Appalachia Smoky Mountains

Learning More about Alpha Omega Evans

Gravestone of Alpha Omega Evans

I first told you about Alpha Omega Evans back in 2012. At that time we had recently visited Paynetown Cemetery which is located near Fontana Dam. It was established in 1901 by Greenberrry Payne.

It’s a beautiful location that has a very peaceful feeling.

When visiting old graveyards we love to look at the names and dates on the stones as we wonder about the people and their lives.

Chitter noticed the handmade gravestone of Alpha Omega Evans and called us all over to see the unusual name. She was excited because she knew where to find the words in the Bible.

Just as we were leaving Chitter ran back and kissed Alpha Omega’s gravestone.

Don Casada recently shared some new information he found about Alpha Omega while going down the rabbit hole of genealogy searching for the birth date of Jim Boy Evans.

Here’s the first part of what Don found relating directly to Jim Boy Evans and the day he was born.


“The March, 16, 1882 date come from his WW1 draft registration in Blount County, TN for James Calloway Evans. Much to my surprise (and delight to find), the registrar was I.K. Stearns. I.K. Worked for Alcoa for a bit after his schooling at Maryville College. By the way that draft registration indicated he was white, medium height and build, with blue eyes and black hair.

The March 16, 1883 date comes from Social Security Claims Index, which lists his parents as James Evans and Alfa Fuller. As per below, Alfa was actually Alpha Omega Fuller Evans.

Here’s the rest of what I found:

In the 1900 census, James Evans is listed as the 16-yr old son of James and Oma Evans, and has an 11-year old sister Mary..  As you probably already figured, Oma the same person as Omega.

There is a 1907 marriage record for James C Evans and Martha Farley, conducted by G.M Stephenson, Justice of the Peace, at “Crisp’s House.”

The 1910 and 1920 census records both point toward a birth year of 1873. In 1910, he is listed as James B Farley, along with his wife Martha J. Farley and several children, one of which is infant Thomas V(incent). I have no idea why it is Farley – her maiden name – instead of Evans. In 1920, James C Evans is listed with Mary J Farley and several children. Three of the children are listed as stepchildren of James Evans – George, Charley, and Iola Farley. There are two sons listed with the surname Evans – 10-yr old Benson and 8-yr old Edgar. Benson was obviously the census taker’s version of Vincent. The 1920 census was recorded on January 19.

There is a death certificate for Martha Jane Payne Evans (daughter of Joel Payne and Carolline Taylor) on Aug 16, 1920; it notes she was the wife of Jim B. Evans.. I also found a death certificate (Virginia) for Thomas Vincent Evans, son of James Callaway Evans and Martha J. Payne.

In the 1930 census, 46-year old Calloway Ivins is listed as a widower and living with his sister Mary Bracket and her husband, John L. Bracket. They appear to be in the far western part of the county – as in around Eagle Creek or further west. 

Mary Evans Brackett’s death certificate (TN) identifies her parents as Jim Evans and Alpha Omega Fuller. That helps verify the connection between her, James Calloway “Boy” Evans and their parents.

The Social Security record is dated June 1937 (no day given).” 


Fascinating information Don found, but no one left today to say for sure which is the correct birth date of Jim Boy Evans. Looking a little further Don discovered more about Alpha Omega.


“In the 1870 census, 11-year old Alpha Omega Evans was living on DeepnCreek with her family. The next family after hers was Elizabeth Lollis, and the second one after hers was John Millsaps who was a “Doctor of Physic.” 

Here’s where it gets interesting. John Millsaps acquired a land grant to the land where Daddy grew up in 1870. The following year, he sold 1/3 interest in it to Elizabeth Lollis and 1/3 interest to Enos Gunter. I think it likely that Enos Gunter lived where Daddy’s folks did. In 1880, the two of them sold the property to Alfred Jefferson Parris, the brother-in-law of Enos Gunter and 1st cousin of Wade Patterson’s great-grandfather, Alfred Washington Parris, who lived on Indian Creek. So it’s altogether possible that Alpha Omega spent some of her early years on Juney Whank Branch.”


Juney Whank Branch is the area Don’s father is from so that’s why that portion of his research is important to both Don and me. I’ve never tried my hand at genealogy, but am always amazed at what can be found by those who go digging in the past. I’m fascinated by the things they find.

When I read about folks from days gone by I feel a kinship with them, especially the ones I have knowledge of like Alpha Omega Evans. And even though my connection with her is only through her gravestone, I just know she’d be happy and perhaps a bit surprised that a woman from Brasstown and a man from Bryson City got all kinds of excited about finding out more about the life she lived in the Smoky Mountains.

Last night’s video: Aunt Fay’s Pound Cake = Good Eating in Appalachia.

