Zadock Jarvis of Rowan County, North Carolina

Zadock Jarvis is one of the more mysterious of my husband’s ancestors, as there is little definitive information about his life.

First, it is said that he came from Montgomery County, Maryland and settled in Rowan County, North Carolina. Zadock Jarvis is not a common name in any time period. Given that there is a Zadock Jarvis on the list of men who took the Oath of Fidelity on 2 March 1778 in Montgomery County, Maryland, I am inclined to believe that this is my husband’s Zadock Jarvis.

Revolutionary War Records of Maryland
Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh
Source: FamilySearch

It is said that Elisha Jarvis was his brother and I imagine that statement came from finding Elisha’s name just five names past that of Zadock on the same Oath of Fidelity list.

Zadock is said to be the son of James Jarvis and Sarah (Pelly or Kelly) and to have had a second brother named James.

The 1790 census of Montgomery County, Maryland has but two Jarvises – Elinor and Jarrott. The Rowan County, North Carolina census has three Jarvises – Elisha, Zadock and James.

The Oath of Fidelity list in addition to the 1790 census showing Zadock Jarvis plus an Elisha Jarvis (not the most common name around, either) leads me to believe that they were probably brothers.

However, since the 1790 census only indicates males over 16, it is impossible to figure out if this James is a brother or their father. I think it was more likely a brother, as there was no James Jarvis on the Oath of Fidelity list, which would mean this James was a younger sibling and not yet 21 in 1778.

If Elisha Jarvis was the brother of Zadock, while they migrated together to North Carolina, Elisha moved on to Anderson County, South Carolina, where he died in the 1830s.

What I find most maddening about this family is that even though Zadock Jarvis appears in the Rowan County, North Carolina censuses in 1790, 1800 and 1810, I can’t find a single land deed for anyone named Jarvis in that time period.

Nor does the name appear in any probate records. Ugh!

Although people have commented online that Zadock Jarvis left North Carolina after the 1820 census, in which he appears, the Zadock who is enumerated is much younger and more likely the son of Zadock Jarvis. One Zadock Jarvis married Lucy Owens on 13 February 1813 and is probably the man who is enumerated in Rowan County in 1820. He is aged 26-44, which fits the profile of a man who married in 1813.

It would be easy to assume that the elder Zadock Jarvis died between 1810 and 1820. The surprise is that a Zadock Jarvis was enumerated in the Union County, Indiana census in 1830 as head of a household with himself,

Zadock Jarvis, Union County, Indiana, 1830 Census

This Zadock Jarvis is aged 80-90 with a female aged 70-80 and a female 20-30 years old. Because Elisha served in the American Revolution and stated he was born in 1757 in Maryland in his pension application, it seems likely that Zadock was also born in the 1750s, say maybe c1755. That would mean he was somewhere in his later 70s in 1830, not 80-90 years old.

If James was their younger brother, he might have been born c1759 and would only have been 19 years old when the others took the Oath of Fidelity.

Another issue hampering the search for factual information about Zadock’s children is the fact that several of them died before 1850.

Nowhere have I seen any document – marriage, land, court, probate – giving the slightest clue as to the name of Zadock’s wife. (She is often named as Cynthia Valinda Frye, but THERE IS NO PROOF.)

Further, I have never seen any documentation for the names of Zadock’s children. In a way, I feel very lucky because my husband’s ancestress, Valinda Jarvis, has her marriage recorded to Abraham Douthit on 29 December 1816, placing her birth likely c1795. Given that her youngest child was a son, Zadock Douthit, born in 1831, and Zadock isn’t a name found anywhere in the Douthit family before this time, I feel quite sure that she was the daughter of Zadock.

Census records from 1790-1810 indicate children (likely Zadock’s) in those households. From that data, it appears that he had the following children. I’ve inserted a possible sequence of birth years that would fit the census pattern. Marriage dates are found in the Rowan County, North Carolina records:

1. (1778) Son, born before 1790 (Benjamin, born c1781, Maryland; married Sally Job, 26 September 1811?)
2. (1780) Son, born 1774-1784 (James who married Ruth Stalling, 12 November 1804?)
3. (1782) Daughter, born 1774-1784
4. (1784) Son, born 1784-1790 (Zadock who married Lucy Owens in 1813?) This family was in Berrien County, Michigan in 1850.
5. (1787) Daughter, born before 1790
6. (1789) Daughter, born 1784-1790 (Peggy who married Conrad Myers, 7 November 1810?)
7. (1792) Son, born 1791-1800 (Nathan who married Sally Peck, 26 September 1811? He reportedly died c1829.)
8. (1795) Daughter, born 1791-1800 (Valinda who married Abraham Douthit Jr. on 29 December 1816?) Valinda died fairly young, but the Douthits settled in Newton County, Missouri.
9. (1798) Daughter, born 1791-1800 (Nancy who married Abraham Douthit Sr. on 6 August 1818?) Abraham Douthit Sr. died in Davidson County, North Carolina in 1828.
10. (1801) Daughter, born 1801-1810

Now, here’s the $1,000,000 question – does anyone have any documented proof for either Zadock’s wife’s name or those of his children? I would love to hear from you!


3 thoughts on “Zadock Jarvis of Rowan County, North Carolina”

  1. My 4th great grandmother was Sarah Eliza Jarvis b. 1758 in Maryland who wed David Rainer in Duplin County NC in 1779. I searched 30 years for her family. My DNA results recently pulled cousin connections from four different descendants of James and Sarah Jarvis of Maryland. My DNA matched a cousin descended from Zadock, a cousin descended from Elijah and a cousin descended from James. I believe this DNA result solidifies the relationships of the brothers.

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