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)