This article, photos, and illustrations, are the intellectual property of Kianga Lucas,and are reprinted here, with the permission and courtesy of Kianga Lucas, Native American Roots

The Evans Family

The mixed-race Evans family probably originated in Virginia sometime around the mid-1600s because there were over thirty mixed-race members of the family born before 1750. There was an Eleanor Evans, born say 1660, who was taxable in Surry County, Virginia, in William Hancock's household in 1677, in the household of Robert Caufield in 1678, and in Joseph Rogers' household in 1679 [Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, vol.22, no.3, pp.57, 63, 67]. She may have been an African American woman or a white woman who "worked the ground."
Mixed-race members of the Evans family were:

Ann Evans, born say 1710, was the matriarch of many descendants who had ties to the Lost Creek Settlement. (more)

• Morris Evans, who married Jane Gibson, a free Indian woman

The Native American, free colored, Evans family of Granville County directly descend from Morris Evans (1665-1739) and Jane Gibson (1660/1670 - 1738) of Charles City County, VA. The Evans family resettled in and became a core part of Granville County's Native American community in the 1760s immediately following the initial settlement of the founding Chavis, Harris, Hawley, Pettiford, Anderson, Bass, and Goins families. In this blog post I will document the Evans family from their earliest documented origins from a free Indian woman known as Jane Gibson the elder, to their settlement in Granville County. A word of caution: Evans is among the most common surnames dating back to colonial times, therefore not all Evans families are genealogically related. There were a few free colored Evans families originating in Virginia and it is not known if and how they may all be related. The focus of this blog post is about documenting the branch of the Evans family that begins with Morris Evans and his wife Jane Gibson. I do discuss two additional Evans families at the end, that may or may not be related.

Jane Gibson the Elder, a free Indian woman

Morris Evans'(1665-1739) wife Jane Gibson (1660/1670-1738), had a mother also named Jane Gibson. To distinguish between the two women, the mother is referred to as Jane Gibson the elder (born 1640/1650). The elder Jane Gibson was called a free Indian woman by some of her descendants who were illegally enslaved. Though the Evans and Gibson families were free-born, that did not prevent some colonists from illegally enslaving them. Apparently, some of the descendants of Morris Evans and Jane Gibson's daughter Frances Evans (1700-1771) were enslaved by a colonist named Goodrich Lightfoot. They were originally bound out to Lightfoot to be indentured servants but he instead enslaved them and after his death, they were subsequently sold to several slave owners. The enslaved Evans later sued for their freedom and provided information that they descended from a free Indian woman - Jane Gibson the elder.

The petition of Charles Evans, Amey Evans, Sukey Evans, Sisar Evans, Solomon Evans, Frankey Evans, Sally Evans, Milly Evans, Adam Evans and Hannah Evans holden in slavery by Lewis Allen, of the County of Halifax humbly sheweth: that your petitioners are descendants from Jane Gibson, a free Indian woman..


You can review the documentation on Deloris Williams' website where she has graciously transcribed the chancery court documents and it is really worth a read, if you're not familiar with these records.

I also found in the Saint Stephen's Parish records for New Kent County, that Goodrich Lightfoot (the man who enslaved the Evans) owned an Indian slave named Charles who died on October 9, 1722. I'm unsure if this Charles is from the Evans family, but it certainly appears Goodrich Lightfoot enslaved multiple Native Americans.

Also noteworthy, the Native American/free colored Howell family of Granville County descends from a woman who was a servant in the home of Goodrich Lightfoot's brother Sherwood Lightfoot of Saint Stephen's Parish in New Kent County, VA. And after both the Evans and Howell families came to Granville County, they intermarried.

The exact tribal origin of the Evans family has also been a subject of a lot of debate among researchers. Morris Evans was noted as being a free person of color and we know from DNA testing that he was of at least partial African descent. It is unknown if his background included any Native American ancestry. Although he was born around 1665, the first confirmed records for him were at the end of his life in 1738. So there is a lot about Morris Evans' early life that we do not know about.

However Morris Evans' wife's mother Jane Gibson the elder and thus his wife were noted as being Indian, yet no tribe specified. Charles City County, VA which is where Jane Gibson the elder resided, is located in the heart of Powhatan territory and perhaps that is where her tribal ancestry comes from. There is another Powhatan (specifically Nansemond) descended family of Granville County - the Basses, that I blogged about previously and the Evans intermarried with them in Granville. There was also a Walter Gibson recorded as a chieftan in the Tuscarora Indian Woods reservation land deeds in Bertie County, NC in the 1770s. However, I have not seen any credible information that names his parents or children, so I'm not sure if he is at all connected to Jane Gibson of Charles City County. Another matter to consider is that Morris Evans and Jane Gibson's son Charles Evans moved to southside Virginia by the 1730s, about a decade after the Saponi reservation at nearby Fort Christanna was closed. Charles Evans and his family intermarried with the Saponi descendants residing in Virginia. The maiden name of Charles Evans' wife is unknown, so more research into her identity is needed.

The Evans Move from the Tidewater to Southside Virginia

The Evans family line that came to Granville were not enslaved and as a result, they are well documented. Morris Evans and Jane Gibson also had two sons named Charles Evans (1696-1760) and Morris Evans Jr (1710-1754). Charles and Morris Jr were born in the Tidewater area of Virginia (York County) like their parents, but relocated to the southside Virginia counties of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, and Lunenburg (Lunenburg was formed from Brunswick in 1746 and Mecklenburg was formed from Lunenburg in 1765). Charles Evans moved first in the 1730s and his younger brother Morris Evans Jr moved later in the 1750s. Living next to the Evans families in Southside Virginia during this time period were other notable free colored/Native American families such as: Walden, Kersey, Harris, Brandon/Branham, Stewart, Chavis, Guy and Corn. I point this out because the Evans intermarried with most of these Southside families and they then moved together into the North Carolina border counties, including Granville.

