Frederick T. Jarvis

Contributed by Rene' Treffeisen

Frederick T. Jarvis.  Prominent among the agriculturists who form so 
important a part of the population of Otsego County and are
potent not only in its material advancement, but in its social,
moral and educational progress, is Frederick T. Jarvis, a member
of one of the old families of Central New York, and a resident of
Hartwick, where he has a valuable farm, which he devotes to
general farming, especially to horticulture and the dairy
business. Mr. Jarvis is a true-born son of the soil, his birth having occurred
in the town of Otsego, September 22, 1822. His ancestors were
among the colonists of New England, and there his father was born
December 9, 1792, in the town of Lanesboro, Mass. A genealogy of
the Jarvis family has been compiled by George A. Jarvis, of New
York, and others. The paternal grandparents of subject were
Ashael and Abigail (Griswold) Jarvis. The grandfather was born
in Lanesboro, Mass., February 15, 1760. In 1793 he removed to
this State, and selecting the site of his future home in the
forests on the banks of Fly Creek, he purchased the chosen tract
of land, which lay in the town of Otsego, and thus became one of
the pioneer settlers of the town. He had learned the trade of
wheelwright in his native State, and soon after locating on Fly
Creek he erected a shop and engaged in the manufacture of carding
machinery and spinning-wheels. He continued to reside there
until his death, September 10, 1823. His wife died September
26, 1862, at an advanced age. Chester Jarvis, the father of our subject, was but an infant when his
parents brought him to Otsego County. He was a young boy when he
began to assist his father in his shop, and he learned of him the
trade of machinist. After attaining manhood he went into
business for himself, but confinement at his work impaired his
health, and he directed his attention to farming, purchasing a
farm. He did not, however, remove to the farm, but continued his
residence in Fly Creek some years longer for the purpose of
attending to is official duties, as he was Postmaster and Justice
of the Peace. From Fly Creek he went to Cooperstown to live,
thence to Morris, and some years later to Cheshire, Mass. He
subsequently returned to New York, settled at Kinderhook, and
there died April 10, 1870. All that was mortal of the venerable
man was tenderly laid to rest in the cemetery at Fly Creek. The mother of subject, who died May 27, 1830, bore the maiden name of
Aurelia Content Morris. She was born in the town of Otsego, July
3, 1797. Her father, Samuel Morris, was born in Rhode Island,
August 8, 1767. A genealogy of the Morris family has been
compiled by Jonathan Flynt Morris. The grandfather of subject
married Betsey Bradford, a native of Woodstock, Conn., and a
lineal descendant of Governor Bradford of Pilgrim fame. The line
of descent runs from this William Bradford, second Governor of
Plymouth Colony, through Major William Bradford, Samuel Bradford,
and Peres Bradford, father of Betsey (Bradford) Morris. Samuel
Morris and Betsey Bradford were married January 1, 1793. He had
come here previous to his marriage and had bought a tract of land
in the Christian Hill School District, and had cleared a small
piece of the land, on which he had built a log cabin, and when he
returned with his bride, they began life together in that pioneer
dwelling. Mrs. Morris soon opened a private school in that log
house, which was one of the first schools taught in Hartwick,
Not long after Mr. Morris sold that place to Rufus Steere, and
purchased a tract of timber land across the line in the town of
Otsego, that farm being now occupied by his great-grandson, frank
Jarvis. He and his wife were ever active in whatever good work
was being carried on for the uplifting of the community, and
their names will always be associated with the founding and
up building of the first Univeralsist society organized west of
the Hudson River, now known as Christ church and they were
consistent members of that church as long as they lived. His
death occurred May 7, 1838, that of his wife, September 21, 1867,
and their last resting -place is on the home farm, as is that of
Lemuel Morris, great-grandfather of subject. Lemuel Morris was
grandfather of commodore Charles Morris. The latter visited his
grandfather and Uncle Samuel before the death of the grandfather,
about 1810, coming from Rhode Island. Frederick T. Jarvis, our subject, was a bright and apt scholar in his
boyhood, and profited by the educational advantages of the
district school in his neighborhood, of the select school that he
afterward attended, and of the excellent seminary at Lowville,
Lewis County, where he pursued a practical course of study. Thus
well equipped, at the age of seventeen he began to teach school,
and taught three winter terms with success. The spirit of
adventure and enterprise was not wanting in our subject, and he
was led to try life in California. He was gone from home
