Richard Evans Farm has Been in Same Family for 146-Year Period
A Warren Everhart Column
Urbana Daily Citizen, 28 Nov 1958
Abstracted by Pat Stickley
Re-printed Champaign County Genealogical Society Newsletter Volume 13 No 1. Jan/Feb/Mar 1997
Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by Kate Maresch
SECTION No 1, URBANA TOWNSHIP
I am going to write now about a farm home in the Buck Creek territory that has remained continuously in the possession of some member of the same family for a period of 146 years. This is the Richard Evans farm in Urbana township. In this series of articles of Buck Creek farms, the Evans farm is only surpassed by one other for longevity of ownership. This one is the Mahlon Neer farm in Pleasant township (Clark County). It has been in the McConkey family for 154 years. The Coffey farm stayed in the family for 150 years, but is now out. The Van Tullis farm in Pleasant township is a close third to the Evans place. This one was started by the Neer-Cartmell family. I don't know the exact date, but it must be close to 140 years.
In the year 1812, Isaac and Susanna Evans received a land patent for the northeast quarter (169 acres) in section 1, township 5, range 11, of Urbana township. To be more exact this would be from the Emery Craig corner, south to very close to the bridge that crosses Dugan creek at Powhattan. Again in 1830 they also recorded a patent for the southeast quarter of the same section. This brought his farm down to the turn of route 54 going east, and gave Isaac Evans 320 acres. Evans must have contracted for this second 160 acre tract several years before 1830. It was a common occurrence for a man to file a claim, make a down payment on the tract, gain possession of it, but not receive a title deed until he had completed final payment on the land was too good to lay there until 1830 before some on filed on it.
Evans seemed to be somewhat of a speculator, for he did not hold his 320 acres intact. Before 1840 he had sold a tract of 60 acres to Adoniram McBride. Another tract of 80 acres went to Abraham Osborn, this old gent had at least six sons. Their names were: Edward, Joseph, James, Thomas, Levi and Samuel. All of these sons married and lived in the community. Their names all appear very frequently in the Robert and Baldwin account books of their mills.
Isaac Evans also sold off several smaller tracts ranging from less than an acre to 10 or 12 acres. These small tracts all became known as Powhattan. How or who game the village that name is lost in antiquity. At least the name is suggestive of the Indians who hunted and fished up and down the creeks which meander through and near the little village.
The reason for the existence of this little cluster of homes, never more that six or eight, was probably a factory, sometimes referred to as a woolen mill, that existed there in a very early day. For a long time I doubted the existence of this factory, thinking that people were confusing it with the Baldwin mill which was less that a quarter of a mile distant. However, after a thorough search of the deed records I found that a factory did exist there several years before 1845. Just when it was constructed I could not tell from the records, but Isaac Evans was undoubtedly the man who built and operated it in its early years.
A deed, recorded in 1846 from Isaac Evans to William Wharton, describes very definitely the tract of ground, the factory building, and the race which extended up Dugan creek several rods to a dam that confined the water of that creek. All of the machinery that was used in the operation of the factory went with the sale, except that used in the cider mill and the carpet weaving machinery. Those two were excepted and held by Evans. The location of the factory was on the southwest side of Dugan branch, and the home, formerly where Richard Evans lives, was part of the tract. I think the original home of Isaac Evans may have been on the other side of the creek and like most pioneer homes was probably a log house. The factory location was actually a part of the second 160 acre tract acquired by Evans.
The homes in Powhattan changed hands frequently. I made no attempt to trace them down individually, but here is a partial list of people who lived there before 1900. The occupations represented were storekeeper, blacksmith, shoemaker, and doctor. Evan Bane was the doctor, Edwin Brown, blacksmith, John Gwynne, shoemaker, Smith and George Dulin storekeeper, William and Thomas Wharton operators of the factory, Hugh C. Roberts farmer and miller. Others were Lewis C. Michael, Martin Miller, Stephen and Barr, Mary Conklin, Sarah Chenowith, Andy Bass and Henry Cunningham, Edward Cunningham, son of Henry, was born in Powhattan. The factory, too, changed hands several times other owners beside the Whartons were Newton Ashing, William Earnhardt and Thomas Patton. The factory site finally came back in the Evans family in 1901 when John Will Evans purchased it from Thomas Patton.
The wife of Isaac Evans, whose name was Susanna, is buried in Buck Creek Cemetery, her death occurring in 1851; she was born in 1778. From the deed records of the settlement of Isaac's estate, he evidently preceded her in death. He most certainly was also buried at Buck Creek, but if so, his grave stone is unreadable, or else down and buried beneath the soil. William S. Evans, born in 1806 and died in 1892, his wife Eliza Roberts Evans born in 1810 and died in 1883, are both buried beside William S. Evans' mother Susanne.
William S. Evans, (known as Uncle Billie) was the father of John Will Evans, and it was through these two that Evans property descended to Edgar Evans and his son Richard. From the information I have recorded, the reader will note that the 320 acres patented to Isaac was not kept any where near intact by him, he sold much of it and also bought some land in the section immediately south of him. However, John Will Evans and Edgar Evans, the great grand-son of Isaac Evans, brought back in their possession three houses in Powhattan. And, in addition, they added the quarter section immediately south of section No. 6 (known as the Price farm).
WEST SIDE OF SECITON NO. 1
The west half of section No. 1 is bordered by the Pretty Prairie road. The southwest quarter was patented to John Winn. This old pioneer sure latched on to the big slice of the prairie. He had 480 acres on the east side the prairie road, and on the west side of the road, he owned every section from the county line, north to the Dolly Varden road, which amounted to three whole sections or 1,920 acres. This with is 480 made a total of 2,240 acres. And to top it off it had very little heavy timber on it, mostly just wild prairie grass. He very likely bought the whole works for about 2 or 3 dollars per acre. At a conservative guess it is worth $300 per acre today, or $675,000.
But getting back to the southwest quarter of the section. Winn transferred it to his son-in-law, John Caldwell in 1826, then Caldwell passed it to another of Winn's son-in-laws, William McRoberts, in 1834. McRoberts sold it to Jeremiah Wolf in 1843. I don't know whether he was related or not, but anyhow it went from Wolf to James Rawlings in 1857, who also was connected with the Winns. He immediately sold it to Mr. Wentworth and then after a couple more owners it passed to the Jacob Mumper family. From Jacob J. Mumper it finally landed in Robert Humphreys hands.
The northwest quarter of section No. 1 was owned by Levi Osborn.