Jonathan Garvey is the husband of Alice Garvey and the father of Andrew Garvey. After moving to Walnut Grove, Jonathan worked on his land and at the mill with Charles Ingalls. Once, when the Garvey's barn burned down, Alice took a job at the post office. Jonathan was outraged by this which led to the Garveys' almost getting a divorce. Thankfully, Alice and Jonathan worked through their issues and stayed married to each other.
When the telephone came to Walnut Grove, Jonathan got Alice one as a gift. This proved to be disastrous since the switchboard was located at Nellie's Restaurant and Harriet Oleson took responsibilities as the switchboard operator. After listening to a private conversation between Alice and her mother Harriet learns that Alice was once married before; which she quickly spread around Walnut Grove. Jonathan learned of this and found it to be true, so, he and Charles go to visit Alice's ex-husband but Jonathan does not tell him who he is. After seeing and talking to Alice's ex they visited Alice's mother. In the end, however, the Garveys got back together.
Years later, in a fire at the blind school Alice, while trying to save Adam Kendall Jr., was killed. This effected Andrew and Jonathan deeply and during this time Jonathan started drinking heavily and Andy left to go stay at the Ingalls for a short time. However, Jonathan stopped his excessive drinking and started on a new foot with Andrew.
Andy and Jonathan stayed in Walnut Grove for a while but eventually left to start a business.
Behind the scenes
Jonathan was portrayed by Merlin Olsen in all of his appearances.