Sunday, March 2, 2008

Tanner 14: Charles Godfrey (Defriez) Jarvis

b. 3 October 1855 London, Middlesex, England
m. 1 March 1878 St. George, Washington, Utah
d. 5 August 1919 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
b. 6 August 1919 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Wife: Margaret Jarvis
Father: Joseph George DeFriez (Doctor); Mother: Mary Ann Godfrey

Charles Godfrey DeFriez Jarvis was born in London, Middlesex, England, October 3rd, 1855. He was the seventh child and sixth son of Dr. Joseph George and Mary Ann Godfrey DeFriez. He remembers going with his father when he was a small boy, on his round of calls to visit his patients in his duties as parish doctor; also watching his father make pills and mix medicines. He also enjoyed immensely the trips with his father to resorts, rowing, fishing, &c., as also the happy times at home when they had parties, plays and theaters in their big kitchen.

He never forgot these experiences, and often told his children of these jolly times of his childhood. In the pioneer days in the Arizona towns he often took parts in plays, and enjoyed it immensely, and the impersonation of various characters showed his taste and unusual talent in that line. He continued taking parts until his lameness prevented him from getting around.

When Charles was ten years old he went to live with his older brother Joe, who had lately married, and helped him as butcher boy. He stayed two years, and gained great insight into butchering, and the cutting and handling of meat. The next three years he attended a very good school. Charles was an industrious student. He acquired a good understanding of business arithmetic, English, spelling, bookkeeping, became a beautiful writer, and was very good at music—could play two or more instruments, and sing well.

At age fifteen he went to sea. What British lad is satisfied to remain a land-lubber? His first voyage was on a merchant vessel loaded with general merchandise for Bombay, India. Before returning, he had visited several different countries, including Calcutta, and France, and had been gone several months. He then went home on a visit.

He next became an ordinary seaman. The voyages were perilous. Sickness, suffering and trouble of many kinds were experienced. At one time a storm arose and the Captain ordered the cargo which was on deck, consisting mostly of rapeseed [canola], put below to lessen the danger. “It was my job,” said father, “to remove the bags as they were being dropped below by the sailors, but each was to call, ‘Look out below,’ before he dropped his bag. One big Irish sailor dropped his bag and then called ‘Look out below,’ too late for me to get out of the way, and I was crushed beneath the heavy bag of seed. The other sailors had the big Irishman ready to string up for being so careless and perhaps killing me, when I became conscious and interceded in his behalf.”

At another time, smallpox broke out on the ship, and most of the men were very ill; seventeen died and were buried at sea, and father, who had a lighter case than many, had to wait on the sick until the epidemic had subsided. By this time the crew were short of necessary rations, and other supplies, and drew near Australia, but were not allowed to go near land, but had to stay at anchor several miles from the mainland near a small island, and supplies were brought in boats from shore and left on the island, and after they had gone, men from the vessel had to go in boats to the island and get the merchandise. The quarantine lasted forty days, and then a thorough renovating and repainting had to be done before the ship was allowed to enter port.

Charles was in Australia with his brother Ebenezer and their friend John Miles, and with them heard of “Mormonism” so called, and while the others accepted it there, he was not converted. He continued with them on the voyage, was honorably discharged from the ship with them at Puget Sound, Washington, in the fall of 1873.

From there they traveled south through Washington, Oregon, California, and on to Utah. Here the boys separated, Eb and John going to St. George, while Charley found his way to Filmore, Utah.

At Filmore he was given work by the bishop, and lived at his home. One day while riding, the horse fell, and his knee was caught under the horn of the saddle as the horse rolled over. Charles thought that bruise or injury was the starting of the bone trouble that caused him to become badly crippled in later life.

April 18th, 1874, while at Filmore, he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That winter he was called to go to St. George to work on the Temple, where he remained until it was completed in January 1877.

While in St. George he lived at the home of an English sailor named George Jarvis. Charles became very fond of these people. They were very kind to him, as also other young men who were away from home. Theirs was a gathering place for entertainment. The father loved to relate stories of the sea and the many lands he had visited in his eighteen years as a sailor; the mother and daughters knew all the old English songs, and loved to sing and talk about Old England and pioneer experiences; Charles played well on the flute, and enjoyed to take part in the singing, being a very good bass. In summer, they congregated in the yard; in winter, in front of the big fireplace.

But Charles was especially fond of the daughter, Margaret. As the temple neared completion, the people were advised to plan for doing their work therein. And although perhaps not fully understood, to be sealed to their parents, and on back, and so be connected with their dead ancestors. This counsel worried those whose parents were not in the church, and the idea was advanced that they might be adopted to parents whom they chose. Perhaps this was discussed in the Jarvis home, and no doubt Margaret Jarvis thought it a good idea, and so expressed herself. Anyway, Charles asked father Jarvis’s permission to be sealed or adopted into his family, since his own father had not come to Utah. The Jarvis’s said it would be all right with them, and accordingly it was done in the temple in February 1878. Afterward, in the District Court of Apache County, in the summer of 1882, his name was legally changed to Charles Jarvis, which name he carried all through his life in all business, legal and church capacities, and was the name he passed down to his children. However, in some of his family records and some church records, especially genealogical records, he recorded his full name, Charles Godfrey DeFriez with Jarvis added.

In 1903, when the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated, Wilford Woodruff, then President of the Church said, “I want you from this time forward to be sealed to your own parents, and so on back as far as can go. Not to…anyone else.” After that, Charles expressed a doubt to some of his children, that he had done the right thing in changing his name—but it was an easy name to speak and write, and he hated to go into court again and make another change. And thus it is.

This explanation seemed necessary here, so there need be no misunderstanding of reasons and motives.

Charles Godfrey DeFriez Jarvis and Margaret Jarvis were married in the St. George Temple, March 1st, 1878. November 22nd, 1878, their first child, Margaret was born, at the home of her grandparents Jarvis, in St. George, Utah.

About this time Charles, Samuel and Heber Jarvis, all received calls to go and help in the settlement of Arizona. Because Heber was young and unmarried, he was temporarily excused.

Charles and Sam and his wife left March 10th, 1879 for Arizona, taking a few head of stock and horses and one wagon, and arrived in Snowflake, Arizona, April 9th, one month later.

They made arrangements for some land and a city lot each. They planted a crop and built a log house (or partly built one) for each family that summer, and on September 1st, Charles started to Utah for his wife and baby. He made the trip and returned to Snowflake on November 22nd, 1879, the day the baby was one year old.

They had brought their membership certificates and were accepted as members of the Snowflake Ward, Eastern Arizona Stake, and Charles was chosen very soon to lead the choir. He was a good musician, for those days because of his training in England, at school and at home. He played the cornet, flute, piccolo and later, the violin. He was especially good on time, had a good voice for singing, and a really technical ear for music. These qualifications made him at once popular and prominent in the community. Margaret also had a good soprano voice, but lacked the knowledge of music. They had many enjoyable times in a social way that year, although on account of shortage of food and the difficulty of getting supplies because of the great distance they had to be hauled by team, forced them to go without many normal needs.

Charles turned his interest in cattle and farms the next year to Sam and went to work for John W. Young, who was contractor on the railroad that was being built across the country. He stayed on as bookkeeper and paymaster until the contract was finished. The headquarters was at what is now Holbrook, and in his work it became necessary for him to make several trips to Albuquerque to purchase supplies and bring goods for the construction camp. Large sums of cash were necessarily carried on these trips, and with numerous outlaw bands in this section of the country at that time, great care had to be taken to protect the money and the lives of those who carried it. However, no serious trouble was encountered.

In February 1883, Charles moved his family to Nutrioso, Arizona, after he and Sam Jarvis had been there and decided there was a chance for settlers to make good. They sold their holdings in Snowflake, bought land in Nutrioso, and purchased a small stock of merchandise, and started a store there. They also had some cattle and horses, which they thought would have plenty of good range. They each started a home, Charles built one large log room, and Sam two lumber rooms. They planted crops, and the grain was looking fine, but Charles was about out of ready money, and about that time he was offered a position in the Co-op Store at Woodruff, Arizona; so he turned his crop and other interests to Sam to look after, and he took his family and moved.

While there his first son was born in the midst of a siege of typhoid fever in the home. Their second little girl was sick, and Charles, himself, had a serious case, and then the infant took the disease when he was two weeks old. After about three months, the family had at least partly recovered, though Charles was still weak, and Annie suffered bad stomach spells, he went back to work to try to catch up financially, and pay the bills and do something in appreciation of the many kindnesses that had been shown them in their trying circumstances. Then he received word that Sam, who had charge of the property in Nutrioso was selling out and leaving for old Mexico, so he had to settle his affairs and return to Nutrioso in the late winter.

On arriving, they found the whole community in the grip of a terrible epidemic of scarlet fever. It seemed to be in the air, and every home where there were children in the valley, no matter how far they were from neighbors, was stricken, and most of them lost one or more of their little ones. There was no doctor within reach, and no one seemed to know what to do. In a short while all three of the little girls had the disease, and all were very serious cases—Annie was sick again for more than two months, and it was summer before the family was well again.

By that time, Charles was again out of money. He left his family and what property was left, in the care of his wife’s brother Heber Jarvis, and set out again to find employment. He found a job as a clerk in Madell Co.’s Store in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In December 1886, their baby girl, Stella, was badly burned by tipping a boiler of hot water and clothes over her, and father had to be sent for to Albuquerque, but it took almost two weeks for him to get the work and come home. She was in a most serious condition, and not expected to live. As before, there was no medical help at hand, and only the neighbors to offer what home remedies and assistance they were able to give. Father hurried with all possible speed, and on the way consulted the best doctors he could find, and brought home the medicines they suggested, but it was months before those terrible burns were healed, and they left painful scars, hard, tight cords, that took years to soften enough not to be really painful, and she will always have them.

The next spring another crop was planted, but before harvest Charles had an offer of a position as clerk in the C.M. & M.I., the largest store in the County at that time, at St. Johns, Arizona. At the time his wife’s health was very poor, but they decided it was best that he accept the position.

In September another son was born whom they named Arthur, and in December 1887, the family moved to St. Johns.

While they lived at Woodruff, Charles Jarvis was chosen and set apart as a President in the 84th Quorum of Seventy. In July 1887 the St. Johns Stake of Zion was organized, and Charles was named first assistant to Superintendent William D. Rencher in the Stake Sunday School; and when the 104th Quorum of Seventy was organized in this Stake, he was made Senior President.

Having lived in several communities and become prominent because of his interest in public affairs, he was almost immediately one of the leading citizens of the county in political and civic affairs, as well as church activities. He was elected County Recorder in the fall of 1888, and for four years was Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. He was also Deputy Treasurer, assistant to W.H. Gibbons. Subsequently he worked in most of the County Offices, and assisted the attorneys during court session, helping to transcribe their cases, &c.

About this time Company K., National Guards was established, and a real live company was organized in St. Johns, in which he took great interest—learning the manual and receiving the appointment of lieutenant, and later captain.

Charles was one of the main ones to organize the first brass band in St. Johns, and was chosen its first leader. He was a member of the garden club, organized to cooperate in obtaining a large number of fruit and ornamental trees, and have city lots planted to orchards, and beautify the town. Thousands of trees were planted and the appearance of the town changed through the work of this organization. He volunteered in the Spanish-American War, but was rejected on account of his lameness.

He was the first music teacher in the St. Johns Stake Academy. Was leader of the choir, both ward and stake, for years, and spent much time helping the singers learn finer music, and render it more correctly. He was one of the regular musicians in the dances, playing the piccolo or flute, and he and his wife and daughter were often called on to sing special numbers.

Charles purchased a city lot in the southwest part of St. Johns, unfenced, and with only a one-room brick house. He had the lot fenced and bought adjoining lots, until he owned three city blocks together; had alfalfa and trees planted, leveled where the house was, and planted orchard, vineyard and garden, added other rooms, &c. He was always improving, and giving needed employment to others. Then he invested in some real estate in other parts of town; he started a ranch east of town, built a house, dug a well, and began investing in cattle, that his boys might have a start.

Another baby boy was born here, who lived only eighteen months and died before they had a chance to have his picture taken. This grieved Charles and at the first opportunity, he purchased a photo outfit, saying, “This thing need never happen to any one else here as long as I live.” He did well at making pictures, and many of the early settlers had pictures made by him that are a source of satisfaction to their descendants.

Charles also did dental work, especially extracting. In those pioneer days it was not possible to have the help of a dentist when someone was suffering from toothache—there just wasn’t any. Apostle Francis M. Lyman was visiting the Arizona settlements, and being a dentist, brought along his roll of forceps for extracting. Charley saw it and talked with him about his work. Elder Lyman gave him some valuable instructions about the work, what kind of forceps to use for different teeth, and showed him how to pull with them. Charley soon bought the best set he could get, and they were very useful. He kept them shining bright and in a chamois skin roll, and took them wherever he went. Many a sufferer was indeed grateful.

Father had a gallery and office built near the drug store where he was ready to serve the public. He was a notary public, and U.S. Land Commissioner.

About 1896 he decided to become a full-fledged dentist. He went to Salt Lake City and was employed by Dr. Stanley Clawson after working there a year or more, went to Chicago, and entered the Chicago Institute of Dental Surgery, staying until he received his Diploma. He bought equipment after returning home, and did filling and plate work, as well as extracting. It was said that he was a No. 1 in all this work, but could not be beat at pulling teeth.

