Evers descendants served area through business, health care, education

Published 2:02 am Saturday, September 12, 2015

As was stated at the beginning of last week’s column, which introduced the Evers family, when hearing the Evers name, people of Covington County are reminded of furniture stores, doctor and hospital and real estate. Members of this family engaged in these careers and others to make a significant mark on the business and civic communities of Andalusia and surrounding areas.

The previous column ended with a review of all the children of Reuben Jasper and Sarah (Solomon) Evers with the exception of their youngest son, Joshua Jasper Evers. This son proved to be an outstanding citizen of Covington County and reared a fine family with his wife, Mary Ellen (Owens).

Reuben Jasper and Sarah Evers’ youngest son, Joshua Jasper Evers, was born in Lafayette, Ark., in 1864, the very year of his father’s death. His mother moved the family back to Monroe County, Ala., to be near their relatives. Joshua Jasper received his early education from the schools of Pineapple where he grew to manhood and entered his business career. He became a successful merchant in Pineapple and later in Repton. He was married in 1885 or 1886 to Mary Ellen Owens (1871-1948), daughter of John Owens and Mary (Hanson).

Family records report that Mary Ellen only weighed about two pounds at birth, and the treatment and care for an infant that small was quite demanding and different at that time from what it is today. It is said her grandmother took her just after birth because she was so small and frail. She thrived under the constant care of her grandmother and grew to become a healthy adult in the Old Texas community of Monroe County. The grandmother referred to was Mary Ann “Mittie” (McLean) Owens, wife of Phillip Marion Owens Jr. At the age of 15 Mary Ellen was married to Joshua Jasper Evers, and their first child was born within 14 months. She successfully delivered 11 healthy children and lived to the mature age of 77.

Joshua Jasper and Sarah Evers reared the following children: Clarence Howell, b. 1887, d. 1953, m. Mary Ulma Weatherford; John Wesley, b. 1889, d. 1947, m. Sarah E. “Sally” Hinson (1892-1953); Charles Walter, b. 1892, d. 1966, m. Della Watson (1895-1981); Levi Jasper, b. 1894, d. 1895; Joshua Ernest, b. 1895, m. (1) Daisy Higdon; (2) Maude Hamilton (1901-1966); Maggie May, b. 1898, d. 1899; Thomas J., b.&d. 1900; Leonard Howard, b. 1901, d. 1944, m. (1) Margaret Emily Dannelly (1903-ca1966) (2) Lessie Short; Wilbur Chapman, b. 1906, d. 1969, m. Naomi Dees (1902-1985); Comer Lee, b. 1908, d. 1973, m. Wilma Patterson; and Mary Vermelle, b. 1912, d. 1996, m. Henry Edward Donaldson (1914-1988).

Joshua Jasper and Sarah resided in the Repton community of Monroe County, Ala., until he retired from his active business engagements in 1930. At that time the couple decided to move to the prospering Town of Opp, Ala. However, at the insistence of some of their children, they moved back to Repton where they remained for about four years. They then returned to Opp where they lived until Joshua Jasper’s death in 1948.

Joshua J. Evers was such an outstanding citizen that his obituary covered most of the front page of The Opp News. The editor described him in the following manner: “A faithful Christian and servant in attending to the needs of others. His domestic life was “idyllic” in that he was a devoted husband, loving father, kind and generous neighbor. To be numbered among his acquaintances was a privilege and to be counted among his friends was a great blessing. To be a member of his immediate family was to receive a heritage that words cannot express.”

Joshua was given a special memorial by his Men’s Bible Class when they furnished and dedicated a room in his honor at the Methodist Orphanage in Selma, Ala. The posted plaque reads as follows: “Dedicated to Joshua Jasper Evers, Opp, Alabama.”

