William E. EVANS, b. 1827, d. 1901

William E. Evans, deceased, was a successful business man of Mahaska county, who, starting out in life empty-handed, worked his way steadily upward and for many years was identified with coal-mining operations and also became one of the large landowners of the county. Moreover, he was strictly reliable in all of his dealings and his life record served as an example well worthy of emulation. He was born in North Wales in 1827 and died in New Sharon, November 10, 1901, when about seventy-four years of age. His parents were Evan and Elizabeth Evans, both natives of Wales, in which country the father died, but the mother afterward came to the United States and her last days were passed in Union township, her son having returned to Wales, bringing her to Mahaska county. Mr. Evans received little or no educational privileges and in his early youth he worked in the mines in Wales. In 1849 he came to America and worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania. While employed in that way in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, he met and married Miss Mary Jones, the wedding being celebrated in Brownsville. She was born in South Wales, October 31, 1824, a daughter of William and Mary (Harris) Jones, the former a native of Wales and the latter of England. When their daughter Mary was but two years old they crossed the Atlantic to the new world and Mr. Jones was employed in the mines in Pennsylvania and Maryland. About the time that Mrs. Evans was married her mother died and her father then went to California, where he spent six years but afterward returned and, settling in Iowa, was married again there. Later he engaged in mining in Mahaska county and his death occurred in New Sharon. Mrs. Evans was an only child, but her husband was one of a family of twelve children and had a sister, Mary, the wife of Thomas Davis, who was drowned in the Johnstown flood. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Evans was celebrated in 1857 and immediately afterward they came to Iowa, settling first at Fairfield, where they resided for about a year. They then came to Mahaska county and he engaged in mining in Union township. For several years he leased and operated the Pilgrim mine and later he purchased land and conducted what is known as the Evans coal bank for many years. At one time he owned eleven hundred acres of land in this county, for as his financial resources increased he made judicious investment in real estate until he owned eleven hundred acres of fine land in this county and derived therefrom a splendid income. He possessed excellent business judgment and unfaltering enterprise and, moreover, he was thoroughly honest and straightforward in all of his business transactions, making a record which any man might be proud to possess. About twenty years ago be retired and purchased a home in New Sharon, where he lived until called to his final rest. His widow still makes her home upon the farm just outside the city limits, having here ninety-seven acres of land, which is operated by her son. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Evans were born ten children, nine of whom are now living, the second, Mary Ann, who was born April 4, 1858, having died at the age of three years. The others are William, who was born April 15, 1857, and is now married and resides upon a farm near New Sharon; Elizabeth F., who was born April 1, 1861, and is the wife of William F. Williams, a resident of Union township; Mary Ann, who was born July 19, 1862, and is the wife of F. F. Williams, also of Union township; Delilah, who was born February 10, 1865, and is the wife of J. H. Kemp, of the state of Washington; Ellen Jane, who was born May 7, 1867, and is the wife of Andrew Hardesty, of Union township; Grace Belle, who was born October 10, 1870, and is the wife of Allen Wheeler, of Union township; Harry P., who was born February 9, 1872; Evan D., who was born September 21, 1874, and is married and lives with his mother; and Parena Marie, who was born March 17, 1877, and is the wife of Charles Woodward. Mr. Evans was a member of the church of England but after coming to America never joined any church. He was, however, an honest and upright man, who exemplified in his life straightforward principles. Although denied all educational privileges he possessed keen business discernment and no one could fool him on a load of coal nor what it amounted to. He was very quick to figure anything in his head. He did much to educate people to use coal and save their timber, which they afterward learned was to their advantage. In politics he was a republican but took no active part in the work of the party. All that he enjoyed in life was obtained through his own efforts and his success was indeed creditable, showing what can be accomplished through indefatigable energy when guided by sound judgment and strong determination.


from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906

Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa

Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy

Iowa Genealogy

Home Page