Jarvis Family: Revolutionary War Era MD & NC

My husband’s Jarvis family has been a tough family to research.


First, the earliest (reputed) ancestors, James and Sarah Jarvis, lived in Frederick County, Maryland, where no marriage record has been found for them nor are the church or vital records for their children. Second, the Jarvis clan has left no early probate records. Third, they likewise left few land records. Fourth, they don’t seem to have been a litigious family and don’t appear in court records.

That doesn’t leave much to go on, does it?

I am currently trying to find documentation proving James and Sarah Jarvis to their children and the purported son, Zadock, to his children.

Details for which there is documentary proof are highlighted in blue.

James Jarvis can be proved to have lived in Frederick County, Maryland by 1770, when he leased Quince Orchard from Henry Clagett, who left a will dated 1777. Henry mentioned that the widow Jarvis was still living on the land, so James was clearly married.

I have no idea where the detail that Sarah Kelly or Pelly (there is a Jarvis FAN club in North Carolina that includes both Kelly and Pelly families) married James Jarvis, but so it is said.

One Sarah Jarvis married James Barnes in Frederick County, Maryland on 27 May 1783.

On 6 September 1776, Montgomery and Washington Counties, Maryland were set off from Frederick County. Maryland took a census of all inhabitants in August 1776 and the enumeration contains a section of those who were in Frederick County, but were then in the portion to become Montgomery County.

The bad news is that there is no James Jarvis, Sarah Jarvis, or even Elisha or Zadock Jarvis. Not in Frederick County, nor Montgomery County nor any other county in Maryland. Where were they? Elisha and Zadock appear on the 30 August 1777 militia list of Montgomery County. I wonder if some inhabitants were missed, maybe because of the county split?

However, there may be another explanation. I’ve seen online sources confidently state that the Jarvis clan left together with extended family members on 1 October 1781, moving en masse from Montgomery County, Maryland to Rowan County, North Carolina.

That statement might or might not be true. There is an image posted online of the marriage bond for Lewis Mullikin who was due to marry Susannah T. Jarvis. The image is cropped, with citation, other than Bute County, North Carolina, but dated 9 November 1775:

North Carolina State, Bute County
Know all men of these presents that we Lewis Mullican and John Jarvis are held & bound unto Josiah Martin, Gov. of said State in the sum of five hundred pounds. Given under our hands and seals this 9th day of Nov. 1775. The condition of the above obligation is such that a marriage is shortly expected to be soleminized and had between the above bound Lewis Mullikin & Susannah T. Jarvis. Now if their be no lawful cause to obstruct the said marriage the above obligation is to be void and otherwise to remain in full force and (due?).

Susannah T. Jarvis is the reputed daughter of James and Sarah (Kelly/Pelly) Jarvis.  She would have been a teenager and I am 100% positive that she didn’t wander off to North Carolina on a joy ride with friends.

Also, Bute County is unique in North Carolina history.  It was set off from Granville County in 1764 and only existed until 1779, when it was re-divided, becoming Warren County in the northern section and Franklin County in the southern portion.

Bute County is roughly 180 miles from Rowan County, where Zadock first appears in the 1790 census.

I think the Jarvis family is missing from the Maryland 1776 census because they had already gone to check out North Carolina as a possible new home.

They may have temporarily returned to Maryland later in 1776 with the start of the American Revolution.

This situation may well explain why there is no probate record for James Jarvis, either. He had minor children in 1777 (Zadock is said to be the eldest child, born c1755), but there are no court records for an estate inventory, no guardianship records, nothing.

I think it is certainly possible that he didn’t die in Maryland, but in North Carolina or somewhere along the road as the family headed south.

It would also explain how Zadock and Elisha Jarvis appeared on the 1777 militia list in Montgomery County, Maryland.

I can understand how Elisha and Zadock were linked to James Jarvis because of location. However, I can’t find a single document proving a familial connection.

Reputed children of James Jarvis and Sarah Kelly/Pelly:

1. Zadock, born c1755, probably Frederick County, Maryland; died probably in Union County, Indiana after the 1830 census; married Unknown, who predeceased him, probably in Rowan County, North Carolina. Zadock appears on the 1777 militia list of Montgomery County, Maryland, but apparently never applied for a Revolutionary War pension. Zadock appears on the Rowan County, North CArolina census rolls in 1790, 1800 and 1810.

2. Elisha, born 14 December 1757, Montgomery County, Maryland [It would have been Frederick County at the time of his birth]; died 4 September 1837, Pickens County, South Carolina; married Drucilla Smith, 6 May 1780, Rowan County, North Carolina.

