Thursday, August 20, 2009

Heber Jarvis and Susan Janet Smith Jarvis, Part 1

Heber Jarvis, eighth child of George and Ann Prior Jarvis, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 14th, 1860, six weeks after the family arrived, and his mother had walked almost the entire way of 1000 miles across the plains. When Heber was one year old his father was among the first to volunteer to go South and settle St. George; consequently his childhood and early manhood were spent in that hardest of all Missions established by the Church. And so it was that his early life was one of privation and struggle, with meager facilities for education. November 9th, 1871, the St. George Temple was begun, and the life and faith of the settlers was revived and stabilized through that wonderful project, and the support and frequent visits of the Prophet, Brigham Young and the Apostles, and the fine young men who were sent from various wards in the Church to labor on the building.

Heber heard the Prophesy [sic] of Brigham Young that no lives would be lost in constructing the Temple, and lived to witness its fulfillment. And 'tho' a number of workmen suffered from accidents, with two particularly serious ones, in which death seemed inevitable, both escaped and were healed.

As he grew up, he worked willingly at whatever there was for him to do, — making and cleaning ditches, farm work, as a teamster, builder's helper, or mine worker at the Pioche mines, thereby obtaining a varied experience, becoming acquainted with many characters, and learning to mingle and get along with his fellow-men. Of most worth, there was developing within him faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, love for the church leaders, honor and respect for the Priesthood, and a desire to live according to the rules and principles of the Gospel. This testimony remained the grand and lovable part of his character all through his long life.

The Temple was finished and Dedicated early in 1877, and tho' only seventeen years old he was one of the first to receive the Endowment, February 8th, 1877.

In early 1879, he was called, together with his brother Samuel and brother-in-law Charles, to go to Arizona and help colonize the Snowflake district; but owing to his youthfulness, the call was temporarily deferred. Early in 1882, however, he went to Snowflake, being at that time past twenty-one years of age—an unusually handsome young man, with dark curly hair, expressive eyes, good features, fine form and carriage, attentive manners and pleasant personality, and was soon a great favorite among the young ladies of the settlement. One was especially attracted to him, — Miss Susan Janet Smith, oldest daughter of the President of the Eastern Arizona Stake, Jesse N. Smith and his wife Janet Johnson. Susan was very young, but these two young people became almost immediately devoted lovers, and on December 12th, 1883, were married in the St. George Temple, after a six-week's trip by team and wagon from Snowflake to St. George.

During his courtship, Heber had worked and earned enough to procure a team and wagon and sufficient means to make the trip to his home town, where they remained during the winter, with his parents and relatives, but returned in the spring to fill his mission in Arizona. They lived in Snowflake, then Nutrioso, then moved to Eagar, all in Apache County, Arizona. (Snowflake was later put into Navajo County.)

They remained in Eagar many years, and most of their children were born there, then moved to St. Johns. Heber had farming and stockraising interests, worked at blacksmithing, carpentry, was water master, Justice of the Peace, member of the Board of Supervisors, helped in Sherriff's [sic] Posses, and was elected to the Legislature. He often mentioned his experiences in the Arizona Legislature, because it was during that session that the much debated "Woman's Sufferage Bill" was passed, and he always took credit for helping put that through. He also mentioned other "Bills" and measure that came before them then, some of which he refused to be 'Bribed' to vote or work for, that he thought were not for the betterment of the people. He mingled freely and assisted in everything of moment in the civic life of the community. At the same time, he and his wife were prominent in the Ward and Stake offices. Heber was a member of the Stake High Council for forty-six years; worked in the Y.M.M.I.A, various Priesthood activities, in the Bishopric, etc., and was always faithful in his callings. After the Arizona Temple was dedicated, they worked there as Ordinance Workers for twenty years, until his health failed.

His jovial disposition and merry heart, his love, kindness and tolerance for the young and erring, his faithfulness to his family and friends, his liberality with those whose lives and opinions differed from his own, all tended to win him many friends and admirers, among young and old, stranger and acquaintance.

Heber and Susie lived together almost seventy years and were sweethearts always. A beautiful example of happy home life. When he passed away at the age of 93 years, ten of their fifteen children were living, sixty-six grandchildren, and 144 great grand children. His funeral was held in the Fifth Ward Chapel, and was a testimonial to his splendid life work and great usefulness, and his numerous friends. The large chapel and Amusement hall were filled to overflowing with kindred and friends. The date of his death was October 8th, 1953, and buriel [sic] was October 10th, 1953 at Mesa, Arizona.

Coming next... a biography of Susan Smith Jarvis.

(I'm typing up this information in response to a request on the Jarvis family website.)

From Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson. George Jarvis And Joseph George De Friez Genealogy. Mesa, Ariz: M.J. Overson, 1957, pp 73-74. Picture from Jarvis family website.

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