This begins the series on our Jervis ancestors in Pennsylvania.
We’ve learned where Elizabeth Jervis was from in England, and when and how and why she came to Pennsylvania.
Let’s find out what happened to Elizabeth and her children in America.
Elizabeth and children arrived at Chester in the fall of 1683.
She was on either the Endeavor arriving on September 29, or the Friendship arriving by November 21.
The ship stayed at anchor for a week or two, offloading cargo. The passengers stayed on board until they made or met their arrangements for temporary board and lodging.
Chester (earlier called Upland) was the port settlement for Chester County, one of the original three counties settled. It was a village of just a few dozen houses. But it existed before Philadelphia, so it was the first stop for arriving Quakers.
Many of those arriving needed temporary living quarters. Elizabeth may have stayed with the Maddock and Kennerly families, as Henry’s brother-in-law James Kennerly had arrived the year before.
I have hired a House for my Family for the Winter, and I have gotten a little House in my Land for my servants, and have cleared Land about six Acres; and this I can say, I never wisht my self at Bristol again since my departure.Excerpts from Letter from Thomas Paschall to friend in Chippenham England – 1683
Elizabeth Gets Land
The newly arrived Quakers set about making arrangements for winter quarters, but also for applying for their own land.
Obtaining land from the proprietor was a five step process:
- Make an application for land
- If granted, get a warrant
- Get a survey
- Make a return and apply for patent
- Get a land patent
Elizabeth applied, and a warrant was issued to survey 150 acres for her.
Here is Charles Ashcom’s survey for Elizabeth’s land, a 150 acre plot on Ridley Creek in Chester County. The survey was done February 4, 1683/4.
This precious document is among the earliest original documents I’ve found for the Jarvis family in America. It’s Charles Ashcom’s actual survey and notes. I really like it. It’s in the Pennsylvania State Archives.
“Surveyed for Elisabeth Jarves 150 acres of Land being on the south side of Ridly Creek beginning at a marked red oak standing at the mouth of a run of Ridly Creek and running up the run 80 pertch SW to a marked white oak and from thence SW b W 240 pertch to a black oak then NW b N 76 pertch to a marked white oak then NE b E 330 pertch to a walnut standing by Ridly Creek and from thence down the creek on several courses to the first mentioned red oak.”Charles Ashcom survey of land for Elizabeth Jervis – February 4, 1683/4
Ashcom’s map was drawn in 1683, before Elizabeth’s survey. But we can superimpose her land on the map.
The Land is Rough
On the map, the land parcels look like nice rectangles. But the land was rough, covered by woods with rocks and valleys along the creeks.
But the new settlers had water from the many creeks that drained to the Delaware River. And they had plenty of timber and game.
The River is taken up all along, by the Sweads, and Finns and some Dutch, before the English came. … and the Englishmen some of them, buy their plantations by the great river-side, and the rest get into creeks and small rivers that run into it, and some go into the Woods seven or eight Miles.Excerpts from Letter from Thomas Paschall to friend in Chippenham England – 1683
Elizabeth had 150 acres. That was a typical size for a land warrant. Besides a subsistence garden, a few more acres were cleared for silage or a cash crop; wheat, oats, and corn. But most of the land went unused.
Thomas Colborne is three miles in the Woods, he is well to pass, and hath about fourteen Acres of Corne now growing, and hath gotten between 30 and 40 £ by his Trade, in this short time.Excerpts from Letter from Thomas Paschall to friend in Chippenham England – 1683
A Place to Live
Elizabeth arrived in the fall of 1683, and her land warrant was granted and surveyed by February 1684.
Once the land was surveyed, the purchaser could live on it.
Elizabeth probably put up a primitive cabin near the creek with the help of neighbors.
They used trees felled nearby, which also made a small clearing for a subsistence garden.
Elizabeth Jervis and her children were settled. What a change from her last few years in England since her husband John died in 1680.
There were neighbors nearby. Maybe you recognize some of them from Cheshire County in England.
The Land Today
Here is Elizabeth’s land overlaid on a modern map. It’s about 12 miles west of Philadelphia and 5 miles north of Chester.
This photo views part of Elizabeth’s land from Elwyn Road on the south side. How would you like to try to farm that?
The Province of Pennsylvania
The original settlement of Pennsylvania was three counties – Chester, Philadelphia, and Bucks Counties. You can see the location on the map.
- Map of Pennsylvania and West Jersey – Gabriel Thomas’s Map of Pennsylvania and West New Jersey vicinity – Free Library of Philadelphia – https://libwww.freelibrary.org/digital/item/44010
- Image – Ship at anchor – Welcome, by Arnold Anderson – https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Welcome%2C_sailing_of_1682
- Image of woods – Chester County Pennsylvania Genealogy – https://pennsylvaniagenealogy.org/chester-county-pennsylvania-genealogy
- Charles Ashcom map of Chester County – Pennsylvania Historical Society
- Elizabeth Jarvis survey – 1684 – Pennsylvania Archives – Book A26 – Page 172
- Letter of Thomas Paschall, 1683 – An Abstract of a letter from Thomas Paskell of Pennsilvania to his Friend J. J. of Chippenham.
- Image of woman with children – WikipediaCommons
- Photo of Baltimore Pike – Google Street View – 2020
- Photo of Elizabeth’s land – Mark Jarvis – July 2017
I have a lump in my throat as I write this.
The courage it must have taken for Elizabeth to even contemplate
working the land from scratch just leaves me full of admiration and
no little emotion. What a girl !
You must be so very proud to descend from such an exceptional lady –
I take my hat off to her and to her children – ( who surely must have played
a big part in working with her,) with huge respect.,
A large packet arrived yesterday – your Family Nibbles book Volume 3 !
Great excitement. I must say, Mark – it really is most impressive – everything
on your Jarvis/Jervis journey is set out so clearly – beautifully written with great
humour and equally beautifully illustrated. It’s enormous too !
I just love it and shall keep returning and referring to it ad infinitum.
Can’t wait to show it to all the family members as they come to visit one by one !
Nick will probably be the first, from Chipping Norton, Tim having returned to Sicily
last week, after four and a half months, but who was very excited when I told him
about your book.
Giuliana ( currently in Sicily and Malta – globe-trotter ! ) is hoping to visit in August
and Tim again too, so the book is going to be well thumbed !
Truly looking forward to the rest of Elizabeth’s story.
‘Bye for now, coz !
Thanks for your lovely comments Louise. As I’ve told you before, I’m really happy we’ve shared this experience. And I’m glad you’re having family visitors. We’ve been locked down and haven’t seen anyone.
Yes, let’s see what happens to Elizabeth in her new world.
Stay well, and keep our rooms ready in case the US election misfires.