Descendants of James Evans of Wales

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Generation #2

James (1James) Evans of Columbia Co PA

The Evans family is of Welsh extraction, the great-grandfather coming to this country from Wales in the latter part of the eighteenth century and settling in Briarcreek township. James Evans [Jr.], the grandfather, a millwright by occupation, was born in Columbia county in 1799. He built most of the gristmills in the neighborhood, some of which are still stand ing. Two children, Francis, still living, and Anna, who died in her sixteenth year, were born to him. His own death occurred in 1879. The village of Evansville takes its name from this family.

    "Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania," 1915 <http://books.google.com/books> 23 November 2014.

James Evans was born 4/9/1769 in Northampton Co PA, just down the road from Easton PA. Originally, the Evans family were Welsh Quakers. And by 1786, the extended Evans family migrated north and west from the Delaware River Valley to the Susquehanna River Valley.

In 1786 Evan Owen built the next [log cabin] on the site of the St. Charles hotel. Samuel Jackson, his relative by marriage, located on the opposite corner. Josiah Jackson was a hatter by trade, and conducted his business on Front street below Market. James Evans, a millwright by occupation, became the next resident. John Smith and Henry Traugh complete the number of those who arrived at Berwick about 1786. (p. 192)

    "Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania," 1887 <http://books.google.com/books> 23 November 2014.

Today, we could not fathom the many difficulties the family would have encountered during their journey from the Delaware to the Susquehanna. The family's route would have taken them west and north up the Lehigh River and through the gap above what is now Lehighton. From the river, they would have moved northwest through virgin territory to the Susquehanna. And, portions of their route would be improved in 1787 and named Owen's Road.

Having arrived at the Nescopeck Rapids, they "reached Catawissa with no adventures other than those usually incident to the overland journey, but were compelled to transport themselves and their goods from that point to their destination in canoes, and this occasioned no little inconvenience and delay." So, difficult terrain--swamps, mountains, rivers--bad weather, and Indian attacks were considered matter-of-fact when our ancestors pushed west.

Our James would have been seventeen by the time the family migrated. This would have been an appropriate age to assist in all the tasks necessary along the way. Having survived the arduous journey, the family built their log cabin at the site of Berwick. And, James' father, the millwright, constructed a mill just north on Briar Creek. Best guess our James worked at the mill until he was ready to start his own family.

James Evans came from Bethlehem PA to Evansville, Columbia county and took up a large tract of land. He built the first log mill in the village, which was later replaced by a larger one, the latter still standing, and in use as a dwelling. He ran the largest overshot wheel in Columbia county. Altogether he built twenty-three of the largest of the old mills in the county. He married a daughter of Ezra [William] Hess of Fishingcreek, and their children were: George; James; Ephraim, who married Nancy Evans; Mary Elizabeth, wife of Solomon Bower [Maybe]; Ann, wife of George Zebner [No]; and William. Mr. Evans died in 1820, and he and his wife are buried at the Old Stone Church in Briarcreek township.

    "Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania," 1915 <http://books.google.com/books> 23 November 2014.

There are five Evans families found in the 1790 census for Northumberland county. Two of the families, Joseph and Nathaniel have adult males other than the householder. As persons, with the exception of the householder, are not enumerated by name, James may be one of the adult males in either the Joseph Evans or the Nathaniel Evans households. Therefore, James should be counted as enumerated in the censes.

Benjamin Evans, miller and justice of the peace, Nescopeck, was born in Briar Creek township, Columbia Co., Pa., July 14, 1820, a son of David and Nancy (Bonham) Evans. His paternal grandfather, John Evans, a Welsh Quaker, together with his brother James, they being both millwrights by trade, came from near Philadelphia to this county, becoming pioneers of the vicinity of Berwick, and erected several mills for a wealthy man named Rittenhouse.

    "Benjamin Evans," History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania, 1893" <https://archive.org/details/historyofluzerne00brad> 26 November 2014.

In 1793 in Northumberland Co PA, James married Anna Hess b. 5/22/1769 Northampton Co PA. The marriage for this James Evans and Anna Hess is proven by Anna's headstone found in Stone Methodist Church Cemetery, south of Evansville and west of Berwick, Columbia Co PA. Anna's extended family had only recently migrated from the same area of Northampton County. Did the Evans family's positive experience spark the Hess family's migration to the Susquehanna River Valley?

The early 1800s saw the growth of industry in Briar Creek Township. And, James the father as millwright and James the son as wheelwright were part of these new industries.

