Leander and Mary Evans

May 25, 2011 at 11:19 am (Evans Roots) (, )

Written by Doris J. Smith, 2010

Leander Evans

Leander Evans was born in Bloomington, Illinios on November 6, 1849. Leander’s grandfather is credited with helping to “lay out” the city. After completing high school, Leander traveled with his parents, Samuel and Eveline [King] Evans, to Vernon County, Missouri where they farmed for seven years. He then moved to Kansas where me met Mary Elizabeth Swasey.

Mary was born on February 28, 1855 in Clark County, Missouri, the daughter of George C. and Elizabeth Clark Swasey. Details of Mary’s childhood are sketchy, but her mother died when Mary was very young. Mary’s father married Louisa Carter on August 28, 1859, when Mary was four years old. This is the woman that Mary refers to as “Ma” in her writings. Leander and Mary were married on May 16, 1875 in Cowley County, Kansas. He was 25, and she has just turned 20.

Leander and Mary Evans

Also in 1875 Leander purchased 160 acres around South Haven, Sumner County, Kansas. While farming in Kansas, two sons were born to Leander and Mary. George Clark Evans, the eldest son, was born on May 18, 1876 at South Haven, Kansas. Walter, the second son, was born on March 31, 1878. Walter died at six months of age and is buried near South Haven. He is remembered often in the journal.

George Clark Evans

Leander and Mary moved to Colorado for a short time in 1881. Leander worked in the mines at Arberville, Colorado and also freighted to the mines in Chaffee, Colorado along the Arkansas River. Their third son, Frederick Earl Evans, was born in Arberville. Within the year, the family returned to South Haven, Kansas to resume farming.

Frederick Earl Evans

Some years later, seeking a new life in the West, Leander and mary, along with their two boys, left Kansas and arrived in Mosier, Oregon on February 26, 1887.

Mosier, Oregon is located approximately 65 miles east of Portland, on the banks of the Columbia River. Jonah Mosier and his family, the area’s first white settlers, arrived in 1854, attracted by the seemingly endless acres of available timber which could be milled with local water power and sold for construction. Other families followed and settled in the valley. The climate and soil were ideal for fruit growing, and by the turn of the century, Mosier was a bustling village.

The Evans Home and Orchard

Leander and Mary, along with their two young sons, homesteaded 179 acres located on Carroll Road, south of Mosier, beginning in April 26, 1887. According to a local newspaper article, the family moved into their newly built small box house in July of 1887. The land around Mosier was heavily forested, and Leander set to work clearing trees and logging by hand to prepare for planting fruit trees.

Leander and Mary's House in Mosier, Oregon

In 1905 the History of Central Oregon noted:

“Leander Evans is one of the prominent fruit raisers of Wasco County. He resides about a mile southeast from Mosier. He owns one hundred and seventy five acres on the home place, most of which is tillable, and he has an orchard of about thirty acres. Last year he shipped something over three thousand boxes of fruit, and this year he will probably dispose of over five thousand. In addition, Mr. Evans has a fine fruit drier with a capacity of five thousand pounds per day, and he ships many tons of dried prunes and apples…

Evans Prune Packing House; Leander and Mary on far right

Two children have been born to our subject and his wife. Frederick E., a graduate of Philomath College in 1903 and married to Carrie Gray, the daughter of H. J. Gray, and George C., who received his education in the high school at Hood River and married Elva Coyle. He is now living on the farm adjoining that of our subject… Mr. and Mrs. Evams are members of the Methodist Church as also are their sons.

Mr. Evans is a Democrat but not active. He is well informed on the issues of the day and keenly alive to the interests of education. Mr. Evans is one of the wealthy men of the country, having secured a fine holding by virtue of his skill and industry while also he has stimulated many to meritorious labor which has resulted in great good to this part of the state.”

Leander Evans was a pillar of the community. He worked on committees and boards, was a member of many orginizations, and worked hard on his own farm. He was in the public eye. He was the more outgoing -more flamboyant- of the pair, and yet, one is drawn to Mary’s quiet ways. After a century, her story lives on.

Mary died on September 21, 1910. Here is what was written up in the Mosier Bulletin:

“Death of Mrs. Lee Evans”

The people of Mosier were saddened, on Wednesday morning, by the news that Mrs. Leander Evans was dead. While it was known that she was seriously ill, still it was hoped that the Angel of Death would pass over without blighting her household. But an Allwise Providence ruled otherwise, and she passed away at 5 o’clock in the morning, after receiving all the care that medical skill and kind neighbors could give.