Morris Evans Jr (1710-154) was married to a white woman named Amy Poole, who was the daughter of William Poole. After Morris Evans' death, Amy remarried a John Wright and became known as Amy Wright. Her father William Poole in 1753, gave land in Lunenburg Co, VA to Morris Evans Jr and Amy Poole's son named Richard Evans (1750-1794). This same Richard Evans later moved to Robeson Co, NC and is the most likely ancestor of the Evans family found within the Lumbee Tribe of Robeson Co.

Charles Evans (1696-1760) remained in southside Virginia until his death in 1760 and we have a good record of who his children were through land transactions and wills. Unfortunately not much is known about Charles Evans' wife aside from her first name being Sarah. Charles Evans' children were:

Thomas Evans (b. 1734) - tithable in his father's 1751 Lunenburg Co household. Was in very poor economic standing as his children were bound out because he could not provide for them. Thomas only received one shilling from his father's will because he was undutiful. His wife may have been a Stewart. Some of his children intermarried with the free colored/Native American Jeffries family and moved to Orange Co, NC. This is the same Jeffries family that is a core family of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation.

Major Evans (1733-1814) - moved to Granville Co, NC and is the primary ancestor of the Evans of Granville Co.

Charles Evans (b. 1737) - remained in southside Virginia. In 1782, he was compensated for beef he provided to the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He was head of a Mecklenburg County, Virginia household of 6 persons in 1782 and was taxable in Mecklenburg County from 1782 to 1794: taxable on slave named Ned, and taxable on slave Jack in 1786. His daughter Nanny Evans married Eaton Walden. Eaton and Nanny migrated to Owen County, Indiana in the 1830's, and headed a household of 5 in Owen County, in 1840. Eaton and Nanny were the proginators of about half of the Walden pioneers who settled in the Lost Creek Settlement area. (more)

Richard Evans (b. 1740) - remained in southside Virginia. He did not leave a will, so his apparent children are not verified. He may be the father of Richard Evans b. 1772 who relocated to Chatham Co, NC. An earlier Isaac Evans (b. 1735) was the first free colored Evans to appear in the Randolph Co (which borders Chatham) records, so some of the apparent descendants of Richard Evans may in fact be the descendants of Isaac Evans. And it is not currently known if and how Isaac Evans may be related to the family of Morris Evans/Jane Gibson.

Sarah Evans (b. 1742) - mentioned in her father's will but unknown what happened to her next

Joyce Evans (b. 1743) - mentioned in her father's will but unknown what happened to her next

Erasmus Evans (b. 1745) - had two sons named Anthony and Isham who were bound out. Anthony was called Anthony Chavis, so Erasmus' wife was likely a Chavis. Anthony Evans/Chavis moved around a bit before settling in Chatham Co where he left a will but apparently no heirs.

From here, we will focus our discussion on Charles Evans' son, Richard (b.1740), who was the main progenitor of the Evans family in the Lost Creek Settlement.

Richard had the following children:

Isaac, born say 1766, was taxable in his own Mecklenburg County household in 1787 and 1789, taxable with Richard Evans in 1790, and taxable in 1793 and 1798. He married Dicey Stewart, 24 December 1792 Mecklenburg County bond. (more)

Richard, born about 1772, taxable in the Mecklenburg County household of Isaac Evans in 1790, perhaps the D. Evans who was taxable in the household of Thomas Evans in 1792. He married Lucy Evans, 17 December 1793 Warren County bond, Randolph Rowe bondsman. He was head of a Chatham County household of 6 "other free" in 1800, 8 in 1810, 12 "free colored" in 1820 and a "Mulatto" farmer worth $480 in Chatham County in 1850 with "Mulatto" Lucy Evans who was aged seventy-three.

I believe that Richard and Lucy had a daughter named Nancy Evans, and that she is the Nancy Evans who married Abel Stewart. The 1830 Chatham County, NC census shows Richard Evans living adjacent to Abel Stewart, as was common for the daughter to live next to her parents property. Abel and Nancy migrated to the Lost Creek Settlement in the 1840's, and are counted in the 1850 Lost Creek census. (more)

Joshua, born say 1775, a poor orphan, son of Crecy Dinkins, bound to Benjamin Pennington in Mecklenburg County on 10 April 1780. He was to marry Judah Stewart, 16 December 1797 Lunenburg County bond. He was taxable in Lunenburg County from 1794 to 1806, called Joshua E. Dinkins in 1795. He was counted in a list of "free Negroes and Mulattoes" as a "Mulatto" in 1802 with his wife Celia, children Polly and John, and Matthew Holmes, farmers on Flat Rock Creek. He was listed as a ditcher on Cedar Creek in 1803 with his wife Celia and children Matthew, Polly and Sally. He was probably related to William Dinkins who was listed with his wife Lucretia in the lists for 1802 and 1803 and Thomas Dinkins who was listed in 1803. William was taxable in Lunenburg County from 1789 to 1806, and Thomas was taxable from 1792 to 1806. They were called Dickens from 1799 to 1806.

Charles, born say 1783, taxable in Nutbush District of Granville County, North Carolina, in 1801. He married Frances Hunt, 9 February 1806 Wake County bond, Charles Hunt bondsman. He was one of the freeholders of Chatham County who was ordered by the court to work on the road from Beaver Creek to the Wake County line in February 1806. He was head of a Chatham County household of 7 "other free" in 1810.