Joshua and Mary Ellen Evers’ children were outstanding citizens of Andalusia and surrounding communities. Their oldest son, Clarence Howell Evers, was married to Mary Ulma Weatherford of Wilcox County, Ala. They lived on and worked the Evers Farm near Repton and reared at least three children: ParaLee “Patsy,” Herbert Ray, and Ruth. They are probably best known as the parents of the former popular Andalusia physician, Dr. Ray Evers, who was a family doctor and credited with establishing the Hillcrest Infirmary, which later became Columbia General Hospital.

The second son, John Wesley Evers, was married to Sarah Emma (Hinson) of Repton. They made their home in Repton also and owned their own farm. They reared the following children: Julie Mae, Curtis Mabrey, Eula Frances, and William Harold.

The third son, Charles Walter Evers, was married to Della Watson of Repton. They resided there where Charles owned his own farm. (Della Watson was an aunt to Ted Watson, current Superintendent of Andalusia City Schools.) Charles and Della reared the following children: Vera, Franklin, Aubrey, Tanner, Verlos, and Mildred.

The fifth son, Joshua Earnest Evers, was married to Maude Hamilton (1901-1966), daughter of William E. and Daisy B. Hamilton. Joshua Earnest and Maude were living with her parents in Evergreen in 1930. He was a merchant and managed the Evers Furniture Store there. They reared the following two children: Clarence E. and Earnestine.

The seventh son, Leonard Howard Evers, was married first to Margaret Emily Dannelly (1902-1962). They had one daughter, Norma (Evers), who married Griffin Sikes, an attorney in Andalusia. By 1930, L.H. and Margaret were divorced, and he was residing in Opp. He was later married to Lessie Evers. L.H. became quite successful in establishing a series of Evers Furniture Stores with the help of some of his brothers. He operated stores in Andalusia, Dothan, Evergreen, Florala, Monroeville and Opp. In Andalusia, the store was located on the south side of Church Street in a building currently occupied by Cedar Creek Merchandise. He apparently engaged in real estate sales as the Evers Subdivision still exists west of Andalusia High School and near the bypass. At his death, L.H. was buried in the first above-ground tomb in Andalusia’s Magnolia Cemetery.

The next son, Wilbur Chapman Evers, was a veteran of WW I. In 1945 he was married to Naomi Ruth Dees (1902-1985), daughter of Joseph Lafayette Dees and Minnie Inez (Lewis). Wilbur managed the Evers Furniture Store in Monroeville, but he was being treated in Andalusia when he died in 1969. They had no children.

The youngest son, Comer Lee Evers, was married to Wilma Patterson, daughter of William Osbon Patterson and Carrie Esther (Mills). They made their home in Andalusia where Comer had several careers. He managed his brother’s Evers Furniture Store until it was sold and then worked as a medical lab technician at Columbia General Hospital for a time. He eventually built a brick building on the east side of North Cotton Street and opened the Evers Clothing Store. Wilma is remembered as a long-time, some 60 years, clerk with Johnson Brothers’ Jewelry. They reared two children: Patricia, m. James Barrow “Jimmy” Caton; and William Rex, m. (1) Catherine Davis (2) Charlotte Hopkins.

The youngest child and daughter, Mary Vermelle Evers, was married to Henry Ellis Donaldson (1863-1917), son of Marion Ellis Donaldson and Lizzie Bell Grimes (1872-1917). They reared one daughter, Dr. Miriam Evers Donaldson, who graduated from medical school and began a practice in Texas. After a few years, she joined the U.S. Air Force to practice medicine and achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel. (At the time she was the only female in the U.S. Air Force to garner that rank.) The family resided in the Town of Opp and the house is featured in the recent publication on Andalusia architecture by Dr. Bill Hansford. Dr. Miriam Donaldson created a living memorial to her mother by donating funds for the cosmetology school at MacArthur Technical College. The building bears the name of Vermelle Evers Donaldson Building. This family has been a major supporter of the school since its beginning.

The sources for this narrative were Ancestry.com and the family records of Patricia (Evers) Caton, a descendant of this family.

Anyone who might find any errors in the above writing or additional information on this family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.