Elisha gave his date and place of birth in his pension application; he further stated that in January 1776, he enrolled as a substitute for Joseph (Alest?) and served three months in the Maryland militia under Colonel Mordock and General Smallwood. In August 1776, he was drafted back into service under Colonel Mordock and took part in the Battle of Germantown.

He moved to Rowan County, North Carolina in 1781 and lived there until 1790, when he moved to Wilkes County, Georgia and then to Clark County, Georgia, where he lived until 1827. He then moved to Pickens County, South Carolina.

The application further stated that he was illiterate, had no education and his memory was bad.

Elisha ended with the statement that he was very poor and had a wife and daughter at home who were “unable to do anything for support.”

3. Susannah T., born c1761, probably Frederick County, Maryland; reportedly died c1843 but is living with her son, Lewis S. Mullikin in Davidson County, North Carolina in 1840; married Lewis Mullikin, soon after 9 November 1775, Bute County, North Carolina, when their marriage bond was posted. Lewis likely died in early summer 1836, as inventory of his estate was entered by his son, Lewis S. “Mullican”, during the August term of court. The proceeds of the estate sale were recorded at the November 1836 term of court.

4. James, born c1762, probably Frederick County, Maryland; died before 3 October 1837, when his estate inventory was filed with the Stokes County, North Carolina court; married (1) Unknown (2) Sallie Padgett, 6 January 1795, Rowan County, North Carolina (3) Sarah Cheshire, before Oct 1831 when she is given land by her father, Jonathan Cheshire, who calls her daughter Sally Jarvis.

5. Margaret, born c1770, probably Frederick County, Maryland; married Benjamin Mullikin, c1792, probably North Carolina. Margaret died before the 1850 census; Benjamin died after 1850, probably Anderson County, South Carolina.

There is also a DNA connection to this family, noted in the comments below, through Sarah Jarvis, born c1758, who married David Rainer on 4 March 1779 in Duplin County, North Carolina.

If Susannah and Sarah are sisters and children of Zadock Jarvis, then the Jarvis family covered a fair amount of ground in North Carolina before settling in Rowan County, North Carolina.

Check out this map showing North Carolina counties in 1780. Bute County became Warren and Franklin Counties, on the eastern side of the state on the border of Virginia.

Duplin County is due south, several counties, while Rowan County is in the kind of western-central area of the state.

During the American Revolution, North Carolina had a lot of wild, unsettled areas, so to make the trip from Maryland through each of these areas was an arduous journey!




6 thoughts on “Jarvis Family: Revolutionary War Era MD & NC”

  1. The wife of Zadock Jarvis is Cynthia Valinda Burch 1757-1852. My ancestry DNA proves that I am a descendant. Their daughter, Valinda Jarvis 1799- 1839, she married Abraham Douthit and died enroute to Indiana. Her grave is unknown.

    1. My DNA proves I am also a descendant. Here is the kicker. My Jarvis is likely another daughter of James and Sarah Jarvis that no one knew about, Sarah Eliza Jarvis who wed David Rainer in Duplin Co NC in 1779. I could never find a family connection until DNA. It makes sense that the Jarvis may have scouted out NC lands prior to the move initiated by Lewis Millikin. Records dhow he organized a group that left Oct 1,1 1781. They also support that Lewis was encouraged by information he had gained from fellow soldiers. DNA points to the conclusion that David Rainer of NC married his wife’s sister so it all comes together like perfectly fitting puzzle pieces. I have been trying to track the family of my gggggrandmother for 30 years and finally DNA led me here.

  2. Linda Ive been tracking the Jarvis family that I think is our connected lineage. I beleieve we descend from Francis Jarvis who arrived in Va in 1635 at age approx 14 under the indenture of Francis Stockley. Francis Jarvis lived in Northampton Va. Francis later wed Ann (surname either Gascoigne of Gayle). Francis moved from Northampton County where he served his indenture, to Accomack County where he was eventually married to Ann. Later he ended up with land in York County. Francis had son John born 1644 who married Mary. They then had son John b, 1675 who wed Elizabeth Wilkenson. John and Elizabeth had 8 known children. One was a son named James born ca. 1712. I believe this could be James Jarvis who leased Quince Orchard. The family was in the same general area when they were in Accomack County which lies next to Maryland and Delaware. Because they were getting large chunks of land in that early period, sons would generally spread out into more outlying areas from where they were born and raised. Men also often wed more than once and often wed women much younger. Sarah may have been a second wife and James may have died of natural causes due to his age which would have been around 60 or so. Its a good solid lead to pursue.

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