The following is a culmination of several years of research on a computer half a world away from Britain, with input from Evans descendants in Canada, Australia and England. With all due diligence, a wealth of both census and parish birth, marriage and death registers now available on-line from Ancestry.ca, Family Search and Find My Past UK has been tracked in order to piece together the lineage of ancestors centuries after the fact. While speculation is a good part of ancestry research, I have kept it to a minimum here so as to result in a history that is, for all intents and purposes, reasonably verifiable, albeit not infallible. As I have often found, family lore handed down over hundreds of years does not always accord with documented history, as will become apparent.
Note: Where used, “b.” = burial & “d.” = died
Evans Family Tree HERE
Hartley Bateson wrote “A History of Oldham” in 1949, in which he states that coal mining grew in Oldham with “…the arrival in town of two poor Welsh labourers, John Evans and William Jones, sometime before 1770.”
Well, not quite.
Central to history of interest to descendants is John Evans; on June 18, 1784 he signed on at a colliery belonging to the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater at Worsley, four days after Thomas Evans enlisted. It is likely that both were influenced by Richard Evans, who began work there on Dec 19, 1777. On April 12, 1787 George Evans joined the workforce. All four were from Broseley, Shropshire. The depletion of accessible coal at Broseley / Madeley ultimately led to a migration of resident miners to Oldham and area.
William Jones Jr. signed up at Worsley on June 14, 1784, as did his father, William Jones Sr. on April 8, 1785, both also of Broseley.
So, there is an element of truth to the claim that two Welsh labourers, John Evans and William Jones, did arrive, albeit not exactly in Oldham circa 1770. Baptism records indicate that William Jr. married and remained in Worsley. It is not clear whether William Sr. also stayed, or if he moved on to Oldham. There is documentation that another William Jones of Fogg Lane, with deep historical roots in Oldham, was associated with the Lees family in coal mining. However, contrary to rumored history, inquiries turned up no evidence in the Manchester Archives or Lancashire Archives at Leigh of John Evans having ever partnered with either.
In 1856 Edwin Butterworth wrote in “Historical Sketches of Oldham” that “Mr. John Evans, father of the late Edward Evans, of Dryclough, established a colliery on Oldham Edge…” In “Oldham: The Formative Years”, K. McPhillips noted in 1981 regarding Edward that “…his father had mined on Oldham Edge and he himself became an authority on mining techniques…” Historically, a unique means of extracting coal was developed at Broseley / Madeley, called “longwall mining”, but also known as “The Shropshire Method”. Undoubtedly John, a Coal Master, would have been expert in such, and in fact it became a common procedure in and about Oldham.
See Longwall Mining HERE
Thus, Broseley miners brought with them unique methodology that proved advantageous to Oldham's early coal industry.
John began mining coal at Oldham Edge / Royton circa 1791/2, growing into an enterprise built upon the Dry Clough and Edge Lane collieries, and finally corporately merged to become Evans, Barker & Co., a significant mining concern in Oldham and area by the mid 1800s.
As per parish registers, John married Anne Glover on Dec 17, 1770 at St. Leonard, Broseley. On Nov 3, 1771 their son, George, was baptized at St. Leonard. (It is important to understand that, for the purposes of this research, there are two persons of interest by the name of “George Evans”.) On July 18, 1773 Edward was baptized to John and Anne. The dates of these two christenings match exactly with ages provided by burial records for George at St. Peter, Oldham, and Edward at St. Paul, Royton.
There is a gap in baptism records between Edward’s birth in 1773 and the baptism of Anne on Aug 12, 1781; given the decline of the industry at Broseley, I believe this is because John and Anne moved about in pursuit of opportunities relative to his profession. In this regard, parish registers reveal that...
On May 29, 1775 John, “son of John and Ann Evins” was baptized at Polesworth, Warwickshire, followed by Ann on April 5, 1777. These are the only appearances of our couple in this register. Polesworth is roughly thirty miles east of Broseley, back then a good day’s ride by horse and wagon. As per Wikipedia: “When the Coventry Canal was built through Polesworth in the 1770s, the village developed a coal mining and clay industry and the population underwent rapid growth.” I think John perceived a potential opening, albeit it apparently was short lived.
Bedworth, Warwickshire is about seven miles south of Polesworth, and had been a center of coal production since the 1300s. Here on Sept 2, 1778 Ann, “daughter of John and Ann Evans”, was buried. On Feb 10, 1779 Emanuel, son of John and Ann Evans, was baptized. Once again, these are the only entries in Bedworth registers for John and Anne; clearly they were not long term residents.
By 1781 they had returned to Broseley, where daughter Anne was baptized; this appears to be their last entry in Shropshire registers.
