Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 703
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
JOHN G. EVANS
In commercial circles in Sterling John G Evans occupies an enviable position, standing at the head of the firm of John G Evans & Son, dealers in farm implements, coal and oil. His business methods will bear the closest scrutiny and his enterprise and diligence form the keynote of his success. His life record began in Wayne county, Ohio, on the 7th of January, 1837. The ancestral history states that the family is of Welsh lineage. The great-grandfather, John Evans, was born in Wales, April 21, 1724, and there spent his entire life. The grandfather, James Evans, was born in Wales, on November 20, 1777, and became the founder of the family in America.
Crossing the Atlantic he took up his abode in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, and subsequently became a farmer of Wayne county, Ohio, where he died in 1855, at the age of seventy-eight years. He was the second settler of the county and took a very active part in laying the foundation for its future prosperity and improvement. In Beaver county, Pennsylvania, he had married Mrs Mary Shafer, a widow who had two sons by her first marriage. She was born January 11, 1766, and was also a native of Wales. Her death occurred in Wayne county, October 4, 1844. This worthy couple were the parents of two sons and two daughters, namely: James, the father of our subject; Nathan, who was married and had two sons and two daughters; Mrs Sarah Camp, who had nine children; and Mrs Delila Johnson, who had six children. The members of the Evans family were all married and reared from four to nine children. James Evans, Sr, the grandfather, started in life empty-handed in Ohio, but as the years passed and his farming operations prospered he was enabled to surround his family with the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. He was a man of splendid physique, six feet, six inches in height and weighed two hundred pounds. He was also strong and athletic, a typical frontiersman, well fitted to endure the hardships of pioneer life. He also enjoyed hunting and found ample opportunity to indulge his taste in that direction, for in the early days wild game and wild animals of many kinds abounded in the forests of Ohio. He walked the entire distance to Ohio from his home in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, located his claim and returned in the same manner, camping out at night by the wayside. He hunted bears in the mountains of the Keystone state and in his pioneer experiences found frequent use for his gun.
James Evans, Jr, the father of our subject, was born in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, December 6, 1808, and was reared in his parentsí home, sharing with the family the hardships of frontier life. He married Catherine Gardner, a native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, born April 19, 1805. Her father was David Gardner. Mr and Mrs Evans resided upon the old family homestead in Ohio for many years, but when their son John was about twenty-four years of age removed to Oilville, where the latter died May 6, 1872, and the former passed away February 24, 1887, at the age of sixty-eight years. They had four sons and two daughters, as follows: David G, who was born April 4, 1833, at the old home in Oilville, Wayne county, Ohio, and is now a widower; Lutherna, who was born December 15, 1834, and died at the age of twenty-one years; John G, of this review; James, who was born April 22, 1841, and is living in Sterling; Mary, who was born January 6, 1847, and died at the age of twenty-one years; and William S, whose birth occurred December 21, 1843, and who is now a telegraph operator in Oilville, Ohio.
The educational privileges which John G Evans enjoyed in his youth were meager in quantity and rather poor in quality, for he pursued his studies in a primitive round-log schoolhouse, with clapboard roof, built without nails, and puncheon floor, desks and seats. He could attend only about three months in the year, for during the greater part of the time his aid was needed in the work of the home farm. His school life ended when he was eighteen years of age, after which he gave his entire attention to the labors of the fields and to the work of a sawmill. He also operated a horse-power threshing machine and was the owner of the first steam thresher and the first separator in his part of the state. At the age of twenty-four he was married and through the four succeeding years continued to carry on the old homestead. He removed from Oilville to Kansas twenty-four years ago, arriving in Sterling at the 31st of March, 1877. This portion of the state was then a wilderness, but with characteristic energy he began the improvement of a farm. He first settled on a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of land, two miles north of the town, paying the Santa Fe Railroad Company five hundred and fifty dollars for the tract of raw prairie. He built a house and at once began the work of transforming the wild land into richly cultivated fields, - a labor which he continued for twelve years, after which he sold eighty acres of this land and removed to the town. Nine years ago he erected his present comfortable residence and established the coal business. In 1900 he extended the field of his labors by becoming a dealer in agricultural implements and wagons. He admitted his son to a partnership, and the firm is now doing a prosperous business, enjoying a large and constantly growing patronage.
Ere his removal from Ohio Mr Evans was united in marriage on the 16th of November, 1863, the lady of his choice being Lovina Miller, who was born in Wayne county, Ohio, in 1841, a daughter of Abraham and Sarah (Gindlesburger) Miller, both of whom were natives of Beaver county, Pennsylvania. The marriage of Mr and Mrs Evans has been blessed with five children: Minnie, the wife of James Haslen, by whom she has one son and one daughter; Clara Belle, who died when twenty-one years of age; Mahlon, who is his fatherís partner in business; James, who died at the age of one and a half years; and Mary, who passed away when only a year old. Mr Evans is a Populist and has served as roadmaster for two terms, building the road to Lyons. He aided in the survey of Sterling township and in many ways he has promoted public progress and improvement, manifesting a deep interest in the upbuilding and general welfare of the community. He and his family are members of the Christian church and their lives are in harmony with their religious belief, for upright principles find exemplification therein.