Biography of Norman Jarvis (1821-1903)

Written in 1882, History of Cass County, Michigan

Norman Jarvis, one of the pioneers and prominent farmers of La Grange, was born in Roan (Rowan) County, NC April 14, 1821. His father, Zaddock Jarvis, was also a native of North Carolina, and a planter in medium circumstances; he married Lucy Owens, by whom he had seven children, four boys and three girls. In 1819 he (Zaddock) emigrated to Indiana with his family where he remained until 1833, when he came to La Grange, and settled on the place now owned by his son; in the fall, he returned to Indiana for his family.

Norman was at this time twelve years of age and his recollections of the trials, hardships, and privations of the early days are still vivid. The elder Jarvis was a fine type of the early settler; he lived in LaGrange until his decease, which occurred in 1851; his wife is still living (in 1882) "hale and hearty" at the advanced age of ninety years.

Norman lived under the parental roof until he was eighteen years of age, when he began life as a boatman and farmer, devoting the summer months to the former avocation and working as a farm hand during the winter. In this way he accumulated a sum sufficient for the purchase of eighty acres of land in Pipestone, Berrien County. After several changes he bought the farm where he now resides in 1865 and which he has improved with the exception of 60 acres. The farm a view of which we present on another page (coming soon), consists of 270 acres of fertile land under a high state of cultivation.

In 1842 Norman married Miss Margaret Simpson, daughter of Elias Simpson, one of the pioneers of the county, having removed from Ohio in 1830. She was born near Chillicothe, Ohio, February 28, 1824 and was six years of age at the time of the family's emigration to Pokagon, where her father died in 1841 and her mother in 1860.

Coming into the county in the early days of its settlement, Mr. Jarvis was denied the advantages of education, which the youth of today are in possession of, and his education has been confined to that other school in which the teachers are observation and experience. He is emphatically a self-made man, and the architect of his own fortune. The salient points in his character are industry and honesty, by which means he has attained the position he holds among the representative men of Cass County.

This biography would be incomplete without some mention of Mrs. Jarvis, who has shared his "joys and sorrows." She has been to him a helpmate in all that the name implies, and is a woman of many estimable qualities of mind and heart. The two reared a family of ten children - Mary, William, Loramie, Rachael, Jennie, Jasper, Ella, Lucy and Mertie, all of whom are living.

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