Tipper

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Robert
    March 28, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    I picked up smatterings of more recent family history over the years from my parents, but I didn’t really get interested in it until I was 41 years old when my daughter and only child was born. By then, my Pa was gone as were all his siblings and most of his nieces and nephews, my cousins. I spent a lot of hours in the NC Archives Genealogical Collection eventually pretty much exploiting almost every relevant morsel therein. I even managed to take a very good 3 day course taught by a professional genealogist. This taught me that there are certain steps one should take and the general order of their importance. The most significant thing I learned is that there are primary, certifiable bits of data like Census Records and Deeds, and secondary less reliable bits of data like the recollections of relatives and family lore.

    After a few years of spending time on the subject, I discovered the year my original ancestor in my surname came from England (1630) to the Virginia Colony and the place he came from (Towcester in Northamptonshire). I’ve always wanted to explore the Virginia Archives but, alas, am not likely ever to do so. I also wanted to go to England and learn how to research there and see how far back I could find primary information. Again, that will not happen. I have been entertained by reading the results of research done by others. While most of that must be considered just a diversion without seeing sources, it was diverting to see that others have traced the line almost continuously back to the 10th Century in England in the Yorkshire North Sea coast area which was invaded often by Danes and other Vikings. Some serious researchers (Jack Randolph Hutchins, for example) believed that the name has Norse origins.

    Thanks for the insight into the work of others.

  • Reply
    Charline
    March 26, 2022 at 12:06 am

    I love this story and comments by the genealogy addicts, like me!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 25, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    AW & ED. I sometimes tease people by asking, “If you lose your mind, do you miss it?” But I won’ t say that to anyone unless I am sure they won’t be hurt. The real answer is, I think, that we can only miss the loss of what we can remember having.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 25, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Any time I try to do anything genealogy I get hopelessly lost almost immediately. Somehow, I just get lost in the names. My family is all from Haywood County in North Carolina. I am not that far from the areas mentioned. One of my mother’s younger sisters was married to an Evans.
    It’s all as fascinating as it is hopelessly tangled!

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    March 25, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    Genealogy is so much fun! It is so full of surprises.Those names are great too!

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    March 25, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    Alpha Omega is a beautiful name.

  • Reply
    AWGRIFF
    March 25, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    I recognized many of the surnames for they are common in my part of Appalachia too. I was struck by the name Evans for my wife is an Evans. Her great grandparents came from the mountains of NC. to the rugged hill country of Elliot CO. KY.
    Her great grandad was an Evans and married to a Cherokee Indian. My wife’s cousin has done the family tree on the Evans and was supposed to send her a copy. Looks like she needs to contact him again.

  • Reply
    Rita F Speers
    March 25, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    I Love this story! I don’t have the patience for tracing genealogy, but I do enjoy reading other’s experiences! We have some family stories that my cousins and my family contributed to. My sister put them into a book form. I treasure it!

    Oddly enough, I too, love strolling through cemeteries and reading the stones of strangers. It causes me to cherish life and to connect to times past and wonder about their stories.

  • Reply
    Patricia Wilson
    March 25, 2022 at 11:44 am

    My two addictions are genealogy and its first cousin, cemetery-wandering. I love old cemeteries, even if I don’t have family buried there. The stones are the pages in a book of local American history for those who make the effort to “read” them. You see the graves of seven children of a single family who all passed away within a four month span – cholera? scarlet fever? You see the grave of a baby, perhaps unnamed, next to it’s mother with the same death date, or maybe a couple of days apart, and you know what happened. The kinds of hardships our ancestors faced are largely unknown to us, in the sense of being personally experienced. Genealogy can be very addictive. It’s like a combination of working a puzzle with thousands of pieces (and you don’t have a picture of the completed puzzle to help you) and a historical mystery novel where you are the detective. You can spend a fair amount of money on this addiction (traveling to state archives, distant county courthouses, and the mother-lode of centralized resources in Salt Lake City, subscriptions to Ancestry.com and the like, DNA testing). You can also do a lot for free. Nearly all local libraries have subscriptions to ancestry.com which you can use for free. The Mormon Family History library is available for free use by anyone with an internet connection. Donna Sue mentioned one of the most valuable things anyone can ever do – ask your most senior relatives to talk about their lives and memories. Record what they say – digitally if possible so their voice is preserved as well as their memories. DO IT WHILE THEY ARE STILL WITH YOU – DON’T WAIT!!! Go through old photos with them and see what they can tell you. WRITE IT DOWN! Don’t trust your memory. Check any family Bibles. Folks used to actually record things like births, marriages, and deaths in them. Yes, I am yelling about this because I want to spare you the effort of painfully reconstructing facts that great-grandma can tell you. Additionally, she can tell you personal things about your family that don’t show up on a death certificate…priceless information. Don’t let it be lost. Genealogy is fun and you feel a real sense of accomplishment when you add another piece to the puzzle of what made you. It can also be frustrating – courthouses burned during the Civil War, land records on paper going through a flood, children born to a widow long after she buried her husband, unmarked and unrecorded graves, markers with inscriptions erased by time, genealogical “brick walls” that you just have to walk away from. You may find some things you’re not proud of. I found a Tennessee relative who went to prison for counterfeiting Confederate money and a Tory who fled Virginia to avoid prosecution for aiding the British army. I am sure there will be more surprises, but I remind myself that I don’t know the circumstances of their lives – only some legal datapoints.