Mary Elizabeth Swasey was born in Clark County, Missouri, in 1855. In 1873 she moved to Cowley County, Kansas, where she was married to Leander Evans, living in Kansas seven years. She returned to Missouri with her husband, and in 1887 came to Mosier, where she has since lived. Three children were born to her -George, Walter (who died in infancy), and Frederick, who, with her husband, survived her.

For the past three years Mrs. Evans has suffered from heart trouble, but only during the last year was it considered serious, causing periods of suffocation, becoming more frequent and severe. In July Mr. Evans took his wife to the coast, hoping that the change would benefit her; but while she enjoyed the trip, the damp climate only aggrivated her trouble. In fact her decline was more marked after her return home. The last spell came on Friday. On Sunday Dr. Robinson, of Mosier, and Dr. Ferguson, of The Dalles, were called to attend her. They informed her family that she could live but a short time and prepared them for the end, which came peacefully. At the time of her death her immediate family and other relatives and friends were at her bedside and she was enabled to bid them good-bye.

The deceased was a menber of the Methodist Church and by a long life of consistent Christian lving, by her kind and loving ways, has won the love and high esteem of a host of friends, who mourn her departure. This was evident by the large number who attended the funeral. The Baptist Church, in which the services were conducted by the Revs. J. W. Rigby of Hood River, and H. C. Clark, of White Salmon, both of them former pastors of the Methodist Church here, assited by the Revs. W. A. Stark of the Baptist Church, and H. C. Clark, of the Christian Church. The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, of which the latter order the deceased was a Past Noble Grand, had charge of the services. A large concourse of people followed the remains to the grave, where the impressive Rebekah services for the dead were rendered. Many beautiful floral offerings were sent.

Although Mary had been in poor health for a long time, her death was a blow to the family. In spite of her excruciating headaches that lasted for days, in spite of the nose bleeds that continued for hours, and in spite of the doctor’s diagnosis of heart trouble, in the end Mary would always rise from her bed and continue being Mary – looking after the needs of her family, making sure meals were prepared, and doing jobs that needed attention around her house. She was wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, gracious hostess, and friend. And suddenly she was gone.

By today’s standards, Mary’s death at age 55 was very premature. She had lived in Mosier for more than 23 of those years. Mary and Leander had come to the Mosier valley early enough to be considered some of the early settlers, and they had been privileged to witness the expansion of local population and farming over the years. The mention in her obituary of the overflowing crowd at her funeral was a tribute to the public’s deep respect for this family.

Leander used Mary’s journal to express his grief. He wrote this entry n the day of her death:

Mary, My Beloved Wife Died …….. Sept. 21, 1910
She was Born 1855, Feb. 28
Lee Evans

Leander lived for another 21 years. He continued farming with his son, Fred, and maintained his interest in various organizations in Mosier. Life continued for Leander, even without Mary. And yet, we have a glimpse of his loneliness in these poignant journal entries…

July 3, 1911       How Emty My Life, Dear One
August, 1926    How Emty My Life, Dear One              Lee

Life continued for the Evans family. In 1916 Fred and Carrie’s second son, Arlyn Wayne Evans, was born, joining his brother, Darrell, Mary’s beloved grandson. George and his wife, Elva, also added to their family, with the arrival of twins, Alvy and Alvon, in 1911, followed by Mary in 1912 and Walter in 1918.

However, the family also experienced the loss of George’s wife, Elva, in 1919 and Fred’s wife, Carrie, in 1928. Mary’s stepmother, Louisa Carter Swasey, lived to be 95 years old, passing away in The Dalles in 1935. Leander died in 1931 at the age of 81 years. He never remarried.

Leander and Mary's Tombstone


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I am All A Lone: the diary of an early female settler

February 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm (Evans Roots) (, )

I just found out that someone found the journals of my great-great grandma, Mary Swasey Evans and put them into a book! I am currently looking into how I can get my hands on a copy of that book. I guess there will be a book signing/sale at the Discovery Center in The Dalles on March 12th, but my kids have their junior bowling league and I have to work.

Anyway, there is an article about the book here. It has a picture of Leander and Mary Evans. Up until today, I hadn’t seen a SINGLE picure from the Evans side of the family, including my Dad’s own father. This is the first one I’ve gotten my hands on, or even seen! … Pretty excited about that!

Anyway, here is the article:

I am All A Lone: the diary of an early female settler
Former Ontario resident finds family and history in her great-great aunt’s diary

By Patrick McDonough
Argus Observer
Saturday, December 11, 2010 10:04 PM PST

The diary of Mary Swasey Evans (right) an early Mosier settler was the main source for Doris J. Smith’s book ‘I Am All A Lone: The Diary of Mary Swasey Evans Early Mosier Settler.’ Smith also drew from multiple area newspapers of the time and photos, such as the one above with husband Leander Evans, to add to the scope of the work.

