TOWN OF EVANS.
Evans is situated in the southwest part of Erie county and is bounded on the northeast
by Hamburg; on the east by Eden; on the south by Brant and northwest by Lake Erie. Its territory is nearly all
in township 8, range 9 of the Holland Company’s survey, and includes about forty square miles, or 25,481 acres.
The surface is level and slightly undulating and the soil is a sandy and gravelly loam intermixed with clay. The
pricipal stream is Big Sister Creek, which flows northwestwardly across the town. Eighteen-mile Creek drains the
northeast corner and other streams are Little Sister, Delaware, Pike and Muddy Creeks; all of these flow into Lake
Evans was formed March 23, 1821. A small tract was taken from Hamburg in 1826 and annexed to Evans, and a part
of Brant was taken off in 1839.
The first settlement was made in the territory of Evans in 1804 by Joel Harvey, who located near the mouth of Eighteen-mile
Creek. Within a few succeeding years a number of settlers located either near Harvey or farther up the lake, but
they moved away and their names are not known. In 1806 Harvey opened the first tavern in the town. In 1808 Ebenezer
Ingersoll settled in the town.
The next permanent settlement was made in 1809 by Aaron Salisbury, who located three miles southwest of Harvey
and later became a prominent citizen. Aaron Cash settled near the site of North Evans. In the next year Anderson
Taylor settled on the site of Evans Center, and David Cash, Elijah Gates, Nathaniel Lay, John Barker, and Seth
and Martin Sprague settled along near the lake shore. In 1810—11 Gideon Dudley settled at Evans Center; David Corbin
and Timothy Dustin near that section; a Mr. Pike on Pike’s Creek and Job Southworth came in. Ira Ayer and his parents,
James and Sarah, settled in 1811. About this time Job Palmer took Harvey’s place as tavernkeeper at the mouth of
Eighteen-mile Creek. Other settlers of 1811 were James Ayer, with his seven children, and Hezekiah Dibble. William
Cook became a resident in 1812.
After the war immigration to the town was rapid. A saw mill and grist mill were built on the site of Evans Center
in 1815—16 and a hamlet gathered around which was called Wright’s Mills. About 1818 a post-office was opened on
the lake shore with the name of Eden, in which town what is now Evans was then included; James W. Peters was the
first postmaster. In 1820 Deacon Joseph Bennet made his advent into the town with his parents. In 1821 Dr. George
Sweetland settled at the site of East Evans, as the first physician in the town. He was father of George Sweetland,
jr., who was born there in 1823. Other settlers and residents who have been more or less prominent in the town
Irad Raymond, 1825; Sheldon Hurd, 1832; William A. Ryneck, 1820; John Reeve, J. R. Newton, 1831; Nathaniel Smith,
1835, and Henry Bundy, Orlin C. Brown, Rosefle U. Blackney, Sidney P. Imus, Mark Trumbull, Orange J. Dibble, Ira
Ayer, James Ayer, Peter Barker, William Van Duzer, Edmund Z. Southwick, H. N. Candee and Lyman Oatman.
Farming methods in Evans have greatly changed in recent years, as they have elsewhere in Erie county. Dairying
and truck farming for canning factories have largely superseded the old crops. There are four cheese factories
in this town, but they are not all in operation.
The natural beauty of the region along the lake shore and the healthfulness of the locality have in recent years
attracted many summer visitors, and several popular resorts have come into existence. Among these are Highland-on-the-Lake
at the mouth of Eighteen-mile Creek, Hotel Mortimer, Wahaka Beach, Angola Camp Ground; Gaoseha Beach, etc.
In February, 1852, the Buffalo & State Line Railroad (now a part of the Lake
Shore and Michigan Southern road) was opened for traffic through this town. As the road passed about a mile east
of Evans Center, a village sprang up near where the line crosses Big Sister Creek to which was given the name,
Angola. Through the influence of the railroad, trade was diverted from the older place and during many past years
Angola has been the business center of the town. Another line of railroad was built through the town in 1881—2,
but as it runs nearly parallel with the former road, it has not had marked local influence.