    Will it all matter in the end? No. I will surely meet many of my ancestors in heaven that I never met or even saw a picture of here on earth. I would like to thank them for their bravery in leaving their homeland, enduring a dangerous sea voyage to come to a land unknown, for helping to build the country that I love, for perhaps praying for me – their unknown future descendant. Will any of that matter in the presence of Jesus? I firmly believe that our creator God wired this sense of family history into us. I have two adopted family members. Watching their compulsion as adults to reconstruct their birth family was evidence to me of this intrinsic drive. Christians and Jews are known as People of the Book. That book is not just any book, it is the only reliable Guidebook to life, simultaneously a revelation of God’s nature and a history of God’s people. God repeatedly told Moses to write down not only the law, but also the history…the record of God’s interaction with his children through history. Hebrews 11 is a concise family history of all believers. When circumstances are tough, remembering God’s faithfulness in tough circumstances is an encouragement. Circumstances change, God doesn’t. Reconstructing the chapters of the most recent three centuries – or more if you’re really lucky – of your personal family history is worthwhile. As you know, the number of your direct-descendant ancestors doubles every generation, so you don’t have to go back very far in time to be dealing with many names you’ve probably never heard. Please excuse my passionate exhortation to interview your senior relatives ASAP. I didn’t and it’s a deeply held regret. Somewhere down the line of your descendants, a yet to be born genealogist will thank you. Apologies for the length of this post.

  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    March 25, 2022 at 11:42 am

    What a fun post! My West Virginia family names are so boring in comparison; lots of Henrys and Virginia’s, etc., etc. Though I had a great uncle named Israel Putnam, called “Uncle Put.”

    Thanks for the smiles.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 25, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Margie G’s comment also reminds me of the original post. It seems that I commented about the use of Alpha and Omega in the Bible. I thought I said that time does not pass from God’s prospective. That He is the beginning and the end means the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning therefore there is nothing in between. I also thought I used God’s description of Himself as “I Am” to mean the same thing.
    That might have been in a different comment (if it actually happened) I don’t know but we often had multiple comments back in those days. Or maybe it never happened at all!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 25, 2022 at 10:53 am

    I coulda swore I told you about Alpha Omega “Meg” Fuller Evans back in 2012 when you first posted about her. I thought I even asked to use your picture of her gravestone in my family tree research. Maybe not! I tried to look back at the original post but can’t find it.
    That is starting to happen to me more and more. I remember telling someone something but they don’t remember it. That leaves me in a quandary. Did I only think I told them or am I just being ignored? Either one is a daunting prospect. I have lost my relevance.
    I recall a phrase from the past “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Add to that “A mind is a terrible thing to lose!” Especially if it is your own!

    • Reply
      Tipper
      March 25, 2022 at 11:30 am

      Ed-it’s very likely you did tell me about her and I just totally forgot about it. I do that more and more often 🙂

    • Reply
      AWGRIFF
      March 25, 2022 at 12:12 pm

      ED, an old friend that’s now gone on used to say that of all the things he had lost he missed his mind the most. I sometimes feel the same way.

      • Reply
        Ron Stephens
        March 25, 2022 at 4:41 pm

        AW & ED. I sometimes tease people by asking, “If you lose your mind, do you miss it?” But I won’ t say that to anyone unless I am sure they won’t be hurt. The real answer is, I think, that we can only miss the loss of what we can remember having.

        • Reply
          Robert
          March 28, 2022 at 8:47 pm

          I always heard that asked thusly: Did you miss your mind when it went missin’?

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 25, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Oops! That genealogy bug, once it bites oh my. I recognize a bunch of characteristics of those bitten; curiosity, generousity, feeling overwhelmed, distracted, unable to quit to name a few. I am one of those who have been bit myself. To me, the attraction is a personalized American history. Us folks history will never notice by name are yet making history with how we live our lives. Summed up, we are a more powerful force than the history-noted figures.

