Tribute to my Paternal Grandparents William and Sarah Evans

I’ll start on my father’s side with my memories of my grandparents. My cousin, Richard Evans has written a history of my grandfather and mentioned my step-grandmother, but I’ll briefly tell a little of my own memories of them. My biological grandmother died not too long after they came to America. My step-grandmother was a very harsh, crabby and angry looking woman of whom I was terribly afraid. I can never remember seeing her smile. My real grandmother Evans died before I was born, but from all I hear about her, she was a lovely, kind, beautiful person and I wish I could have known her. I can remember going to see Step-grandmother Evans in Durango when I was young and she never said two words to me that I remember so my memories of her are not that great. But, my Grandfather was another story. He was kind and thoughtful and I will always remember his playing a small instrument something like an accordion and as he played it, he would swing it around in great circles as he played and it was exciting to watch. I was not as close to my grandparents on my Dad’s side as on my Mother’s, mostly because we lived close to my Willden grandparents. Besides this, my Mother, while friendly, kept herself from being close to Dad’s family and this kept us children from being quite as close.

I know a little more about the background of my Grandpa Evans. He was born in Wales, and lived there until his entire family joined the Church, and at that time the thing for converts to do was to go to Utah. And this they did. I believe they boarded the ship at Liverpool, England and everyone got very sick on the high seas. They traveled by train to Salt Lake City and there the boys and Grandpa tried to find work without success. Finally, it had happened that one of President Brigham Young’s grandsons had converted them in Wales and was now living in Northern part of New Mexico and urged them to go there and they did and worked in the mines. In Wales this was about the only work open to most of the men and all of the family had worked in them there.

The little Mormon town was called Fruitland and for many years there were several of the families living there or in the vicinity. The family got acclimated to life there and did fairly well. And, that was where my Dad met my Mother.

My step-grandmother died sometime about when I was in Durango in high school or a few years later. Then my grandfather for many years lived with my Uncle Dick Evans and his family in Shiprock, New Mexico, where my uncle had an Indian Trading Post. He built a room onto his house, which was attached to the store and they were very kind and attentive to Grandpa Evans.

One incident stands out in my mind that tells of Grandpa’s character. He must have been in his late 80’s, and we thought he was terribly old. One day I was visiting in Salt Lake with my family and we decided to go to Lagoon. Just as all the preparations were made and we were ready to leave, in came Grandpa, unannounced. We loved him and were perplexed as to what to do. We didn’t want to call off our little trip, but felt he would not wish to go, but we finally decided that we should ask him and see how he felt. So we said, “Grandpa, we’re all ready to go to Lagoon and wondered if you would like to go with us?” He pleasantly announced in his kindly voice, “Why yes. I would like to go.” But now at age 84, and with the energy and zest for life that I have, I can understand exactly how he felt.

I think Grandpa was about ninety something when he died. One night Uncle Will went into his room after he had gone to bed and said goodnight to him as he always did every evening and the next morning when they went in, he was gone. What a way to go.

None of my grandparents had any worldly wealth to leave to me, but the left me three qualities that I have always cherished. Number one: all were steadfast in the Gospel and it was always evident in their lives. Number two: by their example they left me so many examples of honesty in all their dealings, the value of friendships, and that was great virtue in being kind. Number Three: They loved me. I’m glad I’m their granddaughter.