Smith said the work, which culminated with the publication of the book “I Am All A Lone: The Diary of Mary Swasey Evans Early Mosier Settler” began with the discovery of the Evan’s dairy while Smith was still teaching school.

“I first read a copy of a copy of the Mary Evans journal while I was still teaching and I thought it needed to be put into a better format so my relatives would read it,” Smith said.”I was not sure they would dig through the handwriting.”

Smith, who is a former Ontario resident and schoolteacher, began transcribing the hand written pages, but as she did this, she realized that there were elements of the diary that would be better served with outside illumination.

“I was immediately captivated by her gentle spirit and the details of her life as a farm wife,” Smith said. “She faithfully recorded her household tasks, the weather and more exciting events. When Mary would describe ‘going to the hall for entertainment’ I wanted more details.”

To gain insight into these details, Smith began researching newspapers from the area, such as The Dalles Optimist, the Mosier Bulletin and the Hood River Glacier, spending hours scouring microfilm and delving further into the mystery of Mary Evan’s life.

Smith said she discovered more about the life and times of a woman who came to Oregon in 1887 with her husband Leander and her two sons. The family cleared and homesteaded 170 acres of land, planted orchards and became well known and loved community members.

Smith said she discovered a great deal about life in the Mosier area around the turn of the century and that the combined elements unfolded what Smith calls a tapestry of Oregon history for her.

“The book takes place at Mosier Oregon, which is along the Columbia River,” she said. “It happens to be my hometown. I have five generations of my family buried there.”

“I thought it would be something that needed to be preserved for family legacy, but as it developed; as we put it together I thought it had a larger appeal than just for the family.”

Smith gathered the excerpts from the diary, the newspaper clippings and more to offer readers insight into, not only the life of a farm wife of the time, but the time itself.

“I have included quite a bit about the history of the area from the newspaper articles as well as photos of area and photos of family.”

The book interweaves all of these elements in an easy to follow and understand chronological manner. An excerpt from the diary dated Jan. 6, 1909 reveals particularities of the vernacular of the age as well as a preoccupation with weather common to the time and also the solitude Evans often found immersed in.

“Commenced snowing at 7:30 a.m. Very cold wind in the east,” Evans writes. “About eight inches of the beautiful. Lee has gone to the station … A Lone.”

Smith said the term beautiful was a quaint term of the time describing the snow itself, and the term ‘All A Lone’ was one Evans often wrote when left at the homestead as her husband went to town for business or social pleasure.

The entry is tied to an article in The Dalles Optimist dated Jan. 14, 1909 which amplifies the entry with a report of the weather being the coldest experienced in the area in many years and goes on to add other items of interest.

“The river has frozen over at The Dalles and milk is being hauled across in sleds,” the Optimist reports. “Thus averting a milk famine.”

Smith said the language of the settlers and the newspapers, the details of life 100 years ago and the photographs and other information make the book interesting and historically significant.

Smith welcomes anyone interested in the history of Oregon or the life of settlers in the area to share in the journey. The book is currently in the collection of the Columbia River Trading Company at the Discover Center and Museum in The Dalles, Oregon.

For more information, contact the center at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, 5000 Discovery Dr. The Dalles, Oregon 97058. Or call (541) 296-8600.

“The dairy takes place 100 years ago and this is what a homemakers life would have been like at that time,” Smith said. “These people led a different life than we do, They did not have electricity, and Mary talks about her first automobile ride. It is an exciting cross-over from the horse and buggy days to more modern times.”

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The Evans Tree

July 3, 2010 at 12:46 am (Evans Roots) (, , , , , , , , )

We don’t know much about the Evans side of the family… The pictures of my Dad and his siblings are the oldest photos we have. I don’t even have a picture of my father’s bio-dad, and I never met him, even though I was 12 when he died. All I have is the names and dates that I have been able to scrounge out from ancestry.com

First Generation

William Evans
b. September 1, 1775 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania
d. November 8, 1868 in Bloomington, Illinois

Married to Effie Winebriner
     b. 1774
d. February 13, 1839 in Bloomington, Illinois


1) Jane Evans
     b. August 27, 1804 in Ohio
d. December 28, 1881 in Vermilion County, Illinois