Dr. George Sweetland, before mentioned, practiced in Evans from 1821 to 1882, when he died. Other physicians of
the town have been Drs. Marvin, Aldrich, Nelson Sweetland (nephew of Dr. George), Armstrong, Beckwith (died in
1870), Powers (at Angola in 1858 as the first one in the village), Curtis, Owen, William Danforth, J. G. Thompson
and E. R. Raymond.
Evans Center.— This is a small
village situated west of the center of the town. After the settlement of Anderson Taylor in 1810, Henry Tuttle
and William Wright located there and built a saw mill in 1815 and in the following year a grist mill. Both of these
finally passed to possession of Orson Earl. Anderson Taylor built a hotel on the hill which he conducted several
years. The post-office, which was first opened on the lake shore, was removed to Evans Center, from which time
the place bore that name, instead of Wright’s Mills, as before; this was done about 1821. Among former postmasters
there were William Van Duzer, E. B. Hard, William Carrier, Thomas I. Brownell, Fillmore H. West, JosiahC. Hamilton
and Emil Bock, incumbent.
Evans Center soon became an active business place and so continued more than thirty years. Among former merchants
were Cutter Trask, Hard & Carrier, Thomas I. Brownell, Warren K. Russell, Riley A. Russell, John Mosher and
William E. Bolton. There are now two stores in the village.
A tannery was built many years ago by James Black and operated successively by Black & Brodie, James Bridie,
and Benjamin Brodie;
it was recently demolished. Evans Center has one of the oldest graded schools in Erie county, the building for
which was erected in 1857. The school has now two departments and two teachers.
Angola.— George Wilcox settled
at this place in 1854 and opened a shoe shop; he is still living. At that time Harvey Barrell, P. H. Carrier and
Philip Clark were the heads of the only families in that vicinity, their farm lands including the village site.
Soon afterwards a saloon was opened on the site of the present Angola House. In the same year Bundy & Hard
built and opened a general store on the site of the Farmers’ Hotel; the business was sold to Lyman Oatman, who
was succeeded by his son, David C. Oatman. The village when first laid out was called Evans Station, but in 1854—5,
when the post-office was established, the name was changed to Angola. John H. Adams was the first postmaster. Among
merchants of former years were:
Chauncey T. Carrier, Elijah Tuft, John H. Andrus, Seeley and R. U. Blackney, George Wilcox, Le Roy S. Oatman, William
H. Ryneck, Stephen Landon, H. S. Landon, Mrs. I. F. Thompson, Mrs. L. E. Huntley, Dr. Lyman R. Raymond, John H.
Southworth, Henry J. Penfold, Brown & Wood, Henry C. Schiender and Charles A. Kin sley.
The Angola House, before mentioned, was moved from Evans Center, and rebuilt in 1860 by John H. Andrus; he was
succeeded by Alva Montgomery, and he by Sydney P. Imus. The Union Hotel was built by George Caskey in 1871, who
was succeeded in 1877 by Elijah P. Smith; now kept by A. J. Watt.
In 1888 John Lyth established a plant for the manufacture of sewer pipe, hollow brick, tile etc., to which business
the firm of John Lyth & Sons succeeded. The whole plant and buildings cover ten acres of ground; the headquarters
are in Buffalo. The Candee Lock Co., incorporated May, 1895, to manufacture patent locks and builders’ hardware;
A. W. Candee, secretary and treasurer, as well as principal stockholder; the establishment is now idle. A saw and
planing mill was established eight years ago and is still in operation. Gotlieb Koehier & Co. carry on a small
tanning business. The Angola steam and water power flouring mills were built by the three sons of Henry Bundy.
The latter settled in Evans in 1830 and early engaged in the manufacture of horse rakes; he purchased the mill
property in 1853 and added a planing mill and sash and door factory. In 1877 the works were burned and a custom
mill was built on the site.
The Angola Record was established May 22, 1879, by H. J. Penfold. In 1881 Orlin C. Brown became a partner. The
paper passed to possession of David C. Oatman and Stephen Landon in 1884, who were succeeded by Weston N. Landon.
A Union school was established in 1871 in a commodious building erected in 1870. The first principal was J. W.
