The Garvis Heritage

by Vic Garvis


On cold seventh day of February 1878, near a small hamlet of Saint George, Illinois, a son was born to David and Elizabeth Garvis. They named their son George. David had a son by his first wife, Della, whom he married after returning from the civil war. Della died in 1866.

A total of ten children were born to David and Elizabeth between the years of 1874 and 1887. In the fall of the 1888, a typhoid fever epidemic struck the area. On a sorrowful December day in 1888 on the plains of Kansas, the mother of this family passed away. She left a grieving husband with ten children on a desolate farm near Hill City, Kansas. David and Elizabeth had moved to Kansas from Illinois between 1878 and 1888, the year is not known.

After the death of Elizabeth, David continues to a farm in Kansas. However, the area was besieged by drought, and the family existed on David's dwindling savings from his working in the western gold fields and his meager army disability pension. In 1890, David moved his family to a farm near Lyons, Nebraska, where the farming was more profitable. David never remarried. With strong discipline, and the help of his elder sons, he raised these children to maturity.

Except for the absence of a mother, George grew up in an environment not too untypical of the times, that is, a member of a large family. He received some 3R's and religious education at an early age. Because of early poverty, in which he was raised, he developed a sense for conservative use of money. Also, his father and still than him the personal qualities of integrity, honesty and fairness.

In February 1902, George married Georgina Mary Richer, the attractive daughter of Israel and Benzamer Richer in Kankakee, Illinois. Georgina was born in Saint Joseph, Kansas, on July 28, 1883. The Richer family moved from Kansas to Kankakee, Illinois, in 1895 by covered wagon, a journey that took approximately one month. Georgina possessed a caring and loving beauty from within that could soothe tbe occasional forceful qualities of her husband. Her kindness would serve as the guiding spirit for the children of this union for over 60 years.

Following their marriage, Georgia worked a farm implement factory in Bradley, Illinois. After three years, he grew weary of the confinement of factory work so, with his wife and two small daughters move to Lyons, Nebraska. He rented a farm near Lyons and with his meager savings bought some horses and a few items of farm machinery. With hard work, they accumulated enough money to purchase a farm near Brookings, South Dakota, in 1914.

The family prospered near Brookings, however, George never really became acclimated to the sandy potato soil of the area. Also, they were not content with the religious training available in the locality.

In 1918, they bought a farm five miles west of Parkston, South Dakota. Near Parkston, this couple prospered during the era of the 20's. Through the depression years, with the abundance of family labor, they survived without the loss of land, pride, or integrity.

In 1942 after 40 years of dedication to hard work, with their family grown, George and Georgina withdrew from the toils of farm life. They moved into a pleasant small home in Parkston, where for 20 years they lived inn peace with the world and enjoyed their well-earned retirement.

In 1963 after more than 60 years, Georgina left this union. After five serene but lonely years, Georgia joined his wife forever. Born to this union twelve children, Eva, Stella, Homer, Verl, Annabel, Willard, Mabel, Louis, Clifford, Bernard, Victor, and James. Fifty grandchildren and over 100 great-grandchildren form the next two generations, assuring the Garvis heritage will exist for an untold number of decades. To date there are over 500 members of this dynasty, a long and living tribute to Georgina and George.

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