    If someone asked me point blank, “Should I research my family history?” I would be stumped. A lot depends on a person’s nature, whether it is a good fit. One part of me would think about that person blaming me when they got frustrated (as they surely would if they continued very long). Another part would think about their friends and family that might blame me for an obsession. And I know that families are not saintly through history. They might learn things they never wanted to know. But on the other hand, I would know they would find gems of family heritage. So I would still be stumped!

    There is a wealth of historical information that an army of dedicated volunteer genealogists have compiled. My hat is off to them although they have not gotten the recognition they deserve nor their good work reflected in academia. I hope the day will come when their work will be used in textbook history.

  • Reply
    dee
    March 25, 2022 at 9:05 am

    I’ve been to old family pioneer cemeteries that look some what like your picture – very peaceful; and I’ve traced history through genealogy too. You sometimes find your ancestors came to this country much earlier than you knew.
    Your Aunt Fay’s pound cake looks delicious! I am always amazed when I see you using cookware that my Mother used and I now use. I have Mother’s cake pan just like you used in your video. It is old and heavy duty:) Mother always made the best moist Lemon Coffee Cake in that pan. She used a regular lemon cake mix but she added something to it to make it so moist. It looked like your pound cake but hers had; of course, the lemon flavor.

  • Reply
    Charles Ronald Perry, Sr.
    March 25, 2022 at 8:36 am

    Alpha is my 2nd great aunt. She and 3 of her sisters married 4 Evans brothers. Her parents weres Samuel P. Fuller and Marium Leathers. She married James R. Evans on Mays 21, 1881 in Nantahala Township, Swain County, NC I have lots of info on her, her sisters and the Evans brothers and their children if anyone is interested. Email me at [email protected]

  • Reply
    Joe Chumlea
    March 25, 2022 at 8:35 am

    Tipper; I remember a gravestone from me teenage years that we came across on a church retreat in the Smokey mountains somewhere around Gatlinburg/ Townsand area. It said “Here lies Nervy Brown killed by the cumberland raiders” If anyone knows the where abouts of this gravestone I would love to revisit it. Maybe Don Casada knows where it is. Thanks ,Joe

  • Reply
    Margie G
    March 25, 2022 at 7:42 am

    I tried to follow the genealogy Mr. Casada dug up, but it’s waaaayyyyy too deep for coffee time and just waking up so I feel like I just sat for the MCAT or LSAT ( medical or law school admittance tests lol.) I think Katie running back and kissing Alpha Omega’s headstone is absolutely sweet and kind! I knew your daughters are wonderful, but their kind ways make them absolutely lovely ladies to me!!! I think Alpha Omega is one of ( if not THE) best hillbilly name I EVER heard tell of!!! Btw, we need to be ready always for the return of THE Alpha and Omega ( HES the beginning and the end and everything worth having in between!!)

  • Reply
    Charles
    March 25, 2022 at 7:34 am

    AMEN, DONNA !!!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 25, 2022 at 7:23 am

    I too love geneology. For instancy I found the first Ormonds (my dads side) came from Scotland to setle in the Mecklandburg area. Some are still thete and even found in Murphy. It is an exciting adventure which has led to my granddaughter deciding on the name Rea for her daughter when born the name has been in the family since the2nd generation of Ormonds in the new world.

  • Reply
    Martha Justice
    March 25, 2022 at 6:55 am

    My husband wants to find out about his ancestors. This article has sparked a fire in me to get started ❤ Thanks !

  • Reply
    donna sue
    March 25, 2022 at 4:50 am

    I love genealogy! I started researching my family when I was in my twenties, but have not kept with it consistently. I go in spurts, sometimes working at it steadily, other times not touching it for a couple of years. My aunt, also, loves researching it, and she was able to even travel to Ireland and trace our roots there, meeting family. But she, too, doesn’t always have the time to be consistent with it. While I was sick with the “v” around Christmas and New Years a few months ago, one day I called her up and we ended up on the subject. Since then we both have begun dabbling back into our research again. It is fun, and it is very addicting. There are also so many rabbit trails that you can get very lost on, wandering far from where you originally started. But it is so very interesting. I love hearing about all the information people find out about their own ancestors. I honestly love hearing about people’s lives in the here and now, even. Last week, while talking with my parents, I asked them to start writing down every little thing they can remember about their lives, and people in the family. We discussed me taking all the information they give me, and writing a book on our immediate family history, concentrating on the lives of my parents and each of my siblings. That has become my latest obsession/project, another thing added on to this plate called “my life” that keeps me busy. Life is an adventure, a journey. Each of us who have ever walked this earth, are important in God’s plan. Some people are good, some people are bad. But none of us are insignificant.

    Donna. : )

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