Rancher of Nevada
and Santa Clara Valley
SURNAMES: MELSON, SMITH, TRUMAN, AYER, BARBER, BARDOE,
(deceased) was born in Fayette County, Ohio, on the twenty-eighth day of May, 1809. His parents, Lemuel and Jerusha V. (Melson) Evans, were of Welsh decent, and were among the earliest settlers of Ohio. The subject of this sketch spent his youth upon a farm, and was early inured to the toils and hardships of a frontier life, receiving only such education as was afforded by the meager schools of that date. He started out in life for himself quite young, and became a farmer, stock-raiser, and drover in the earliest settlements of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.
He married, April 13, 1837, Miss Cavy Smith, the daughter of Samuel and Cavy Smith, of Morgan County, Ohio.
The gold excitement of 1849 influenced Mr. Evans to make the long and dangerous trip to this State, and accordingly in that year he started overland with his family. Reaching Placer County during the next year, Mr. Evans engaged in mining, until, in the spring of 1851, he went to Yuba County, where he established a general merchandise store and hotel. He had successfully conducted these enterprises for a year or more, when his restless disposition prompted a change. He went back upon the plains, and again took up his former business of cattle drover and trader among the emigrants. He bought from them their worn, tired, and often half-starved stock, which he drove to the " sink " of the Humboldt, where he recruited them, and then drove them into California.
This enterprise, with various others, occupied his attention until the spring of 1853, when he came to Santa Clara County, where he rented land and put in a crop for the coming harvest. This venture proved to be a successful one, and in the fall of the same year he purchased a tract of land—five hundred acres in extent—about one and one-half miles east of Milpitas. Here began a useful, active life of thirty years in this county, although during the time he was also largely interested in stock-raising, in Nevada, where he established two large stock ranches, upon one of which his son, Francis, lived for seven years. His sons are now extensively interested in stock-raising in that State, an industry which, under their capable management, has grown to large proportions. The extensive Santa Clara homestead is principally devoted to the production of grain and hay, and the raising of stock, among which may be found some thoroughbred trotting stock of the "Almont" breed.
Of the nine children born to Mr. and Mrs. Evans, seven are living: viz., Francis M., who married Miss Lydia Truman, daughter of Marcus and Rebecca Truman, of Santa Clara County; America E., the wife of Samuel F. Ayer (a sketch of whose life appears in this volume); Sarah C., who married R. S. Barber, a resident of this county; John A., residing on the old homestead ; William L., Aaron S., and Reese T. (who married Miss Annie Bardoe, of Santa Clara County), all living in Nevada. The oldest son, Francis Evans, with his family resides on the old homestead. His family comprises the following-named children: Lillie May, Nellie, George L., Annie T., Lizzie R., and Josiah.
subject of our sketch was a man who was well known throughout this
county, and was universally esteemed and respected by his neighbors and
associates. His energy and ambition won for him the prosperity and
position which is not always accorded to men who start in life with
much more favorable circumstances on their side than did Mr. Evans. In
his death, which occurred April 1, 1883, his family lost a kind
protector and friend, while the community lost one of its solid men and
most respected citizens.
Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or
Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago: The
Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.