Col. Stephen Jarvis, UEL (1756 - 1840)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Danbury, CT, USA
Death: Died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Managed by: Jason Peter Herbert
Last Updated:

About Col. Stephen Jarvis, UEL

Source: An American's Experience in the British Army, by Col. Stephen Jarvis http://lib.jrshelby.com/jarvis.htm

Stephen Jarvis was born Nov. 6th, 1756 at Danbury in the Colony of Connecticut, eldest son of Stephen Jarvis and Rachel Starr. He died on April 12, 1840, in Toronto, Ontario.

His birth was about 20 years before the American Revolution. When war broke out in 1776, he fought on the side of the British, as an Officer of the 17th South Carolina Regiment of Light Dragoons, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel.

In 1783, Stephen Jarvis was stationed in St. Augustine, Florida. He had not seen his family or his fiancé, Amelia Glover for six years, so he obtained written permission from the patriots of Danbury to travel home with his brother.

He later wrote, "It is impossible to describe my feelings on again embracing those who had always been so dear to me. Immediately on my arrival, my Father sent for Miss Glover, who happened to be in town. I shall leave the reader to judge of the ecstasy and the joy that filled our breasts. Immediately preparation were set on foot for our marriage."

However, two men warned Jarvis that a mob was coming to arrest him. Turning to Amelia, Jarvis said, "Miss Glover, good-bye, I can die – in no place more honorably than this – you shall see that I can die bravely."

Suddenly, a crowd of patriots filled the Jarvis home, demanding to see Stephen. He calmly reminded them that they had given him permission to return to Danbury, and that if they hurt him, they put their friends at risk who had been given similar safe passage in British-held New York.

A local patriot officer promised to have his squadron protect him, but Jarvis realized he should leave Danbury as soon as possible. However, he didn't want to leave without Amelia. He begged his father to let him marry that very evening. His father consented, but it took more persuasion to bring Amelia around. She was upset that her long-anticipated wedding would now be a rushed affair. The family sent for a minister, everyone gathered in a large room in the home, and, within the hour, Stephen and Amelia were made husband and wife.

The mob outside the Jarvis house dispersed following the wedding. A sergeant and 12 dragoons prepared to guard the house through the night. However, early the next morning during the changing of the guard, the local sheriff forced his way upstairs into the newlyweds' bedroom and demanded payment for an old war debt. In the ensuing argument, the sheriff fell down the stairs. He wasn't hurt, but he did return to the Jarvis house with a posse. By this time the squadron had returned to guard him. Seeing that his reluctant bodyguards might have to fight against their neighbours on his behalf, Jarvis decided to win the soldiers over. "I threw them a dollar, desired they would get something to drink the Bride's health, which they did, and before they had finished the bottle I had won them all to my side."

The soldiers told Jarvis he "had got one of the best of women for a wife in the world; that I was deserving of her, and that they would defend us as long as they had a drop of blood in their veins."

At this, the posse withdrew. Stephen and Amelia ate breakfast together, but once again, a mob of citizens had begun to gather down the street. Wearing his brother's coat instead of his Loyalist uniform, Stephen slipped out the back door and met his brother in a nearby field. He rode to the home of Amelia's sister, where Amelia joined him the following day, and they left Danbury for New York. They eventually settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick, but left in 1809 for York, which would later become Toronto, Ontario.

"Jarvis Street" in Toronto was named for Stephen's grandfather, Captain Samuel Jarvis (1698-1779). The name Jarvis (uncles, brothers, sons, cousins) was prominent for decades in the highest political circles of Canada, notably as members of The Family Compact.

In the present era, several descendants of Colonel Stephen Jarvis are active in the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada, Toronto and Hamilton Branches.

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Col. Stephen Jarvis, UEL's Timeline

1756
November 6, 1756
Danbury, CT, USA
1783
May 22, 1783
Age 26
1784
May 9, 1784
Age 27
Danbury, Fairfield, CT, USA
1786
August 4, 1786
Age 29
Danbury, Fairfield, CT, USA
1789
March 22, 1789
Age 32
Danbury, Fairfield, CT, USA
1794
October 27, 1794
Age 37
1797
April 21, 1797
Age 40
Fredericton, NB, Canada
1799
May 4, 1799
Age 42
Fredericton, NB, Canada
1840
April 12, 1840
Age 83
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
????
Toronto, ON, Canada