No one of these businesses would have provided a good salary, but by combining them, he did well financially, and was indeed a useful man in a small community.

After his boys married, he tried to set them up in business. The first mail contract run with Automobiles had just been let in the County to W.B. Parks. Jarvis and Parks made a deal by which Jarvis subbed the contract from Parks. Arthur was living in Holbrook, and he was given charge of that end of the business, while Charles looked after the St. Johns end. Well, it failed, and they lost quite a sum of money. There were, of course, several causes, but any way, he was a pioneer in the Auto Transport Business.

Charles filled a mission at the call of his Church to his native England, 1902–1904. This had been one of the great desires of his life, and was a great satisfaction. He was also Postmaster of St. Johns for several years.

The last great accomplishment of his life, was going out with his team and wagon and camping with Albert while he superintended putting up the poles and line wire for the first telephone in the county, and installing the telephones. He stayed right on the job of line work from St. Johns to Springerville and Snowflake, and when it was done he kept the first telephone office in his gallery-office for a number of years.

After that, he was clerk in the legislature in Phoenix about 1912, but had quite a bad illness while there, and was never very well afterwards, though he held the office of Deputy County School Superintendent under Brigham Y. Peterson, his son-in-law, most of his term of office, and continued his Notary Public and Land Office work up until a few months of his death.

The following is related by Charles Reuel Jarvis, his oldest son:
Father was not well, and his leg was very painful, so he decided to take an outing for a change and rest, in the mountains. We fitted out the light spring covered wagon for camping—taking bedding, food, firearms, axe, &c., hitched up Maud and Coley and started. Our first night out we had one of the heaviest rainstorms I have ever witnessed.

We traveled South through the timber to near Lee Valley and as grass was good, wood and water plentiful and the country beautiful, decided to stay neat Hall Creek several days. Father had his gun aimed at a squirrel when he heard the clatter of horses’ hooves on the stones nearby. He lowered his gun and listened. The animal was nearing at great speed. Father watched, then hailed the rider, asking what his hurry was. He said his little brother had fallen from a tree and broken his arm, and he was going to Springerville (some 25 miles distant) to find a Doctor to set the limb. Father said, “I think I can set that arm. Take me to him and let’s see.” So Father was soon there fixing splints and bandages, and very soon the limb was properly adjusted, and the child resting easy. He said, “I’ll just stay around her a few days and see how this gets along.”

All went well, and the boy was soon all right. The arm never gave him any more trouble.
On this same trip some days later, father had moved camp further back on the mountain, and was just ready for supper at Crosby’s Ranch, when Willard Eager rode up and said his mother was suffering terribly, and needed a doctor. Father questioned him a minute or two, and said, “I think I can help your mother. Take me to her.” He was soon at Eager’s and found that Sister Eager’s jaw was out of place and she couldn’t close her mouth. She was really in bad shape and suffering greatly. Father took hold of her face, and in a few seconds, had the adjustment made, and all was well. “It just seemed to me,” said Reuel, “that on that trip, Father just happened to be where he was needed most at exactly the right time.” Father had always studied his medical journals and after completing his dental course was always sorry he hadn’t continued to be a medical and surgical physician.

Charles was five feet four inches tall, weight 140 lbs., light hair, even features, good complexion, and the most expressive dark blue eyes, eyes that fairly danced with mischief or joy, or expressed anger or disgust, sorrow or pain. He always kept himself neat and cleanly, and his clothes were chosen in good taste on all occasion.

His worst fault was his extreme sensitiveness and his quick temper. He sometimes spoke harshly and said things that hurt mother’s feelings, and she would invariably “talk back,” and a quarrel would follow. His “Old English” notion would often assert itself, that a man was Lord of his Castle, home, estate or business, and he would brook no interference in what he termed his affairs, from anyone. These things caused most of the unpleasantness in our home. I have always felt that it could have been largely avoided if mother had been more tactful. But we all have some peculiar or undesirable trait.

Father loved his family and friends, and he never came home from a trip without bringing each child and mother some nice present that he thought they would enjoy. He loved to help the old, the crippled, or unfortunate, or give employment to the needy, and always thought of ways to do someone a kindness. He had a fine sense of humor, and enjoyed a good joke and often played jokes on his children. His wonderful intellectuality, his extreme industry in striving for useful knowledge, his love of culture and the finer things in life were all admirable qualities that endeared him to the best people of his acquaintance.

He died after a prolonged illness from dropsy and heart trouble, August 5th, 1919, aged 64 years.

Margaret Jarvis Overson. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: Privately printed, 1957. The picture of Nutrioso is from James Tanner.

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