The Jarvis family of Chatham

  ? = ?


Joseph Jarvis = Ann Bennett

      |         other children

Samuel Hugh Jarvis = Angela Elizabeth Tunbridge

      |         other children

Louisa Jarvis = Reuben Beck

      |         other children

Reuben Alexander Beck = Ruth Elizabeth Baggs



Louisa Jarvis was born on the 7th August 1855, at 236 High Street, Chatham, Kent, and was baptised at St Mary's, Chatham, on the 2nd September. She appears in the 1861 census at Chatham Hill, Chatham, living with her mother and her five siblings.1

In later life she recollected that, when she was a child, the household used to receive frequent visits by a carriage and pair, with a crest on the doors. The explanation for this is now obscure.2

In 1871 she was living with her parents at Stevens Cottages, Chatham Hill, Chatham. She often used to tell her granddaughter (Dorothy) how, her father being a dairyman, she used to wear a milkmaid's yoke and deliver milk across the stepping stones at Luton Arches, and along the Brook, etc.3

On the 16th September 1876 she married [A3] Reuben Beck, in St Paul's church, Chatham, after banns. At that time she was living at 17 Regents Place, Chatham. The couple's first child was born at Regents Place in December 1876. Their children were: Charles Ernest (1876–1878), Angela Louisa (1878–1962), Eleanor Matilda (1880–1954), Maud Emily (1881–1945), [A2] Reuben Alexander (1887–1956), Ethel Alice (1889–1947), Edgar Percival (1890–1917), Dorothy Catherine (1891–1939), Hilda May (1894–1978), and Elsie Florence (1896–1987). In 1878 the family lived at 5 Mount, New Road, Chatham (their son Edgar Percival died at 5 Upper Mount in May); and in 1880 they lived at 3 Whittaker Place, New Road, Chatham.4

In 1881 Louisa was a tailoress, of 78 Regents Place, Chatham. She was recorded as the head of a household including her two eldest daughters, both born in Chatham, and her sister Maud. In July of the same year the family was living in Regents Place, New Road, Chatham. In 1887 she was living at the Marine Barracks in Chatham. A year or two later the family moved down to Walmer, Kent, where from 1889 to 1890 they lived in A. House, N. Barracks. The 1891 census recorded the family at 4 Chatham Place, Walmer. Later that year they were resident at No 2 Cambell Road, Walmer.5

Louisa (Jarvis) Beck

In 1894 the family were living at 24 Clover St, Chatham. Apparently it was in this year they removed to 88 New Road, Chatham, where they are to be found two years later. For many years after the 1890s Louisa's primary concern was the care of her daughter Dorothy, who was crippled with arthritis, and more or less a permanent invalid. The 1901 census finds her living with her husband and eight children at 59 Salisbury Road, Chatham.6

In 1911 she was a housewife, worker; living with her family in seven rooms at 2 Thorold Road, Luton, Chatham.7

The 1921 census found her at 21 Malvern Road, Gillingham, engaged and home duties and living with her husband, their daughter Dorothy, and granddaughter Dorothy, in five rooms. In the 1920s her grandson Sidney used to visit her regularly, at her home there, to collect the jars of beef dripping she prepared for his father. She took great delight in kitting Sidney out with new hat, blazer, trousers, etc., when he went to the grammar school.8

By 1926 she had moved to 68 Watling Street, to live with her daughter Angela.9


Louisa (Jarvis) Beck, 1928

Louisa Beck, 1928

She was shorter and stockier than Reuben; a very kind lady, very interested in her children's families; she liked to entertain her grandchildren, and make a fuss at Christmas.10

She died on the 25th February 1929, at 68 Watling Street, of acute bronchitis and myocardial degeneration. She was buried at Chatham cemetery the following Saturday (the 2nd March), in Section W Grave No. 35 (C), a 10 ft second interment.11

Louisa Jarvis was the sixth child, and fourth daughter, of [C2] Samuel Hugh and [D1] Angelina Jarvis.12


1 birth certificate; "England Births and Christenings, 1538–1975," database, FamilySearch: 30 December 2014, Louisa Jarvis, citing St Mary, Chatham, Kent, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, FHL microfilm 1,473,649; census index at Medway Local Studies Centre

2 letter to me from Dorothy Carr

3 census returns; Letter to me from Dorothy Carr

4 marriage certificate; daughters' birth certificates; son's death certificate; information from family Bible; information from Sidney Beck; parish register

5 census returns; children's birth certificates; information from family Bible (although in this instance this conflicts with their daughter's birth certificate, which shows them resident at 4 Chatham Place, Walmer, but with Louisa living in the Marine Barracks, Chatham, by the time she registered the birth, in October)

