143 – Harvey and Sarah Jarvis Died (4G)

Harvey Jarvis died around 1881. He was age 78.

Sarah Robinson Jarvis died around 1883. She was 80.

Let’s look back at their interesting lives. We’ll also see what happened with their long term care arrangement.


Early days in Kentucky

Sarah Elizabeth Robinson was born in Tennessee in 1802. Her nickname was Sallie. Her parents Joel and Margaret Hart Robinson are our 5th great-grandparents.

The family moved to Fork Lick Creek in Pendleton County, Kentucky when Sarah was a child. The Robinsons were an extended family, with several siblings’ and cousins’ families scattered around southwest Pendleton County.

Joel and Margaret Robinson and children

Harvey Jarvis was born in Pendleton County in 1803. His parents, William and Margaret Thompson Jarvis, had come to Kentucky from Maryland in 1792. Harvey was the youngest of their nine children.

William and Margaret Jarvis and children

Harvey and Sarah grew up in a time and place where a family’s food, clothing, and shelter were mostly home grown and homemade. A log house, homespun clothes, a subsistence garden, a crop of corn and some livestock occupied the daily life of all the family members.

Neighbors were important for help, work, and socialization. The bond between Jarvis and Robinson families was no exception. Four of the Robinson children married four of the Jarvis children. And a Robinson was the Methodist preacher at all four weddings. Harvey and Sarah were married in 1822, the last of the four Jarvis/Robinson weddings.

A Move to Indiana

In the 1820s, most of the Jarvis and Robinson families moved to southeast Indiana. Cheap farmland had become available, and new settlers were taking advantage of the opportunity.

By the mid-1820s, Harvey and Sarah moved too, settling near Versailles in Ripley County. For the next six decades, Harvey and Sarah moved between Ripley and Jefferson Counties.

Farming, or masonry work?

Like his father and several brothers, Harvey was a stone and brick mason. Harvey made a living both as a farmer a mason.

Mason? or Farmer?

Harvey and Sarah lived on various farms through the years, but it seems like those farms weren’t their total livelihood. On various censuses, Harvey is listed as a farmer or a mason.

  • In late 1820s they rented a farm near Versailles in their first decade in Indiana
  • In 1831 they bought a lot in the town of Versailles, but then sold it
  • In 1846 they bought a “difficult” farm in northeast Jefferson County
  • In 1852 they sold the “difficult” farm to their son Joseph
  • In the 1850s they lived on land of their nephew Gilbert east of Cross Plains
  • In 1860 they lived in the household of Johnson Watts, a prominent farmer, businessman, politician
  • In 1868 they bought a 20 acre farm in Hicks Ridge
  • In 1879, in their 70s, they moved to a 40 acre farm northwest of Cross Plains

Raising a family

While Harvey was farming or laying brick, Sarah was having children, raising the family, maintaining the household, providing food and clothing, and whatever other household chores were needed.

Harvey and Sarah raised five sons. They had two other children that died in infancy.

Harvey and Sarah Jarvis and children

Later years

Harvey and Sarah lived well into their 70s. They had a 20 acre farm in Hicks Ridge, Jefferson County. Their son Milton, his wife Mary Ann, and their children lived with Harvey and Sarah. Mary Ann was committed to their care, and they rewarded her by deeding the farm to her in return for the promise of care until they died.

Jarvis’ Ripley County farm

In 1879, Harvey, Sarah, Milton, Mary Ann, and kids all moved to a 40 acre farm a few miles north in Ripley County. Milton and Mary Ann continued their care.

Harvey Jarvis died around 1881. He was age 78. Sarah Robinson Jarvis died around 1883. She was 80. Harvey’s will left their modest estate to Milton and Mary Ann.

We don’t have an exact date of Harvey’s death, but his will was written in fall 1880 and recorded in February 1882. So let’s guess he died in the fall or winter of 1881.

Harvey Jarvis’ will

Recall that Harvey and Sarah had earlier deeded their Jefferson County farm to Mary Ann Jarvis in return for life care. It seems no such deed was done for the Ripley County farm. But Mary Ann and Milton were living with Harvey and Sarah and must have been providing care.

Even if there was no statement in the land deed, Harvey’s will took care of the situation. The estate, such that it was, all went to Mary Ann and Milton.

Will – Harvey Jarvis – written Oct 1880 – recorded Feb 1882

The will gives the farm and all the personal goods to son Milton T Jarvis and his wife Mary Ann Jarvis.  The will specifies that Milton pay $1 to each of the other sons James P, Joseph R, Lafayette H, and William C. 

Don’t be hurtful

My inspiration for starting this blog of family stories came from a session at a genealogy conference. The presenter had a few cardinal rules, among them to not write hurtful or damaging things about anyone. I’ve thought about the rule from time to time as I’ve written stories. Our families aren’t saints. They weren’t perfect, just as we aren’t perfect.

Sometimes there are conflicts in families. We’ve all had them.

Why bequeath one dollar?

I searched for reasons why someone’s will would bequeath one dollar. It seems like this is often used to be explicit that someone is not to receive any other portion of an estate, especially a spouse or child.

If you don’t mention a child in the will, it could be contested as an accidental omission. If you bequeath one dollar, it’s a specific and intentional act of what you will leave them.

A word of caution: check the requirements of your state. Some states require parents to leave each child at least a token amount for the will to be valid. This can be a small amount, as little as $1.

How to Write Children Out of a Will – Christine Funk, J.D.

Usually, the goal is not to give the child $1, but just to acknowledge that the lack of a larger inheritance is intentional. A will that simply doesn’t mention a child may appear to be incomplete. A will that gives them a dollar clearly states that they should not get anything more and that it was done on purpose. 

