John Jarvis ‘Lancaster and the Civil War’ themed lithographs rediscovered in archives

I’m on the board of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County, and the project I’m most excited about is digitizing their archives. This ambitious undertaking involves scanning their 160,000 artifact collection, including many one-of-a-kind items highlighting Lancaster County’s rich architectural heritage. The project is expected to cost upwards of $200,000.

Something we recently rediscovered in the archives as we organized materials for scanning was two (what we believe are) unpublished prints by local artist John Jarvis. He drew them for the organization in 1996 during his three-year tenure as Trust president.

John Jarvis is, without a doubt, one of Lancaster County’s favorite local artists. Jarvis’ 2009 obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer called him an “educator and preservationist.” He is best known for serving as headmaster of Lancaster Country Day School from 1965-1990.

The Pilgrims Way in Lancaster County

The first previously unpublished work, “The Pilgrims Way in Lancaster County,” is 16 x 20. You can purchase a copy on the Trust’s website for the low price of $25, including shipping and handling.

‘The Pilgrims Way in Lancaster County’ by John Jarvis, 1996.

The top third of the lithograph, “Follow the Blue-Grey Trail of Lancaster County,” showcases various Lancaster City locations and their connections to the Civil War and other historically significant places.

Follow the Blue-Grey Trail of Lancaster County.

The middle section documents “The Pilgrims Way in Lancaster County,” highlighting the “Homes and Barns on the Underground Railroad.”

The Pilgrims Way in Lancaster County.

The bottom portion features four Lancastrians and their Civil War connections: Simon Cameron, Catherine Hewitt, Henry Kyd Douglas, and Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman.

Lancaster and the Civil War

Entitled “Lancaster and the Civil War,” this lithograph highlights five Lancastrians and their contributions during the Civil War. You can purchase a copy on the Trust’s website for the low price of $25, including shipping and handling. The print’s center features the historic burning of the Columbia-Wrightsville covered bridge on June 28, 1863, which prevented Confederate forces from entering Lancaster County.

General John F. Reynolds

General John F. Reynolds grew up in Lancaster at 42-44 West King Street. He was a West Point Cadet and later Commandant. On June 28, 1863, newly appointed George Meade ordered Reynolds forward to Gettysburg. Reynolds held the bulk of the Confederates along Seminary Ridge and so allowed the Federal Army to gather along Cemetery Ridge for the desperate struggle at Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, The Wheatfield, and Pickett’s Charge. Reynolds was killed leading his men forward, but his leadership made victory at Gettysburg possible.

William Parker

William Parker was a runaway slave who crossed into Lancaster County at Columbia. He established a free Black community near Christiana.

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required the Federal Government to hunt down runaway slaves.

On September 11, 1851, a Federal Marshall with a posse and slave owner, Edward Gorsuch, came to Parker’s house near Christiana for two runaway slaves.

After an impasse of several hours, shots rang out. Gorsuch fell dead. Three Quakers and 35 Blacks were arrested and tried for high treason in Independence Hall. They were acquitted. Parker and his companions fled to Canada. Was this the first shot in the Civil War?

James Buchanan

James Buchanan was the only bachelor President. His beloved Ann Coleman’s father didn’t think Buchanan was worthy of his daughter, and she was sent away to Philadelphia. There she died mysteriously and is buried in St. James graveyard.

After four tempestuous years as President 1856-1860, Buchanan retired to his beloved Wheatland.

Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens wrote this letter to Judge Jeremiah Brown in 1847.

“Dear Sir, I learn that the man stealers of Lancaster have the authority to arrest two colored girls, Ellen Jackson and Emaline Raines… Will you see that they flee to a city of refuge? They should not stop short of Canada. I doubt not that you will attend to this cause of human rights.

Yours truly, Thaddeus Stevens”

He is buried in Shreiners Cemetery. General Lee’s troops destroyed Stevens’ property in Chambersburg because he was the man the Confederacy hated most.

Rosina Hubley

The statue in the square came about through the efforts of Rosina Hubley and the Patriotic Daughters.

They fed and clothed soldiers from many states who were quartered around Lancaster. These men were often without shirts, bedding, rations, crutches, and shoes.

The Statue in the Heart of Lancaster shows where Lancastrians fought and fell: Vicksburg, Malvern Hill, Petersberg, Chickamauga, Antietam, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Chaplin Hills.

General John Brown Gordon C.S.A.

General John Brown Gordon C.S.A. tried to enter Lancaster County at Columbia in the last days of June 1863.

He praised Mrs. L.L. Rewalt as “the heroine of the Susquehanna.”

“General Gordon, I am a Union woman. Last night you saved my home from burning, but my constant prayer to Heaven is that our cause may triumph and the Union be saved.”

Before & After

Both prints appeared to be preproduction proofs with taped-on corrections. They have been digitally remastered with age-related damage and other errors removed. Here are two before and after examples showcasing the restoration.

Both images have taped-on paper tabs placed by Jarvis to correct errors in the original watercolor. Their edges have been removed.

Purchase Your Copy Today

Prints of The Pilgrims Way in Lancaster County and Lancaster and the Civil War are available from the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County’s website for $25 each. Size: 16 x 20.

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Art: John Jarvis’ The Pequea Valley

The Pequea Valley by John Jarvis.

John Jarvis drew The Pequea Valley poster during his tenure as the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County president. The lithograph features a unique perspective on the treasured Pequea Valley, including colorful and informative historical snapshots from the region dating back to 1686. Click the link to read more.

Haunted Lancaster: The Ghost of General Reynolds

Some believe General John Reynolds’ spirit never found peace. As such, his ghost wanders the streets between the Fulton and his family home, looking to meet his fiancé just as he had promised he would after the Battle of Gettysburg. Click the link to read more.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument: honoring America’s veterans

The southwest corner of the monument represents the cavalry.
The southwest corner of the monument represents the cavalry.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Penn Square was originally built to honor Lancastrian Union soldiers killed during the Civil War. Today it represents those that served in all American military conflicts. Click the link to read more.

Union forces burn Wrightsville Bridge to prevent an invasion of Lancaster County

June 28, 1863: Union forces burned the Wrightsville Bridge to stop the advancing Confederate Army. This action saved Lancaster County and set the stage for the three-day Battle of Gettysburg, which would begin on July 1. Click the link to read more.

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