fourteen months - seven in the mines, and seven on the water
going and returning. He went by steamer to the Isthmus and
return, and from Panama to San Francisco and return by sailing
vessel. Being sick nearly all the time when in the mines, he was
not successful in getting a pile, but was minus about $200 on the
trip. His health, however, was for many years much the better
for the adventure. The Otsego Republican, of Cooperstown,
published in 1889 a series of thirteen letters from the pen of
Mr. Jarvis, entitled "Leaves from My Diary, and Reminiscences of
a Trip to California and the Gold Mines and Return." After his return from the Golden State, our subject engaged in
farming until he enlisted, August 25, 1862, in Company I, 152nd
New York Infantry, and went to the front to help to fight his
country's battles. He served faithfully for five months, winning
an honorable record as a brave and efficient soldier, but the
horrors and hardships of war affected him severely, and he was
discharged from the army on account of disability. He resumed
farming as soon as able after his return home, and in 1868
located on the farm where he now resides. He has been very
successful in general farming, having a clear and comprehensive
knowledge of agriculture in all its branches, and intelligently
employing modern methods and means in carrying on his varied
operations. He has devoted much of his time and energy to
horticulture and to perfecting his dairy. He has all the best
equipments for the latter line of businesses, and has a valuable
herd of cattle best adapted to it. His experiments in
horticulture have met with good results, and he has a fine
orchard of upward of 500 trees, and the many premiums that he has
taken at different fairs attest his rare skill in the culture of
choice varieties of fruit. His farm is amply supplied with
modern conveniences, and ranks with the best in the town in
regard to improvements and appointments. The domestic life of Mr. Jarvis is exceedingly pleasant, his amiable
wife being at once a companion and helpmate, and presiding over
their home with cheery grace and watchful care. They were wedded
November 16, 1843, and for nearly half a century have faithfully
shared whatever joys and sorrows have fallen to their lot, have
been true to each other and to all the obligations of life, and
have made the most of the years as they have come and gone. Mrs.
Jarvis' name in her maiden days was Minerva J. Steere, and she
was born in Hartwick, Otsego County, October 7 1826. Her father
Ira Steere, was born in Rhode Island in 1793, whose name was
Nicholas Steere, was born May 5, 1764. For history of the Steere
family see genealogy prepared by James Pierce Root and Henry J.
Steere. The grandfather of Mrs. Jarvis visited Otsego County in 1792 with a
view of future settlement. He journeyed hither on foot, taking
his provisions with him, and the entire expense of his trip
(nights' lodging) was but two shillings and six-pence. He
selected a tract of land in what is now the town of Hartwick,
erected a log house in the depths of the forest, and then
returned to Rhode Island for his family. The journey to the new
home in these parts was made with ox teams. On the farm that he
reclaimed from the wilds Mr. Steere died at a good old age,
January 17, 1845. His wife, whose maiden name was Martha Harris,
and who was likewise a native of Rhode Island, died in 1812. The father of Mrs. Jarvis was one year old when his parents came to
Otsego County to live, and here he was reared amid pioneer
environments. He inherited the old homestead, and his life was
spent thereon until he closed his eyes in death July 18, 1861.
He married Lucy Bliss, a native os Sheffield, Mass., and a
daughter of Eleazar and Clarissa B. (Hubbell) Bliss. She died
the same year as her husband, her death occurring on the 31st of
August. Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis have four sons living - Frank G.,
Chester B., Ira S. and J. Wilson. Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis are
members of the Universalist Church, and their religion is shown
in the harmony and rectitude of their everyday lives. He has
been a Prohibitionist eighteen years, and was a candidate of
that party for Presidential elector in 1892. He is a man of more
than ordinary intelligence and stability of character, and none
know him but to honor him. He has long been a valued contributor
of miscellaneous articles to various agricultural papers of this
State. He was one of the organizers and has since been one of
the promoters of the Otsego County Farmers' and Dairymen's
Association, established in 1880. It is with great pleasure that the publishers of this work present to
their readers portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis, who are
everywhere recognized as among the most worthy people of Otsego
County, for their labors in the cause of humanity and their
honest, upright lives.
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