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William Evans
1804-1876

Obituary of General William Evans

Gen. William Evans, was born April 7th, 1804, near the spot where he breathed his last; was married to Miss Sarah Ann, daughter of Gen. Thomas Godbold, June 19th, 1827; joined the Methodist Church in 1855; and died near Marion, S.C., June 6th, 1876.

Physically he was one of the most powerful of men. Having a naturally well-wrought frame, he in early life, by athletic exercises and manual labor, developed symmetrical and muscular manhood of wonderful strength and powers of endurance, in so much that no man of my acquaintance, on this year or so ago, seemed more likely to attain to his fourscoure, or even five score years than he. His mental constitution was scarcely less remarkable. Although deprived of the

training of the schools, his vigorous intellect began early and successfully to investigate the problems of practical life. With a mental vigor that did not hesitate to grapple with difficulties which would have appalled most men, and with a tenacity of purpose which never calculated upon defeat, he with comparatively small beginnings amassed a large fortune. In his social nature Gen. Evans was happily endowed. Dignified, yet genial and courteous, his mind stored with interesting reminiscences of extensive travel and close observation, his ordinary conversation sparkling with humor, he was a most agreeable companion; and he never seemed more cheerful than when dispensing a generous hospitality to his numerous friends. His fellow citizens illustrated their appreciation of his qualities of head and heart by electing him from time to time to positions of honor and of trust. When a young man he was elected to the command of a regiment, a little later to the command of a brigade. When twenty-eight years of age he represented Marion district in the Nullification Convention of 1832. He served three terms in the Legislature of his native State, and in 1875 he was sent to the Tax-payers’ Convention. His popularity proved to him, as it often does to men, an expensive luxury, his friends drawing upon his credit until first and last he paid nearly fifty thousand dollars as security. In his domestic relations he was peculiar. Few men, perhaps, realized a more profound interest in their children, yet he seemed all the while laboring to conceal his concern in their well being, albeit his energies were being spent in making provision for their future comfort. The

companion of his struggles and his triumphs for nearly fifty years survives him; her experience is merging into the mellow halo of the evening hour. Gen. Evans, though a member of the Church for about twenty years, did not, until about three years ago, devote himself in any appreciable degree to the work of his salvation. During a revival in the town of Marion, in 1878, he seemed to be aroused to a clearer apprehension of the value of his immortal interests, and from that period he devoted much of his time to reading the Scriptures and to religious meditation. Toward the close of his life, in conversation with the writer, and with his pastor and others, he gave assurances that he was making ready for his account at the bar of God. For several years immediately preceding his death, he had experienced unmistakable premonitions of his rapidly approaching dissolution, and having arranged his business affairs he awaited in hope the solemn event. As he had anticipated, the summons came suddenly. Sitting on his piazza, in the act of reading a letter just opened, he fell upon his face, and though the members of his household gathered speedily about him, he was seen to breathe no more. He was a good citizen, an earnest Methodist, and as we believe, at the least, a sincere Christian. He was buried in Marion; the business houses were all closed, and a large concourse attended his funeral. Dr. Fleming, brothers Stokes, W. Thomas, and Wolling, taking part in the solemn services.

From The Southern Christian Advocate ( 5 September1876)

Submitted by William Coxe, 10 Dec 2003.


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