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Jesse Evans of Evansville, Comanche County, Kansas

Register now to join the 8th and Final Historic Evansville-Comanche Pool Benefit Trailride, May 31st and June 1st, 2003. Proceeds benefit The Comanche County Medical Foundation.

Register now to join The 8th and Final Historic Evansville-Comanche Pool Benefit Trailride on May 31st and June 1st, 2003. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Comanche County Medical Foundation.

The Merrill Ranch in the news, April 27, 2003: On the wide-open prairie, it's still a cowboy's life

From the ROOTSWEB Message Board for Comanche County, Kansas:

Looking for information on the relationship between Lewis Evans, A. G. Evans, and Jesse Evans. I understand from the 1878 Dodge City papers that Lewis and Jesse were brothers. However, there seems to have been more than one Lewis/Louis. It is my understanding that A. G. and Jesse were partners in the firm of Evans, Hunter, and Evans. Jesse was one of the founding partners in the Comanche Cattle Pool. He sold his interest in 1883 I believe.
Roger Myers
Posted 29 Jan 2003

Roger, do you know if Evansville was named after Jess Evans? I have some documentation about Jess being in the Comanche Pool, but none as of yet on AG or Lewis/Louis.
Bobbi Huck
Posted 29 Jan 2003

Yes, it is my understanding that Evansville was named after him or perhaps A. G. He and A. G. were a couple of the original partners in the Comanche Cattle Pool according to an article in the Kansas Historical Quarterly. In 1878, he moved his family from Texas to Dodge City according to the TIMES. A few issues before they said Lewis was Jesse's brother and visited Dodge with Lawrence Pepperd, C. C.'s brother. That is as far as I can get at this point. I am under the impression, for really no reason, that Jesse was a son to Albert C.
Roger Myers
Posted 29 Jan 2003

Excerpt from an email to Phyllis Scherich from Jerry Ferrin, 22 Feb 2003:

Just today I heard from Roger Myers, a writer who is researching Cap Pepperd and other early residents of Comanche County...

"I was wondering if you have any information on Jesse Evans. I know he had something to do with Hunter and Evans although I don't think he was THE Evans. Then there was Evans, Hunter and Evans and he was a partner. I know he ranched in Comanche County and was a member of the Comanche Cattle Pool in Barber County and the I. T. I am looking for background on him. Anything?"

What I Have Learned about Jesse Evans
by Phyllis Scherich, Wilmore, Kansas

He was from North Carolina.
"Jesse Evans was a former North Carolina farm boy who had gone to Texas and New Mexico and worked his way up from ranch hand, to trail herder, to individual stock man. "
-- Lost Trails of the Cimarron, Harry E Chrisman, 1961, 1964, 1990, p. 180.

He began running cattle in this area as early as 1870 at age 17
(with his home and horse pens located at what later would be the working headquarters for the Comanche Pool, Largest of these (cattle associations) was the Comanche Pool, covering all of Comanche County and parts of Kiowa, Clark, and Barber counties. The leader in forming this pool was Jesse Evans, who began running cattle as early as 1870. He joined 15 cowmen to form the Comanche Pool.” - then Evansville, (now the Merrill Ranch)
-- Rulers of the Kansas Range, Bliss Isley. Reprinted in Kansas Teacher, May, 1958. p. 25

He was 23 years old in April, 1876
"Another character of Cimarron country was Jesse Evans, a hard-bitten young cattleman who lived in north Texas and New Mexico. Evans stood five feet and an inch in height and weighed 150 pounds. But what he lacked in stature he made up for in gun savvy. In April, 1876, when Evans was twenty-three years old, he spent a few days in Dodge City, transacting business. ....." Also in this reference he refers to him as "Robert Hunter, Evans' new friend..."
-- Lost Trails of the Cimarron, Harry E Chrisman, 1961, 1964, 1990, pp. 180-185

He was not the man named Jesse Evans who was a one-time friend of Billie the Kid
"The Jesse Evans who 'was a one-time friend of Billie the Kid' is another Jesse Evans. This man wound up on the other side of Billy, went back to Texas, was convicted of some offense, and spent time in the Huntsville prison from which he apparently escaped within two years. When our Jesse Evans went to New Mexico after the cattle he had purchased from Chisum, he was mentioned in a letter by Morton and was called "Uncle Jesse." By this time the other Jesse had switched sides and was against Billy the Kid."   -- Roger Myers

“On February 18, 1878, (John) Tunstall (the only father-figure Billy the Kid ever had) was killed in cold blood by men deputized by Sheriff William Brady, who was appointed to his position by Murphy-Dolan. These men, including Frank Baker, Jesse Evans, Jim McDaniel and Billy Morton, among others, who were at one time friends of the Kid’s when he worked for Murphy-Dolan (in New Mexico), stopped Tunstall on a road and informed him that they were taking part of his cattle herd, stating that the cattle belonged to Murphy-Dolan. Tunstall of course spoke out, saying that the cattle were his and to look at the brands to see he was telling the truth. The men drew their guns, ordering Tunstall to surrender. Tunstall climbed out of his buckboard and handed over his gun, stating, “I don’t want any bloodshed.” As Tunstall was handing over his gun to Jesse Evans, Evans shot the unarmed man and he fell to the ground. Billy Morton then fired a second round into Tunstall’s head, killing him instantly.
-- Billy the Kid 1859-1881

