Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Mansion, a General, and a Cannonball: Part Two

On February 10, 1802, Louis Evans, age 24, from Montgomery County in southeastern Pennsylvania bought 541 acres of land near Thompsontown in central Pennsylvania. Two hundred of the acres had been an original William Penn grant.

Mr. Evans descended from one of six brothers who left Wales in the 1700s. His father was George Evans, Jr. and his mother was Elizabeth North, daughter of Roger North from Ireland.

After buying his land, Mr. Evans moved immediately to the area and began to develop his land. He built a read more
grist mill, a saw mill, and St. Steven’s Episcopal Church (shown above). He also married a local girl, Amelia Groathouse. Mr. Evans contracted workers to build a mansion  for him and his wife, now know as General Evans House. When it was finished in 1812, the couple moved in.

The War of 1812 began. Mr. Evan and his brother Frederick, 12 years older, joined the volunteers. They both took part in the Battle at Fort McHenry in September of 1814. This very battle inspired the "Star Spangled Banner." Mr. Evans obtained the rank of Brigadier General because of his actions during the Battle of Baltimore. He commanded the First Brigade, 11th Division of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. The brothers returned home in the spring of 1815.

General Evans and his wife had six children, Julia Ann, Samuel Owen, Lydia, Mary, Amelia, and Harriet. The couple remained on their land all their lives, and both are buried near the church they built.

Their son, Owen, remained in the same area, taking over the family business. He married Frederick’s granddaughter, Amelia, daughter of Hon. George and Catharine Kremer of Middleburg. Owen and Amelia had three children, George, Louis Ibri, and Aurelius Bradford called Bradford. 

George helped with the family business. Louis Ibri attended medical school, but died before he finished. Bradford attended the Airy View Academy in Port Royal and later practiced law in Carollton, Green County, Illinois. None of the three married.

At the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Cemetery in Thompsontown, the original gravestones for General Louis Evans, S. Owen Evans, Amelia K. Evans, George K. Evans, Louis Ibri Evans, and A. Bradford Evans are easy to find. The General’s wife is probably the one next to his though the words on it cannot be read. Another lies beside hers. In addition, General Evans’s mother, Elizabeth North, wife of George Evans, Jr. is buried there. Beside Elizabeth is a tombstone that reads “In Memory of Caleb Evans who departed this life July 24, 1803, age 21 years 3 months. This was one of General’s brothers. Another of the General’s children is buried here, Mary Evans Atkinson, with her husband, son, his wife, and their child, Louis Evans Atkinson, namesake of the General.

General Evans tombstone is the tall skinny one.
The wider tall one is Owen's family memorial.

Ellis, Franklin, Austin N. Hungerford
Juniata County Historical Society Records, Evans File, accessed June 29, 2016.

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