Commonwealth Journal

Local News

October 31, 2013

A Family Tradition

Jarvis Insurance Agency celebrating 80th anniversary


Somerset —

Jarvis Insurance initially was located in historic Beecher Hotel on South Main Street. The agency later moved to the second floor of the former First and Farmers Bank building on the south side of Fountain Square. In 1962, when the bank building was razed to make way for the existing First and Farmers Bank, Jarvis Insurance moved to its current location on the north side of Fountain Square.
The present location of Jarvis Insurance has an historical notation. Thirty Seven Public Square is on Lot 42 of the original plat of the town of Somerset made in 1818. The building that houses Jarvis Insurance was constructed in 1894, originally a one-story structure but a second floor was added later.
That’s not all. Former Kentucky Governor Edwin P. Morrow at one time owned the building at 37 Public Square. He sold the property in 1919 to his brother, Boyd Morrow. Somerset Post Office was in the building for more than two decades.
Edward Jarvis, co-founder of the agency, was the son of Martin Luther Jarvis, a well-known attorney in the region. He served as commonwealth’s attorney and circuit judge. He received a presidential appointment from President Warren Harding as federal judge in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Jarvis Avenue in Somerset is named for Judge Jarvis. His two-story colonial home, built in 1906, still stands at the corner of Jarvis Avenue and Sagasser Street.
Edward Jarvis died from a heart attack at age 41. His death left his wife Lillian at the helm of a business in an era when there were few female business owners. She faced the challenge, grew the business and was active in civic affairs until her death in 1979.
 Jim Ed stands amazed at changes in the insurance industry and the burst of growth in Somerset. 
“Changes are in light years,” he said. “Everything used to be centered in the downtown area. It was a farming economy during the early years and Saturday was a big day for commerce. Everybody came to town on Saturday. A sack of Holsomback hamburgers was a big treat.” 

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