6 interview with Sidney Beck, conducted by Benjamin Beck & Debbie Wells; transcript by BSB; information from family Bible; children's birth certificates; TNA: RG 13/728

7 RG14PN3917 RG78PN149 RD47 SD1 ED33 SN203

8 RG 15/4096 RD47 SD2 ED26; interview with Sidney Beck, conducted by Benjamin Beck & Debbie Wells; information from Sidney Beck; letters to me from Sidney & Ruth Beck

9 Kelly's Directory 1927; Interview with Sidney Beck, conducted by Benjamin Beck & Debbie Wells

10 interview with Sidney Beck, conducted by Benjamin Beck & Debbie Wells

11 death certificate; letter and enclosures to Sidney Beck, from his uncle Harry Harding; Kent burials

12 birth certificate


Samuel Hugh Jarvis was born in Chatham around 1813 and baptised on the 15th April 1814, at St Mary's church, Chatham.1

In his youth he became a mariner; of Chatham, he saw service in January 1838 as a merchant seaman aboard the Dido. He married, first, Eleanor Brown (spinster, of Park Lane, Liverpool, d. of Thomas Brown), at Liverpool parish church, on the 7th January 1838, by licence; a mariner, he was then living at Mersey Street, Liverpool; he signed, she marked her name.2

By January 1839 he was in the Royal Navy, serving as an ordinary seaman on the San Josef, from 9 January 1839 to 2 September 1840 and on the Rodney from 3 September 1840 to 31 December 1841. From New Year's Day 1842 to 27 March 1843 he was an able seaman on the Rodney, and from 29 May 1843 to 12 August 1844 able seaman on the San Josef again, completing a total service of 5 years 5 months 27 days in the Royal Navy.3

In January 1843 he was present at his father's death; he stated that he was resident in Whittaker Street, Chatham; he continued to live there till at least 1846.4

His first marriage didn't last long, for he is described as a widower at his marriage to [D1] Angeler Elizabeth Tunbridge on the 4th July 1843, in Frindsbury, Kent; at this time he was still a mariner. Their children, all born in Chatham, were: William Hugh (1844–1914), Angelina Susanna (1846–1935), Samuel George (1848–1898), Alice Matilda (1851–1853), Helen (1853–1928), [C1] Louisa (1855–1929), Charles Wallace (1858–1936), and Henrietta Maud (1867–1942).5

According to a tradition in one line of the Jarvis family, while in the Navy an anchor had fallen on him which caused some disfigurement, leaving him to be invalided out of the navy with no pension; thanks to his support for the local Conservative MP he was subsequently granted a pension. Afterwards he kept some cows (reportedly five) and supplied milk to the local barracks. "When there was an influx of servicemen into the towns it was sometimes a job to obtain enough milk for their requirements, so he used to drive his horse and cart around the countryside trying to buy milk [ . . . ] I am told that when he was unsuccessful in getting the required quantity of milk G[reat] G[randfather] would make up the amount with water and would then slip a tip to the sergeant on duty".6

signature of Samuel Hugh JarvisFrom 1844 to 1848 he worked as a cow keeper (in 1844 also described as a grazier). By 1848 he had moved to High Street Chatham; in this year he and his wife had their portraits painted. In 1851 he is described as a dairyman, in Magpie Hall Lane, Chatham; all his children had been born in Chatham; the household included one house servant, aged 12.7

oil portrait of Samuel Hugh Jarvis

For a time in the 1850s he tried alternative employments: in 1853 he was described as a farmer, and also as a gardener, but by 1855 he was working as a pork butcher—he was described as such, living at 236 High Street, Chatham, in 1855 and 1858, the 1855 reference indeed giving him as a "pork butcher master".8

On the 4th October 1854 he was prosecuted at the County Petty Sessions:


Samuel Hugh Jarvis was charged with cruelty to a horse. Mr Stephenson appeared for the defendant.

David Watson, an officer of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 12, Pall Mall, said—On Wednesday last, about noon, I saw the defendant driving a pony and cart along High-street, Chatham. As the pony appeared to be in a poor miserable condition, and hardly able to get out of a walk, I followed it as far as Chatham-hill, on ascending which defendant commenced beating it with a stick he had in his hand. I then stopped him and asked him if there was anything the matter with the horse's back? Defendant said he did not think there was. I then took off the saddle and having removed a sack from under it I found a wound three inches in length by two in width, and the sack quite wet with the discharge. On looking further I found another wound three inches by two and a half in width on the off side of the ribs, from which discharge was oozing. There was also a wound six inches long near the rump, and one of the fetlocks was wounded, caused by the shoe. In my opinion the horse was totally unfit to go out, and I told the defendant he ought to be ashamed of himself for working such a horse. He said he bought it of a gipsy and it was then in a worse condition than it was now. He hoped I should not summon him. I told him I must report it to my superintendent, and he would direct a prosecution.