Barker. Angola village was incbrporated by special election held August 30, 1873. At that time the population was
600. Lyman Oatman was chosen the first president; 0. W. W. Beckwith, L. M. Winslow and Joseph Frohley, trustees.
There are now in Angola 2 hardware stores, 1 drug store, 1 shoe store, 5 groceries, 4 hotels, 1 meat market, 2
milliners, 1 clothing store, a newspaper, a Union school, a grist mill, a saw and planing mill, sewer pipe works,
a cooper shop, a wagon shop and 3 blacksmith shops.
East Evans (Jerusalem).— This
is a hamlet north of the center of the. town. When Elijah Stocking settled on the site of this place in 1814 there
were only four settlers between there and the lake. They were Aaron Salisbury, 0. J. Dibble, Nathaniel Gray and
Elijah Talman. Among the settlers the next year were Isaac and Jehiel Bartholomew, Zacharias Maitby and his son
Jonathan. Soon after the war of 1812 a hotel was opened there by a Mr. Clark and a store was established in 1820
by R. Rowell. Among other past merchants were a Mr. Webb, James Stray, John Shears, John Rickert, all of whom were
postmasters at different periods.
North Evans.— A hamlet in the
extreme northeast corner of the town and a station on the railroad. Aaron Cash settled there in 1890 and David
Hamlin and the Ames families located there soon aftewards. George E. Sykes was a former merchant and two stores
are now open. A tannery and mills were built, the former long operated by Charles Ibeck. A graded school was established
and in 1895 a commodious school building was erected.
Derby is a settlement and railroad station about a mile east of East Evans, where a post-office was opened in 1874,
with George W. Carr postmaster. A small mercantile business has since been conducted there.
Pontiac is a hamlet on a branch of Big Sister Creek, southeast of Angola, where a grist and saw mill have long
been in operation. R. N. Candee formerly kept a grocery.
A Methodist Episcopal church was formed at Evans Center in 1815. Meetings were held in school houses and dwellings
until 1844, when a church was erected. When the Congregationalists divided to form a new socieiy at Angola, the
Methodists exchanged houses of worship with them; their old building was sold and removed; it was later struck
by lightning and partially burned. The Congregational society subsequently disbanded. The Baptist church at Evans
Center was formed in September, 1830, with fourteen members. The present edifice was erected in 1855 and is now
receiving an addition.
A Methodist church was organized at North Evans in 1828, and their first house of worship was erected in 1856.
A Congregational church was formed at East Evans in July, 1818. The church records are very meager, and it is not
known when the edifice was erected. Congregational services were held in Angola by the pastor at East Evans from
about 1857, which were continued until 1863, when a society was or.ganized with thirteen members. This church has
had a prosperous existence and in 1892 built an addition to their church.
Precious Blood Roman Catholic church at Angola was organized soon after settlement began at the village. The former
school building was purchased for services in 1870 and used until the present year. A new church is now in process
The records of the town of Evans prior to 1856 have been lost, and it is impossible, therefore, to give a complete
list of the supervisors; the following are all that can be ascertained, many of them being collected from other
Nathaniel Gray, 1825; William Van Duzer, 1827; Jonathan Hascall, jr., 1830; Orange J. Dibble, 1832; Aaron Salisbury,
1833—38; Sayles Aldrich, 1839—40, 1842— 43; Aaron Salisbury, 1844; Joseph Bennett, 1845—48; Isaac Potter, 1849;
John Borland, 1850—51; Joseph Bennett, 1852; Myron D. Winslow, 1853; Peter Barker, 1854— 55; Myron D. Winslow,
1856; Ira Ayer, 1857—58; Myron D. Winslow, 1859; James Ayer, 1860—62; Lyman Oatman, 1863; John H. Andrus, 1864;
Lyman Oatman, 1865; Edmund Z. Southwick, 1866—70; David C. Oatman, 1871—74; Edmund Z. Southwick, 1875; David C.
Oatman, 1876; Josiah Southwick, 1877—78; Orlin C. Brown, 1879—85; Judson O. Bennett, 1886; Orson Earl, 1887—97.