Following their arrival at Worsley in 1784, John and Anne first appear in Deane / Bolton parish registers with the baptism of Jenny (Jane) on May 29, 1787, and again with Mary on Feb 28, 1790, residents of Farnworth, just north of Worsley. Mary was buried Oct 23, 1790 at St. Mary’s, Deane. They then vanish from those parish records, and reappear in Oldham registers for the first time on Sept 18, 1791 with the baptism of Robert, residents of Higginshaw, next door to Oldham Edge. On Jan 1, 1795 Elijah was baptized, “Son of John Evans, Oldham Edge, coal miner, by Ann his wife”.
Also found in the registers is the burial of Samuel on March 29, 1792, son of John Evans of Grimbies, essentially part of Oldham Edge. There is no record of baptism for Samuel in all of Britain that cannot be attributed to other similarly named couples. However, there also is no further relevant record for an Emanuel Evans in Warwickshire, Shropshire, nor Lancashire…except for one: John’s grandson named Emanuel by George and Martha, born in 1809 at Royton. Brother Emanuel would have been thirteen years old in 1792, the year George and Martha married. I am fairly convinced that the entry in the burial register for “Samuel” was in error; it should have been recorded as “Emanuel”.
John’s sons - George, Edward, and John:
George Evans first appears in Lancastrian registers with his marriage to Martha Trunley on Dec 23, 1792 at St. Mary, Prestwich. Martha was baptized on Dec 11, 1774 at Alton, Staffordshire to Ralph and Mary (Martin). George and Martha’s daughter, Martha, was baptized March 16, 1794 at Wesleyan Methodist, Oldham, the first of twelve offspring; I’ve been unable to find her in subsequent records. Tracking baptisms, we learn that George moved about Lancashire as he tended to Evans’ coal interests. That said, John, "son of George Evans of Throstlenest, miner", was baptized at St. Bartholomew, Marsden on Jan 3, 1796. George had a different reason to be in Yorkshire – more on this shortly. This son did not survive, albeit no burial record can be found, as George and Martha baptized their fourth child, John, at St. Katherine, Blackrod on July 6, 1800; collier, he married Elizabeth (?) circa 1820, and died Dec 16, 1865 at Oldham. The third child, George, also was baptized at St. Bartholomew on Nov 15, 1797; he was buried July 7, 1817 at St. Peter, Oldham – stated age: 19.
After Blackrod, we can follow George and Martha in parish baptism registers….
Robert – Jan 1, 1803 at Leigh; collier, married Mary Cheetham Nov 23, 1823 at Manchester, b. March 5, 1834 at St. Paul, Royton; re-married to Mary Gartside June 10, 1834 at Oldham, d. Nov 4, 1873 at Royton; was the executor in younger brother Daniel’s will in 1867 – b. Jan 8, 1875 at St. Paul.
Edward – July 29, 1804 at Leigh; married Mary Crompton April 20, 1824 at Prestwich, immigrated to Pennsylvania, USA – d. Sept 25, 1874 at New Brighton, PA.
Samuel – June 22, 1806 at Westhoughton; married Mariah Fielding June 13, 1830 at Oldham, immigrated to Rochester, Pennsylvania, where he is recorded in the 1880 census.
Emanuel – April 2, 1809 at Prestwich, recorded, strangely enough, in the register as “Ameando”; married Betty Cheetham Nov 30, 1828 at St. Leonard, Middleton, and immigrated to Pennsylvania – d. 1863 at New Brighton, PA.
Edward, Samuel, and Emanuel carried on as coal miners in Pennsylvania.
Mary – March 17, 1811 at Royton; unable to identify her in subsequent records.
Elijah – May 9, 1813 at Winwick, as per the register entry “Tenth child and eighth son” – b. July 13, 1815 at St. Peter, Oldham.
William – Dec 3, 1815, residence; Copy Nook – b. Sept 9, 1818 at St. Peter, residence: High Moor.
Daniel – Jan 13, 1822 at Oldham; married girl next door, Sarah Croxon, Sept 22, 1841 at St. Mary, Oldham; lived in Pennsylvania during the 1840s, recorded at Madoc, Hastings County, Ontario in the 1861 census – d. Dec 17, 1867 at Royton (as per probate record). Sarah returned to America – d. Jan 27, 1903 at Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
It is virtually certain that Daniel, along with his cousin, John Evans, most probably a grandson of Thomas and Margaret Evans of Worsley, discovered a 134 pound gold nugget in Australia. It’s a great story…
Read it HERE
George Evans of Edge Lane was buried on April 24, 1824 at St. Peter, Oldham; stated age: 53. Martha, “Widow” and of Royton, was buried Jan 7, 1839 at St. Peter.
A descendant of George relates that, according to family lore, he was written out of John’s will for reasons of, shall we say, questionable character. Confirmation of this might be indicated by three of George’s sons moving on to America, possibly for lack of a better reason to remain in Oldham, i.e., participation in the Evans’ coal enterprise. What is clear is that Edward became the principal in the Evans business, while no similar mention of George can be said to persist.
