Biography of the Hon. Matthew T. Garvey
Cass County, MI Biographies



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Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]

Matthew Garvey was born in North Ireland, near the borders of Scotland, emigrated to Virginia about 1762, and settled in Rockbridge County, near Lexington. where his son, also named Matthew, was born in 1787. The brothers engaged in the business of manufacturing hats and dealing in furs, in which they continued until the last year of the war of 1812, when they enlisted and served with honor until its close.

Soon after the close of the war, Matthew married Miss ,Jane Caven, daughter of George Caven, a native of Scotland, who had emigrated to this country. Soon after his marriage, he emigrated to Ohio, with his family, accompanied by his brother John, his father-in-law and several relatives. Matthew Gartey located in the village of Monroe, Clark County, where Matthew P. Garvey, the subject of this memoir, was born May 13, 1821. For services rendered in the war of 1812, John Garvey received a pension from the Government until his death, which occurred a few years since in Piqua, Ohio, where he had lived since 1815. Two sons survive himó Samuel B., who resides in Piqua, Ohio; and William M., of the United States Land Office, in Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory. As neither they or Matthew T. have any sons, the name of Garvey becomes extinct with this generation.

Matthew Garvey, not liking his location, changed his residence to Miami County, and in about six years located permanently in Sidney, Shelby County, where he resumed his old business (the manufacture of hats), which was continued up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1337. Although entitled to a pension, he never applied for one. His wife, Jane, deceased in 1833. Matthew T. Garvey, having received a common school education, engaged for a time as schoolteacher and in working at his trade, that of a cabinet-maker. Having learned of the attractions for enterprising young men at Etkhart, Ind., he, in 1844, started for that place with his wardrobe tied up in a red bandana handkerchief. A portion of the distance was performed on foot, he walking forty miles the last day of the journey. He ceased working at his trade about the 1st of August, to make political speeches in behalf of Clay and Frelinghuysen, in the Presidential campaign of this year. In 1846, he came to Cassopolis, and the following winter taught school in the now extinct village of Geneva.

About the 1st of March, 1848, he, in company with Ezekiel S. Smith, drew the first load of goods to where the village of Dowagiac now is, and commeneed merchandising in the store now owned by John Foster. In 1849, he was elected Jnstice of the Peace, and not long after was appointed Postmaster, and shortly after surrendered his position as clerk to attend to the duties of his office, to which was added that of Supervisor for Pokagon in 1851. This latter office he held for five years, and in 1853, he removed to Pokagon Township, and engaged in farming. He was elected to the office of Judge of Probate in 1864, and two years after the expiration of his term of office removed to Jefferson, where he now resides. In addition to the many offices of honor and trust to which he had been elected, he was, in 1874, elected by the Republicans as State Senator for the counties of Cass and St. Joseph, and discharged the duties of this office faithfully and to the credit of himself and his constituents, as he had all other offices to which he was elected. As an evidence gf his public spirit and progressiveness, he is credited with giving more, in proportion to his means, for the Air Line and Grand Trunk Railroad than any other resident of Cassopolis.

Mr. Garvey exemplifies in his own life what can be accomplished by those who rely entirely on their own exertions, and aim high in life; commencing life in a new country, without money or friends, he arose by his own efforts, to some of the highest positions in the gift of the people among whom he resided.

Mr. Garvey has been twice married, first to Mrs. Mary M. Bruce, November 25, 1851, who died in Cassopolis September 18, 1867, aud by whom he hnd one childó Rowena G., now Mrs. William L. Jones, who has three children. He was next married, December 8, 1869, to Mrs. Sarah E. Vary. Mrs. Vary was born in Massachusetts, January 18, 1828. For two years she attended the justly celebrated Mount Holyoke Seminary, of which Miss Mary Lyon was principal. August 30, 1848, she married W. L. Jones. and they came from Rensselaer County, N. Y., and settled on the farm where she now resides. Mr. Jones died July 8, 1851, leaving one son, William L., above-mentioned. She returned to New York State, and February 21, 1854, married S. C. Vary, who died in 1860, leaving one sonó Willit T.

History of Cass Couny, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of some of it's Prominent Men and Pioneers.
Waterman, Watkins & Co., Chicago 1882.

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