This interesting article was received from Roy E. Roper of Canon City. (Remember his Stairway to the Stars). He prepared this for his children and grandchildren and was kind enough to share with us.
A Man Named Washington Irving Evarts
The writings of an early American author named Washington Irving must have had a rather favorable influence upon a family named Evarts in 1827. On May 7 of that year they named their newborn son W.I. Evarts - a boy who later became a leading citizen in the small community of Beulah.
The Evarts family, of English extraction, lived in Middlesex County, Connecticut. Washington Irving, the author, lived nearby in the New York state area and in 1819 had completed one of his most popular writings, "The Sketch Book", which contained the stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle". It seems likely folks liked the stories, or perhaps also the rhythm of the name Washington Irving.
At any rate the story of W.I. Evarts was one of self-reliance and determination to succeed. After education in the common schools of his state he apprenticed in the blacksmith trade at age 16. Born of poor parents, he probably did not have much choice as to a life's work. At age 22 he went to Ohio where he worked in his uncle's blacksmith shop for one year. Then he proceeded to Wisconsin where he assisted in putting together the iron work on the first bridge across the Wisconsin River. He resided there for 12 years, spending several winters in the pine woods where people would come for hundreds of miles for lumber; he often had as high as one hundred ox-teams to shoe in one season. His next home was in Fillmore County, Minnesota where he had a shop for three years. He was then in Kansas for about 1 1/2 years and moved to Missouri and engaged in business for 11 years. His next move was to Colorado, locating in Beulah, and did blacksmithing for 8 years, having arrived here in 1876.
In 1861 he married Hannah Kidder, born in Maine but reared in New York state. It is not known how they came to know each other but one guess is that he had returned to Conn. for a visit after working for a time in Wisconsin and met her there or perhaps in New York. In the years following, Hannah gave birth to eight children, six prior to the move to Colorado and the last two who were born in Beulah.
In Beulah he settled on a ranch and set about improving it from the wild land he found. He experienced all the hardships and trials incident to pioneer life and had some adventures with the Indians. His homestead patent #2047 was granted to him in March 1889. The 160 acre homestead was located 1/2 mile west of Beulah on Middle Creek. According to a record left by William Roper he later moved the Evarts blacksmith building to Goodpasture in 1921. Hannah deserves great credit for her part in improving the farm. She worked as a nurse in Pueblo to earn money to buy stock and pay for many improvements. She was a hard worker, an excellent woman, and highly esteemed by all who knew her.
Washington Irving Evarts died in Beulah in 1900 at the age of 72 years. His wife, Hannah, died at Oak Creek, Colorado in 1914. The are both buried in the family plot in the Beulah Cemetery, in the southwest corner. A rather tall square stone monument marks the plot, surrounded by graves of other family members. Many years ago someone planted a white lilac bush there that now dominates the graves. His last 23 years of life were spent in Beulah where their last two children were born.
Roy E. Roper is a great-great-grandson of Washington Irving Evarts and wrote this on December 6, 1996. Thank you, Roy.