Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


DR. JAMES EVANS. Prominent among the enterprising and much esteemed men of Greene County Mo., stands the name of Dr. James Evans, who was originally from the Hoosier State, born in Wayne County, June 6, 1829, on his father's farm. The latter, whose name was Jonathan Evans, was of Welsh descent, his grandfather having been born in Wales. The grandfather of our subject, David Evans, was a native of Pennsylvania and was a soldier in the War of 1812. He moved to Pickaway County, Ohio, at an early date, was among the pioneer settlers, and became a prominent farmer. On the farm that he had carved out of the wilderness this brave pioneer passed away after years of usefulness. His children were named as follows: Lemuel, John, Evan, Jonathan, David, Aaron and Samuel. Mr. Evans was a member of the Baptist Church and a man of upright, honorable character. His son, Jonathan Evans, was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, in 1803, and was early taught the duties of farm life. The common schools afforded him a fair education and he was married in Pickaway County to Miss Margaret Bell, daughter of James Bell, who was a native of the Green Isle of Erin, a successful farmer, and one of the pioneers of Pickaway County. He came to America in 1806 and was a soldier in the War of 1812. Wide awake and progressive he was accustomed every year to ship his produce on a flat boat down the river to New Orleans. In his religious views be was a Seceder, of that branch of the Presbyterian Church, and a man of upright character. His death occurred when about sixty years of age. Directly after his marriage Jonathan Evans settled near Hagerstown, Wayne County, Ind., on wild land, and subsequently purchased of the Government 100 acres. This he cleared and resided on for eleven years when he sold it for $15 per acre and moved to Boone County, Ind. There he bought --- acres of wild land which be soon converted into a good farm. By industry and thrift he added to this tract until he finally owned 320 acres of fine land on which be passed the remainder of his days, reaching the age of fifty-five years. Seven children were born to his marriage: Susannah, James, Jane, David, Elizabeth, Jonathan and Elmira E. Mr. Evans was a member of the Baptist Church and for many years held the office of clerk in the same. In politics he was a Democrat, was much respected by the people and held the office of justice of the peace, as well as other township offices. Public spirited and progressive he took a deep interest in educational matters and was classed among the best citizens of the county. His son, Dr. James Evans, subject of this sketch, was reared on his father's farm in Wayne County, Ind., and at an early age showed a decided taste for work. In this he was encouraged by his father and at an early age he would drive a team to LaFayette, a distance of forty miles, often being four days in making the journey. There were no railroads in those days. Young Evans received his scholastic training in the common schools and in the academy at Lebanon, Ind., the county seat of Boone County whither be went with his parents when ten years of age. Much of his education was received evenings by the fireplace at home. When sixteen years of age be began the study of medicine under Dr. Hardy, of Northfield, Boone County, and then went to Indianapolis where he was under the tuition of Dr. Presley. Later he entered Rush Medical College of Chicago. This was in 1851 and 1852 and again in 1853 and 1854, when he graduated. For six or seven winters after this he attended medical lectures at the Ohio Medical College where be had hospital practice. In 1849 he began practicing medicine at Lebanon, Boone County, Ind., and practiced there for twenty-three years, meeting with success and establishing a large and lucrative practice. On the 3d of May, 1855, he married Miss Louisa A. Thompson, daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth (Allen) Thompson. Mr. Thompson was born in Kentucky and descended from an old Colonial family. At an early date be settled in Boone County, Ind., and became a prosperous farmer. To himself and wife were born twelve children. After marriage Dr. Evans settled at Lebanon and there reared four children, Alpha D., James B., Elizabeth E. and Fred. In 1871 Dr. Evans came to Springfield, engaged in the drug business for four and a half years, and then bought a farm of 240 acres on Wilson Creek, a few miles above the battle field. On this farm he resided for four and a half years. In 1880 be bought 240 acres at Nichols Junction and added to this until he owned 330 acres. In 1882 he laid out the town of Nichols Junction, which is a thriving village beautifully situated near Springfield. Dr. Evans has been identified with the laying out and building up of two other towns. In 1854 he laid out Bunker Hill, in Indiana, and this is now a thriving town, and subsequently