Last updated: April 22. 2014 1:44PM - 829 Views
By Rhonda Chalfant Contributing Columnist

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On Jan. 18, 1920, news on the front page of the Sedalia Democrat included information on the condition of W.A. Collins, a local attorney who had been the victim of an assault in Warrensburg, a brief article praising the financial condition of the Sedalia banks, comments on the attendance at the Missouri Farmer’s Association meeting in Columbia, and a national story on a continued investigation into a letter written to Rear Admiral Sims about the U.S. Navy’s role in World War I.

The Democrat also printed an article about the accomplishments of a young man from Sedalia who was currently visiting his parents at their home in Sedalia. The young man was Edwin Crandall Evans; his parents were Charles C. and Emma Evans. The U.S. Census records, World War I draft records, and the 1960 local history book “Sedalia: The First One Hundred Years” provide other interesting information about the family. Tracing the family’s story reveals some of the vagaries of historical and genealogical research

According to the 1910 federal census, Charles C. Evans was the secretary-treasurer of the Sedalia Trust Company, located at Fourth Street and Ohio Avenue. He was born in 1861 or 1864 in Missouri, but his parents were from Virginia and Maryland. The discrepancy in dates occurs because the handwritten census records are difficult to read.

Evans’ wife was the former Emma Crandall, daughter of Sedalia banker Orestes Crandall, who, according to “Sedalia: The First One Hundred Years” was instrumental in saving the city from bankruptcy in the 1870s. In 1910, Evans and his wife lived with their son Clark, age 7, in their home at 810 Broadway. The census reports that they owned their own home free from any mortgages.

Edwin Crandall Evans was born in Missouri and was married to Irene Evans. In 1920, Evans was 30 and his wife 41, 11 years older than her husband. In 1920, the couple had three children, Barnett, 17, Phillip, 16, and John, 10. The ages of the children compared with Edwin’s age suggest that the two older boys had been adopted. This supposition may be supported by a notation on his draft registration card filed in 1917 when the U.S. entered World War I. The notation indicates Edwin was married with one child. It also notes that he had blue eyes and red hair.

The draft registration gives Evans’ address in 1917 as 501 Dal-Whi-Mo Court. He worked as a manufacturer of work clothes at the Brown-Evans Manufacturing Company at 406 W. Second. During the war, the company contracted with the federal government to make uniforms. According to “Sedalia: The First One Hundred Years,” the company also experienced difficulty with its employees who were trying to organize a union. However, the book was written by a group of Sedalians who were vehemently opposed to unions, so the comments may be biased.

The Democrat article reprinted portions of an article from the Cedar Rapids newspaper. According to this article, the Brown-Evans Company moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they built and equipped a new plant at the corner of Third Street and Sixth Avenue. A number of capitalists from Cedar Rapids invested money. Brown was retiring, and the board of directors elected Evans the president of the newly reorganized Evans Manufacturing Company.

The press praised Evans for the “splendid success of the enterprise” both in Sedalia and in Cedar Rapids.

The capital stock of the company had increased from $100,000 to $200,000, indicating that the company was “one of the biggest and best in the state” of Iowa.

The company had “plenty of orders, a new building giving ample space and every modern equipment.” Most important to the success of the company, however, was the leadership of former Sedalian Edwin Evans, a young man described as having “much experience who has thoroughly demonstrated his ability to conduct a successful manufacturing industry.”

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