Edward Evans first appears in Lancastrian parish records with his marriage to Jemima Smith on Sept 30, 1792 at St. Mary’s, Prestwich. Jemima was baptized Sept 8, 1770 at St. Peter, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire to John Smith and Jemima Holt. Edward and Jemima’s children, as per baptism registers…
Margaret – Jan 5, 1794 at Manchester; married Frederick Augustus Fletcher April 3, 1814 at Prestwich. He was the elder brother of Susannah Scholes Fletcher, who married John Evans, my 3rd G. Grandfather. (Note: NOT the same Frederick Augustus Fletcher who died in Kent in 1839, the son of Thomas Fletcher.) Margaret – b. Aug 20, 1839 at St. Paul, Royton.
Ann – March 26, 1796 at Parochial Chapel, Oldham; in the 1851 and 1861 census reports she states her birthplace as Red Brook, Yorkshire. Married Travis Cocker May 19, 1816 at Prestwich, re-married to James Kenyon July 7, 1834 at Manchester – b. Jan 25, 1866 at Holy Trinity, Shaw.
John – remains somewhat of a mystery. It is probable that he also was born at Red Brook. There is an entry in the Collegiate, Manchester registers which states: Aug 19, 1798 “nothing more in the note”. No other “John Evans” entries, anywhere, match up with Edward and Jemima. John was named in Edward’s will as his eldest son and an executor.
George – May 1, 1800 at St. Peter, Oldham; married Betsey Seville Sept 29, 1824 at Prestwich, and became a grocer and a “corn dealer”. His unique signature identifies him as a witness to the marriage of John Evans and Susannah Scholes Fletcher – b. April 14, 1845 at St. Paul, Royton.
Edward – May 13, 1802 at St. Peter; married Margaret Morton Oct 29, 1820 at Prestwich, she died of accidental arsenic poisoning – b. May 11, 1842 at St. Paul, Royton. Re-married to Margaret Wilkinson Sept 24, 1844 at Sedbergh, Yorkshire, became a principal in Evans, Barker & Co. – b. Sept 26, 1856 at St. Paul. Margaret – b. June 28, 1854 at St. Paul.
Daniel – Feb 5, 1804; appears in the 1841 census along with brother, George and his wife, Betsey, at North Meols, Ormskirk. Married Martha Ann Morley March 30, 1829 at Prestwich, was a stationery dealer and Freemason – b. June 14, 1855 at St. Paul. Martha – b. Aug 24, 1864 at St. Paul.
Harriet Smith – April 6, 1806 at St. Peter; married Edward Evans at Oldham July 30, 1835, a coal merchant from Ketley, Shropshire (several miles north of Broseley), and almost certain her cousin – b. Jan 9, 1859 at Ketley. Edward and only offspring, Robert, and his family immigrated to Hastings County in Ontario, Canada. Edward – d. Aug 17, 1872 at Bellville.
William – July 24, 1808 at St. Peter; became a surgeon, joined the military, and spent a number of years stationed in India where he first married Elizabeth Brereton Nov 16, 1842 at Bombay, and then Emma Soames July 11, 1848 at Madras. He named a son, “Montague Benthall”, notable as the village of Benthall is next door to Broseley. William lived a long life – d. Feb 21, 1898 at Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Elizabeth – July 18, 1811 at St. Peter; married Benjamin Travis April 9, 1829 at Oldham, re-married to Richard Greaves March 12, 1846 at Prestwich. Following his death in Aug 1862 she immigrated to Hastings County, Ontario – d. March 12, 1890 at Bellville. Daughter, Julia, married her cousin, Thomas Evans, son of my ancestors, John and Susannah.
Henry Edwin – March 24, 1815 at St. Peter; married Sarah Robinson May 31, 1836 at Birchover, Derbyshire, re-married to Eliza Cocks May 15, 1848 at Prestwich, and married again to Mary Taylor Clegg Sept 1, 1858 at Oldham – b. May 1, 1868 at St. Paul.
On July 4, 1834 Edward Evans “the elder, of Oldham, in the said county, coal proprietor”, along with engineers Benjamin Hicks and John Higgens, received a patent for the invention of “metallic packings for the pistons of steam and other engines, pumps, and other purposes to which the same may be applicable.” It is difficult to overstate how this would have improved the efficiency of the steam engine, and thus industries which were reliant upon this mode of power.