By Mr. Stephenson—I came over from Gravesend that day to see if there was anything doing. I am appointed by the society, but I do not know whether it is an incorporated society. I was sworn in by a metropolitan magistrate. I put my report in writing before the superintendent, according to the method of proceeding. I have not a copy of that report here.

Mr. Stephenson said as that was the case he must object in this witness's evidence being received, as it appeared the witness had reduced it to writing, and was therefore bound to produce it.

Mr. Furrell said he never remembered such to have been the case at that court.

The magistrates also were of opinion that there was no necessity for the officer's report to be produced, and consequently overruled the objection urged by Mr. Stephenson.

Cross-examination by Mr. Stephenson continued—The stick defendant was beating the pony with was a thin one, about the thickness of your finger. When I charged him with torturing the horse, I meant that it was torturing it to work it in that state. That was the first day I was at Chatham.

By Mr. Nichols.—The defendant's cart was empty.

The officer was about calling another witness in support of the charge, but Mr. Stephenson said there was no necessity for it, as he would at once admit that the horse was in a bad condition.

Mr. Stephenson, addressing the bench for the defendant, said his client had the misfortune to be a poor man, and if he had been in better circumstances would have been able to drive better cattle. As it was, he had lately sustained some very heavy losses by losing several of his horses, and under these circumstances he was compelled to used this pony to supply the milk for which he had taken a contract. A short time since he purchased this horse of a gipsy for a small sum. It was then in a dreadful condition, but since his client had owned it it had improved wonderfully, and he had witnesses who would prove this statement. He trusted the magistrates would pause before they convicted the defendant of having "tortured" the horse, but if they considered the evidence on that point to be conclusive, he hoped they would inflict a very small penalty under the circumstances. He then called Constables Clift and Howes, the former of whom stated that he had known defendant some years, and spoke to his general kind treatment of his horses. The latter, however, caused some merriment by informing the magistrates that only on the day the summons was taken out against defendant, he had intended speaking to him about the wretched appearance of his pony, and to advise him to "black over" the sores to make them "look better."

Watson, the society's officer, asked to be allowed to inform the bench that no part of the fine went to the informer.

The magistrates then fined the defendant 10s. and costs, which he paid.9

In 1861 his wife was working as a milk woman, resident in Chatham Hill, Chatham, but Samuel was not listed there. Almost certainly he was the "S.J.", dairyman and pork butcher, who appears as a county court debtor, and an inmate of the Maidstone County Gaol.10 By 1867 Samuel was a general dealer, of Chatham Hill. The following year he is described as a milkman. By October 1869 he was again described as a dairyman, and at the time of their daughter Angelina's marriage, in July 1870, a cowkeeper. From January 1870 he was in receipt of an out pension of £18 4s. a year for life, from Greenwich Hospital; described at that date as of Chatham Hill, 5ft 5in, with brown hair and grey eyes; his rating was given as "Boy 1st cl:", despite his stated age of 58—presumably his rank at enlistment. By 1871 he was once again a dairyman, now of Stevens Cottages, Chatham Hill, Chatham; five children still lived at home, including one son accompanied by his wife. He was still a dairyman in 1876, and at the time of the 1881 census, when he was living at 84 Regents Place, Chatham, with his wife and one son, his father-in-law, his father-in-law's children, and a lodger. At the marriages of two of his children, in 1879 and 1881, he was described as a cow keeper and a "dariman" respectively.11

At some date he seems to have had a small farm in the Luton area of Chatham, and is thought to have been quite well off for the times. However, he was a heavy drinker and gradually ran through his capital: his son was to say "He drank his cows one by one".12

By 1890 he had moved to 78 New Road, Chatham. He was living there at the time of the 1891 census, described as a dairyman, neither employer nor employed, living with his wife, his daughter Maud, his wife's half-siblings, and a boarder. It was there that he died, on the 25th May 1891, of chronic bronchitis and senile decay. He was described as a Navy pensioner and a dairyman (master). He was buried on the 31st May, in Chatham Old Cemetery, in a purchased 12 ft grave at Section F Grave No. 161 (C).13

Samuel Hugh Jarvis was the son of [C3] Joseph and [C4] Ann Jarvis.14


1 letter from Freda Lord to Sidney Beck; parish register; 1881 & 1891 census returns. 1861 & 1871 census returns (1861: TNA: RG 9/503 f143 p5) would put his year of birth as 1815–6—clearly impossible.

2 merchant seamen; death certificate; marriage certificate; parish register; Liverpool Bishop's Transcripts

3 email from Michael Jarvis 2006-12-31, citing naval pensions records at TNA

4 father's death certificate; sons' birth certificates

5 marriage certificate, parish register; my own knowledge or hypothesis; information from Sidney Beck; census returns; Louisa's and Charles's birth certificates; letter from Freda Lord to Sidney Beck; GRO index; National Probate Calendar; Linda Rooke gedcoms, 2008 & 2009. The registration of the death of Eleanor Jarvis has not been found.

