Benjamin Evans

Evans Family from Scotland to Allegheny County

7:58:00 PM

When trying to determine where the Evans family had lived before emigrating to Allegheny County Pennsylvania, I based my research on the following:

  • John P Evans was born 6 June 1831 in France and was living in East Birmingham, PA by the time of his marriage in 1855 to Amanda Beebe.
  • Benjamin Evans was born 3 February 1826 in France and was living in East Birmingham, PA at the time of the 1860 US Census
  • The parents of John P Evans and Benjamin Evans were born in England according to both John and Benjamin Evans in the US Census records.
  • Mary Thomas born c 1799 in England was living with John P Evans and his family in 1870, per the US Census and may be the mother of John Evans, possibly with a different surname as she may have been widowed and remarried. The only additional reference to a Mary Thomas born in England in the late 1790's is recorded in the 1860 US Census as the wife of Richard Thomas, living in Allegheny County, PA.
  • Sarah Ann Evans Bedell 1851-1931 buried in Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh (the same cemetery as John and Benjamin Evans) was married to Matthew Bedell. Amanda Beebe's mother was Elizabeth Bedell. The Pittsburgh death record for Sarah Ann Evans noted the names of her parents as Enoch Evans and Sara Ashford. It's likely that Enoch Evans is around the same age as John and Benjamin and could be a relative, perhaps a brother.
  • Enoch Evans is a name that appears in family trees of a DNA match to living Evans family members.
  • John Evans moved to Glasgow Scotland as an infant.

John P Evans son, Harry Sylvester Evans, completed a brief family history that provides the following information. John P Evans left France as an infant and the family moved to Glasgow, Scotland and that John came to Pittsburgh when he was 17 years old.

I've been looking at birth, marriage, census, and death records from France, England, Pennsylvania, and Scotland trying to locate John Evans before 1855 and I believe I've found the family near Glasgow Scotland in 1841.

1841 Scotland Census -

  • Enumerators were instructed to round down the age of any person over 15, so for example a 38 year old would be recorded as age 35.
  • The location of birth was only recorded if the person lived in the county where the census took place or whether a person was English, Irish, or foreign.
  • The entire 1841 Scotland census was taken on the night of 6 June 1841 (which would have been John P Evan's 10th birthday) 

There are two Evans households living in Gorbals Parish, Lanarkshire County, Scotland (which was incorporated into the city of Glasgow in 1846) in the 1841 Census, both with the address Farmerton Govan Dixon Iron Works.

There is a family with an Enoch Evans living in close proximity to a family with both a John and Benjamin Evans. It is unknown if these families are related.

While the 1841 Scotland Census does not provide family relationships, it is most probable that the people named Evans in each of these households are are a family. As the ages are rounded down for persons over age 15 it cannot be known exactly how old Benjamin was, but 15 would be the correct age for Benjamin Evans 1826-1889. The age recorded for John should be accurate as he is under age 15 and would indicate he was born in 1831.

The location of birth is shown as England for John Evans and Benjamin Evans, but as noted above, the 1841 Scotland Census didn't actually record where a person was born, the fact that they were English is what was being enumerated.

Govan Dixon Iron Works

The address given for both Evans families indicates that they were living in company housing, the company being Govan Dixon Iron Works founded in 1839 - better known as Dixon's Blazes. The drawing called Dixon's Blazes is from the Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection.

Dixon's Blazes
William Simpson's view, drawn in the late 1840s, showing William Dixon's Govan Ironworks at Hutchesontown from the south. The row of single-storey houses in front of the ironworks was known as "Collier's Raw".

The ironworks were founded by William Dixon (1788-1859), the son of the owner of the Little Govan Colliery. William extended his father's collieries in Govanhill but also, in 1839, founded an ironworks with five blast furnaces. The furnaces lit up the night sky on the south side of the River Clyde, and earned the ironworks the nickname "Dixon's Blazes".

