John Evans Jr.Posted by Jean Crowl 9 May, 2009
From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.
JOHN EVANS, Jr., of Henderson County, was born on the 13th of June, 1830, in Crawford County, Ohio. His father, John Evans, St., who was born in 1796, was a native of Maryland, and his grandfather, the first ancestor of the family to come to America, was a native of Wales. On his arrival in this country he settled in Maryland. John Evans, Sr., married Nancy Palmer, a native of Pennsylvania, and they afterward moved to Crawford County, Ohio, and later to Henry County, Ind. Coming to Illinois in 1837, they settled on a farm in what is now Stronghurst Township, Henderson County. The father was a shoemaker by trade, but devoted his time to the cultivation of his farm after coming to this county. He died September 11, 1884, at the age of eighty-eight, having been a life-long Democrat. Mrs. Evans died when forty-nine years of age, September 18, 1847. Of their twelve children, ten grew to mature years, two dying in infancy. One of the sons, George W., responded to his country's call in the dark days of the War of the Rebellion, and gave up his life in its defense at the battle of Pea Ridge, Ark., March 7, 1862, aged twenty years and eleven months. Three sons and two daughters of the family are now living.
John Evans is the fifth son in his parents' family, and is a twin brother to Sarah, the wife of Samuel Galbreth. of Gladstone Township, this county. Mr. Evans' early education was limited, and he was made more familiar with agricultural labor than with the contents of school-books. At seventeen years of age he hired out to Joseph Watson, receiving for his services $11 a month. With the money he obtained by his work he bought a yoke of oxen and raised a crop of wheat, and with the proceeds of the crop bought a land warrant for Si45- With this he located one hundred and sixty acres of land in Warren County, 111., six miles south of Monmouth. This land he afterward sold to his father for $180, and in 1850, with the money thus obtained, he, with his brother Hamilton, started for California by the plains route with an ox-team. In the land of gold, where many others made fortunes, he failed to accumulate wealth, and almost the only result of his three years' work in the far West was a rich stock of experience. On his return he had hardly sufficient money to buy back the land he had sold his father at the price it was then worth, so he purchased his father's place of eighty acres in Stronghurst Township, where for three years he was engaged in general farming. During this time he bought a farm near the place where he now resides, and in 1857 he sold his first or eighty-acre purchase, and located on his present farm on section 33, in Stronghurst Township. Soon after settling on this property he began his present business of buying, feeding and shipping cattle, and from the beginning of this pursuit his prosperity dates. His first lot of cattle consisted of one car-load, which he sold to Samuel McElhinney. In i860 he made his first shipment, which consisted of six car-loads of mixed cattle, which he sold in Chicago. In the handling of stock he was successful, and from year to year the number he fed and shipped increased, leaving him a margin of profit. He not only handled beef cattle, but also bred cattle, and to-day is one of the largest shippers and breeders of cattle in the United States. In 1892 he shipped to Chicago the first full train of thorough-bred Polled Angus black cattle ever shipped to that market. These cattle, which were all of his own raising and averaged fourteen hundred and ninety-six pounds each, brought $6 per hundred, gross. This shipment consisted of two hundred and forty-three head, and the amount received for them was $21 ,810. Four years previous to this shipment Mr. Evans told W. C. Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago, Burlington 6t Quincy Railroad, in a conversation he then had with him, that he had begun the breeding of Polled Angus cattle, and would, in four years' time, ship a train-load of them to Chicago. Mr. Brown replied that when Mr. Evans did that, he would accompany his shipment from the shipping-point to Chicago in his private palace car. The promise was remembered, and when the cattle were ready for shipment at Emerson, Iowa, where they were raised, Mr. Brown was notified of the fact, and, true to his promise, appeared there with his car, and, taking Mr. Evans as a guest, accompanied the train over the road. This incident in Mr. Evans' life illustrates what foresight, energy, perseverance and good management may accomplish. On another occasion he shipped two train-loads of seventeen cars each of cattle and hogs, all of his own feeding and raising, for which he received $33,000, this being up to that time (1893) the largest sale ever made by one man for a single shipment of stuck of his own feeding and raising in Chicago. At the present time, 1894, he is feeding about fourteen hundred head of hogs and fourteen hundred head of cattle. His land possessions are extensive, and consist of eleven hundred acres of fine land in Henderson County, 111., three thousand acres in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and
forty-five hundred acres in Mills County, Iowa, making in all eighty-six hundred acres of land, which he and his son Marion own and control. They are now breeding Polled Angus black cattle on their Iowa land in large numbers. They have there over one hundred thoroughbreds, and eight hundred head of graded cattle, of which they are now feeding three hundred. They are also fattening fourteen hundred head of Poland-China hogs of their own raising. These gentlemen own a fourth-interest in the First National Bank of Malvern, Iowa, of which Marion is Vice-President, and a half-interest in the Farmers' Exchange Bank, of Emerson, Iowa, of which Mar- ion is President.
On the 23d of April, 1857, Mr. Evans was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Y. Davis, who was born March 13, 1829, in Saratoga County, N. Y., a daughter of Abner and Lucy (Oaks) Davis, who are mentioned elsewhere in this work, in connection with the sketch of Andrew J. Davis. Mrs. Evans was a maiden of only six summers when she came with her parents to Henderson County, where she has since made her home, covering a period of about fifty-eight years. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and is a most estimable lady, beloved by all who know her. The poor and needy always find in her a friend, and she takes an active interest in charitable and benevolent works. Probably no one in the county has more friends, and none are held in higher regard than this worthy woman. To our subject and his wife was born a son, Marion LeGrand, who was born June 30, 1858. He is a banker and one of the leading stock-dealers of Emerson, Iowa. He married Miss Hattie M., daughter of Judge Tubbs, of Emerson, one of the prominent citizens of the Hawkeye State. Five children have been born to Marion and Hattie Evans: Edith Leona, John LeGrand, Frank Nathaniel, Marion Louis and a baby.
Mr. Evans of this sketch is a stalwart supporter of the men and measures of the Republican party, but has never been an office-seeker, preferring to give his entire time to his business interests, on which, after the foregoing history, no comment of ours is necessary. His home is one of the finest residences of the county, and is situated in the midst of his valuable farm of eleven hundred acres. Besides being one of the leading stock-dealers of the West, he is one of the richest men of this section of the country. His wealth has all been acquired through his own enterprise, industry, sagacity, and good business ability. He is liberal with his means, not hoarding his property selfishly, but giving generously to worthy interests, and he has a large circle of warm friends, who esteem him highly for his sterling worth and strict integrity. We feel assured that this record of Mr. Evans' life will prove of interest to many of our readers.