Biography of Burton Jarvis (1816-?)

Written in 1893, Portrait and Biographical Record, Berrien and Cass County, MI

Burton Jarvis. Among the venerable residents of Niles Township there is not one who has wormer friends or is more truly honored by his neighbors than he whose name we have just given. His long life of maustry and usefulness, and his record for integrity and true-hearted faithfulness in alls the relations of life, have given him a hold upon the community which all might well desire to share.

Mr. Jarvis claims North Carolina as his native state, and was born in Rowan County, September 6, 1816. His parents Zadock Jarvis and Lucy Owings were natives of North Carolina and Maryland respectively. The paternal grandfather Zadock Jarvis, was of English origin, and it is supposed that he was a native of Maryland, although nothing definite is known. He was a soldier in the Revolution War as was also our subject's maternal grandfather, Basil Owings.

The parents (Zadock and Lucy) of our subject were married in 1812 or 1813, and later moved to Indiana, where they rented a farm in Wayne County. In 1835 they came to Michigan and located in La Grange Township, Cass County, where they passed the remainder of their days, the father dying at the age of sixty-two and the mother when ninety-two years of age. Of the seven children born to their union, four were sons and three daughters, and all lived to mature years. Sarah, wife of James Moore, is now deceased; Polly, deceased was the wife of Joseph Sparkes; Edith, deceased, was the wife of Jonathan Roe; Burton is our subject; Norman resides in Dowagine, Michigan; Benjamin is deceased; and Zadock is now residing in Dowagine.

The subject of this notice was but eight years of age when he went to Wayne County, Ind., and re remained there for ten years. When eighteen years of age he came to Cass County, Mich., and in 1835 he found his way into Berrien County, where he worked for a Mr. Griffin, clearing land at $10 per acre. After working for two months, he went to boating on the St. Joseph River, from South Bend and Niles to the Lakes, and followed this until about 1840. The same years he married Miss Elizabeth Sparks, a native of Wayne County, Ind., and subsequently settled in Niles Townhsip on Section 12.

In 1842 he bought an eighty-acre farm unimproved, and on this erected a small log cabin, the logs of which he cut himself from his land. Hen then began clearing the farm of the heavy timber with which it was covered, ad after years of hard work he was rewarded, for he had one of the best farms in the county. To the original tract he added from time to time until he owned three hundred and thirty acres, and he sold two hundred acres of this land at $110 per acre. He has much of the latest improved machinery for expediting work and although he is getting well along in years he still does much work himself.

Mr. Jarvis' accumulations have been the result of years of hard work on the part of himself and he most worthy companion, for they commenced with little or nothing. When he first entered Michigan he had the large sum of twenty-five cents, and he first hired out to drive cattle, receiving three shillings per day.

Many times he would be out at work by four o'clock in the morning, and after going without dinner would have a late supper. He remained on the farm where he first settled until 1883, and then moved to Buchannan, where he remained for two years. This was while he was building his present fine residence. In 1886 he returned to the farm of one hundred and thirty acres, and on his he has since resided, although he rents the land.

Mr. Jarvis and wife has buried five children. Lucy was the wife of Frank HA. Berrick, and died when about 44 years of age; John was in the hardware business in St. Joseph, Michigan and died when about twenty four years of age; Zed died when about twenty=eight years of age; Mitilda died in infancy; and Ezra died at the age of seven years. All were born on section 12, Niles Township. Mr. Jarvis was at one time a Democrat in politics, but after the war became a Republican, and still later, a Greenbacker, being the latter at the present time.

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