2) Elizabeth Evans
     b. July 26, 1806 in Ohio
d. April 11, 1858

3) Ellender Evans
b. May 18, 1809 in Ohio
d. January 5, 1884 in Padua, Illinois

(From Rob Day) According to the death certificate of Ellender’s  daughter, Effie, it is written that Ellender was born in Bloomington (McLean County), Illinois. Of course, too many  other sources list her being born in Ohio. She was living in 1835 in Vermilion County, Illinois.  She appeared on  the census in 1840 in McLean County, Illinois. This census listed the family living in Bloomington. There was one  white male under the age of 5 (Elijah) and one white male between the age of 5 and 9 (James). As for the  females, one was listed between the age of 5 and 9 (Mary), two between 10 and 14 years old (Elizabeth and  Effie), and one betwwen the age of 30 and 39 (Ellender). Ellender (spelled Eleanor one the census) was living  next door to her father. She appeared on the census in 1870 in McLean County, Illinois. Ellender was living with  her daughter, Effie, in the township of Padua (the writing is somehat difficult to read but the age of this person and  her birthplace points to Ellender). She was 62 years old and born in Ohio. She owned real estate property valued  at $2,000 and personal property valued at $820. She was buried in Lebo Cemetery, Holder, Illinois.

4) Temperence Evans
     b. 1810 in Ohio

5) Francis M. “Frank” Evans
b. May 29, 1812 in Ohio
d. November 15, 1865

(From Rob Day) He appeared on the census in 1860 in Padua (McLean County), Illinois. The census listed Francis as being 47 years old and born in Ohio. He was a farmer with real property valued at $6,500; his personal property worth $2,500. This was a substantial amount of wealth during their time. His wife, Mary, was 46 years old and born in North Carolina. The following children were listed with their respective ages: William (23), John B. (20), Francis Marion (18), Samuel W. (15), and Phebe A. (9). All of the children were born in Illinois. William was a farmer with personal property valued at $500.

6) William Evans
     b. June 3, 1815 in Huron County, Ohio
d. January  28, 1899 in McLean County, Illinois

(From Rob Day) He appeared on the  census in 1860 in Padua (McLean County), Illinois. According to the census, William was 45 year old and born in Ohio. He was a farmer with real property valued at $7,000 and personal property at $1,500; a substantial amount of wealth during his time. His wife, Mary, was 42 years old and born in Maryland. The following children were listed with their  respective ages: Oliver P. (20), William (19), James (17), Francis J. (13), David B. (10),  Morris L. (8), and John B. (4). All of the children were born in Illinois. He died on January  28, 1899 in McLean County, Illinois. William and his only son, Charles, were killed by  being struck by a passenger train. The accident occurred on the Buchanan Street crossing as the two men were heading home after being in Bloomington earlier that day to purchase  a buggy. William was instantly killed while his son later died from his wounds when he was taken to Brokaw (now Bromen) Hospital. A witness stated the rig and the two men was  standing on the west side of the track waiting for a freight train to back up off the crossing. When the freight train cleared the crossing, the buggy moved forward. The witness goes on  to say that he saw the brakeman motioning the two men back. Just then the northbound passenger train came up on the main track and strike the carriage. The two men were hurled 90 feet. William took great pleasure in catching wolves. During one winter, him and another brother trapped forty-five of these troublesome pests. William’s education was attended to as well as possible in the West. He had a private teacher, Billy Hodge, and  William would say from time to time that this gentleman was a very good teacher, although Mr. Hodge was a little severe with his scholars. William was described as a man who stood at 6′ high, had gray hair and whiskers, and clear gray eyes, with an honest expression in them. His voice was firm and clear, with a trustworthy ring to it. William was very accommodating. He was one of the most reliable of men, and loved humor, as the genuine old settlers did.

7) Samuel Evans (Second Generation)
     b. April 22, 1821 in Licking County, Ohio
d. November 22, 1895 in Mosier, Oregon

(From Rob Day) He appeared on the  census in 1850 in McLean County, Illinois. 33 Samuel and his family was living in the town  of Bloomington. He was 29 years old and born in Ohio. Samuelworked as a farmer with a  real property value of $200. Evaline (spelled “EVELINE” in the census) was 24 years old  and also born in Ohio. The following children were listed with their ages: Calista Ann (6),  William H. (4), Ira (3), and Leander (10/12). All of the children were born in Illinois. This  family was living near Evaline’s parents (dwelling no. 548) and her brother’s family (dwelling  no. 549).

