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The John Henry and Bessie Evanses of Oxford, NC

Updated May 9, 2003

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John Henry and Bessie Pettiford Evans were married in Granville County in the early ninteen hundreds. They had fourteen children. Eight boys and six girls. Their names are Ethel Lee (Lee), Walter Thomas (Mid), John Irving, Pattie Ruth, Mayola (Nate),Eckard Henry (Mutt), Roger Davis (Joe), Bessie Olivia (Cootie), Mary, Oscar Jonathan (Bill), Roy Clinton, Jasper Devey, Shirley Evelyn and Carnell McCoy (Dub). Mary, Pattie Ruth and John Irving are deceased. Five out of the eight boys were in the military. John Iving died shortly after his duty in the Navy. Mutt, Bill, Mid and Dub all served in the United States Army.
John Henry and Bessie raised their children on a 13 acre tobacco farm. He was a very tall man in statue and spoke with a stern voice of authority. However, Bessie was a meek woman. She was very quiet and soft spoken. The family worked hard and played as hard. The boys were great lovers and players of the game of baseball. Two of the girls (Shirley and Bessie) were excellent basketball players. The baseball team , Young Zion Hawks consisted of the brothers, Joe, Mutt, Mid, Bill, Roy, Dub and relatives of the Evans Clan. Saturday afternoons were spent playing baseball. The love of this game lead to the construction of today's John Henry Evans Recreation Park. The brothers do not play the game anymore but left the legency of the game to their children to continue.
Their next love was music. The Whetstone Gospel Chorus consisted of siblings Roy, Bill, Mutt, Mid,Shirley, Mayola, Ethel Lee and Joe. This group is known for their singing up and down the east coast. In this family it is baseball on Saturday and singing on Sunday.
John Henry died in 1964 and Bessie in 1986. At Bessie's death she had a host of 42 grandchildren. Today the family is still singing and playing baseball, softball and football. Their occupations include educators, business owners, clerical and office occupations.

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