Edward Evans was buried Oct 15, 1835 at St. Paul, Royton; stated age: 62. Jemima followed on Dec 5, 1844, stated age: 73. His obituary read…
“On the 9th, instant, aged 62, Mr. Edward Evans, of Edgelane, near Oldham, coal-merchant. For nearly eight years he had been afflicted with a severe and irremediable sickness, which he bore with surprising fortitude and resignation. He was a man whose rare natural talents, persevering application to business, and uncompromising probity, had deservedly raised him from a comparatively humble station to a most respectable sphere of life, and a most useful character in society. His death will long be lamented by his family, and regretted by his friends; for few men have attained to greater respect amongst their neighbours and acquaintances, and none perhaps have descended to the grave with a better name.”
John Evans (Jr) first appears in Oldham registers with his marriage to Bridget Burrows on April 17, 1797 at St. Mary, Prestwich. I had been aware of John, resident, collier and innkeeper of Dry Clough, and had suspected he was immediately connected to the family. Evidence is found in consecutive entries in the St. Peter baptism register. On May 13, 1802 Betty was baptized to John and Bridget Evans of Oldham. The very next register entry for that same day was Edward, son of Edward and Jemima Evans of Grimbies. Leaving little room for doubt, the record of John’s second marriage to Alice Farrow was witnessed by his brother, George, his signature a match with the record of his own marriage to Martha Trunley.
William Rowbottom’s diary mentions that John became manager of the 'Steam Engine Tavern' in Feb 1813, and the Directory of the County Palatine Lancaster 1825, states that he was still in that position. Nevertheless, John also was recorded in baptism registers as a collier during this same period.
John and Bridget had three children before she died in May 1807. As per baptism registers: Samuel – June 3, 1798, married Hannah Walton April 3, 1820 at St. Mary, Oldham – b. May 11, 1825 at St. Paul; Betty – May 13, 1802 at St. Peter, married George Beswick April 19, 1824 – b. Jan 1, 1872 at St. Paul; and Anne – May 3, 1804 – b. Aug 21, 1808 at St. Peter, Oldham.
John re-married Oct 7, 1808 to Alice Farrow at Oldham. They had five children before Alice passed in Oct 1834: John – Oct 25, 1809 – b. Nov 19, 1809 at St. Peter; Mary Ann – May 11, 1811, married Frederick Jackson June 14, 1832 at St. Mary, Prestwich – b. Aug 17, 1841 at St. Mary, Oldham; John – July 29, 1813 – b. Aug 31, 1813 at St. Peter; John – Oct 2, 1814 – b. Oct 27, 1814 at St. Peter; Ellen – April 14, 1816, married Samuel Riley Oct 13, 1836 witnessed by her brother-in-law, George Beswick – d. 1858 at Oldham.
John, “Gentleman”, married Hannah Greaves, widow, on July 20, 1835 at Oldham. Hannah passed in May 1846. John was buried April 9, 1844 at St. Paul, Royton; stated age: 69, matching his birth year of 1775 at Polesworth.
The other George Evans...
Had it not been for one small detail recorded in the 1851 census of England, I likely would still be floundering about trying to figure out the lineage of my 3rd G. Grandfather, John Evans. He was very specific with an 1851 census taker as to his place of birth. Taking several hours to translate the handwritten entry into verifiable fact located on a map, it read: "Red Brook to/e (to the east) of Standedge, near Marsden, Yorkshire". His stated age, 53, implied a birth year circa 1797/8.
Confirmation appears within the register of St. Bartholomew at Marsden, which records the baptism of "John son of George Evans of Red Brook - miner" on Dec 25, 1797. (See Appendix …at foot of page)
George Evans married Letitia Reeves at Madeley, Shropshire on Oct 7, 1789. Letitia was baptized on Oct 3, 1773 at Madeley to William and Martha (Jeffreys). No entries in baptism registers for children of George and Letitia can be found in or around Broseley / Madeley.
However, George and Letitia first appear in Oldham registers with the baptism of Betty on Aug 12, 1792 at St. Mary, Oldham, residence – Higginshaw; this was also the residence of John and Anne Evans in 1791. To date I’ve been unable to trace Betty in any records.
George next appears in the registers of St. Margaret of Antioch with the baptism of Letitia on Oct 5, 1800, residence – Hollinwood. Daughter Letitia was buried April 10, 1802 at St. Margaret.
George had moved from Higginshaw to Hollinwood; during the intervening years he was at Red Brook, Yorkshire. Also recorded at St. Bartholomew was the baptism of Jane, “daughter of George Evans of town – Sojourner” on Sept 28, 1794; sojourner meaning George was not a resident. Jane, married to Thomas Lees Aug 21, 1815, stated her birthplace in the 1851 census as “Oldham”, which may be true, although the 1841 census indicates she was not born in Lancashire. No contradicting record of baptism can be found in Oldham registers. Thomas and Jane had nine children; widowed in 1844 while residing near Stalybridge, Jane was interred at St. Peter, Ashton-under-Lyne Aug 12, 1857, stated age: 63.
What was George doing in Red Brook?
Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Canal
In 1794 work started on what was to become the longest tunnel in Britain at that time, beginning in Marsden and ending at Diggle, east of Oldham, designed to provide a shortened canal route for barge traffic through the Pennine Hills some 600 feet in height.
Read more HERE .
In 1795 a John Evans was hired to coordinate boring of the tunnel. In 1796 George Evans contracted to construct provisions for drainage at Pule. By 1798 it was apparent that engineering and cost estimates were flawed, and the project turned into somewhat of a debacle. In September of 1798 George Evans broke his contract and departed, presumably to save himself from financial ruin. Given his presence at Marsden in 1794, it is almost certain that this George Evans was my ancestor.
We know from register records at St. Bartholomew and later census records that John and Anne’s sons, George and Edward, also were involved. As noted earlier, George had two sons baptized at Marsden: John in 1796 and George in 1797. We also know that Edward’s daughter, Anne, stated in two censuses that she was born at Red Brook in 1796. And again, it is probable that Edward’s eldest son, John, was also born at Red Brook in 1798, but baptized back in Manchester, as was Anne in Oldham.
The mystery person in this is John Evans, contracted in 1795. St. Bartholomew’s register records that “Martha, wife of John Evans of Puleside, Surveyor” was buried June 15, 1796. Clearly, this was the same John Evans contracted to manage the boring of the tunnel. However, on July 12, 1797 “James of John Evans, Surveyor” was baptized at St. Bartholomew. Obviously, John didn’t waste any time finding a new wife, back in those days often because one had children at home in need of a mother’s care. On Aug 28, 1796 John Evans, "Coal Master", married Marjorie Carter of Failsworth – both widows. On June 1, 1799 Marjorie was buried at St. Margaret, Hollinwood. Now with at least two children at home, John, “collier”, re-married on Sept 4, 1799 at Bolton to Betty Hartley, both widowed and over thirty years of age. Son James, stated age: 16, enlisted in the military at Salford on June 14, 1813; his birth place in the record - Marsden. On Jan 13, 1862 James Evans of Hollinwood was buried at St. Margaret - stated age: 65, matching his birth year of 1797.
Researching this John Evans revealed the following, which seems to be beyond coincidence...
John Evans married Martha "Blayney" on May 20, 1792 at Clunbury, Shropshire. On April 7, 1793 Ann was baptized at Clun. They then vanish from the registers in Shropshire.
Martha Blayney was baptized on July 18, 1762 at Lydbury North, Shropshire, to John and Martha, one of eight children. John Blayney married Martha Powell on March 12, 1748 at Chirbury, Shropshire.
John Blayney doesn't appear in earlier registers anywhere near Chirbury or Clun. Where he does show up is in the registers of Broseley, baptized Feb 11, 1724 to John and Mary Blayney. Thus, he was the elder brother of Elizabeth who married Thomas Evans, and Eleanor who married John Evans.
As will be revealed, Martha Blayney thus was a first cousin to John Evans of Oldham Edge, or more to the point, family. All of which suggests a reason why John and Martha vanished from the registers in Shropshire after 1793; they were drawn by family to Marsden where John was contracted in 1795. Indeed, who would have been better qualified in those times for the construction of a tunnel than Coal Masters, as also were George, my ancestor, and John's sons, George and Edward.
The question remains: Was John related to our Evans ancestors? Perhaps, even probable, but I doubt there's any sure way of knowing; there were so many by that name in that region of Shropshire, it’s extremely difficult to sort one out of the crowd.
For Evans descendants who live in or about Lancashire, and who are familiar with the Standedge Tunnel, know that several of your ancestors had a leading hand in the early years of its construction.
Letitia (Reeves) was buried on Sept 28, 1808, “wife of George Evans - age: 35”, at Madeley, Shropshire. Apparently George deemed it important that she be returned to the place of her birth, and her family.
On April 19, 1811 George Evans, “widow, coal miner” married Anne Cooper, spinster, at St. Leonard, Middleton. George signed the register with an “X”, as did he also when he married Letitia.
A lingering question had been, which George Evans was interred at St. Peter? This was finally resolved with the finding of Anne’s burial record of March 23, 1817 at St. Mary, Prestwich, resident of Schofield Fold, Chadderton “widow of the late George Evans”. Thus, I know that the George Evans buried April 26, 1824 was in fact the son of John Evans, brother of Edward, and husband of Martha Trunley. And I also know that my ancestor passed on sometime between his marriage in April of 1811 and March of 1817. But no such record exists in Oldham parish registers.
