James C. Jarvis, born in 1787, was appointed midshipman from the state of New York in 1799. Midshipman Jarvis was killed at the age of 13 during the historic engagement between the famed frigate Constellation and the French frigate La Vengeance 2 February 1800. Sent aloft in command of the topmen to secure Constellation's unsupported mainmast, he refused to come down when warned that the mast might topple: "My post is here. I can't leave it until ordered." As the mast crashed, Jarvis was swept over the side with the falling rigging. Honoring Jarvis for his bravery and devotion to duty, the Sixth Congress by Joint Resolution 29 March 1800 deemed his conduct "deserving of the highest praise" and his loss "a subject of national regret."
(DD-38: dp. 787; l. 293'11"; b. 27'; dr. 8'4"; s. 30 k.; cpl. 83; a. 5 3", 6 18" tt.; cl. Monaghan)
The first Jarvis (DD-38) was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J., 1 July 1911; launched 4 April 1912; sponsored by Mrs. Jean King; and commissioned 22 October 1912, Lt. Comdr. D. P. Mannix in command.
Following shakedown off Cuba, Jarvis spent a year operating out of Norfolk in the Caribbean. She departed Pensacola, Fla. 20 April 1914 for patrols oft Tampico and Vera Cruz,' Mexico, during the Vera Cruz Occupation. Returning to Norfolk 16 June, she operated in the Atlantic until departing New York 26 May 1917 to join U.S. Naval Forces which operated in European waters under Vice Admiral W. S. Sims.
Arriving Queenstown, Ireland, via St. Nazaire, France, 11 June, she commenced patrol and escort duty along the Irish and English coasts. The operations of destroyers such as Jarvis were of immense value to the Allies in overcoming the German submarine menace. While not credited with sinking any U-boats, on two occasions Jarvis rescued crews of ships torpedoed by enemy submarines. On 19 June she rescued 41 survivors of SS Batoum off the Irish coast, and she pulled 22 survivors of the British merchantman Purley from the North Sea 25 July. After recovering Batoum's survivors, she braved a possible torpedo attack and positioned herself between SS Mechanician and a U-boat to protect the merchant ship from enemy torpedoes.
Jarvis operated out of Queenstown until 15 February 1918 when she sailed to Brest, France, to guard Allied shipping along the French coast. She patrolled out of Brest until 28 December; then she sailed for the United States. Arriving Philadelphia 12 January 1919, she resumed operations along the Atlantic Coast. Jarvis returned to Philadelphia 21 July and decommissioned 26 November. Under the terms of the London Treaty of 1930, which limited naval armament, she was scrapped and her materials sold 23 April 1935.