Married for Life and All Eternity

One of the great joys of working on genealogy is finding a story.  I stumbled across one such joy while working on the Evans family tree.  The Evans family is the family that originally owned the clock that graces my mulling times.

Jehu Evans never personally owned the clock, but his parents were its first owners.  Later, it passed to his sister Rutha M. (Evans) Riley and, eventually, to me.  But the clock is not the focus of this story; Jehu Evans and his beloved wife, Rebecca, are.

Jehu Evans was born 07 June 1843 in Ozark, Dale County, Alabama.  Rebecca Jane Barnes was born nine years later on 15 April 1852.  They married in about 1867 when Jehu was 24 and Rebecca only 15 years old.  The first of their children was born 11 July 1869 and the thirteenth was born 09 April 1898.

That last baby was a boy.  Jehu Evans named his infant son Leo Rebecca Evans after his 46-year-old mother who died on 20 April 1898, eleven days after giving birth to him.

After Rebecca died from childbirth, Jehu acknowledged his widowhood but continued to live his marriage.  Two years after her death, he responded to the 1900 Federal Census as “Widowed.”  But in the blank for “How Many Years Married,” he stated 30, indicating the number of years they had been married when she died.

On the 1910 Federal Census, he again answered “Widowed” to Marital Status; however, when asked for how long he had been in his “Present Marriage,” he replied 42 years–exactly the length of the marriage had Rebecca still been alive.

Twenty-three years after Rebecca’s passing, in pension records completed in 1921, he declared himself “Married,” but when asked how old his wife was at that time, he replied, “Died in 1898.”

Jehu Evans, Sr., died 20 September 1923 in Park, Wyoming, where at least three of his sons lived near him.  He had left Rebecca Jane buried in Dykes Cemetery, Dale County, Alabama, and is buried himself in Riverside Cemetery in Cody, Park County, Wyoming, 2000 miles away.

But Jehu and Rebecca Jane (Barnes) Evans are still married and side-by-side for all eternity.  If death could not end their marriage, could not “part” them during Jehu’s lifetime, I am certain Jehu has not and will not let it part them now.

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