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EVANS, Thomas T.


Posted By: Diana Thornton (email)
Date: 4/12/2010 at 07:36:06

The Evans Family

“On the pages of the pioneer history of Des Moines County appears the name of Thomas T. Evans, who assisted materially in the early develop-
ment of this part of the state, and aided on reclaiming the wild land for the purposes of civilization. A native of Wales, he was born about 1800, and acquired his education in the public schools of that land. He afterward learned the weaver’s trade, becoming an expert in that department of labor. He wove in all colors and designs, and because of his superior ability was able to command good positions. He was married in his native country to Miss Mary Morris, who was also born in the little rock ribbed land of Wales, her natal year 1804.

Desirous, however, of enjoying the better business opportunities of the New World, and the higher wages here paid, Thomas T. Evans crossed the Atlantic to the United States in 1833, settling the first at Ruscanee, N.Y., where with his wife and three children he established his home. They crossed the Atlantic on the old sailing vessel, “Sidol,” which several years afterward was lost at sea, and nine weeks had been added to the cycle of the centuries before anchor was dropped in the harbor of New York. About 1835 the family went from the Empire State to Portage County Ohio, where the father engaged in the transfer or reaming business, making trips from Portage county to Pittsburg. His residence in the Buckeye state covered about nine years, after which he came to Des Moines County, Iowa.

It was in May 1845 that Mr. Evans arrived in this state. He purchased forty acres of land, and later he entered one hundred and sixty acres from the government, through the medium of a Mexican land warrant which had been granted to a soldier of the Mexican war in recognition of his service, the soldier selling the same to Mr. Evans. In this way the latter became owner of a quarter section in Washington township, about a half miles west of the boundary line of Yellow Springs township. His son, Moses, also bought eighty acres in the same neighborhood, but in the spring of 1850 he went to California, attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific Coast. Later he returned to his farm, bringing with him about two thousand dollars which he had made in the mines of the West. He died in Des Moines County in 1854, leaving his property to his father, and this was the family homestead until the death of his parents.

Mr. Evans was an enterprising agriculturist, placing his land under a high state of cultivation, and living a busy, useful and active life. He died in 1855, and within a week his wife and two daughters passed away, Catherine Sophia being then sixteen years of age, while Mary Augusta was fourteen years old. John Jones, an old-time friend of Mr. Evans who had lost his wife in Des Moines County and afterward resided in different places, contracted cholera, and Mr. Evans, out of the kindness of his heart, went to nurse him during the illness. He then returned home, bringing with him the dreaded disease, and he and his wife and daughters all succumbed to it. There was only one other death from cholera in the locality, a girl by the name of Virginia.

Mr. and Mrs. Evans were the parents of ten children: Elizabeth, a resident of Portland Ore., is now the widow of William P. Jones, who died in 1890: Moses, died when twenty-four years of age; Henry; Ann, married Frederick Gowdy, of this county, and died in 1878; James Grimes, died at Salenas, Cal., in July, 1903; Catherine Sophia, died of cholera; Mary Augusta, whose death was occasioned by the same disease; Joseph, died in Des Moines County in July 1867, at the age of twenty-two years; Jane, died in San Francisco, Cal., in 1903, being survived by her husband, Andrew Gartley, a former resident of Burlington, Iowa; and Thomas Charles, living in Winona County, Iowa.”

Henry was mining in California when he received word of the death of his parents and two sisters. He returned home to take over the care of the farm and his younger siblings, managing the farm for six years. He added another one hundred and sixty acres to it after marrying and built a large home on it. After retiring from farming, he raised hereford cattle and poland china hogs. He moved in 1892 to Mount Pleasant IA. and his son Merritt took over the farm.


Des Moines Biographies maintained by Sherri Turner.
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