Govan Dixon Iron Works c1920

Widow Evans

It would appear that "Widow" Evans is quite recently widowed and the the mother of four children. Emma Evans age 20, Benjamin Evans age 15, John Evans age 10 and Eben Evans is just one year old and was born in Lanarkshire.

The Widow Evans is the head of the household and is providing for her family by running a boarding house. The boarders are also listed on the 1841 Scotland Census as part of her household.

If the Evans family came to Glasgow, Scotland shortly after the birth of John P Evans in 1831 in France it's possible that Mr Evans worked at the Little Govan Colliery as The Govan Dixon Iron Works wasn't founded until 1839.

Emma Evans c1820

It is extremely fortunate that the 1841 Scotland Census was conducted on the night of 6 June 1841 because Emma Evans was married the very next day and would have been recorded as Emma Hanson in the census. The connection with Emma Evans and Emma Hanson would likely never been known.

Emma Evans was married on 7 June 1841 in Gorbals, Lanarkshire County, Scotland to John Hanson. The record is found in Scotland Marriages 1561-1910. Unfortunately the only record available of this marriage is an index, and the names of Emma Evan's parents are not provided.

NameJohn Hanson
Spouse's NameEmma Evans
Event Date07 Jun 1841
Event PlaceGorbals,Lanark,Scotland

Emma Evans Hanson  1860 US Census in Allegheny, Pennsylvania

I found Emma Evans in the records in the 1860 US Census Allegheny County, Pennsylvania listed as Emma Hanson age 40 wife of John Hanson age 44. I feel confident that this is the same Emma Evans Hanson that was married in Scotland in 1841 as the 1860 Census records that both Emma and John Hanson are born in England and that their daughter Ellen Hanson was born in Scotland c1845. Emma and John Hanson have been in Pennsylvania since at least 1855 as their younger children, Josiah is age 5 and Ida age 3, are born in Pennsylvania.

Household ID443

Event TypeCensus
Event Date1860
Event PlacePitt Township, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States

John HansonM44England
Emma HansonF40England
Ellen HansonF16Scotland
Josiah HansonM5Pennsylvania
Ida HansonF3Pennsylvania

Mary Thomas  1860 US Census in Allegheny, PA next door to Emma Evans Hanson

When looking at the the index of the 1860 Census (the original is barely legible) for Emma Hanson and her family, I noticed that the family listed directly adjacent to the Hanson family was named Thomas. Listed in this Thomas family is a women named Mary Thomas, born c 1797 in England.

Household ID442

Event TypeCensus
Event Date1860
Event PlacePitt Township, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States

Richard ThomasM60England
Mary ThomasF63England
Leonard Wm ThomasM36Darmstadt
Elizabeth ThomasF32Darmstadt
Mary ThomasF8New York
Elizabeth ThomasF6New York
Josephine ThomasF3Pennsylvania

Below is the original 1860 US Census Sheet showing the Hanson and Thomas families adjacent to one another. The image is difficult to see as the writing is very faint, a large image can be viewed at, image 20 page 67 in upper right corner.

1860 US Census Sheet with Hanson and Thomas Families

Mary Thomas  1870 US Census in Allegheny, PA with John P Evans

Ten years later we find a Mary Thomas, age 71 and born in England, living with John P Evans. The 1870 US Census records John and Amanda Evans living in Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County, PA with Mary Thomas and children, William, Estelle, Harry, and James Evans.

John EvansM39France
Amanda EvansF32Pennsylvania
William EvansM14Pennsylvania
Stella EvansF9Pennsylvania
Harry EvansM4Pennsylvania
James B EvansM2Pennsylvania
Mary ThomasF71England

1870 US Census John P Evans & Mary Thomas

Mary Thomas born in England c 1799 living with John P Evans in 1870 and a Mary Thomas living next door to Emma Evans Hanson in 1860 must be the mother of John, Emma, Benjamin, and Eben Evans.

The relationship between the two Evans families living at Dixon Govan Iron Works is unknown, but it's possible that Thomas Evans is the uncle of Emma, Benjamin, John, and Eben Evans.

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