Recently, I discovered a burial record for George Evans, Sept 21, 1811 at Hatherlow, Romiley, Cheshire, “died from a fall into a pit”- stated age: 46. This would have been five months after his marriage to Anne Cooper. The “pit”, to be certain, would have been related to a coal mine. As a Coal Master, George would have been in demand within the booming coal industry in and about Oldham. Only about seven miles from Hollinwood, it’s not improbable that his professional skills would have been employed at Romiley. There are no other registry entries during the previous twenty years of a George Evans in or about Romiley or Stockport, implying he was not a resident of the area. This also explains why no will was found; George’s accidental death in midlife precluded this preparation. I remain convinced that my 4th G. Grandfather’s final resting place was at Romiley, Cheshire.
At the time of George’s death in 1811, son John would have been fourteen, and daughter Jane seventeen. Considering the obituary in praise of Edward Evans’ noble character, I think it is relevant that John named his second child “Edward”, as did Jane name her first child. This perhaps hints that Edward played a significant role in seeing to their wellbeing going forward, so much so that both paid tribute to him in this traditional manner.
Clues to the past in newsprint…
An ad posted in the Manchester Mercury on Sept 25, 1804 provides some insight. In essence, it states that George and Richard Evans sold their shares in a mine at Pickley Green, Westleigh, a property of John Evans & Co., to the remaining shareholders, including brothers George and Edward Evans, thereby dissolving their partnership. I would suggest that George became an initial shareholder in John Evans & Co. when he arrived at Higginshaw in 1791/2, the same time as John and Anne. Thus I’m inclined that the above mentioned George who ultimately was bought out was my ancestor, and that Richard was one and the same who arrived at Worsley in 1777.
In the meantime, where was John?
On May 25, 1802 Elijah “son of John Evans” was buried at Leigh Church, residence: Westleigh. Clearly, not only was George living at Westleigh at this time, but so was his father, building and managing the mine owned by John Evans & Co. A second clip from the Manchester Mercury dated July 25, 1809 gives notice of the sale by auction of the mine at Pickley Green on July 27, 1809. The notice ends with; “Apply to Mr. John Evans, at the Colliery”. Thus, we know John was still taking care of business in 1809 at Westleigh. A third clip from the British Press dated Aug 13, 1810 announced the dissolution of partnership between “Joshua Coleby, John Evans and James Whiteley, of Westleigh, colliers. July 24, 1810.”
His and Anne’s fate, however, remains unresolved. John would have been sixty years old by 1810; a lifetime of working within the confines of underground coal mines generally did not lend to one’s wellbeing and / or a long life. That the mine was to be sold by auction, not to mention the ending of a partnership, might suggest some degree of duress; was John’s health failing at this point, convincing him to liquidate an asset of his company and close outstanding business arrangements?
Meanwhile, Edward remained at Oldham Edge, managing the Evans mining interests, which may in part account for his eventual rise to the principal position thereof.
Quest for the Grail...
As is often said, DNA does not lie. Nevertheless, matches between descendants of common ancestors six to eight generations passed become increasingly rare, perhaps better stated as merely random. The results of DNA matching certainly have been interesting, if not mixed.
A comparison of files on Gedmatch.com came up with a match between a descendant of Letitia Reeves’ brother, William, and I, a confirmation of research.
I have a match with a descendant Edward through his daughter, Harriet Smith Evans. I also have matches with two descendants of John’s grandson by George, Daniel. And a comparison of GEDMATCH files implies a match with a descendant of Thomas Evans of Worsley. My research partner, a descendant of John Evans through Edward, also has a match with a descendant of Thomas Evans of Worsley. Plus he has a match with a descendant of my ancestor, George Evans.
Y-DNA results among several Evans descendants in Australia several years ago verified that both George and John are of the same Evans lineage, likely one or two generations earlier. Additionally, a number of Ancestry members with whom I have matches trace branches of their family trees back to the Evans families of Shropshire.
Thus, the goal became finding a common source for this dispersal of DNA among Evans descendants. And I believe I have now found it.
That source was Samuel and Joan Evans, whose marriage I've not yet been able to find in records, thus her maiden name remains unknown. It is almost certain that Samuel was born Nov 19, 1692 to Robert Evans (and Elizabeth?) at Broseley, as per Quaker registers. Samuel and Joan’s first of eleven children, Elizabeth, was baptized Jan 6, 1718 at Broseley. (In fact, some Quakers still engaged in the rite of baptism of their children.) Of particular interest are sons, Thomas, baptized Dec 2, 1726 and Samuel, baptized Jan 21, 1729.
"Samuel Evans of Broseley" (of 1729) married Elizabeth Whitwell on Nov 12, 1750 at Measham, Leicestershire. Their second child, Thomas, was baptized on May 25, 1753 at Broseley, where he married Margaret Tildesley on Dec 27, 1774. There they had three children, followed by five more at Worsley.
