Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

James Augustus Evans

JAMES AUGUSTUS EVANS. While James Augustus Evans, one of the settlers of Morton County of April, 1886, has not been a constant factor in the rural affairs of the county during all the years since he first became a resident here, he has participated in local affairs to good effect and in the modest improvement and development of a farm and the building up of a livestock business has had his part in the growth and progress of this section.

The Evans family came into the State of Kansas in 1885 by rail and their first home was established at Winfield in Cowley County. They later lived at Udall, where Mr. Evans carried on blacksmithing and conducted his shop for a year, then directing his steps toward Morton County. Here he entered the southeast quarter of section 33, township 32, range 43, and built the regulation "dugout" for his family home. He came here by way of wagon, and after his arrival traded his wagon and pony team for a blacksmithing outfit, and after the first year made his living at his trade. Including the ponies mentioned, he brought with him a cow and $20 in cash, and this money was spent for lumber with which to cover his primitive home. Then the "bonepicking" began, going hand in hand with freighting before he traded off his team, and he thus was able to supply the needs of his family. Until the dry years began to afflict this part of the country and the settlers commenced to leave, Mr. Evans made more than a living at his trade, but when the claims were abandoned his business was cut off and his means of living likewise. When he had proved up he mortgaged his claim but continued to live here, paying interest and patiently awaiting better times, but when the case became desperate and the company foreclosed on his mortgage he faced a critical situation.

J. O. Beaty, who was on the alert to help settlers who wanted to help themselves, persuaded Mr. Evans to locate in the Beaty Brothers' Manzanola, Colorado, community, and furnished a team to transport the Evans family effects and the family itself to that place. Mr. Evans established his blacksmith shop at that point, Mr. Beaty furnishing the shop without rent, and remained there eighteen months, only abandoning that region because of the malarial condition incident to the impure water. On leaving Manzanola, Mr. Evans brought his family back to Morton County and established his shop at Richfield. The county seat had relapsed into almost its original state, or was threatening to do so, and for some three years he "pounded iron" there. While there he managed to acquire a sort of a team and a few cattle, and with renewed ambition and energy returned to the region of his pioneer settlement and purchased section 36, township 32, range 43, upon which he now resides and on which substantial improvements have been placed. With the exception of five years spent in Ohio, from whence he came to Kansas, he has continued to reside here and to be a blacksmith, a farmer and a stockman. The Evanses had numerous children who grew up in the short grass of this region, went out to take their places among people of different parts of the country, and now, when marching toward three-score-and-ten, the parents find themselves alone again and passing their lives in the vocation of their choice.

Mr. Evans' service to his country in a public way has been as a county commissioner, he having succeeded John Beaty by appointment, and being subsequently elected to succeed himself. County affairs were at a low ebb during his terms, and there was nothing to produce excitement or special interest while he was on the board. Mr. Evans' politics is republican and he followed the fortunes of that party until 1912, when he voted for Mr. Wilson. He has done his convention work as a delegate inside of Marion County, and has belonged to no fraternity or church. Mrs. Evans is a member of the Methodist faith.

James Augustus Evans is a native of Clark County, Ohio, born near Springfield, February 11, 1854, while his wife was born at the same place June 22, 1855, their education coming from the Springfield public schools. The father of James A. Evans was Job Evans, who was born in New Jersey and went as a small boy to Ohio with his mother. As a young man he learned chairmaking and later wagonmaking, and these trades he followed throughout his life, his death occurring in Clark County in advanced years. He married Agnes Wilkes, whose father died early and left four daughters and a son. Mrs. Evans' mother was a native of North Carolina, and was a relative of President Buchanan. Mrs. Evans, born in 1826, died April 29, 1893, having been the mother of the following children: William and Charles, residents of Clark County, Ohio; James Augustus; Etta, the wife of David Patterson, of Springfield, Ohio; and John, of Salem, Oregon.

James A. Evans reached his majority in his native county and was upon the threshold of manhood when he made his initial trip into the West. He went out to Nebraska in 1874 and spent two years at Harvard, later moving to Omaha, where he became a horseshoer for the streetcar company, and, after making a trip to Ohio for his wedding, returned to his position for another two years. After another five years passed in Ohio as a blacksmith at Springfield he came into the West again, locating in Morton County.

Mr. Evans was married December 7, 1876, to Miss Emma Mason, a daughter of Jonathan Mason, born in Clark County, Ohio, December 10, 1826, and a granddaughter of James and Electa (Town) Mason. Jonathan Mason acquired a limited education, and in young manhood became a farmer, a vocation which he followed throughout life. He married Matilda Craig, a daughter of James and Fannie (Barnett) Craig, the former an Irishman and the latter born in Vermont. Mr. Mason died in November, 1913, and his wife in 1863, their children being: Oscar, of Cordell, Oklahoma; George, of Springfield, Ohio; and Mrs. Evans, who was the eldest. Mr. and Mrs. Evans have had children as follows: Elmer, of Dolores, Colorado, married Nellie Hall and has two children, Ruth and Esther; Earl Hayes, of Gunnison, Colorado, married Kate Bowen, and has two children, Elmer and Charley; Delitha, who is the wife of Fred Wooley, of Stonington, Colorado, has four children, Cora, Earl, Evert and Marvin E.; Etta, who married Jasper Harmon, of Morton County, has three children, Hattie, Jasper and Nellie; George, of Galena, South Dakota, engaged in ranching; Edith, who married John Marvin Coursey, of Morton County; James, of Baca County, Colorado; and Frank L., of Rolla, Kansas.