venture was a failure, as they were all back in Fenelon Falls and re-opening their businesses by February of 1896 [FFG 21 Feb 1896; 5].
Nevison’s reopened between McFarland’s grocery and William Campbell’s dry goods store [FFG 25 Feb 1898; 1 [ad dated 20 May 1896]]. By 1904 he was a prominent businessman. “J.J. Nevison came to Fenelon Falls in 1863 and established his business in 1877. He carries one of the best stocks in harness, saddlery, trunks, grips, rugs, whips, etc. His harness is of the very best quality of leather and his stock embraces all grades of goods in the different lines. More than a year ago he put in a full stock of boots and shoes which he has kept replenished with the latest styles. Mr. Nevison is at present a member of the School Board and has served several terms on both it and the Council.” [Souvenir 1904]
The business disappears from the directories about 1913. Nevison died in Vancouver on April 7th, 1922. According to his obituary he left the village in 1919 for Vancouver (where one of his daughters lived) but was making preparations to return to the village at the time he became ill [FFPL: 22.6]. He was buried in the Fenelon Falls Cemetery.
583 Variant initials: J.J., Joseph, John, John N., Jos. J. Also listed as John Joseph.
584 “Mr. J.J. Nevison has moved his harness shop from its old location, north of Mr. Robson’s implement storehouse on the west side of Colborne Street, to a site on the Cunningham property lower down on the opposite side of the same street. It was backed up into its new location about 8 o’clock Thursday morning, and just as a couple of levers were pulled out from beneath the front, it settled down with a “kerchuck” that broke a large pane of glass in the window and caused the chimney to break off a few inches above the roof; but fortunately nobody was hurt by the shower of falling bricks [FFG 27 March 1896; 5].
585 See under Golden, William
586 “Mr. Nevison’s shop on Colborne Street and the lot on which it stands were recently purchased by Mr. Thos. Robson” [FFG 12 July 1895; 4].