Wayne County Biographies

Part of the Indiana Biographies Project

Isaac P. Evans

When a good man dies we pause to reflect upon his career and to consider the qualities which made him honored and respected by all. No man in all Richmond was more esteemed and loved than Isaac P. Evans, whose memory is still enshrined in the hearts of all who knew him; the influence of his noble example is still felt and like "our echoes" will "roll from soul to soul," will live forever and forever. His name was prominently associated with the business interests of his city and state, and in educational and moral interests his labors were indefatigable, his service ever being put forth for the betterment of mankind.

A native of Warren county, Ohio, Isaac P. Evans was born March 1, 1821, and was a son of Thomas Evans. He spent the first thirty years of his life near Waynesville, and in the spring of 1853 took up his residence in Richmond, Indiana, at once becoming an active factor in its commercial growth. He assisted in establishing a linseed-oil factory, which was operated for several years under his personal management, and his enterprise, sound judgment, sagacity and unflagging energy made this a very profitable undertaking, the business constantly increasing. After disposing of his interest in the business at Richmond he established a similar enterprise in Indianapolis, Indiana, wiih his brothers as partners, and continued his connection with the business until his death. He was also one of the firm of Evans, Ferguson & Reeve, of Richmond, which firm purchased and reopened the Spring Grove oil mill, in 1877, Mr. Evans continuing to serve as its superintendent until failing health caused his retirement. He carried forward to successful completion whatever he undertook and displayed in his undertakings the best business methods. For some years he was a director in the First National Bank of Richmond, and his opinions concerning business matters always carried weight with all who heard them. His reputation in trade circles was unassailable, for he exemplified in his dealings the old adage that honesty is the best policy.

In politics he was a firm and earnest Republican and kept well informed on all the issues of the day, but never sought or desired office for himself. He took a commendable interest in all public improvements or measures which he believed would promote the public good and never withheld from them his support or co-operation. His was a well rounded character, never dwarfed by eccentricity or the concentration of all of his powers along one line. Not only was he successful in business, but educational, social and moral interests found in him a friend, and he was a most companionable and genial gentleman. Twice was he married, his first union being with Anna S. Boon, of Philadelphia. In less than two years after their marriage, however, she departed this life, and later he wedded Mary Ann Buffum, a native of North Brunswick, Maine, born in 1824. She was educated in the Friends' boarding school, at Providence, Rhode Island, and subsequently engaged in teaching for five years in Earlham boarding school, in Richmond. During that time she became acquainted with Mr. Evans and their marriage was the consummation of their friendship. Four daughters and one son were born to them: Anna B., wife of Leander J. Woodard, of Richmond; Mary M. and Sarah C., who are with their mother. One son and one daughter, who died in infancy.

In his youth Mr. Evans was known as a young man of great mental power and physical strength and endurance, and of strict moral character. He was also of a social disposition, which made him popular throughout his neighborhood. As he advanced in life his high religious principles became more and more marked. For many years he was one of the most prominent and active members of the Society of Friends and contributed most generously of his means to church and educational work. His charitable donations were also very large, yet were always unostentatiously made. The poor and needy found in him a friend indeed, one who not only gave generously but had the broadest sympathy for their circumstances and for any sensitive feelings which they might have about their embarrassed conditions. He was always cheerful and happy, taking great interest in the young, enjoying their innocent amusements, and in all ways possible striving to add to their happiness, always bearing in mind that he is most happy whose heart is right toward God. He was hospitable, and his home was open to many, and not a few cherish a grateful remembrance of his uniform courtesy and kindness as a host. To his family he was all that a loving and devoted husband and father could be, doing all in his power to promote the happiness of his wife and children, and counting no personal sacrifice too great that would enhance their welfare. His faith in the Christian religion was illimitable. At his funeral J. H. Douglas, who had known him long and intimately, said: "He was truly a man of God, always loyal to Christ and His gospel. He was among the first to urge the holding of open-air meetings at the time of the Indiana yearly meeting, and never seemed satisfied until he was privileged to hear the gospel proclaimed to the thousands who assembled in those days, and who were wont to go away without hearing the word of life. For more than twenty years he stood by me and encouraged me in this open-air preaching; and when I would try to excuse myself by telling him how great an effort it was, and that perhaps I had done my part, he would reply, 'Just this once; thy voice can reach so far, and these people must hear the gospel; some among them may be converted;' and then that peculiar embrace of his so well remembered by so many of the Lord's servants. I could excuse myself no further, and thus year after year our dear brother encouraged the preaching of the gospel." He passed to the rest prepared for the righteous October 2, 1882. For two years he had been in poor health, but he bore his sufferings patiently, upborne by a faith in Him who hath given promise of a land where there is neither suffering nor sighing. His widow and daughters reside in a pleasant home in Spring Grove, a beautiful little suburb of Richmond, and the family is one of prominence in the community, its members having the warm regard of all who know them.

Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties, Indiana, Volume 1, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1899