Tarvin Family Association

Who was William Tarvin?

By Walter E. Tarvin, Jr., (1926-2007)

Originally posted 2005.

Richard Tarvin and Elizabeth Dent of Maryland had a son named William, who was in Maryland at the time of Elizabeth's death, because Richard left William land in his will in 1742 and Elizabeth left him a cow at the time of her will in 1759. Elizabeth would probably not have left him a cow if he had not been present at the time of her will. I believe the following will prove that this William is the same William who went to Georgia, and that he is the William I referred to in the Tarvin history.

A William Tarvin applied for a land grant in St. Paul's Parish, Georgia, in 1769, receiving 250 acres, and again in 1772, receiving 350 acres. In the first petition, the number of children is blank, but the second states his family consists of "A wife, seven children and five negroes." St. Paul's Parish became Richmond County, and, in 1789, Columbia County, Georgia. These grants list William's land as being on Little Kiokee Creek, which is in present day Columbia County.

William Tarvin died in Richmond (Columbia) County, Georgia on 25 November 1785. He died intestate and his administrator was a George Tarvin. Based on land records, it appears George tried on several occasions to sell the land, and finally succeeded in 1795. We have been unable to find out to date what happened to the proceeds of this sale, as far as any disposition to the other children is concerned.

George had a brother named John, who gave George power of attorney in 1789 to sell John's property in Richmond (Columbia) County, which was adjoining the property granted to William Tarvin. The Power of Attorney says that George was John's brother. John was an Indian trader, and a "Resident of the Creek Nation," according to his passport issued by the governor of Georgia in 1 April 1789.

George Tarvin was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, with Serial No. S32003. His pension application, dated 3 December 1832 , states that "your petitioner was born in the State of Maryland in the year seventeen hundred and fifty seven. He was living in the County of Richmond when called into service where he was brought up from his boyhood." Thus, it appears that George Tarvin was born in Maryland before the will and death of Elizabeth Dent Tarvin.

Our search shifts to South Alabama and West Florida, to a period when this was Spanish territory. Note the following Mobile District Censuses:

William's wife was Mary Miller, whom he married in Burke County, Georgia, near Columbia/Richmond counties, before coming to Alabama. This is per the Family History Center IGI.

William II (Baldwin County) had a large family, which has been documented, and a grandson, Marion Elisha Tarvin, who wrote a letter to his cousin Mamie Earle in 1907. He addresses the letter to "Cousin Mamie Earle". I have part of the original, and a copy that was typed from the original by Lillian Tarvin Williams.

In the letter, Dr. Tarvin, a dentist, states "George Tarvin, the head of the Kentucky Tarvin family, was a brother of William Tarvin, my grandfather." He also stated he understood his grandfather was of English parentage. He says "Old man George settled in Mason Co, KY. In 1792 with a wife and 12 children from England", and we know from present day records that George came from Maryland, and West Virginia.

We also know from Tarvin Association records that George, Mason KY, did not have a brother named William, based on Tarvin Family Association records. So the only George available from William II's generation is the son of William Tarvin of Columbia County, Georgia. But the letter does provide good evidence that William II was related to the Tarvins of Maryland.

So the evidence points to the fact that William II was married in the vicinity of Fort Augusta, which was the last outpost at the head of the trading path to south Alabama, that John Tarvin was a trader with the Indians of south Alabama, and we know that George was John's brother. Therefore, their father, William of Columbia and Richmond counties, and William I of Maryland, are one and the same.

In addition to William II, Richard, John, and George, the children of William I include Ann Tarvin, who married John Youngblood in Columbia County, 6 September 1794. In 1795, John and Ann sold 100 acres of land on Little Kiokee Creek. The land bordered land owned by Gideon Booker, who also was the neighbor of John Tarvin on Little Kiokee Creek.

The only other Tarvins found in Columbia/Richmond County are:

On 4 April 1785, a Nancy Tarvin was granted 300 acres on her own headright, bordering on property owned by Beverly Lowe. On this same date, George Tarvin was granted 150 acres of land on headrights on Little Kiokee Creek. William Tarvin owned land adjacent to Beverly Lowe. Nancy could have been William I's wife or daughter, but she must have had a family to get this much land. Note that the grant date is eight months before William I is said to have died.

Walter Tarvin appears on Wilkes County Militia rolls from July 1793 through 11 October 1794, in Brigadier General John Clark's Command. I have the National Archives reference numbers, and will look for additional information when I visit Washington later this month. I have never seen another reference to Walter Tarvin during this period, and he could have been a Tarver.

Ulysses Tarvin paid taxes in Jefferson County, along with George Tarvin, in Bird Tarver's Militia District in 1799, pgs 59-60, and in 1803. Ulysses continued to pay taxes in Jefferson County, appearing there in the 1830 census. Ulysses married Miss Fama Jane, both of Jefferson County, 9 December 1801.

In the 1820 Census there is a Elisha Tarvin , or Tarver, on page 112. No further occurrence of Elisha's name in my search in Georgia.

In the next generation there are three Tarvins who are believed to be descendants of William I, but their father(s) have not been identified by several researchers who have worked on this problem for a number of years. They are:

After about twenty years of research, I have seen no evidence of any other Tarvins in Georgia before 1820, and would appreciate knowing about any other Tarvins that others might have found in this period. Also, I would be happy to receive any additions, corrections, or commentaries on this paper.

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