He was one of the Evans/Hunter/Evans - the other was A. G. (sometimes referred to as A. J.)
He was one of the "originators" of the Comanche Pool. "The Comanche Pool originated in 1878. W. R. Colcord, Major Kirk and Jesse Evans - namesake of Evansville - invited others to join their venture. By 1881 the pool had grown to 15 members including Evans and Robert Hunter."
-- The Autobiography of Charles Francis Colcord, 1859-1934, p. ???. Also see: Charles F. Colcord.

Jesse Evans and Major Kirk had driven cattle up from Texas about the same time Colcord had brought his horses up, and had located them in the Cherokee Strip. In 1877-78 Evans, Kirk, and Colcord got together and talked over the situation. They decided that by organizing and pooling their cattle, horses, and men, everybody could make more money. They built headquarters 5 miles north of their (Colcord’s) camp, which was called Evansville, in honor of Jesse Evans.
--The Autobiography of Charles Francis Colcord, 1859-1934, p. 62-64.

Jess Evans, of the firm of Evans, Hunter & Evans, predicts that the herds, ...ranging in Barbour and Commanche counties, will not be troubled by the Texas drive the coming season. He has been informed that the Indian authorities at the new post known as Sheridan’s Roost, are unwilling to allow the cattle to pass through on the old trail. As a consequence, it will be turned either east or west so far that it will not endanger the herds ranging south of here. Evans visualized the potential for fattening large herds of local cattle on the grass that would be left idle by the nonexistent Texas drives.
-- Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society 1923-1925, Some Notes on the Comanche Pool, Mary Einsel, p. 61.

During the "Indian Raids" in Kansas he received settlement for loss
"The three highest payments were $17,760 to Evans, Hunter, and Evans of Ford County" -(Was in Dodge City at this time with cattle?)
-- Tell Them We Are Going Home, Monnett p.185

There was another Evans, John Evans, mentioned as having been killed by the Cheyenne Indians
A more deadly fracas occurred in Comanche County when a group of Cheyennes appeared at the evening camp of a cowman named Sheedy as his cowboys were sitting around their campfire. The Cheyennes asked for some food and tobacco. Having them outnumbered, the cowboys unceremoniously rejected the request. They were taken by surprise when, according to their story, one of the Cheyennes grabbed a six-gun from a cowboy and began firing. Two of the ranch crew, Frank T. Dow and John Evans, were shot dead.
-- Perilous Pursuit, The U. S. Cavalry and the Northern Cheyennes, Stan Hoig, University Press of Colorado, 2002(?), p. 89.

John Evans, killed Sept. 12, 1878, herder for Mr. D. Sheedy, where he was killed, buried, may not ever to solved. There is evidence Sheedy’s Cattle Camp about a mile south of the Salt Fork on Sheedy Creek, that carries his name.
-- (From files located in the Coldwater Library that had been used when working on the Comanche County History book in 1981.) This was on a page with The Dull Knife Raid.

Evans/Hunter/Evans had cattle in the Sun City area before the Pool was organized.
"In 1875 and 1876, Indian troubles were moderately quiet except that twenty-eight Cheyenne Indians came out of the Indiana Territory and stole one hundred head of beef steers which belonged to Evans, Hunter, and Evans, that my father (Bill Cochran, Sun City area) was herding in the daytime."
-- The West That's Gone by Alma Rayfield, p. 32.

In 1873 Reuben Lake, with others, came to this area.
Lake located where the present town of Lake City stands, and with him was his son Riley Lake, who still resides in the same locality. That year the Lakes wintered for Jesse Evans a herd of 800 cattle, the first sizeable herd to be permanently located in this region and to be wintered here.
-- J. W. Berryman, Early Settlement of Southwest Kansas, c17, p. 565, Kansas State Printing Plant, 1928. (From files located in the Coldwater Library that had been used when working on the Comanche County History Book in 1981.)

He sold out his stock in the Comanche Pool before the "big blizzard".
"In the summer of 1882 Jesse Evans, who owned one third of the pool, sold his interest to A. G. Evans and Robert Hunter for $175,000. The sale included, among other things, 27,000 head of cattle and the Evansville Merchandise Store". (Note: This store - we call it the Commissary - is still standing on site in relatively good condition - Phyllis Sherich)
-- Barber County Index, July 21, 1881

A. G. (Capt. Evans) later was part of a livestock commission house in Kansas City.
In 1873 he (R. D. Hunter) established, in connection with Captain (A. G.?) Evans and others, a livestock commission house with headquarters at Kansas City.
-- Cattle Trade of West and Southwest, Joseph G. McCoy, 1774, p. 106. Footnote - Hunter, Pattison & Evans, Ibid., April 17, 1873.

