Though a third of a century has passed since L. Martin Evans was called to his final rest, he is still remembered by many of the older residents of Sheboygan county as an esteemed citizen who was identified with general agricultural pursuits here for about three decades. His birth occurred in Randolph township, Orange county, Vermont, on the 11th of July, 1828, his parents being John and Selina (Tracy) Evans. The family came originally from Wales. John Evans the paternal grandfather of our subject, removed from New Hampshire to Vermont and subsequently took up his abode in Ohio, where his demise occurred. Some of his descendants are now living at New London, Ohio.
The maternal great-grandfather of L. Martin Evans was a soldier in the English army and fought in the French wars. After coming to America he joined the Revolutionary forces and fought in the navy. According to family tradition, he rendered efficient service as a gunner in a memorable engagement. Perez Tracy, the maternal grandfather, participated in the War of 1812, and took part in the battle of Plattsburg. Unto John and Selina (Tracy) Evans were born nine children, as follows: Harriet, who is deceased; Dimick Tracy, who is a resident of Plymouth, Wisconsin; L. Martin, of this review; Olive, the deceased wife of John Teft, of Portland, New York; Emily, who is the wife of Hubbard Bryant, of Brookfield, Vermont; Clarissa, the deceased wife of Alden Boyce, of Brookfield, Vermont; Marshall, who passed away at the age of eight years; Nancy G., the deceased wife of Lorin Kidder, of Northfield, Vermont; and Marcia, the deceased wife of George Sneeden, of Bristol, Vermont.
In 1849, when a young man of twenty-one, L. Martin Evans came to Wisconsin, to which state his brother Dimick had removed two years before. He took up government land on section 16, Plymouth township, Sheboygan county, a part of which is now owned by his son Byron. After clearing the land he erected a frame dwelling, which was quite a rare thing in those early days. In the further cultivation and improvement of that property he was busily engaged throughout the remainder of his life, passing away in 1878. For a period of three years he served as deputy warden of the state penitentiary at Waupun.
On the 13th of May, 1853, Mr. Evans was united in marriage to Miss Caroline McGraw, a daughter of Edward M. and Eliza (Plattner) McGraw and a granddaughter of Thomas McGraw, who came to this country from Ireland when eighteen years of age. Edward M. McGraw, a native of Little Britain, Orange county, New York, removed from the Empire state to Michigan in 1830 and thence made his way to Iowa about 1841. In the fall of 1848 he came to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and a year later removed to Plymouth, where he worked at his trade of wagon making. He returned to Sheboygan about 1856 and there conducted a wagon shop. In 1858 he was elected state prison commissioner of Wisconsin, serving in that capacity for one term or until 1860, when he removed to Michigan. His son Byron, who held the rank of second lieutenant in Company I, Sixteenth Michigan Infantry, was killed in the battle of Gaines Hill, in the seven days' fighting before Richmond, on the 27th of June, 1862.
In 1863 Edward M. McGraw returned to Wisconsin and resided for a time at Fond du Lac, where he was engaged in the milling business. Eventually he took up his abode in Plymouth, where his demise occurred in 1886. His wife was called to her final rest on the 28th of March, 1909. Mr. McGraw was a very versatile man, was a writer of some note and very prominent in the early affairs of this state. He was an intimate friend of Carl Schurz and stumped the state with him during the latter's campaign for lieutenant governor. During the period of the Black Hawk war he served with the Michigan troops. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Evans were born four sons, namely: George P., who is a resident of Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Byron McGraw; Ellsworth, who is deceased; and McGraw. The mother of these children was married a second time, becoming the wife of Dimick Tracy Evans, a brother of L. Martin Evans, with whom she now resides at Plymouth. She has lived within the borders of Sheboygan county for almost two-thirds of a century, and is therefore largely familiar with its annals from pioneer times down to the present.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL