Thomas Marion Evans
Tom Evans, A Little Known Preacher
The early years of the restoration movement in Walker County, Alabama extend back to the mid 1800s. The Randolphs, Holbrooks, and Wheelers were most influential in the planting of the Lord's church in the area. The Lost Creek region of the county, near Oakman, was one of its earliest works. Two families were cornerstone elements in the settling the church, initially the Gurganus family, then later the Evans family.
Thomas M. Evans was born June 22, 1878. He was one of ten boys and four girls born to J.D. and Mary Evaline Evans. Just two years old when his father died, he grew up in a family where he learned early to be responsible for himself. When C.A. Wheeler came preaching in the region, several of his family were converted to the cause of Christ, including young Tom in 1898. His older brother, Jabe, was a life-long farmer and leader in the church at Oakman. However, for Tom, the desire to preach the everlasting gospel was his passion. He was one of the early preachers to be raised out of the county, and he made a quick impression. In an article written by G.C. Brewer on the history of the work in Walker County, Alabama, he reflected on his first visit to the area in 1906. Speaking of James K. Hill and other preachers he met then, he said, "He and C. A. Wheeler and Tom Evans and Brother Simpson, from Highland Home, were the only preachers that were doing any work at all in that whole section when first I knew it."(GA, August 16, 1934, page 780)
Of Tom's work in Oklahoma and Texas, Brewer further noted, "But soon after I "blazed the way" in that country, other preachers began to come in there, mainly from Texas. This was through the influence of Tom Evans, I think. Among those who came as "big preachers order on" and paid in money (but not too much), I mention C. R. Nichol, G. A. Dunn, Joe S. Warlick, J. D. Tant, and John T. Hinds." (Ibid.)
The stories are varied concerning the early demise of Tom Evans. According to an article included below by Willard Collins, brother Evans was killed while preaching in a meeting in Madisonville, Texas. The story goes that while he was reading in his home, an assailant entered his home and killed him. What brought the murder about was that the murderer was angered over an advertisement that was being made for a gospel meeting. Some efforts have been made to ascertain more certainty about what took place, but as of this writing no further information has been found.
Thus, brother Tom Evans was killed in Madisonville, Texas and buried at his home June 20, 1915. He was laid beside his mother's grave, and across from his older brother Jabe. Read more about the Jabe D. Evans family below.
-Scott Harp, Web editor
Tom Evans Family Photo
Thomas and Hattie Dunn Evans
Thos. M. Evans
Thos. M. Evans, son of J. D. and Mary Evaline Evans, was born in Alabama, June 29, 1878.
When Thomas was only two years of age his father died, leaving a wife and ten children to make their way in the world.
When a lad he received only a few months' instructions at school, "after crops were laid by." At the age of 18 he enter the "School of the Evangelists" in East Tennessee, and worked his way through two terms. During vacation he worked in a store. Brother J. W. Earnest assisted him to enter the Nashville Bible School, where he remained for two terms. That consecrated man of God, C.A. Wheeler baptized him in 1898.
September 25, 1904, he was married to Miss Hattie Dunn in Alabama. He preached his first sermon beginning a meeting in 1903, in which meeting he baptized eight of his boyhood associates, and succeeding in "resurrecting" a dead congregation. Since that time he has been in the work of the Lord constantly, and has baptized more than 300 people.
In 1910 he came to Oklahoma, and is devoting all his time to the work. He is very earnest, and makes friends at each place he labors.
-From Gospel Preachers Who Blazed the Trail, by C. R. Nichol.
Outstanding Christian Families
The Jabe D. Evans Family
Gospel preachers who have preached in the area of Jasper or Oakman Ala., remember Jabe D. Evans, Sr., and the pointers he has whittled, polished, and given away to aid others in preaching the gospel. At eighty one, he is still on the job.
Brother and Sister J. D. Evans have been blessed with eleven children. Ten. of these are still living and all are faithful members of the church, Three sons-in-law are well known gospel preachers; C. A. Brannon, Akron, Ohio; Pervie Nichols, Pensacola, Fla.; and Curtis Flatt Florence, Ala.
One son, J. D Evans, Jr., Pensacola, Fla., has been preaching part time In Akron, Ohio, but Is presently teaching In The public schools in Pensacola.
Another son-in-law, C. M. Karrh, is assistant principal of the Walker County High school in Jasper, Ala., and is an elder of the Jasper congregation.
Other children include Mrs. Stachie Odom, Birmingham, Ala.; Ezra Evans, Mrs, Grady Nicholson, and Sam Evans, a businessman and one of the song leaders in the church, Jasper, Ala.; and Robert Evans, Oakman, Ala.
TEN FAITHFUL CHILDREN—A GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT
In this world, it is certainly a great accomplishment to rear ten children and have all of them faithful members of the church. This family has believed in and practiced daily Bible reading and prayer. For example, the entire book of Hebrews was read at one sitting, while all the children were at home Brother and Sister Evans were baptized by the late C. A. Wheeler, when she was fifteen and he was twenty-four. He has averaged reading the entire Bible through at least once each year, for the past thirty-seven years. In addition to the Bible, he reads the Gospel Advocate and other gospel papers. He does extensive study on his weekly Bible lessons. They continue to engage in a daily family Bible reading and. prayer.
Jabe Evans was, six years old when his father died. He was reared on a large farm near Oakman, Ala., and lived in the community for seventy-seven years.
Since he was an orphan and deprived of education, it was his desire to see that his children be given the advantage education and Christian training, he and Sister Evans constant patrons of Walker County schools for thirty-nine years. They remember that for a number of years it took a barrel of flour per month in their home.
In February, 1951, these Christian parents moved to their present home near Jasper Ala., and at the present time he is an elder of the McArthur Heights Church near his home.
He was also a member of a large family of ten boys and four girls. Five of the children are still living. Their ages range from seventy-five to ninety-three. One of his brothers, Tom Evans, a gospel preacher, was killed in Madisonville, Texas, while reading in his home. His murderer was infuriated over the advertisement of a gospel meeting.
Sister Jabe Evans is the former Lurania Mullinax, of Tuscaloosa County, Ala. She was a member of a family of nine children.
STUDENT OF THE FORMER J.D. PATTON
Brother Evans, is a student of the former J. D. Patton, a well known music composer and instructor. After this study, he taught several schools and later wrote the music to the song, "The Hope of the Soul," which was published. He has also written many poems. One of his favorites, written February 15 1954, is Hear the Tiding"
Hear the tiding of salvation;
It's better than all our dreams.
They bid us make preparation
To cross over death's dark stream.
They tell of the glory waiting
For the faithful trusting soul;
And, too, they tell of Christ's coming,
When his glory shall unfold.
Yes, when the nations all gather
In the coming judgment morn;
At the thought it makes me ponder,
Where, oh where, will be our home.
Such people as the Jabe D. Evans family are the "salt of the earth" Those who have been in their home recognize that they love God and are living to serve him and his Son. Their children and sons-in-law, as gospel preachers, elders, and faithful workers in the church, are exerting tremendous power for Christ and his church. Brother and Sister Evans still love to attend the services of the church and go to gospel meetings in their area with great regularity. They try to "live well each day," and they believe that the tomorrow is in the hands their God.
-Willard Collins, Gospel Advocate, September 8, 1955, page 798.
Obituary of a Christian Baptized by Tom Evans
-Gospel Advocate, July 2, 1932, page 792
Directions To The Grave of Thomas M. Evans
Tom Evans is buried in the Liberty Church Cemetery in southern Walker County, Alabama. Off I-22, take Exit 61. Hwy. 69, south of Jasper. Head south on 69 for 20.4 miles and turn left on Liberty Hill Rd. The church is on the left. Head up to the right of the old church building up to the back and oldest corner of the cemetery. Look for graves with triangular slabs above the graves. This will be the old Evans plot. Tom is buried in line next to his parents J.D. & Mary E. Evans.
Photos Taken 02.06.2014
Webpage produced 10.31.2014
Courtesy of Scott Harp
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