Samuel's and Elizabeth's last child was George, baptized April 1, 1767 at Broseley, my ancestor. This does slightly conflict with the age of 46 stated in his burial record, suggesting a birth year of 1765, but this was not uncommon in those days when one’s precise age was of little or no concern, as anyone involved in ancestry research inevitably learns. Indeed, this is the only entry in Broseley / Madeley baptism registers for “George Evans” for four years either side of 1767. Hence my matching DNA with a descendant of Thomas Evans of Worsley, George’s elder brother.
Samuel’s elder brother, Thomas (of 1726), married Elizabeth Blayney on Dec 30, 1746 at Madeley, "both of Broseley". Their son, John, was baptized March 30, 1750 at Broseley, the same year as was his future wife, Anne Glover...one and the same John Evans who began a coal enterprise at Oldham Edge. Therefore, John was a first cousin of my ancestor, George, as predicted by Y-DNA tests conducted in Australia.
Again, my research partner is a descendant of John Evans of Oldham Edge; the above also makes sense of his DNA matches with a descendant of Thomas of Worsley, and my ancestor, George.
Added into this is Thomas Evans of Hollinwood, married to Mary Whitehead on Jan 1, 1786 at St. Mary, Prestwich, a church where so many of the Evans family tied the proverbial knot. I had suspected that Thomas was the son of John Evans and Eleanor Blayney, baptized on March 6, 1762 at Enville, Staffordshire, a very close match with his stated age of 56 in his burial record of March 26, 1819 at St. Margaret, Hollinwood. My associate has a DNA match with a descendant of this Thomas, which was puzzling...until we realized that Thomas’ mother, Eleanor, was a sister of Elizabeth Blayney, mother of John Evans of Oldham Edge, my partner's ancestor. It appears that it is not Evans DNA being shared in this instance, but Blayney DNA, common source being the parents of said sisters, John Blayney and Mary Crompton, who married Dec 1, 1720 at Much Wenlock. John Evans and Eleanor Blayney, "both of Broseley", married at Madeley on Oct 21, 1746. They baptized three children at Broseley, and then migrated to Enville where their family increased by at least seven more children. I believe they eventually returned to Broseley, as they vanish from Enville registers circa 1775.
Also born to John and Eleanor was Richard, baptized July 10, 1755 at Enville. He is a solid candidate for the earlier mentioned Richard Evans who hired on at Worsley in 1777. According to the register he was 24 when he married Betty Parkinson on Sept 29, 1778 at St. Mary, Eccles, followed by ten children. Richard was buried on Sept 15, 1819, and Betty on June 3, 1811, both at St. Mary, Eccles.
Bottom line: Brothers Thomas of 1753 and George of 1767 were first cousins of John Evans of 1750, sharing DNA that sources from Samuel of 1692, DNA that is still being shared by their descendants this very day. And it appears that John Evans, via his maternal Blayney connection, was also a first cousin of Thomas Evans of Hollinwood, as well as Richard Evans of Worsley, a partner in John Evans & Co. until 1804.
Descendants of Nicholas Evans of Little Hulton, and Abraham Evans of Oldham Edge, both coal miners who were certain to have been part of our Evans clan, should know they were baptized Sept 26, 1773 at Broseley to Paul and Betty Evans; Nicholas was four years old at the time. Paul "died through being hurt in a coal pit", and was buried at St. Mary, Oldham on Dec 17, 1795; stated age: 59, and Betty, “widow”, was buried at St. Mary June 10, 1799. Paul was baptized on March 25, 1736 at Broseley to William Evans and Jane Perry, who married on Jan 19, 1735. Paul Evans and Elizabeth (Betty) Shaw married at Broseley Jan 19, 1769.
If one could sort out the earliest records of Broseley, an extremely challenging prospect at best, we undoubtedly would find that all of these Evans folk were directly related at various points in time.
It is a certainty that the Evans families, who were very involved in the early years of Oldham’s coal industry, migrated from Broseley, Shropshire, where registers, including those of the Quaker community, record their presence through the 1600s. Given Shropshire’s proximity to Wales, there is no reason to doubt the Evans’ Welsh origins from earlier years.
Their descendants span the globe to Canada, America, Australia, South Africa, and many places still unknown to this researcher!
In closing, if you’re reading this, and you are reminded of an old Evans family Bible stashed away in a dust covered chest, with a few pages of names and dates inscribed therein, I sure would like to hear from you!
Al Blow, British Columbia, Canada
With much and very appreciated assistance from Nigel Lloyd, Ontario, Canada
A special thank you to Gordon and Jeanette Best of S. Australia for sharing their wealth of ancestry knowledge and for their encouragement.
John Allen "Al" Evans, born at Yale, BC, 1867 - 1944
and his wife, Edna Augusta Chadsey, 1871 - 1953.
John was a son of Charles Evans who was born in 1839 (at Rochdale) to John Evans and Susannah Scholes Fletcher.
John Allen “Al” Evans, was my Great Grandfather and namesake.