made additions to the town of Lebanon, Ind., the same amounting to more than half the town. Dr. Evans is a large land owner in Greene County and at one time owned 810 acres. Part of this he has given to his sons. The Doctor also owns 240 acres adjoining Nevada, Mo. In 1871 he bought forty acres adjoining Springfield, made improvements and sold it out into lots at a good profit. He bought and sold a good deal of property in Springfield and built a large brick building on South Street, the same being occupied by Hall & Co., wholesale druggists. When young, Dr. Evans was identified with both the Odd Fellow and Mason Fraternities. He and Mrs. Evans are members of the Baptist Church, and in politics he is a Democrat. For some time he was a member of the council in Springfield. Dr. Evans is now leading a somewhat retired life but is still a public-spirited citizen and is deeply interested in the real estate business, being an active dealer in the same. All his life he has been active and industrious and is entirely self made, all his property having been accumulated by industry and thrift. He stands high as a man of integrity of character, and gives freely of his means to further any enterprise for the advancement of the comnaunity. He has ever been a friend of the poor and has assisted many poor men to get a home, frequently making a sale of a lot or farm to some man who had not a dollar to pay down, selling entirely on long credit and in this way has made many a sale which could not otherwise have been made. He has carried this so far as to often pay for the entire cost of the papers transferring the property, relying entirely on the honesty of the purchaser to make the payments. When unable to meet their agreements, he generally granted an extension of credit. Nichols Junction is on high ground and is pleasantly located. The climate is mild and delightful and possesses the invigorating properties to be found only on the Ozarks. The dry and pure air has been found greatly beneficial to persons suffering with asthma and bronchial troubles, and the Doctor contemplates, in the near future, erecting a sanitarium at this health-invigorating place. Nichols Junction is but four miles from the public square of Springfield, and one mile and a quarter from the West Addition to the city. It can be reached by both the Frisco and Gulf railroads, there being eight trains daily, four each way. There are also three public highways to the city and in a short time it is expected to connect this beautiful village with Springfield by an electric railroad. It will then be a very superior suburb residence place. People who wish the delights of a rural home, will find every advantage at Nichols. The soil and climate are adapted to the raising of all the fruits known to the temperate region. Lots are sold at very reasonable prices and on long time. Nichols Junction has the advantage of two churches, Congregational and Christian, and it is expected that the Missionary Baptists will erect a church within a year. An offer is open to any church, of any denomination, who will erect a church edifice, a choice lot free, and the liberal proprietor will, besides, aid the enterprise financially. The town has an excellent common school and a new two-story frame school building will be erected the coming fall after which an excellent graded school will be started. Nichols has three nurseries in its immediate vicinity, two general stores, a post-office and four hotels. The town is abundantly supplied with pure water easily reached by means of wells. About ten years ago Dr. Evans began the study of theology and has devoted much of his time to this important subject. He soon became an efficient minister of the gospel and now preaches in different States, without money and without price, following the examples of the Apostles of old. He has engaged in several theological discussions with success, notably one with Rev. R. S. Parkhurst, of Independence, Kan., which has been printed and fills a thick pamphlet of 152 pages. Dr. Evans' views on the subject of the resurrection are clearly expressed in it. He is a man of vigorous constitution and at sixty-four years of age, possesses the activity of mind and body of a man of fifty years. He has pronounced views on all subjects of importance and is a clear thinker, a logical reasoner and a man whose words carry weight. His life of temperance is well illustrated by the exclusion of saloons at Nichols Junction. He makes it a condition in his deeds to the property, that no liquors can be sold or given away on the premises. The Doctor is a philosopher of his own school. His immense brain power, in connection with his vigorous body, his high ideas of morality, strict sense of justice, his naturally enterprising and energetic disposition, combined with his practical ideas of life, make him at once a man of force, originality and a public benefactor.

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