JARVIS, GEORGE STEPHEN BENJAMIN, soldier, judge, and politician; b. at Fredericton, N.B., 21 April 1797, son of Amelia Glover and Stephen Jarvis, loyalist, of Danbury, Conn., who came to New Brunswick after the American Revolution and who in 1809 moved to York (Toronto), Upper Canada; d. at Cornwall, Ont., 15 April 1878.
George Stephen Jarvis attended schools at Fredericton and York but his education ended in 1812 when, at the age of 15, he enlisted as a “gentleman volunteer” in the 49th Regiment. He was commissioned an ensign in the 8th Regiment in 1813. His service during the War of 1812 was distinguished; he was present at most of the major engagements, including Queenston Heights (when he was mentioned in general orders), and Lundy’s Lane, where he commanded a company at the age of 17.
After the war Jarvis remained in the regular forces as a lieutenant of the 104th Regiment (formerly the New Brunswick Fencible Infantry), but he returned to civilian life when the regiment was disbanded in 1817. He then studied law in the office of Jonas Jones* of Brockville, was admitted an attorney in 1820, and was called to the Upper Canada bar in 1823. Two years later, at age 28, he was appointed judge of the Ottawa District (Prescott, Russell, and part of Carleton counties), and for the rest of his life he held a series of appointments as a judge. He became judge of the Johnstown District (Leeds and Grenville) in 1837 and of the Eastern District in 1842; after the abolition of the districts in 1849 he continued as judge of the united counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry until his death. He was also appointed judge of the Surrogate Court of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry in 1858.
At various times he held a number of other public offices. He was collector of customs at Cornwall, 1836–41, and was twice, in 1835–36 and 1840, president of the board of police of Cornwall In the general election of 1836 he was elected as a Conservative to the House of Assembly of Upper Canada for Cornwall. Town (there not being any constitutional barriers preventing a judge from sitting in the assembly), but did not stand for re-election in 1841. During the period of the rebellions of 1837–38 he commanded a body of cavalry troops attached to the 1st Regiment of Stormont militia, as captain (1838) and major (1839). In 1850 he succeeded to the command of the regiment as lieutenant-colonel but he resigned in the same year, retaining his rank.
Jarvis married first Julia, daughter of Adiel Sherwood, sheriff of the Johnstown District, and second, Anna Maria Mountain, daughter of the Reverend Salter Jehoshaphat Mountain*, Church of England rector in Cornwall. There were ten children of the first marriage, and three of the second.
PAC, RG 9, I, B5, 6; C4, 5; C6, 7; RG 68, 1. James Croil, Dundas; or, a sketch of Canadian history, and more particularly of the county of Dundas, one of the earliest settled counties in Upper Canada (Montreal, 1861). G.B., WO, A list of the officers of the Army and of the Corps of Royal Marines, 1815–17. Armstrong, Handbook of Upper Canadian chronology. Chadwick, Ontarian families, I, 126–33. Dom. ann. reg., 1878. L. H. Irving, Officers of the British forces in Canada during the war of 1812–15 (Welland, Ont., 1908).