Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tanner 7: Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson

b. 22 November 1878 St. George, Washington, Utah
m. 8 October 1896 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
d. 8 December 1968 Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona
b. 11 December 1968 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Husband: Henry Christian Overson
Father: Charles Godfrey (DeFriez) Jarvis; Mother: Margaret Jarvis

Margaret Godfrey Jarvis, eldest child of Charles Godfrey DeFriez Jarvis and Margaret Jarvis, was born 22nd of November, 1878, at St. George, Washington Co., Utah, in the home of my grandparents, George and Ann Prior Jarvis. At age one year, my parents were in Snowflake, Arizona, in answer to a call by President Brigham Young, to help in colonizing Northern Arizona. Our home there was a one-room hewn log house with shakes roof. Most of the settlers had similar places.

My grandparents came from St. George to visit us in 1882, and while there Grandpa took us to Holbrook to see the first train that crossed the continent on the Atlantic-Pacific tracks. Father was there working for the Company.

We moved to Nutrioso in February 1883, where father, uncles Sam and Heber engaged in farming, stock raising, and also started a small store. Here our first home was in the old fort, a one-room log, with dirt floor and roof, one small pane of glass set in the logs for light, and a corner fireplace for cooking and warmth. Later father built a larger log room on a lot to ourselves, with a lumber floor and dirt roof, and some grain bins in one end.

We next moved to Woodruff, where father had work in the store. Our first brother was born there in May 1885. When he was two weeks old, father, Annie and the baby all took typhoid fever. It was months before they were all well, and when father was able, he worked a few months to settle his accounts, then went back to Nutrioso. Here an epidemic of scarlet fever was raging. It seemed to be all over the valley, in serious form, and many of the young children died. We all had bad cases except the baby, and it was summer before we were all well again. Thirteen young children died in that small town that winter and spring.

Here I hunted cows in the hills, gleaned wheat in the field, helped mother in the house, sewed quilt blocks and carpet rags, and when school opened, walked three miles each way, morning and night, to school, often in the snow and bitter cold. Here father baptized me in the river near our home, on the 6th day of April, 1887, under the direction of our bishop.

Our next move was to St. Johns, Arizona, where our home was for the next sixty years. I attended district school two winters, then the St. Johns Stake Academy was opened, and I attended part of three seasons, when father took me as his assistant in the Court House, where he was County Recorder. I was taught to record the different documents that came into the office in the proper books, was taught filing, record keeping, accounting, letter writing, etc. Thus ended my school days, and association with schoolmates.

Next father bought a photo outfit and set up a studio, and I was taught photography. This work was pleasing and agreeable, and I took to it with all my heart and energy. I have made it a pleasant and profitable lifelong business and hobby.

When in my teens, mother hired a dressmaker to come to our home two or three weeks each spring and fall to make our clothes for the season. I was always allowed to stay home from the office and help do the sewing, thereby getting a fairly good insight into general sewing and dressmaking. This has been a useful thing in raising my family, and helping in the community. After our marriage I always did all our sewing, and often earned a little by helping others with theirs.

My love and understanding of the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Latter Day Saints first came when I attended our Academy, and I have worked in the Sunday School, Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association, Relief Society, and the Genealogical Society, and studied our Doctrines all through the years, and have always had joy in performing my duties wherever called to labor. Have become acquainted with many of our Church leaders, and know them to be sincere and God-fearing men and women. I love this Church, and know that is the only true Church on the earth, and that the Priesthood of God is directing it. That Jesus Christ visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him, and that this Church was organized according to those instructions, and the pattern He gave.

Since all my family are on their own, and my husband was called home, I have moved here to Mesa, and my sons have built me a home on the lot Henry got for me twenty-two years ago. I am thankful for my children and my home, and am hoping to finish this book [George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy], and if it may be a small benefit to any of my kindred, the purpose of the work will be fully realized.

Margaret Jarvis Overson. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: Privately printed, 1957.

Sometime when you're in St. Johns take a visit to the little museum there. Many of the photographs were taken by Margaret Jarvis and her father Charles.

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