Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, 1912

Evans, Thomas Biography

The American ancestor of the Evans family is Thomas Evans, born in Lanbrywmair, Montgomervshire, North Wales, August 31, 1802, died in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, August 15, 1881. He was educated and learned the art of manufacturing woolen goods in his native land, and in 1832 came to the United States, settling in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, where for many years he was manager of the woolen mills located at Cook's Mills in that county. In 1854 he came to Connellsville, living at the old Cummings place in the east part of the town, and employed at the woolen mills on the west side. He was an expert judge of wools and a professional sorter of the different grades used in different kinds of cloth. He was a Republican, and with his wife belonged to the Methodist Episcopal church.

He married Mary M. Barnes, born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, September 15, 1825, died there April 29, 1876, daughter of David Barnes, who came to Connellsville in 1803, purchased land of Zachariah Conwell and opened a tavern. He was a noted county contractor, built many bridges, mills, forges and furnaces, and was one of the early iron manufacturers and one of the most enterprising, energetic men of his day. He was one of the first councilmen of Connellsville, and it is a coincidence that one hundred years later a descendant should be filling the office of chief burgess of the same city. He married Sarah House, and both were members of the Presbyterian church. She was a daughter of Valentine House, whose will, dated 1726, is on file at Annapolis, Maryland. Children of Thomas and Mary M. Evans: 1. Richard (q. v.). 2. Sarah, married Shetn Smith, a blacksmith, whom she survives, a resident of Youngstown, Pennsylvania. 3. Hannah (Fannie), married E. J. Hammel, and resides in Massillon, Ohio. 4. David B., of whom further. 5. Thomas, the tallest member of the family, stands six feet three inches in height; is married, and lives in Kansas City, Kansas. 6. Joseph, a real estate dealer of Youngstown, Ohio; married Ada Holcomb, of an old Youngstown family. 7. William, a mine operator of Butte, Montana. 8. Margaret, married Joseph Echard, a coal dealer of Connellsville. 9. George, a machinist.

(II) David B., son of Thomas Evans, was born in Tippecanoe, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, five miles from Brownsville, July 6, 1847. He was seven years of age when his parents moved from Redstone township to Connellsville, where his education was obtained in the public schools. He worked for a short time with his father in the woolen mill, then entered the machine shop of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, serving a full annrenticeship and becoming an expert machinist. At the age of twenty-four he was made general foreman of the repair shops, continuing until 1873, then for a year he worked in the locomotive shops on the west side. He then entered the employ of the firm now Boyts-Porter & Company, as foreman, remaining until 1876, when he went to Butler county, Pennsylvania, attracted by the oil excitement. While there he was extra foreman for the Hazlewood Oil Company, manufacturers of machinery used in oil production. In 1877 he returned to Connellsville and again entered the employ of Boyts-Porter & Company. He was rapidly promoted, becoming general manager of the company, holding that responsible position until 1909, when he resigned, but still is connected with the company. He is the inventor of the Yough steam pump, used in mines, of which Boyts-Porter & Company are exclusive manufacturers, paying Mr. Evans a handsome royalty on cach pump made.

He is a Republican in politics, and a member of the Baptist church, as is his wife. He is a charter member of Connellsville Lodge, Knights of Pythias, and still an interested member. He resides at No. 103 Crawford avenue, where he crected a house in 1911, having sold a former one built in 1903 to his son, John L. Evans. He married, August 10, 1868, Catherine Sawer Cottom, born in Franklin township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, daughter of John G. and Eliza Jane (Sawer) Cottom. John G. Cottom, born in Tyrone township, Fayette county, was a farmer and a noted rifle shot and hunter. He was the son of William and Katherine (Goodge) Cottom, early residents of Fayette county, and a grandson of Richard Cottom. Eliza Jane Sawer 's parents were natives of Indiana county, Pennsylvania; her father was a miller, coming to Fayette county a few years before his death. Children of David B. and Catherine S. Evans: 1. Fenton T., born October 22, 1860; now a prominent business man of Connellsville; married Isabelle D. Newmeyer, and has a son Charles Reynolds, born October 27, 1908. 2. John L., of whom further.

(III) John Lewis, eldest son of David B. Evans, was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, March 28, 1870. He was educated in the public schools, and on arriving at suitable age began an apprenticeship at the machinist's trade in the Boyts-Porter & Company shops at Connellsville. He continued in their cmploy for thirteen years, then in 1902 purchased the livery business of Lott Rush, in Connellsville. He enlarged by crecting a large barn on East Peach street, and built up the largest livery business in the city. On May 5, 1911, he sold his entire business to Harry Dull and retired from that form of business activity. He is a Republican in politics, and since March, 1909, when he was inducted into office, has been chief burgess of Connellsville. He is a capable, upright official, and administers the affairs of his city in a clean, businesslike manner. He is a member of the Baptist church, his wife of the Methodist church. He is prominent in the Masonic order, belonging to King Solomon's Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Connellsville Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Uniontown Commandery, Knights Templar, of the York Rite; Uniontown Lodge of Perfection, fourteenth degree, and Pittsburgh Consistory, thirty-second degree, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. He also belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the Knights of the Maccabees.

He married, November 24, 1891, Elizabeth F. Connell, born in Connellsville, August 21, 1870, daughter of James D. and Martha Alice (Francis) Connell, both born in Connellsville. Her father was a printer, and served in the civil war. He is a great grandson of Zachariah Connell, born in Virginia, 1741, came to Fayette county, about 1770, and in 1772 was living on the site of the city of Connellsville, which is named in honor of its founder. It is said that he first came to Western Pennsylvania with George Washington. He first boarded at the home of Colonel William Crawford, across the Youghiogheny river and below, then built his cabin on the present site of the Trans-Allegheny Hotel, and brought his family from Virginia. His first wife. Rebecca Rice, born in 1741, died in Connellsville in October, 1845. Hiram, their eldest child, is the grandfather of James D. Connell, and the great-grandfather of Elizabeth F. (Connell) Evans. Children: 1. Loretta Jean, born January 9, 1895. 2. Virginia Elizabeth, November 26, 1897. The family home since 1911 has been at No. 101 Crawford avenue, Connellsville, the former residence of David B. Evans, which his son purchased in that year.

Source: Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County, John W. Jordan, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1912.

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