I was in Willard, Missouri today, due to incredible luck and a touch of planning, where I attended a large family reunion for descendants of George and Ann Prior Jarvis. They were a fascinating couple of integrity and faith that joined the LDS Church in England in 1848 and sacrificed all for the Kingdom of God. Of their many children, I am descended from Victoria Josephine, a sharp school teacher who taught the internationally famous chemist, Henry Eyring, for a while in his boyhood (so he told me when I visited him briefly at the University of Utah right after my mission in 1981, just a few months before he passed away). George, a sailor in the Queen’s navy, ended up taking his family to Utah and accepted an assignment to help build up St. George, Utah. Even in the desert of southern Utah, he found his sailor skills helpful, for his knowledge of ropes, rigging, scaffolds and pulleys played a role in local construction of both the St. George Tabernacle and the St. George Temple. There’s a whole website for their descendants: George-and-Ann-Prior-Jarvis.org. It includes photos, so perhaps you can guess where I get my good looks? Anyway, if you share some Jarvis heritage, let me know! There are a lot of you in Missouri – several hundred, apparently – since some of the cowboys and ranchers in the line, mostly descended from Margaret Jarvis, later found Missouri to be heaven compared to southern Utah or Arizona. Well, it sure seemed like heaven today. I enjoyed the beautiful country and a couple hundred wonderful people at the gathering. (Air conditioning helped – thank goodness it’s still legal and that electricity is still affordable, but that’s another story.)
Here are a couple of quotes that were displayed on the walls of the Community Center in Willard where the event was held:
If we can live so we have the whisperings of the good spirit all of the time, I know that every trial and affliction will tend to purify us. – Ann Prior Jarvis
Riches take unto themselves wings and fly away. – George Jarvis
What’s amazing is that George said this years before the Federal Reserve Banking System was even formed and over a century before Congress would give wings to hundreds of billions of dollars in TARP funds. Prophetic!
George and Ann are the subjects of the carefully researched historical novel, The Essence of Faith by Mary Miles Kleinman, a fellow descendant of Victoria Josephine. An excellent read! Picked up two more hardbound copies today as gifts.
The stories that George and Ann experienced, recorded, and shared with posterity are ones that are good for me to remember when times get tough and cloudy. They experienced sweet but often small miracles of many kinds that testify to the reality and goodness of the Lord and the power of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their faithfulness in the Gospel, in spite of trials and afflictions galore, are what brought the Gospel into my family line and gave me the tremendous blessing of having the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I owe them a great deal, and am proud to be descended from such people of faith who loved Jesus Christ and diligently sought to serve Him, even when it meant leaving all the comfort they knew in England.