Francis Evison, the Inventor (Part Two)

Part One of this blog was about Francis Evison’s birth, his life in England, his emigration to the United States, his first marriage and the birth of his first two children.  Part Two is about his life after the death of his first wife, Lydia Cooper Evison.

Lydia Cooper Evison died, probably in either Michigan or Ohio, sometime before 28 May 1870.  It was on 28 May 1870 that Francis married his second wife, Ann Williams — in Lucas County, Ohio (USA).

Marriage - Francis Evison and Ann Williams

Marriage – Francis Evison and Ann Williams

Ann was born on 20 Apr 1846 in Pennsylvania, the daughter of John and Ann Williams.  Ann became step-mother to Francis’s two children, Francis (age 11) and Lydia (age 7).

1870 Census - Francis and Ann Evison and FamilyIn July of 1870, the Evisons were living in Sylvania (pronounced Sih-vain-yah), Lucas County, Ohio.  Francis was employed as a cooper, making and repairing casks and barrels.

By 1874, Francis and his family had moved to Seneca Township, Lenawee County, Michigan — which is about 30 miles northwest of Sylvania.

The maps below are maps of Seneca Township.  The one on the left is from 1874 showing the location of Francis Evison’s farm.  The one on the right is a screecapture from Google maps showing the approximate location of Francis’s farm today.

1874 Map - Location of Francis Evison's farm2013 Map - Approx. location of Francis Evison's FarmNote that, in 1874, the Evisons were living next door and closeby to several Metcalf families.  Francis’s son, Francis, will marry Alvaretta Metcalf in 1879.  More about Francis and Alvaretta and their descendants in a future blog.

According to the 1900 Census, Francis and Ann had one child who died before the 1900 Census was taken.  But, on the findagrave website, I found two entries for Evison children who died in Lenawee County (Michigan).  One is for Frank Evison who was born on 7 Sep 1877 and died two days later, on 9 Sep 1877.  The other is for Frank William Evison who died on 1 Feb 1879 (DOB unknown).   Both are buried in the same plot in Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci, Lenawee County (Michigan).   Is this the same child or two different children of Francis and Ann Williams Evison??

Findagrave - Frank William Evison    Findagrave - Frank Evison

In 1880, Francis is still living in Seneca Township with his wife, Ann, and his 17-year-old daughter, Lydia.  Francis’s son’s name is written in on the census form — but then crossed off.   I’m not sure why Francis Jr.’s name is written in and crossed off.  By 1880, he was married and living with his wife and mother-in-law (see subsequent blog about Francis Jr.)

By the 1884 Michigan census, Lydia had married and moved away from her parent’s home.  Francis and Ann continued to reside in Seneca Township.

1880 Census - Francis and Ann Evison and Family1884 Michigan Census - Francis and Annie Evison

Now we come to the reason that I titled the blog, Francis Evison, the Inventor 🙂

On 10 Aug 1886, Francis “invented a new and useful improvement” in clod crushers and pulverisers.  A “clod” is defined as a lump of earth or soil — so I assume that a clod crusher was something that crushed clods LOL!!

Clod Crusher and Pulveriser Invention - Francis Evison

And then, on 19 Oct 1897, Francis patented a “new and useful” windmill:

Purpose of Windmill

Windmill Invention - Francis Evison

Sadly, the 1890 US Census was destroyed by fire/damaged by smoke and water in a fire in the basement of the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C. in 1921 — so I don’t know where Francis and Ann were living in 1890.

But I would assume that they were still in Seneca Township because, in 1900, 64-year-old Francis and 55-year-old Ann were living there.  Interestingly though, Francis is now earning his living as a blacksmith!!

1900 Census - Francis and Ann Evison

Then in 1910, Francis is back to being a farmer in Seneca Township.

1910 Census - Francis and Ann Evison

On 24 Feb 1919, at 72 years of age, Ann died of pernicious anemia and chronic bronchitis.  She was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci, Lenawee County (Michigan) on 27 Feb 1919.

Death - Ann Williams Evison

1920 Census - The EvisonsAfter Ann died, the widower Francis likely moved back to Ohio.

He is listed in the 1920 Census living with his son, Francis Jr., and his family in Adams Township, Lucas County (Ohio).

The findagrave entry for Francis says that he died on 12 Jul 1924 in Seneca Township, Lenawee County (Michigan) and that he is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci, Lenawee County (Michigan).  But there isn’t a photograph of his headstone posted on the findagrave site — so I did some further research and found this:

Transcription of Sexton Record - Francis Evison

It’s a transcription of the Sexton Records of those buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.  A “sexton” is the person in charge of a cemetery, responsible for keeping detailed records of those buried in the cemetery.

The Sexton Record says that Francis died in Morenci, Lenawee County (Michigan) of old age.  Note that it also says that he was 89 years old when he died — which means he could have been born in 1835, not 1836.

I noticed that the entry for Francis was in Volume 2 of the Sexton Records, so I searched for Volume 1 and found this:

Transcription of Sexton Records - Ann, William St. Thomas and Frank Evison

Amazingly, it is the Sexton Records for Ann Williams Evison (Francis’s second wife), William St. Thomas Evison (Francis’s father) and Frank Evison (Francis and Ann’s son)!

untitledI decided to take a chance and send an e-mail to the person who did the transcriptions and ask if she would go to the cemetery and take a photograph of the headstones.

And she responded!!

In her e-mail, she explained that the transcriptions were taken from the original
Sexton’s Records and burial cards kept at City Hall in Morenci. Her husband was
Mayor at the time and she had access to those records and was able to transcribe

She attached a photograph that she took of the headstone for Francis and Ann Evison and explained that there isn’t a marker for William St. Thomas or Frank — but that the lot is very large, so they are likely buried in the same plot.

Headstone - Francis and Ann Williams Evison

I am thrilled, not only to have a photograph of the headstone for Francis and Ann, but also to finally discover when/why my great, great, great grandfather, William St. Thomas Evison, died — and where he is buried!

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