Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 38] a prominent merchant of Mahoningtown, conducting a large and constantly increasing business in his handsome new block on Cherry Street, is a native of the neighboring county of Beaver, where he was born Dec. 21, 1862. He is a son of James and Sarah (Freed) Evans.

James Evans was born in Virginia, and is now living in retirement in Pulaski, this county, at the age of seventy years, a venerable and highly respected old gentleman. When a boy he took to river life, and became a mate on one of the river steamers plying on the river near his birthplace in Virginia. At the age of twenty, he came to Beaver County, where he followed mining for a time, and then bought and operated a canal boat, running from Erie to Pittsburg and return. Next he became a railroad contractor, and for a period of eighteen years accepted and successfully completed jobs in grading and preparing the road-bed for the iron, during which time he carried out the contracts for the construction of the Allegheny Valley R. R. through the Allegheny mountains, three miles near Freeport, and several contracts for the Pennsylvania R. R. His last contract was for three miles in Mercer County for the New Castle and Franklin R. R. Since relinquishing railroad contracting, he has constructed many county bridges, and built no small number of roads. He finally retired from active work to live on the competency gained in many years of toil, and possesses a comfortable home in Pulaski, where he bids fair to live many years yet, and emulate the example of his ancestors, who were remarkable, strong physically, and lived to very advanced ages. He is a member of the A. O. U. W. Both he and his wife are members of the M. E. Church. She was born in Beaver County, and was a daughter of John Freed, who was a farmer and one of the oldest settlers in the county; he died in 1884, aged eighty years. During the early days of the settlement of the county, when game both great and small was in abundance, he was a great hunter, and many tales of his adventures still pass current among the residents of the section where he lived.

The family moved to Lawrence County, when our subject was seven years old, and his education was obtained in the district schools of the county, supplemented with one term at North Liberty and one year at Sharpsville, where he finished at the age of seventeen. When he attained his majority, he became fireman of the Pennsylvania R. R., where he was employed in that capacity from 1888 to 1891. In the latter year he bought a store at Homewood, which he conducted one year, and then came to Mahoningtown, starting in operation in this borough a store on Liberty Street, which grew and flourished under his careful and judicious management for four years, when the increase in his business and the demand for a better location and roomier quarters led him to undertake to provide for himself the store-room he desired. Accordingly, in 1896, he built after his own plans a large, commodious block on Cherry Street, which he now occupies with a finely assorted stock of groceries and provisions, rapidly building up a most enviable trade by his genial, accommodating manners, his evident desire to make friends of his customers and to give them the best the market affords, and by having on hand only the freshest and purest of groceries.

In Beaver County occurred his marriage to Nora Witherspoon, who was born in that county, a daughter of John H. and Emeline (Johnson) Witherspoon, both natives of the Keystone State. The fruit of this union has been two children—William D. Wayne and Pearl W. The family are Methodists in religious belief, and attend the M. E. Church of Mahoningtown. Mr. Evans' political views are sympathetic with the Democratic party. He is a member of Amazon Lodge, No. 336, Knights of Pythias, of Mahoningtown; Junior Order of United American Mechanics; and of the Order of Railway Trainmen.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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