Will Evans family papers and Navajo art

Will Evans family papers and Navajo art

Dates: approximately 1849-1990

Contains family papers, including genealogical information, interview notes, biographies, photographs, legal papers, ecclesiastical documents and records, missionary planners, funeral programs, obituaries, and letters. Also includes articles, sheet music, sound recordings, poems, and art produced by Will Evans and others. In addition, there are significant materials on the Navajo Indians, such as publications, newspapers, magazines, and art. This includes information on the Shiprock Trading Company and El Paso Natural Gas Co.

  • Extent: 13 oversize boxes (23 linear ft.). -- 10 cartons (10 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Evans (Family : Evans, Thomas, 1849-1942). -- Evans, Will, 1877-1954
  • Call Number: MSS 4019
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Condition restricted; permission to use materials must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Will Evans family papers and Navajo art must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services. and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 4019; Will Evans family papers and Navajo art; 19th, 20th and 21st Century Western and Mormon Americana; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 4019, LTPSC.
Custodial History
These items were donated to Special Collections in 1996.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Ann Edwards Cannon; 1996.
Subject Terms
Evans family; Shiprock Trading Post; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Religion; Fine Arts; Home and Family; Indian traders--New Mexico; Missions and Missionaries; Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); Mormons--New Mexico; Navajo Indians--New Mexico; Social Life and Customs
Genre / Form
Art; Diaries; Letters; Periodicals; Photographs
Processing Information
Processed; Melissa Cowles, student processor and John Murphy, curator; 2008.
Appraisal Information
19th, 20th and 21st Century Western and Mormon Americana because of the Evans' family activity in the Mormon Church. Also because of the Native American papers and art.
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Evans (Will) family papers and Navajo art
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Melissa Cowles, student processor, Heather Christine Broomhead, student processor, and John Murphy, curator
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-07-08T11:03-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

The Evans family were Mormon miners and traders in the West. The family was founded by Thomas Evans (1849-1941) of Tredegar, Wales, who grew up in a coal mining family. In 1873 he moved to Pontypridd, where he married Jane Ann Coles (1854-1902) in 1876. They had eight children, the first of which was named William (1877-1954). In 1880 Jane joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Thomas was baptized the following year. In 1888 the family moved to Merthyr Tydfil, where they cared for the Mormon missionaries at the Merthyr Conference House. The family decided to emigrate, and in 1892 left for the United States--first to Salt Lake City, Utah and then to Fruitland, New Mexico where Thomas and his sons worked in the coal mines. William left the mines in 1898, helping establish a trading post for the Navajo. In 1902 he married Sarah Luella Walker (1880-1960), and they had four children. William left to serve as a Mormon missionary in Maine for two years, and after his return purchased the Shiprock Trading Company in 1917. He managed the company until his retirement in 1948. His second son, Richard Perry Evans (1914-1991) worked as a clerk and agent in New Mexico and Tooele, Utah.

Biographical History

Will Evans (1877-1954) was a trader and artist in New Mexico.

William Evans was born on March 14, 1877 in Pontypridd, Wales to Thomas Evans and Jane Ann Coles. The family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while Evans was a child, and in 1892 they emigrated to the United States. They settled first in Salt Lake City, Utah, moving a year later to Fruitland, New Mexico. Evans worked with his father in the coal mines and as a farm hand before joining a company to establish a trading post for the Navajo in 1898. He married Sarah Luella Walker (1880-1960) in Fruitland in 1902, and they had four children. In 1909 he left to serve a two year mission for the Church in Maine, and after his return began working for the Algert Company. In 1917 Evans purchased the Shiprock Trading Company, which he ran until his retirement in 1948. He later was elected police judge in Farmington, serving between 1952 and 1954. Evans died on December 6, 1954 in Farmington.

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John Murphy
Curator - 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts