Skip to main content

Andrew Wallace Evans papers

Identifier: MS 3272


This collection consists mostly of correspondence addressed to Col. Andrew Wallace Evans, a native of Elkton, Maryland. Evans was an 1852 graduate of West Point Military Academy, and served in conflicts in Indian Territory and the Civil War. In addition to incoming correspondence, the collection includes genealogical notes having to do with the following families: Evans, Alexander, Wallace, Hodgson, Oliver, Tuite, and more. Also included are papers related to Dr. Amos Alexander Evans, a naval surgeon aboard the USS Constitution during the War of 1812, and miscellaneous Clayton and Brown family papers.


  • 1792 - 1905


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical / Historical

In 1730, Robert Evans (1710-1775) purchased 300 acres of land on the Big Elk Creek west of Cowantown in Cecil County, Maryland. He was a successful tanner, and acquired large quantities of land at the Head of Elk, in New Munster, and elsewhere. He married Margaret Kilpatrick (1712-1781), and the couple had two sons, Robert and John Evans, and six daughters, Jane Evans, who married Henry Hollingsworth, of Elkton; Hannah who married Rev. James Finley, pastor of the Rock Church; Mary who married Zebulon Hollingsworth Jr., of Elk Landing; Isabella who married William Montgomery; Margaret who married James Black; and Eleanor who married Amos Alexander, of New Munster.

When Robert Evans died in 1775, his sons inherited the tan-yard on the Big Elk. Robert was commissioned lieutenant in a military company early in the Revolutionary War, but was thrown from his horse and killed while riding home from Cowantown before he entered the army. John (1760-1823), the surviving brother, continued to reside on the family homestead on the banks of the Big Elk, where he engaged in the manufacture of bar iron and nails. He and the celebrated Paul Revere, the hero of Longfellow's "Midnight Ride", are believed to have been the only rollers of copper in the United States at that time and all vessels of the American navy are said to have been coppered with material of their manufacture. John Evans married Mary Alexander (1761-1820), of the Alexander family of New Munster. They were the parents of Amos Alexander Evans; Sarah Evans who married John Gallaher; Robert Evans who married and removed to Iowa; John Evans; Jane Evans who died young; Levi Hollingsworth Evans who was state senator and Judge of the Orphan's Court of Cecil County; George Evans who went to Mexico and died in the city of Matamoras; and William and Mark, both of whom died young.

Amos Alexander Evans, the oldest son of John Evans and Mary Alexander, was born November 26, 1785, at the residence of his parents on the banks of the Big Elk, about five miles north of Elkton. He attended school in Newark, Delaware, and at the age of 19 began the study of medicine with Dr. George E. Mitchell, of Elkton, with whom he studied for three years. He also attended the lectures of Dr. Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence), and the lectures of other professors at the University of Pennsylvania. Amos Evans passed an examination by board of medical officers and was licensed to practice medicine by the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland. In 1807, he was appointed surgeon's mate to the 49th Regiment of Maryland militia, and in 1808, he was appointed an assistant surgeon in the United States Navy by President Thomas Jefferson. On April 20, 1810, he was commissioned as surgeon. He joined the crew of the frigate Constitution, then at Washington City, and sailed on June 11, 1812.

From the 16th to the 19th of June, the Constitution was pursued by the British fleet. Dr. Evans wrote in his journal: "thus terminates a disagreeable chase of nearly three days attended with inexpressable anxiety, and alternate elevation and depresseion of spirits, as the winds were propitious or otherwise; we had many times given over all expectation of making our escape, and had it not been for uncommon exertion we must inevitably have fallen prey to the superiority of our enemy." The Consitution later saw action with the British frigate Guerriere in August 1812, and the British frigate Java, in December 1812.

After the close of the war, Dr. Evans was stationed at Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended medical lectures at Harvard University, where he graduated with distinction on August 30, 1814. In July 1815, Dr. Evans sailed with Commodore Bainbridge aboard the Independence, as fleet surgeon in the war against the Algerians. On his return from the war with the Barbary States, Dr. Evans was again stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. While there, he met Mary Oliver (1795-1881), of Boston, and the couple were married on March 28, 1816. Shortly thereafter, he applied to be relieved from duty at the Charlestown Navy Yard, and proceeded to Elkton, on leave, where he continued to practice medicine. Dr. Evans resigned his position in the Navy in 1824. Amos and Mary had three children together: Alexander Evans (1818-1888), Andrew Wallace Evans (1829-1906), and Mary Evans Clayton (1833-1908). Dr. Evans died on January 15, 1848 in Elkton. His wife outlived him by 33 years, dying on January 4, 1881.

Alexander Evans, the elder son of Dr. Evans and Mary Oliver, was born on September 13, 1818. He attended the local academy at Elkton and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1845 and commenced his practice in Elkton. Alexander Evans was elected as a Whig to the 30th, 31st, and 32nd Congresses (March 4, 1847-March 3, 1853). He thereafter continued to practice law in Elkton until his death on December 5, 1888. He had one son with his wife Mary Manly, Alexander Evans Jr. (1861-1915).

Alexander's younger brother, Andrew Wallace Evans, was born on July 6, 1829. He received his early education at Elkton Academy before going on to Harvard College. In 1848, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, and graduated on July 1, 1852. Upon leaving West Point, Captain Evans was assigned to the United States Cavalry and served in Indian Territory and later, under General Albert Sidney Johnston, in the Utah War (also known as the Mormon War or the Mormon Rebellion). On February 21, 1862, Evans was promoted to Major, and spent many months inspecting Union Army outposts in New Mexico. On December 1, 1863, Evans was commissioned Colonel in the 1st Maryland Cavalry, and served with the Army of the Potomac in the battles of Deep Run, Darbeytown Road, New Market Heights, Dinwiddie Court House, Five Forks, and Petersburg. Col. Evans was reportedly in the saddle at Appomattox Court House when General Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865.

After the Civil War, Evans continued to serve, and was commissioned major in the 3rd United States Cavalry on May 10, 1867. In 1868, he served in New Mexico as an integral part of General Philip Sheridan's campaign against the Kiowa and Comanche tribes. On Christmas Day 1868, Major Evans led an attack on an Indian camp on the Red River. For this action, he was breveted a lieutenant colonel. Throughout the 1870s, he served in Nevada, Arizona, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming, during several of the Indian clashes with the government. After a fight with the Apaches at Big Dry Wash on July 17, 1882, Lt. Col. Evans announced his decision to retire. He returned home to Elkton and in 1886, married Susan Tuite (1851-1908). Four years later in 1890, the United States Army breveted Evans as brigadier general for his actions at Big Dry Wash. During the years of his retirement, he enjoyed researching his family's genealogy, and spent many years in correspondence with distant family members. General Evans died on April 24, 1906 at the age of 77, after suffereing for some years from Bright's disease.

Mary Evans, the sister of Alexander and Andrew Wallace Evans, was born on February 12, 1833 in Elkton. In 1861 she married James White Clayton (1834-1880), a politician from Delaware. The couple had one son together, Paul Clayton (1862-1932). On November 6, 1894, Paul Clayton married Helen Brown of Philadelphia. The couple had two children, Mary Evans Clayton (1895-1992) and Barbara Lydia Clayton (1904-20001). Barbara married Walter Edwin Rex Jr. in 1923, and had two children, Barbara C. Rex Darsey (1924-2014) and Walter Edwin Rex III (1927-2010). Mrs. Darsey and Walter E. Rex III are the donors of this collection, having inherited the materials through the above line of descent.


2.71 Linear Feet (7 boxes (6 full Hollinger boxes and 1 half-Hollinger box))

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Walter E. Rex, III, and Barbara Rex Darsey, June 1995.

Related Materials

MS 3097, Clayton-Evans family papers, 1780-1903

PP261, Clayton-Evans family photograph collection, circa 1850s-1902

Scope and Contents

The Andrew Wallace Evans papers consists of six series: Andrew Wallace Evans papers, Evans family papers, Clayton-Brown family papers, Genealogy, Photographs, and Miscellaneous. Series I, Andrew Wallace Evans papers, makes up the majority of the collection, consisting of four boxes. The first three boxes are made up entirely of correspondence from Mary Evans to her son Andrew Wallace Evans, between 1848-1880. Her early letters are filled with pieces of advice and fears for his safety, often lamenting their separation. On October 20, 1852 she writes, "Oh! dear Andrew Wallace, do you never feel homesick, never feel or wish to be with me. I waken in the morning and my heart is perfectly heavy within me, and I lie wakeful for hours wishing I had never sent you to West Point. I have a thousand fears for you, you are surrounded by temptations and are not aware of them."

As the years passed, Mary Evans never ceased to be concerned for her son, but she also took great pride in his service. In a letter dated June 11, 1861, she describes her reaction to hearing a report of his intended resignation. "Of course we did not believe a word of it, I am sure you would not desert the cause of your country, in this her hour of terrible trial; of this, I am certain that our name will never be disgraced."

Mary further offers commentary on many of the conflicts in which her son is engaged over the decades. On December 1, 1861 she writes, "I have doubted several times whether I knew anything about military affairs, but before this war is over, you'll see I shall know a good deal, and right or wrong, I am determined to uphold our army against all the world." During an outbreak of fighting with the Native Americans, she writes on June 27, 1876 that "I wish our congressmen had to do the fighting." She continues to offer her opinion on such engagements with regularity. Mrs. Evans also gives her son regular updates on life in Elkton, Maryland, offering news of the health and well-being of friends and family members, as well as social events.

Series II, Evans family papers, contains three folders of materials related to other members of the Evans family. Included is the correspondence of Dr. Amos Alexander Evans, documents related to Mary Evans'pension claim, and letters to Susan T. Evans, Andrew Wallace Evans' wife. Included in Dr. Amos Alexander Evans' correspondence are four letters addressed to his parents in which he discusses his future prospects and shares updates of his sea voyages. In a letter dated January 11, 1815, the first page contains a letter by Mary Oliver, who writes to assure her future mother-in-law of her devotion to their son. "Life is said to be valuable, on account of its enjoyments, and as for myself, this year I have measured more happiness, than during the whole of my life. I am almost afraid you would either think me foolish, or indelicate, were I to tell you how much I love your son, and that it is owing to him, the tide of pleasure has flowed so full, but if it be improper, to avow this truth to him who is to be my husband, it cannot surely be so to her, who will be my mother, and whom to hear call me daughter, and love as such would be so grateful." On the following page, Dr. Evans praises Mary's good qualities to his parents, but despairs at his ability to support a wife. "I am not yet able to look forward with certainty to the time when I shall be able to call her wife. I hope, however, for the best."

Series III, Clayton-Brown family papers, contains five folders of materials related to the Clayton and Brown families. They include the incoming correspondence of James W. Clayton (Mary Evans Claytons' husband) and miscellaneous Clayton family documents. Additionally, the series includes papers related to Paul Clayton's father-in-law, John W. Brown, and his wife, Helen Brown. Of particular note are a series of letters Helen Brown sent home to her parents before her marriage, while touring around France, Spain, and Italy between 1889-1890. In a letter soon after her arrival on November 19, 1889, she writes, "When we arrived at the Hotel St. Antoine I could hardly decide whether to laugh or cry-everything was so strange and I understood for the first time how very far I was away." The final folder in this series contains the marriage certificate of Paul Clayton and Helen Brown, who were married on November 6, 1894.

Series IV, Genealogy, mostly contains Andrew Wallace Evans' research notes into the history of the Evans, Alexander, Wallace, Hodgson, and other miscellaneous families of distant relation. All of the notes are handwritten on lined or scraps of paper or envelopes. The folders are arranged based on the envelopes in which each stack of notes was stored, although there is a great deal of overlap in content between folders. Also included are transcriptions of wills, land deeds, correspondence, and grave stone text.

Series V, Photographs, contains four photographs of family portraits and two landscape photographs. The first two photographs are tintypes that were included in Mary Evans' letters to Andrew Wallace Evans. In a letter of June 20, 1869, she writes describes her thoughts on the group portrait. "In the only copy I have to send, the chidren are not well done. Paul and Willie Bromwell moved and the picture as regards them was blurred, and little Mary's arm is badly done, its position is not carried. But the other likenesses are excellent, mine is said to be the best I have ever taken." The tintype of Paul Clayton was similarly enclosed in a letter of May 9, 1877. Both letters are contained in Series I. The remaining photographs, one of Paul Clayton and an unknown woman, and two landscape photos, were not included in the correspondence and were found among miscellaneous papers.

Series VI, Miscellaneous, contains unidentified manuscripts, receipts and ephemera, newspaper clippings, and various scraps of paper and envelopes. Of particularly note in this series is a folder of papers relating to Andrew Wallace, after whom Andrew Wallace Evans was named. Andrew Wallace was the husband of Ruth Alexander, who was in turn the sister of Dr. Amos Alexander Evans' mother, Mary Alexander. The folder contains a letter of condolence to Andrew Wallace on the death of his brother's wife, letters of introduction in Havana, and addressed envelopes that may have once contained correspondence. Also included is a copy of a letter to Dr. Evans describing Andrew Wallace's death in May 1819. The letter is in Andrew Wallace Evans' handwriting.

Guide to the Andrew Wallace Evans papers
Mallory Harwerth
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States