Among the new (livestock commission) firms established, none was more notable as being composed of substantial, practical, clear-headed business men than that of Hunter, Pattison & Evans, since changed to Hunter, Evans & Company.
-- Cattle Trade of West and Southwest, Joseph G. McCoy, 1774 p. 343.

Footnote: During 1872, Edward W. Pattison and A. G. Evans, of Kansas City, headed the firm of Pattison, Evans & Company, a commission house for the sale of live stock at the Kansas Stockyards. Early in 1873, after Robert D. Hunter joined the organization, it was known as Hunter, Pattison & Evans. Pattison withdrew from the company in 1874 and was replaced by W. L. (Tieding), when the firm changed its name to Hunter, Evans & Company. During the same year it opened an office at the National Stockyards in East st. Louis, Illinois, which became the headquarters of the company after its withdrawal from Kansas City in 1877. Meanwhile, in 1876 it established the first beef canning house in St. Louis.
-- Parsons’ Memorial and Historical ?????? Magazine (Mrs. August Wilson, ed., St. Louis, 1885), 1, 319-325; Ellsworth Reporter, Apr. 17, 1873; Powell, op. cit., 179-181, 210.

He was buried at Lake City, Kansas (I haven’t checked this out yet!)
Jim Brock who came from Kentucky in 189_ and settled on a claim near Lake City. In the summer of 1880 he worked for Jesse Evans in Building at Evansville the famous Comanche Pool headquarters. When they got ready to plaster there was no one that could plaster. Mr. Brock told Mr. Evans that he could plaster. They hauled the burnt gyp from Barber County to do the plastering. It set quick and give some trouble. Mr. Brock was a round up cook in 1881 and 1882. He was buried at Cimarron. Jesse Evans at Lake City.
-- (From files located in the Coldwater Library that had been used when working on the Comanche County History book in 1981.)

You might also want to refer to this website on the Evans Trace...

(Email to Phyllis Sherich from Dr. Jack Earl Fletcher)
Our reason for wanting to know about Evansville: Pat and I have just returned from an eight week book signing, selling and presentation tour through Wyoming. Colo., KS. OK. and Ark.

Our recently printed book Cherokee Trail Diaries documents the pioneering of a first wagon road from the Fayetteville, Ark. & Tahlequah, C.N. northwest through present OK and south central KS striking the Santa Fe Trail near McPherson.

The route followed to the front range of CO. where the wagon train proceeded north. At present Greeley they turned NW pioneering again the first wagon road north past Fort Collins and east of Laramie (WY) where they turned west across the Great Divide and Red Desert Basin joining the California Trail at Fort Bridger.

This wagon train was Captained by Lewis Evans of Evansville, Ark. With Lewis was his son A. G. Evans, later of your Evansville, Ks. Our book documents four separate wagon trains taking the Evans route in 1850 but pioneering their own route through southern Wyoming. These trails were used for years and the ruts are still visible in KS. CO., & WY. In 1856 in KS & 1858 in CO. & WY it was named the Cherokee Trail (s). Prior to that it was referred to as the Evans Trail, Evans Trace, etc.

We have A(lbert) G. (we think is the same as A.J.) associated with the ranch with Hunter. i.e.. Evans (Jesse), Hunter, Evans (A.G.) Also associated at different times in this and other places were A.G.'s brothers Clint and Clay. Jesse we believe is related but, like you, have not found the relationship.

I'm sure this is more info that you wanted. But I STILL want to know how he was related to A. G. Evans, etc. I can't seem to find out!

Phyllis Scherich


The History of Evansville, Comanche County, Kansas     Headquarters of the Comanche Pool.

The Comanche Pool, Comanche County, Kansas     by Mary Einsel, from Kansas: The Priceless Prairie.

Perils of the Plains     An account of pioneer life as experienced by Will and Hattie Wimmer, how they met, married, and lived within the boundaries of the vast Comanche Cattle Pool of South Central Kansas in the late nineteenth century. Written by Hattie Pierce Wimmer in 1929.

Bill Hill, The Comanche Pool's Bronc Buster

John and Lizzie Platt     John Platt and his Uncle came to Comanche County in 1884, buying shares in the old Comanche Pool.

John W. Platt and the Platt Ranch     A history by Mike Platt and Joyce Reed, Chosen Land: Barber County, Kansas, p. 368..

Obituary of John W. Platt     Published in The Western Star, 6 August 1920. Transcribed by Shirley Brier.

Obituary of Colonel Dick Phillips, an organizer of The Comanche Pool     From The Western Star, 30 June 1916.

Frank & Almada (Parker) King     Frank King was the last foreman of the Comanche Pool.

Christopher Carson "Cap" PEPPERD    Born in Ireland. Confederate Civil War veteran, cowboy, bronc buster, cattle trail driver & early (1874) Comanche County rancher. His ranch foreman, Tommy Wilmore, was a Union veteran of the Civil War.

Charles F. Colcord     One of the organizers of the Comanche Pool.

Comanche Pool Reunion. The Western Star, October 5, 1951.

Web design by Jerry Ferrin, this page was last updated 03 March 2003.