66 – Elizabeth Jarvis – A Few More Facts

Let’s examine a few more facts and assumptions about Elizabeth in Pennsylvania. These will help our search for her in Britain.

When did Elizabeth arrive in Pennsylvania?

Recall that Elizabeth’s land survey was dated February 1684. So that will be the cutoff end date for her arrival in America.

Pennsylvania was chartered for settlement in 1682. Before that, very few settlers from Britain or Western Europe were there. It’s not likely that Elizabeth was in America before 1682.

In 1682, William Penn chartered ships for 23 voyages from Europe to Pennsylvania. In 1683, another 21 voyages followed. Most of the ships sailed during the spring, summer and fall seasons.

Elizabeth and her husband and children were probably on one of these ships. So she probably arrived between summer 1682 and February 1684.

Is Elizabeth from England?

Probably. Most of the known arrivals from passenger lists were from Britain, and most were English.

What happened to her husband?

What happened to her husband?

  • Did he die just before she got land in America? Maybe.
  • Did he die on the voyage? Maybe.
  • Did he die in England? Not likely. It doesn’t seem that Elizabeth would emigrate to America on her own with a child and being pregnant.

Elizabeth Re-married

It seems impossible that Elizabeth could have managed on her own, with two kids in a cabin in the Pennsylvania frontier.

No surprise that Elizabeth re-married. Late in 1684, Elizabeth married Joseph Cookson.

What is a surprise is the wedding “announcement”. Her husband Joseph Cookson was taken to court for marrying “Contrary to the good and Wholsome Lawes of this Province.” The courts followed English laws, but in practice the Quakers added another layer of control.

Joseph Cookson – Court of Chester County – December 1684

It’s interesting that Elizabeth married “outside” the Quaker ways. But apparently quite a few Quakers found the marriage process time consuming and onerous, and married “outside”.

Quaker marriage protocol – Early Church Records of Delaware County – Intro

Did Elizabeth know Joseph Cookson in Britain? We don’t know, but it could be a helpful clue in our search.

What do we know about her children?

The best source for early citations besides land records are Quaker meeting minutes and court records. Searching those sources, we’ve found two children of Elizabeth – Joseph and Ruth.

Joseph Jarvis (7G)

There are lots of citations that prove Elizabeth had a son Joseph.

The earliest citation is in Quaker meeting minutes in 1687. Joseph signed a petition with other male residents agreeing not to sell rum to the Indians. I think he would be at least 15 years old in order to sign the petition.

Joseph Jervis – Quaker – Chester Monthly Meeting Minutes – 1687

I doubt if he were younger than 15, but he may have been older. If so, then he was born around 1672 or earlier. So maybe we can also search for Joseph Jarvis in Britain.

Ruth Jarvis

Elizabeth had a daughter Ruth.

In Quaker meeting minutes in 1705, Ruth and Joseph Cloud are approved to marry. So she’s probably age 20-25 in 1705. If so, then she was born around 1680-1685.

Quaker – Chester monthly meeting minutes – October 8, 1705

We know Ruth was born before the end of 1684, because that’s when Elizabeth re-married Joseph Cookson.

Good heavens, that means she was born around the time of Elizabeth’s arrival in America. It would be stressful to lose your husband, have a baby, care for a 12-year-old, and move to another country.

How old is Elizabeth?

Elizabeth’s son Joseph was born around 1672. If he was her oldest child, she may have been 20-25 when he was born. If so, then she was born around 1648-1653. So she was perhaps in her early 30s when she arrived in America.

Is Elizabeth a Quaker?

Many, perhaps most, of the new settlers were Quakers.

I don’t recall finding any citations for her in Quaker meeting minutes.

But we saw earlier the references to her children in Quaker meeting minutes. That means that Joseph and Ruth attended some meetings. And the context of those citations indicates that they were members of the Quaker community.

It’s hard to imagine Elizabeth being where she is and not being a Quaker. Maybe her first husband was more devout. Or maybe Elizabeth just kept a low profile and didn’t make the meeting minutes.

We just don’t know. We assume that we’ll find a Quaker association in Britain.


  • Ruth Jervis approval to marry Joseph Cloud – Quaker – Chester monthly meeting minutes – October 8, 1705 – Early Church Records of Delaware County Pennsylvania – Volume 2 – Peden and Launey- p. 62
  • Images of ships in harbor – WikiCommons
  • Joseph Jervis signs petition – Quaker – Chester Monthly Meeting Minutes – 1687 – Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania – https://www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library
  • Joseph Cookson – Court of Chester County – December 1684 – Chester County Archives – Chester, Pennsylvania – https://www.chesco.org/192/Archives-Records
  • Quaker marriage protocol – Early Church Records of Delaware County Pennsylvania – Volume 1 – Peden and Launey – Intro – P 008 viii

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