John EVELAND, b. Feb. 18, 1818, d. Jan. 23, 1899


biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887

JOHN EVELAND located upon his present homestead in 1855. He was born in Morgan County, Ohio, in 1818, and is a son of William and Sarah (Swartz) Eveland, his father a native of New York and his mother of New Jersey. John remained at home upon his father's farm until twenty-three years of age, when he went to De Witt County, Ill., and thence to McLean County, Ill., where he remained four years, engaged in farming upon rented land. In 1844 he moved to Muscatine County, Iowa, where he bought a claim of 180 acres, on which he lived for eleven years. Selling this land in 1855 he came to Mahaska County, and purchased 240 acres of land on section 3, Jefferson Township, which he has greatly improved, and on which he still continues to reside. Mr. Eveland was married, in 1839, to Mary Phillips, a native of Belmont, Ohio. By this union there were five children, four of whom grew to maturity, one dying in infancy: Lineus, born in 1844, was a soldier in the 33d Iowa Infantry, and died at Little Rock, Ark.; Sarah Ellen, born March 4, 1840, is the wife of J. M. W. Blizzard, of Jefferson Township; Freeman, born July 16, 1848, is living in Jefferson Township; Egbert was born in May, 1850. Mrs. Sarah Eveland died, and our subject, on Jan. 6, 1853, was again married, his second wife being Miss Elizabeth Wilson, a native of Pennsylvania, and daughter of Daniel and Anna (Mace) Wilson. Her father was a native of North Ireland and her mother of Pennsylvania. By this union there are four living children: Alice, wife of John Mehana, now residing in Jefferson Township; Ida M., at home; Jessie, wife of S. V. Gerard, of Nebraska, and John E., at home. Mr. Eveland is the owner of 280 acres of improved land. Coming to this State at an early day, with many others, he can say he has experienced all the toils and privations of a pioneer, but is happy in the consciousness of a well-spent life. The following reminiscence from the pen of Mr. Eveland will be read with pleasure by his many friends: "After hearing of the fertile land of Illinois, in 1841, I concluded to move there with my family. In company with four other families we started from Morgan County, Ohio, in October, in wagons. After twenty days of toilsome journeying we reached Clinton County, Ill. When we came to Illinois it was a great, beautiful, unbroken prairie, which we soon passed over. When we arrived at our journey's end we were received, by a brother who had moved to Illinois two years previously. I soon bought a hewed-log house, moved it on Government land, and moved my family into it. In the spring I sold my house and rented a farm. While staying there I paid twenty-five cents for every letter that I received, that being the rate of postage on letters at that time. I occupied this farm four years, then exchanged it for a farm in Muscatine County, Iowa, to which I journeyed in October, accompanied by my family, making the trip in five days, over a beautiful prairie country, and crossing the Mississippi on a flatboat. I arrived in Muscatine with only $1 in money, which was expended in coffee. "I occupied this farm until spring. During the winter I bought a claim of forty acres, with a frame house and some other improvements on it. To secure the home I gave my horses, wagon and $60. By the kindness of one of my neighbors I obtained a team to put my crop in, and by day labor I procured horses to cultivate my crop the first year, and afterward procured teams of my own, both horses and oxen. When I went to my timber I took team and gun, and my horses or oxen would soon see the game. At one time my oxen spied a deer about 8 o'clock in the morning; I shot and wounded it, then loaded my sled with wood and started my oxen home, then followed the deer. After walking about half a mile I killed another deer, which I hung out of reach of the wolves, and then resumed pursuit of the wounded one. I traveled in vain, and found I had walked thirty~six miles; the dog I had with me did not walk for four days afterward. "When I first moved to Muscatine County by standing in my door I could see but five houses, and people traveled sixty miles to mill, which was only twenty miles from me. Eleven years later I could see seventy-five houses. "During the winter of 1848-49 there was a very deep snow, which began falling the 8th of November and continued until it was two feet deep; being accompanied by a wind it drifted terribly. One of my outside doors was snowed under, and the snow was piled up five feet on the roof. There being extra room in my house, I gave it for a school-room, as there was no school-house within three miles. It was necessary. to have a place of exit from the school-room and my part of the the house, as the snow was piled along the entire side of the house. To find where the door was from the outside I put a ramrod up through the snow at the top of the door, then went outside and began digging toward the ramrod, a distance of twenty feet, cutting a road four feet broad. This snow lasted till the next April. Wild animals of all kinds suffered for food during this time, and a great many starved to death. I have seen fifty deer in one herd top of a snowdrift eating the twigs of the trees. "I bought fifty-eight acres of timber and prairie this year. In February I commenced to break forty acres, and by the 4th of June had it enclosed and planted in corn. The 25th of June my wife died of cholera, leaving me with a family of four children. With the assistance of kind neighbors I kept my family together until the following January, when I married my present wife. The following spring I bought eighty acres. "We lived a prosperous, contented and happy life until the spring of 1864, when the Chicago, Rook Island & Pacific Railroad was located through Muscatine County, passing directly through the center of my farm. Then I sold out, in 1855, and once more, in October, started westward. After five days' journeying through a beautiful country I arrived in Mahaska County, and bought the farm that I now live on, also another farm of 160 acres, and eighty acres of timber land. I dealt in land until the last ten years, and have also engaged in raising stock, principally swine. The country is well wooded and watered, with an abundance of rock and coal. The climate is finely adapted to agricultural pursuits. I have witnessed with keen interest the change from almost a wilderness, where Indians roamed in pursuit of game and plunder, and where there were but two log school-houses (cabins) in five miles, one of them being supplied with light by leaving a log out of one side and filling the opening with panes of glass; the other had small window frames. In these we had our preaching and other public meetings. The nearest church was eleven miles away. Merchandise was transported across the river in ferry-boats. Our dwellings were log cabins with bare rafters, and only the necessaries of life within them. Now we have a thriving, thickly populated country, well supplied with churches and school-houses, and strongly constructed bridges over our rivers, fine dwellinghouses, with every convenience and luxury, surrounded with fruit and ornamental trees, fields where all varieties of grain are grown, and where improved stock of all kinds may be found, and with railroads to take our surplus products to all parts of the United States."

Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887

Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy

Iowa Genealogy

Home Page