Friday, December 26, 2008

Tanner 31: Ann Prior Jarvis

Ann Prior Jarvis
b. 29 December 1829 Stepney, London, England
m. 17 September 1846 Harlow, Essex, England
d. 10 January 1913 St. George, Washington, Utah
b. 12 January 1913 St. George, Washington, Utah
Husband: George Jarvis
Father: William Prior, Jr.; Mother: Catherine McEwan




A poem written by Clarence Jarvis and copied by Ann Prior Jarvis and sent to Margaret Jarvis Overson on the date shown on the poem.


Ann Prior Jarvis, youngest child of Catherine McEwan and William Prior, Jr., was born in Stepney, Middlesex, London, England, December 29th 1829.

Her father was a very well-to-do contractor, but when she was a young child, he had the misfortune of losing his business, home and all savings through a fire, leaving him broke and very much discouraged. He managed to obtain a hundred year lease on a small home in a poorer district of London, where Ann grew to womanhood, and where she stayed with her mother, often when her children were born or her husband off on voyages.

Her father, William Prior Jr., never really seemed to rally after his loss, but became ill, and gradually grew worse until his death, when Ann was about seven years old.

Her mother was a splendid strong character, and did all she could to raise her children well, and educate them properly, but Ann could see that her mother had to work very hard, and she would ask her mother to let her go to work instead of to school, so she might earn a little to help her mother. She went to school until she was about eleven years old, when she got work helping make shirts, thereby saving her tuition and earning about fifty cents a week. She did this for some time before her mother found it out. She saved her money and gave it to her mother. Later she was apprenticed to a dressmaker, and learned to do very fine stitching, and make her own clothes, which was useful to her all her life. She says she might have been better educated if she had stayed in school, but she was always glad she helped her mother.


At school they read the Testament, and she always wished she had lived when Christ was on the earth. She was a deeply religious nature, and the memory of that reading never left her.

When Ann was about fifteen years old she was invited to a party by her friend, Phyllis Robinson, in honor of her brother, who was just home from a sea voyage. During the party the young sailor paid no special attention to our Ann, being busy entertaining guests with stories of the countries and peoples he had visited. When she returned home her mother asked her about the party, and what she did. She answered, “I saw my future husband.” Her mother said “Silly child! I’ve never heard you speak so foolishly before.” All through life, Ann was to have “Impressions” forecasting events in her life. The young man, George Jarvis, soon went on another voyage, and was sick, lost an eye, and was in a hospital for months, and was finally sent back to London as an out-door patient, but not very long after he returned, they were married, September 17th, 1846, three months before she was seventeen. She had other beaux who tried to get her to promise them, but she knew George was the one for her.

The next great event in their lives was when elders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke on the street of the town where they lived, and George listened spellbound to all they had to say. After the meeting he went home to tell his wife what he had heard, and she listened intently, and then said, “George, it’s true!” In that was also the hand of the Lord, and showed how her impressions were right, for not one of her other suitors were known to accept the “Mormon” religion, in which they both rejoiced all their days, notwithstanding the many hardships they had to endure because of accepting it. After she had walked across the plains to Salt Lake City, and seen the prophet of the Lord, Brigham Young, she said she felt she could gladly endure much more for that privilege.

Sister Jarvis loved to sing and knew all the old English songs of her girlhood days, and loved to teach them to her children. On stormy days or cold evenings, or when she was homesick or lonely for her mother and dear ones in England, she would gather her children about her and sing to them for hours, teaching them the dear old songs, and instilling in them a love for each other and strengthening the home ties. Through the years, the home was a gathering place for the town young folks, especially those young men who were away from home working on the temple. They enjoyed the singing, and also the stories of the sea and foreign countries that brother Jarvis would tell.

She bore and reared a large family, and taught them to be industrious, self-reliant, cheerful under trying circumstances, loyal to each other, their Church and its authority, truthful, trustworthy, honest, kindly and friendly to all, loving beauty, learning and refinement, and above all, having faith in the Lord and trusting in Him for His blessings. Her faith was unbounded, and she never failed to pray and call the elders in times of sickness. She related many instances of healing in her family life. She seemed to be able to detect any wrong in her children, and they knew they could not deceive her. She died January 10th, 1913, four days after the death of her companion, after more than 66 years together.


Overson, Margaret Jarvis. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957, i:41–46.

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