George Jarvis (1797-1828) was the first American Philhellenes to take part in the Greek Revolution. His devotion to Greece and her cause drove him to fight on the frontlines at Navarino, Kravassaras and many other locations throughout Greece.
Lieutenant General of the Hellenic Volunteer Corps, he formed a team of 45 fighters at his own expense who were paid for their service. A tireless warrior, he never shied away from taking on even the toughest missions.
Early Life and Education
Jarvis’ early life and education were shaped by both Greek culture and European values. He received a classical education, while also advocating for individual freedom.
His devotion to Greece compels him to risk his life in service of his nation. He joined other Greeks on various fronts and battlefields throughout history.
He was an incredible fighter, conquering many challenges, injuries and deprivations to become a hero to his fellow soldiers.
He was an important figure in the Greek revolution and tragically passed away in Argos in 1828. Unfortunately, his cause of death remains unknown but it is suspected that he succumbed to either tetanus or typhus.
George Jarvis was an affluent businessman and philanthropist. His interests ranged from retail and wholesale grocery businesses, banking operations, to insurance services.
He was an active supporter of numerous charitable organizations. He served as trustee for Lenox Fire Insurance Company and was one of the founders of South Brooklyn Savings Institution.
In 1843, Jarvis rose to become chief superintendent of the Indian Department. Throughout his tenure, he faced enormous pressures that even an experienced administrator might find incomprehensible.
His position had him involved in an intricate web of financial transactions that often ran counter to his legal duties. In 1844, he was ultimately forced to defend himself against the findings of the Bagot commission; however, all attempts at clearing himself were unsuccessful and he retired in disgrace.
Achievements and Honors
George Jarvis was an unwavering champion of freedom, risking his life to save Greece and her people in 1822.
He donned the uniform of a Greek fighter and taught himself Greek language proficiency; changing his name to Captain George Zervas or Zervos, the American. Thus becoming one of the earliest Americans who joined in fighting against Ottoman Empire.
In addition to his military activities, he served as Lord Byron’s adjutant in Greece until his death on April 18, 1824. He was interred at Argos, Greece on that same date.
Personal life is the term used to refer to our non-professional activities such as relationships, leisure pursuits, entertainment and family activities. It encompasses everything that does not directly pertain to our professional lives.
George Jarvis had an eclectic lifestyle, with interests ranging from fishing and horse racing to golf and gardening. He also loved traveling with his wife Christine.
Frank Nicholls Jarvis was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he passed away in 1913. Survived by his wife Christine and two sons, as well as having a grandson, Frank Nicholls Jarvis passed away on June 7, 2012 at 90 years old.
George Jarvis, born in Altona, Denmark (now western borough of Hamburg, Germany), was the son of Benjamin Jarvis – an American diplomat stationed in Europe. Inspired by enthusiasm for the Greek Revolution, George set off for Greece with Frank Abney Hastings – a Royal Navy officer – arriving on Hydra island in April 1822.
From 1822 to 1824, he served in the Greek Navy alongside Manolis Tobazis – a captain and shipowner from Hydra. A prominent figure during the 1822-1824 Greek Revolution, he played an essential role in re-fortifying Hydra and Missolonghi.
From 1827 until his passing on August 11th 1828, Jarvis, along with Samuel Gridley Howe and Jonathan Peckam Miller, served as members of the Philhellene committee of America by providing much needed medication, clothing and food to Greeks who had endured during this time.