8 ) Oliver Perry Evans
b. April 10, 1823
d. November 29, 1835 in Illinois

Second marriage to Martha Day
b. 1808 in North Carolina
d. October 7, 1873


9) John W. Evans
     b. December 31, 1841 in Illinois
d. April 13, 1870

10) Effie Evans
     b. November 13, 1843 in Illinois
d. August 5, 1898

11) Martha P. Evans
     b. 1845

Second Generation

Samuel Evans
     b. April 22, 1821 in Ohio
d. November 22, 1895 in Mosier, Oregon

Married to Evaline King
b. April 3, 1822 in Ohio
d. February 10, 1900 in Mosier, Oregon


1) Calista Ann
    b. About 1844

2) William Henry Evans
b. August 20, 1846 in Bloomington, Illinois
d. February 18, 1916 in California

3) Ira D Evans
     b. about 1847 in Illinois

4) Leander Evans (Third Generation)
b. November 7, 1849 in Bloomington, Illinois
d. February 17, 1931 in Mosier, Oregon

5) Mary E. Evans
     b. about 1856 in Illinois

6) Samuel E. Evans
     b. about 1859 in Illinois

7) Lousia Evans
b. about 1861 in Illinois

8) Geo D. Evans
b. about 1862 in Illinois

9) Foster Evans
     b. about 1864 in Illinois

10) Ethia Evans
     b. about 1869 in Illinois

Third Generation

Leander Evans
     b. November 7, 1849 in Bloomington, Illinois
d. February 17, 1931 in Mosier, Oregon

Married to Mary Elizabeth Swasey
b. February 28, 1855 in Missouri
d. September 21, 1910 in Mosier, Oregon


1) George Clark Evans (Fourth Generation)
     b. about 1876 in Kansas
d. August 2, 1948 in Mosier, Oregon

2) Frederick Earl Evans
b. July 12, 1881 in Alberville, Colorado
d. July 24, 1967 in Portland, Oregon

Fourth Generation

George Clark Evans
     b. about 1876 in Kansas
d. August 2, 1948 in Mosier, Oregon

Married to Elva Coyle
b. October 3, 1881 in Oregon
d. 1917 in Mosier, Oregon


1) Lloyd E Evans
     b. about 1901 in Oregon

2) Ora L. Evans
     b. about 1903 in Oregon

3) Florence M. Evans
     b. October 4, 1904 in Mosier, Oregon
d. January 19, 1980 in Oregon

4) Flora A. Evans
b. about 1907 in Oregon

5) Leonard L. Evans
     b. about 1908 in Oregon

6) Alvy Eleanor Evans (Fifth Generation)
b. June 11, 1911 in Mosier, Oregon
d. May 17, 1983 in McMinnville, Oregon

7) Alvin Eleanor Evans
b. June 11, 1911 in Mosier, Oregon
d. June 19, 1977 in Salem, Oregon

8 ) Mary Evans

9) Walter J. Evans

Fifth Generation

Alvy Eleanor Evans
     b. June 11, 1911 in Mosier, Oregon
d. May 17, 1983 in McMinnville, Oregon

Married on May 19, 1933 to
Mary Elizabeth Chandler
b. October 30, 1913 in Missouri
d. January 18, 1989 in Sandy, Oregon


1) Elva Lee Evans
b. November 21, 1933 in Hood River, Oregon
d. (still living at the time of this post)

2) Daniel Ray Evans
b. March 11, 1936 in Hood River, Oregon
d. August 16, 1966 in Hood River, Oregon

3) Anita Louise Evans
     b. May 25, 1937 in Hood River, Oregon
d. (still living at the time of this post)

4) Alvy “E” Evans (Sixth Generation)
     b. June 30, 1938 in Hood River, Oregon
d. February 18, 1991 in Gresham, Oregon

Second husband to Mary; Louis Earl Zade (this is the man I knew as Grandpa, even though he was a step-grandpa)
m. December 14, 1944
b. November 9, 1913 in Oxford, Nebraska
d. April 1, 1983 in Hood River, Oregon


5) William Elbert Zade
     b. April 9, 1951 in Hood River, Oregon
d. (still living at the time of this post)

Second Wife to Alvy; Lucy

Sixth Generation

Alvy “E” Evans
b. June 30, 1938 in Hood River, Oregon
d. February 18, 1991 in Gresham, Oregon

Married on September 9, 1961 to
Edith Jessica Bonneland Andersen
     b. January 3, 1940 in Conoor, India
d. (still alive at the time of this post)


1) Rudy Vaughn Evans
     b. October 12, 1963 in Hood River, Oregon

2) Sabina Kayleen Evans
b. December 29, 1967 in Atascadero, Califnornia

3) Phillip Andrew Evans
     b. Febuary 16, 1970 in San Luis Obispo, California

4) Julie Anna Evans (ME!)
     b. February 7, 1971 in San Luis Obispo, California

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