Why would you leave $1 to an heir – Law Office of Barbara J. Dibble

I believe that Harvey and Sarah were making an explicit statement that Milton and Mary Ann were to receive all their estate. Maybe that was a legal statement to assure that nothing got challenged. Or maybe the other sons had caused trouble about Harvey and Sarah deeding their farm to Milton and Mary Ann. We’re left to make our own conclusions.

What happened to the farm?

Although we don’t have the deeds, the land transfer records indicate that the 40-acre farm was forfeited to the state, and then later transferred to Mary Connell in 1885.

So maybe Mary Ann and Milton didn’t make out so well on their extended care of Harvey and Sarah.

Where are Harvey and Sarah buried?

Unfortunately, we don’t know where Harvey and Sarah are buried.

Milton and Mary Ann are buried in Cross Plains Methodist Cemetery, Milton in an unmarked grave.

Interview with James Copeland – papers of Violet Toph

Is it possible that Harvey and Sarah are buried in the same cemetery and their markers are gone? Since Milton and Mary Ann were responsible for the burial for Harvey and Sarah, it seems that they might be buried in the same cemetery.

Many other Jarvises are buried in Benham or in Cross Plains, where the nearest church cemeteries are.

Nibbles Extra Credit

Cross Plains churches and cemeteries

Maybe a future researcher will find where Harvey and Sarah are buried. Since we can’t find them, let’s look at some other Jarvis burials in Cross Plains cemeteries.

Cross Plains Methodist Church

The Cross Plains Methodist Church was founded in 1832. The original church was a log structure just northwest of the present building. The present brick building was built in the fall of 1875 and winter of 1876. Jarvises worked on the brick masonry. The cost was $2,100.

In the fall of 1876 the village of Cross Plains held a festival for the purpose of raising funds to get a bell for the church. Receipts for the evening, $126.60. Rev. J.B. Brewer went to Cincinnati and procured a bell, cost $87.00.

Records of the early days of the church include the following financial statistics: In 1875, the church insurance for 3 years was $20. The assessment for the pastor in 1884 was $77.

Ripley County History – 1818-1988
Cross Plains Methodist Church – Cross Plains, Indiana

There are lots of Jarvises in the cemetery. It’s remarkable that all these Jarvises (except spouses) are descended from William and Margaret Jarvis of Pendleton County, Kentucky.

Most Jarvises here descend from Harvey’s eldest brother James W. and Mariah Elder Jarvis and Harvey’s youngest son Milton T. and Mary Ann (Hankins) Jarvis.

Cross Plains Methodist Cemetery – the “Jarvis section”

Cross Plains Baptist Church

The Cross Plains Baptist Church was founded in 1843. The church building was built in 1844 and is still in use today. The church is one half mile east of town.

In the Dec. 1855 meeting the treasurer reported having spent the following for church related items: candles $1.00, wine of Lord’s Supper $1.10, and for church minutes pen and ink $1.00. The church voted to pay its pastor $60.00 per year or $5.00 per service.

Ripley County History – 1818-1988
Cross Plains Baptist Church – Cross Plains, Indiana

There are lots of Jarvises in the cemetery. It’s remarkable that all these Jarvises (except spouses) are descended from William and Margaret Jarvis of Pendleton County, Kentucky.


  • Image – family trees – Ancestry.com
  • Map Composites – Google Maps 2020, 1822 Geographical, Historical, And Statistical Atlas Map Of Indiana – 1836 A New Atlas Map Of Indiana with its Roads & Distances – 1856 Atlas Map of Indiana – David Rumsey Historical Map Collection – https://www.mapofus.org/indiana/
  • Image of brick mason – (c. 1850s-60s) Brick Mason – Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/pin/316026098825515711/
  • Image – farmer – ca. 1857, [tintype portrait of a farmer with his sickle], handwritten on the sickle’s blade: “Samuel Renshaw, Sicklegrinder Ridgeway, August 1857” – https://br.pinterest.com/pin/261138478367159176/
  • Image Composite – Four married couples – attributed earlier in Marriage and Neighbors post https://wordpress.com/post/familynibbles.com/10055
  • Image – pioneer family and log cabin – The Hoosier’s Nest – Marcus Mote – 1830s – Collections of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites – Indiana State Museum
  • Image – pioneer funeral – Pioneer families gather at the hillside community cemetery in this artist’s rendering of a funeral in the Texas Hill Country circa 1870 – Painting by Charles Shaw – Now the Day is Over : Cemetery in the Hills – The Haas House – https://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/haas/cemetery.html
  • Quotation – Milton Jarvis buried at Cross Plains – Interview with James Copeland – papers of Violet Toph – Ripley County Historical Society – Versailles, Indiana
  • Will – Harvey Jarvis – 1882 – Ripley County Recorder – Versailles, Indiana
  • Quotation on a will bequeathing one dollar – How to Write Children Out of a Will – Christine Funk, J.D. – LegalZoom.com – https://info.legalzoom.com/article/how-write-children-out-will
  • Quotation on a will bequeathing one dollar – Why would you leave $1 to an heir – Law Office of Barbara J. Dibble – https://www.bdibblelaw.com/blog/2020/02/why-would-you-leave-1-to-an-heir/
  • Photos – Cross Plains churches, cemeteries, and farm – Mark Jarvis – January 2015
  • Quotations about Cross Plains churches – Ripley County History – 1818-1988 – Ripley County, Indiana – Compiled by the Ripley County History Book Committee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s