Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ora Evans and his father, Moses Evans

Evans monument, Cork Cemetery, 1988
    Ora Evans, son of Moses Evans, allegedly was born in North Adams (Berkshire) MA in April 1760 and died in Lake County OH in 1845.  The Evans monument in Cork Cemetery in Harpersfield (Ashtabula) OH, erected after the death of Ora Jr. in 1871, is inscribed:  “In Memory of/ Ora Evans/ 1760-1845./ Jemima/ His wife.”
    There is some surprisingly detailed information in print about Ora and his service during the American Revolution.  According to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter that collected much of the information, as well as several other accounts, all unsourced:
    “At the time of the ‘Lexington Alarm’ in April 1775, father and son responded, going to the relief of Boston.”  Furthermore, they served throughout the war as ‘minute-men,’ lastly at the Battle of Harlem Heights.  Ora’s mother, who lived to be 108 years old, followed the army as a nurse and, so tradition relates, one time carried dispatches from General Washington.
    Why weren’t such significant military deeds officially recorded somewhere?  Neither Moses nor Ora is listed in the annals of the Lexington Alarm, the lists of Minute Men, Massachusetts’ Revolutionary War records, and New York in the Revolution.  No record has been found of Ora’s birth in 1760 in North Adams, or elsewhere.  And, wouldn’t you think that someone who lived to be 108 years old would be mentioned in a local history?
Ora Evans birth record, Warwick MA
   A candidate for Ora’s father is Moses Evans (born 17 March 1721 in Franklin County MA), who married in Northfield (Franklin) 1746 Chloe Doolittle (born 4 May 1730 in Northfield).  Recorded by the Warwick (Franklin) Town Clerk was the entry:  “Ora Evans, son to Moses Evans and Chloe Evans was born February the 20 - 1767.”  However, in 1775, this son would have been only eight years old, probably too young to have engaged in much military activity.

     Moses’ military service, if any, is unknown.  He died in Hinsdale (Cheshire) NH in 1807.  A photograph of the gravestone of Chloe D. Evans, who died on 23 January 1812 at 83 years of age (born circa 1729 ) has been linked to the Find A Grave memorial for Chloe Doolittle Evans, spouse of Moses Evans.  She allegedly died in Hartland (Windsor) VT, but the cemetery where the photo was taken is not identified.
    In 1811 someone named Chloe Evans went to Lake County (then Geauga County) OH from Genesee County NY, as did Ora Evans and his wife, Jemima Button.  Could Chloe have been Moses’ widow and Ora’s mother?

     Since nothing written about Ora and his parents, except the birth of a son Ora to a Moses Evans, has been verified so far, it seems reasonable to think that Ora WAS born in 1767, son of Moses and Chloe, and all the undocumented information about patriotic service is inaccurate.  Despite the lack of verifiable records of service, however, the SAR has recognized both Moses and Ora as Revolutionary patriots and at least two men have joined the SAR as descendants of Moses.

    New Connecticut Chapter DAR, Painesville, Ohio, compiler, “Ora Evans, 1760-1845,” A Record of the Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Lake County, Ohio (Painesville, Ohio:  Lake County Historical Society, n.d.), pp. 23-24.
    “Moses Evans,” memorial 47940482, and "Chloe D. Evans," memorial 47941322, Find A Grave (accessed 8 March 2014).
    Genealogical Committee of Western Reserve Historical Society,  Genealogical Data Relating to Women in the Western Reserve Before 1840 (Cleveland: WRHS, 1976), pp. 79, 589.
    Massachusetts, Town Clerks, "Town Records, 1627-2001," Franklin County, Warwick, Births, marriages, deaths 1740-1849, vol. 1, p. 6, Ora Evans birth; digital image, FamilySearch (accessed 15 April 2014), image 6/158. 

Evans monument from Buffalogen's photo collection