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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Patrick McGarvin

PATRICK McGARVIN, residing upon his extesive well-improved farm in Dover township, about three miles from Chatham, is one of the leading agriculturists of the County of Kent, owning about 284 acres, largely under cultivation.  He is progressive and energetic, and during his twenty-six years’ residence upon his present property, has made some marked improvements there.

McGarvin comes of a prominent family long known in this section.  His faterh, Michael McGarvin, a man of marked force of character and ability, was born on the river Thames, and passed many years of his life along the river, in Harwich township.  Reared to a life of strong activity, he early developed habits of industry and self-reliance of much value to him in later years.  A taste for agriculture, and good openings in that line in his vicinity, decided him as a young man to embark upon life as a farmer.  Energetic and thrifty, he soon secured a good farm, which he improved and cultivated extensively, making it one of the most attractive places in the vicinity.  This fine old homestead, embracing 200 acres, he worked for many years, and there he passed his last days, dying November 5th, 1897, at the age of ninety-one years. 

During his young manhood Mr. McGarvin married Olive Wood, who lived to the good old age of eighty-six years, and they had ten children:  Susan, the widow of David Wilson, residing in Harwich township; John, a farmer of Dover township; Joseph and George, farmers of Harwich township; Catherine, who married Robert Smith, farmer of Dover township; Patrick and Louisa, twins, the latter the widow of Bruce Holmes, and a resident of Harwich township; James, who died March 27th, 18967, at the age of forty-five years, being killed by the explosion of an engine; Peter a farmer of Harwich townsip; and Robert, a farmer and sawmill operator of Chatham.  Mr. McGarvin was not only a highly successful and prosperous farmer, but a man of influence in all the affairs of the community.  His keen business discernment gave weight to his word in all matters of public interest.  Large-hearted and generous, he gave his support to all worthy enterprises, and the churches especially found him a liberal supporter.  Though christened a Roman Catholic, and reared as a Methodist, he usually attended the Presbyterian Church.

Patrick McGarvin was born, in Harwich township March 7th, 1848, and there on his father’s well-regulated farm, grew to manhood.  As a youth he received plenty of training in agriculture and business, and was given sufficient leisure for the cultivation of the intellectual faculties.  The need of assistance upon the home farm decided him as a young man to remain with his parents, and there he carried on agriculture for several years.  Having made a good start, about 1872 he secured his present farm in Dover township, then embracing 227 acres, 100 of which were under cultivation.  This place he cleared, improved and added to until it now embraces 284 acres, all under cultivation.  Here he is still engaged in all lines of general agriculture, and in conducting one of the largest enterprises in his line in the country.  He is one of the largest growers of sugar beets in the country, having seventy acres in beets in 1903.  For a number of years past he has been an importer of blooded horses – Norman stock --- and still continues that line.  A wise financial manager, as well as a successful agriculturist, he has now won for himself a very solid prosperity.

In Chatham township, in December, 1881, Mr. McGavin married Jennie Brodie, who was born in St Catharine’s< Ontario, and died January 31st, 1901,a at the age of forty-one years and five months.  Of this union there were three children:  Ellen, Nettie and Johnnie, who are all at home.

Mr. McGarvin has achieved his success through his untiring efforts in one main industry, preferring to perfect himself in one line to scattering his forces over several.  He is progressive, keeps well posted upon all the latest scientific methods, and has been remarkably successful in selecting those especially adapted to the needs of his farm.  As a Conservative he has always evinced a keen interest in public affairs, though he has been wholly disinclined to office seeking.  He is a man of firm religious convicions, and a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church.

THOMAS BRODIE, father of Mrs. McGarvin, came from Scotland to the County of Kent in the early days, and, settling upon a splendid tract of land there, made a fine home for himself.  He married Janet McCarl, of Scotland, and they had six children:  Thomas and John, farmers of Chatham township; Jennie, Mrs. McGarvin; and three others, now deceased.

Pages 188 - 189

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