While trying to locate information on descendants of James Evans who might have migrated from Warrick County, Indiana to Iowa along with Thompson family members, I stumbled on the article, “Another Troy Township ‘First Family'” about the William Evans family. Unfortunately, I don’t think this article applies to my EVANS family.
Another Troy Township ‘First Family’
The picture furnished by Walter Evans of Cedar Rapids shows Mrs. Sarah Evans (seated in left center foreground) with her grand children and great grandchildren. Mrs. Evans was the widow of William Evans with whom she came in 1844, along with her husband’s brother, Evan Evans, his wife, and his sister Ann and her husband, Richard Pugh, to found the first white settlement in Troy Township. Many descendants of the William Evans family are to be found all over the nation. There are twelve remaining in Iowa County. Fred Jones is a grandson. Truman Jones, Eardley Thomas and Mrs. Floyd Williams are great grandchildren. Bobbie Williams, David Davies and Mrs. Virginia Davies Grimm are great-great grandchildren, John and Linda Davies, and Kevin, Carol Jean and John Grimm are great-great-great-grandchildren. Out of town descendants present at the Congregational Church Centennial last Sunday were Walter Evans, Nell Tuttle, Mae Tuttle Whilock, Ermal Evans, Ethel Evans Tomasek, John and Miriam Tomasek, and Etta Evans Hodgson.
We will attempt an identification of those in the picture. Starting on the back row left to right: Aubrey Jones, Will Evans, Ann Evans Boland, Fred Jones. Seated at left is Nellie Jones. At the right of the bush from left to right are Will Jones Grace Davis Shearer and Walter Evans. In front of them are Alice Davis Black and Will Williams. At the left of the grandmother Mrs. Sarah Evans is Irene Evans Acker. At her right is Ernest Evans. In front of the bush are George Jones, Mae Tuttle Whilock and Miles Jones. Seated and holding the baby (Leighton Thomas) is Edith Jones Thomas. Beside her is Irene Thomas Jones. On the ground in the foreground left to right are Lena Jones Brodie, Gertrude Evans and Etta Evans Hodgson. In the group of three from front to back are Helen Evans Johnston, Everett Jones and Lyle Evans. Then again from center to right are Nell Tuttle , Arnold Tuttle, Arthur Jones, and Marcus Evans.
The picture was taken at about the year 1894. The place was the old William Evans home in Evansville.
Reminiscences of a ‘First Family’ Descendent
The above picture and following article were turned over in your Milestone 100 Editor by Walter Evans of Cedar Rapids, grandson and MR. and Mrs. William Evans, who were among the first three families to settle in Troy Township in 1844:
“My grandparents were natives of Wales. In 1840 they cam to the United States and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1844 they decided to move further west. They came by boat to Muscatine and were taken across country by a team of oxen. They settled in the timber land near Old Man’s Creek east of the present site of Oak Hill Cemetery. They had only a few hand tools and very scanty supplies to keep them from starvation and death from exposure to the very cold winter. As it was already the middle of November, they immediately had to provide shelter by building log cabins.
There were three families consisting of my grandparents, William Evans and his wife, Sarah, his sister and husband Richard Pugh, and his brother Evan Evans and his wife. A year or two later they were followed by other settlers, including the father and mother of William and Evan Evans and Mrs. Richard Pugh.
To my grandparents (Mr. and Mrs. William Evans) were born twelve children. Two died in infancy; nine grew to maturity and raised families of their own. Of about thirty cousins that lived to maturity, I was the fourth oldest. There are now only thirteen of us left, of whom I am the oldest.
My father Henry was the oldest of the William Evans’ children. He was two years old when his parents arrived in Troy Township. That made him the first white boy to live here. His sister Mary (Fred Jones’ mother) was the first child born here.
My grandfather, William Evans, who ran a saw mill, was seriously injured and later died in 1870. My grandmother had to carry on in raising the foamily. Father and his brother John did the farm work. It is hard to realize the hardships with which they had to contend. There was no doctor within many miles to come in case of sickness. But neighbors those days were good to help each other.
The pioneers hauled their grain to Muscatine. Wheat was worth twenty five cents per bushel. They traded it for food and other provisions. These trips by ox team took about a week’s time. They were across country where there were no well marked roads and where there were streams to cross.
My father served three years in the Union Army. He was seriously wounded and also contracted Malaria fever. He was consequently in poor health until his death at the age of forty-eight. I was fifteen years old when he died.
The land for Oak Hill Cemetery was donated by my grandfather, William Evans. In this cemetery are buried he, and my grandmother (who lived to be eighty four), my great-grand-grandparents, my father, mother and sister and many of my other relatives. All of this family were