St. Alban the Martyr

Church History

Annual UEL Service

Memorial Tiles


Book: The Loyalist Tiles of St. Alban's


Contact Info


Memorial Tiles: Samuel Peters Jarvis

JARVIS, Samuel Peters: 1792 - 1857

Samuel Peters, born November 25, 1792, was the second son of William Jarvis (Tile # 52) and Hannah Owen Peters. He bore the same name as their first-born son, who had died earlier that year. As the son of William Jarvis, the first provincial secretary and registrar of the province, Samuel enjoyed a life of relative privilege in the emerging colonial society of Upper Canada. He was educated along with many of his peers by the Reverend John Strachan at his Cornwall grammar school. He began studying law in 1810 but his studies were interrupted by the War of 1812.

When hostilities broke out, Samuel joined a company in the 3rd York Militia which assisted Major-General Isaac Brock at the capture of Detroit and then, in October 1812 at Queenston Heights. He later saw action in engagements at Stoney Creek and Lundy’s Lane.

After the war, Samuel was called to the bar in 1815 and two years later he received an administrative post in the House of Assembly, a position he held for the next twenty years.

In 1817, a long-standing feud between the Ridout and Jarvis families came to a head and a duel that ensued between John Ridout and Samuel Jarvis resulted in the death of eighteen-year-old John Ridout. After the duel, Samuel was charged with manslaughter but was subsequently acquitted. It was evidently Samuel’s ambition to succeed his father as provincial secretary and registrar but his father died during his incarceration and Samuel lost the opportunity to take over his office. He did occupy the position of deputy provincial secretary and registrar from 1827. Seconded to the position of Chief Superintendent, Department of Indian Affairs in 1837, he remained there until 1845, when he retired under a cloud of controversy. His position was then abolished.

Samuel married Mary Boyles Powell, daughter of Chief Justice William Dummer Powell in 1818. They had five sons and four daughters. In 1816 Samuel inherited the 100 acre family farm on the outskirts of York and built Hazelburn, a fine home, on the property.(1) Although, even in retirement, he continued to live the comfortable life of a well-connected man of private means, financial difficulties eventually necessitated the demolishment of the family home and subdivision and sale of the property to make room for what was to become Jarvis Street.

Samuel Jarvis died in September 1857, survived by his wife Mary and seven of his children. To this day, descendants of William and Mary continue to take active roles in the life of the City of Toronto.(2)


1. Bill Jarvis, “The Park Lot Project-Park Lot 6” (essay provided by author).

2. “Jarvis, Samuel Peters,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, Vol. VIII.