Evans Family Tree HERE
My 3rd G. Grandfather, John Evans, was a Coal Master trained by his father, George. He was recorded in the Directory of the County Palatine of Lancaster 1825 as the manager of a colliery at Lime Side, and resident of Hollinwood. He ultimately became a "Public Contractor", involved in construction of railway bridges throughout Britain; indeed he and his family were recorded in the 1841 census at Edinburgh, Scotland.
John married Susannah Scholes Fletcher on Jan 24, 1819 at St. Mary, Prestwich. Susannah was baptized April 5, 1796 at St. Peter, Oldham, daughter of William and Lucy (Ramsbottom), whom were married Feb 5, 1788 at St. Mary, Prestwich. William was baptized Nov 1, 1767 at St. Mary, Oldham to John and Susannah (Scholes), namesake of my 3rd G. Grandmother. William Fletcher, “Hatter”, was buried April 24, 1799 at St. Peter. Lucy was born Jan 15, 1768 at Stansfield, Todmorden, Yorkshire to George and Alice (Haworth), as per Quaker registers; she was buried June 13, 1842 at St. Peter.
John died on Oct 25, 1854 at Poulton cum Seacombe, Birkenhead, Cheshire, and was buried Nov 1, at St. Paul, Royton, where Susannah also was interred on March 21, 1853.
There has been some confusion amongst ancestry buffs regarding Susannah “Scholes Fletcher”; some have it that John Evans married Susannah “Fletcher Scholes”. Indeed there was a person by that name; she was baptized on April 8, 1798 to James and Sarah Scholes at Manchester, and married Jonathan Royle on Feb 27, 1821, also at Manchester.
John and Susannah’s children, as per baptism registers of St. Peter, Oldham…
William – Oct 21, 1819; married Mary Ann Cheetham May 27, 1841 at Manchester. A Public Contractor like his father, he was bankrupted in 1853 by the Boyne Viaduct project at Drogheda, Ireland. Following his death June 10, 1855 at Birkenhead, Cheshire, Mary Ann and family immigrated to South Australia, where she re-married to William Peacock in 1871, again to Carrington Smedley in 1875 – d. April 27, 1908 at Adelaide.
Edward – Feb 25, 1821; a contractor and talented engineer in demand, married Mary Tait Oct 9, 1845 at Berwick-on-Tweed, Northumberland. One of their children, Susannah Scholes Evans, was born at Lancaster, Ontario in 1854. Mary died Jan 24, 1868 at Manchester; Edward re-married to Maxwell Barnes in 1875 at New Zealand. He was buried at Cape Town, South Africa April 11, 1892, and Maxwell passed Oct 9, 1928 at Harrismith, S.A. Susannah became an Anglican nun – d. May 15, 1938 at Cape Town.
Sarah Scholes – March 28, 1823; married Ezekiel John Looker Sept 8, 1846 at Oldham, who died in Sept 1860 at Altrincham, re-married to artist Charles J. Smith in 1879 at Altrincham – b. Feb 3, 1888 at Bowdon, Cheshire.
Mary Scholes – April 1, 1825; never married, became a teacher – d. March 18, 1876 at Altrincham.
Eliza Scholes – April 13, 1827 – b. Feb 16, 1833 at St. Paul.
John – June 19, 1829; Contractor’s Agent for his father as per 1851 census, unable to trace in following years with any certainty.
Amelia – Jan 5, 1832 – b. Nov 21 1834 at St. Paul.
George Henry – Dec 11, 1833; became a surgeon, married Elizabeth Ward July 7, 1859 at Bolton le Moors, who passed away in 1892 at Leigh. He re-married April 26, 1897 at St. Paul, Royton to his cousin, Margaret Evans, 2nd great granddaughter of John and Anne Evans. George – d. Dec 11, 1897 at Leigh; Margaret – d. 1919 at Wallasey, Birkenhead, Cheshire.
Eliza Scholes – Aug 23, 1835; never married – b. April 17, 1865 at St. Paul.
Thomas – July 13, 1837; immigrated to Bellville, Hastings County, Ontario, where he married Feb 28, 1865 to his cousin, Julia Greaves, great granddaughter of John and Anne Evans. Thomas died July 19, 1871 at Bellville. Julia re-married to Alfred Argyle Campbell in 1872 at Bellville - d. Aug 5, 1925 at Bellville.
Charles – Sept 16, 1839; immigrated to Yale, British Columbia during the gold rush on the Fraser River, where he married Jane Wells on March 9, 1866. Charles died at Yale March 14, 1871; Jane and their three children resettled with the Wells family in Chilliwack, sixty miles east of Vancouver.
Their son, John Allen “Al” Evans, was my Great Grandfather and namesake.
Charles Evans, Yale, 1867
Copyrght and Courtesy of Alan Blow