6 Grace Jarvis, 'The Jarvis Family'

7 parish register entry for son's baptism; sons' birth certificates; census returns; his wife's portrait is dated.

8 children's birth certificates; daughter's death certificate; Melville & Co.'s Directory of Kent, 1858; parish register

9 South Eastern Gazette, 1854-10-10

10 RG 9/503 f143 p5. Ancestry's online index to the 1861 census lists no possible Samuel (H.) Jarvis in England & Wales. This entry, in addition to being the only source that links the two occupations of dairyman and pork butcher, shows "S.J." as born in Chatham 1815–16.

11 census returns (1881: RG 11/894 f83 p5); census index at Medway Local Studies Centre; children's birth and marriage certificates; register of Greenwich Hospital out-pensions, TNA: WO23/24

12 letter to me from Dorothy Carr; Grace Jarvis, 'The Jarvis Family'

13 Kelly's Directory; death certificate; RG 12/663 f131r; also described as a Master dairyman on his widow's death certificate; letter from Freda Lord to Sidney Beck, 1971-01-14; Kent burials

14 parish register


Joseph Jarvis was born about 1780–1, outside Kent.1

He married [C4] Ann Bennett on the 23rd January 1804, at St Peter's, Thanet, Kent. Their children were: Charlotte Eleanor (1807–1858), William Bennett (1810–1855), Mary Eleanor (1811–1828),  [C2] Samuel Hugh (1814–1891), Elizabeth (1818–1920), and Joseph (1825–1843); all but William were born in Kent and/or baptised in Chatham.2

During the years 1814 to 1838 his occupation is always given as labourer. But by December 1838 he was described as a framework knitter, and the 1841 census shows him as a knitter, of Yew Tree Cottages, Chatham; his household then consisted of himself and Ann, two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.3

On the 3rd January 1843, a weaver, he died of consumption, in Whittaker Street, Chatham. He was buried in Chatham on the 15th.4


1 TNA: HO 107/487/5 f7 p6; death certificate; parish register; baptism not found in 20 parishes in Chatham area; Ancestry includes possible baptisms in 1781 in Farnborough and Leicester; given Joseph's occupation, the latter possibility is intriguing. There is also a surviving letter from Ernest Edward Jarvis, describing his grandfather Samuel Hugh Jarvis as "a dairy farmer of Leicester stock" [letter from Ernest Edward Jarvis to Charles Joseph Jarvis, 1965, in the possession of Corrinne Noot]. The 1781 Leicester baptism was of Joseph, son of Wm and Mary Jarvis, b. 19 September 1781 and baptised 23 September, at St Margaret, Leicester (parish register). On the link to Leicester, see also my note on Joseph's daughter Mary Eleanor Jarvis.

2 HO 107/487/5 f7 p6; International Genealogical Index; British Isles Vital Record Index; parish register; Nottinghamshire marriage index; GRO index; marriage not found in 21 parishes in Chatham area; the strong circumstantial evidence that this is a correct identification is that his son used the name 'William Bennett Jarvis' at his marriage in 1838.

3 parish register; sons' marriage certificates; HO 107/487/5 f7 p6

4 son's 2nd marriage certificate; death certificate; parish register; his widow's death certificate in 1851 still gave his occupation as labourer.

Suggestions for further research

[C3] Joseph Jarvis has long been a sticking point for researchers on this family. There is as yet no certainty at all about his date of birth/baptism and his parentage, though on balance it seems likely he was born in or near Leicester. No-one has yet commented on my speculation in the note referred to above, that seems to provide confirmation of the Leicester connection; if it's no more than coincidence, it's a pretty remarkable coincidence. I would welcome the views of other Jarvis family members on this point.

It seems likely that Joseph was the individual baptised at St Margaret, Leicester, in 1781, son of Wm and Mary Jarvis. At the moment, however, this can't be regarded as certain.

One possibility that intrigues me arises from Joseph's description as a framework knitter. Leicester was closely connected to framework-knitting (the knitting of stockings at home on a portable circular knitting machine), and the framework-knitters themselves were implicated in some of the machine-breaking by the Luddites. Given how serious an offence this was at the time (six Luddites were hanged in Leicester in 1817), could Joseph have had some involvement in this activity, which may have led him to move a long distance away, to escape detection or possible prosecution? This may never be provable either way, but it's surely food for thought.


Previous page | Next page | Family history home page | Website home page


This page was last revised on 2024-03-10.


© 2000–2024 Benjamin S. Beck

Web Analytics Made Easy - Statcounter