The manufacturing industries of Briarcreek at an early period present no special features. William Rittenhouse built the first mill in this region. It is still in existence, but has not been operated for many years. . .Evan Owen attempted to utilize the water power of the river, and built a grist mill on its bank, but the attempt was a failure. [Father] James Evans  engaged in a similar undertaking with better success, locating his establishment on Briar creek. Some half dozen houses clustered around this mill constitute the village of Evansville. . .The first representatives of their respective vocations in Berwick were Benjamin Doan, tailor; Abel Dally, chair-maker; Hiram Inman, tinner; Henry Traugh, tanner; the Browns, carpenters; Burlingame, cooper; Aquilla Starr, blacksmith; Bush, cloth-dyer; Joseph Stackhouse, butcher; Polly Mullen, weaver; Samuel Herrin, cabinet-maker; John Snyder, saddler; [son] James Evans, wheelwright; Roxana Cortright, milliner; Sleppy and Company, gunsmiths, and Marshall, silversmith. (p. 197)

     "Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania," 1887 <http://books.google.com/books> 23 November 2014.

James and Anna lived their lives on one of the Evans family properties in Columbia Co PA. And, James worked at the family's mill and as a wheelwright. James died 4/17/1849 and Anna died 2/4/1842. Both are buried in the Old Stone Church Cemetery, Briar Creek TWP, Columbia Co PA.

Anna HESS b. 22 MAY 1769 in Forks Township, Northampton Co PA
Christened 13 AUG 1769 at the First German Reformed Church, Easton PA
Sponsors were [Grandparents] Christian Hess and Mrs. Anna Best.
10/24/1806. Luzerne County Federalist:
Two Cent Reward - Runaway from the Subscriber, a Servant girl named, Catharine HEATH, about 17 years old. Whoever takes up said girl and will return her to the Subscriber shall receive the above reward and no charges paid. James EVANS, Briercreek Twp., Northumberland Co.
1849. James Evans household in Briar Creek township. Probate records list sons of James: Ephraim, James Jr., John and George.
Old Stone Methodist Church Cemetery
James Evans
Died 4/17/1849
Aged 80 yrs
Anna, wife of James Evans
and daughter of Wm & Catherine Hess
Died 2/14/1842
Aged 72 yrs

    Children

    1. Mary Elizabeth Evans (Twin)

    2. Ephraim Evans (Twin)

1849. James Evans household in Briar Creek township. Probate records list sons of James: Ephraim, James Jr., John and George.

    3. John Evans b. 3/22/1796 Northumberland Co PA

    4. James Evans Jr.

CHARLES C. EVANS, attorney, Berwick, was born in Briarcreek Township Columbia Co.. Penn., January 10, 1858, a son of Francis and Jane (Lamon) Evans, natives of Pennsylvania, and of Welsh and Irish descent. His great-grandfather came from Wales, and his grandfather, James Evans, was born in this county in 1799. The latter was a millwright by trade, which he followed most of his life, and built nearly all the grist-mills in the neighborhood, some of which are still standing. He also was interested in agriculture, but never followed it extensively. He built and owned an oil-mill near Evansville, and died in Luzerne County, in June, 1879, in the eightieth year of his age.

    "Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania," 1915 <http://books.google.com/books> 23 November 2014.

1849. James Evans household in Briar Creek township. Probate records list sons of James: Ephraim, James Jr., John and George.

    5. William Evans

    6. George Evans

J. W. EVANS, insurance agent, Berwick, was born July 7, 1845, at Evansville, this county, a son of George and Rebecca (SHELLENBARGER) EVANS, natives of Columbia County, and of Welsh descent on the father's side and German on the mother's. The first of the family settled in Briarcreek Township the latter part of the last century, and his grand-father, James EVANS, was the first millwright of the county. He built nearly all the old mills in this county, and also owned a large tract of land. Our subject's father learned the millwright's trade, which he followed a number of years, then learned the tanner's trade and built a tannery at Evansville, following the business until his death in 1870. His widow died in 1880.

     "The History of Columbia and Mountour Counties," 1887 <http://files.usgwarchives.net/pa/columbia/bios/battle/ccb26.txt> 15 September 2016.

1849. James Evans household in Briar Creek township. Probate records list sons of James: Ephraim, James Jr., John and George.

Generation #3

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This site is provided for reference only. Except where specifically cited, information contained is conjecture and should not be considered as fact.
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