McKean County GenWeb An Early Pioneer Ceres, McKean Co.
Early Settlers of Annin Creek
A Sketch by Sylvester Evans 1824-1905
This document was transcribed from a letter written by
Sylvester W. Evans (sometimes spelled Evens, as in this letter) and
details the arrival of his father, John P Evans, in Annin Creek, McKean
County, PA. The text was transcribed verbatim, including
errors in spelling and grammar. Sylvester probably didn't get
much formal education and his spelling is often phonetic, which we
suspect is why our name is now Evens instead of Evans
- Jackie (Evens) Allen
A Sketch by Sylvester Evans 1824-1905
A sketch of the early days of Annin Creek which was first settled by the Rev. J.P. Evens
who was a resident of West Almond, Allegany County, New York. In
the year 1836 in company with friends living on Bells Run Mr. Evans
was hunting for stray cattle and got over the mountain into the
valley of Annin Creek, then a dense wilderness. While there Mr.
Evens took the ax from Benjmin Vandermark and marked a a large
hemlock tree that when felled was a little over 5 ft across.
"The stump", Mr. Evens remarked to Vandermark that, ",that would be
about the middle of his farm".
Said tree was then standing near a little stream that
comes down from the North a little East of the Orchard on the farms
now owned by F K Windship. Mr. Evens accordingly went to the
Land Agent the next day and bought 100 acres at $1.50 per acre.
That same fall, Mr. Evens with his two sons, John P. Jr. and James C. Evens came out from West Almond and built a log house leaving the writer of this sketch, Sylvester W. Evens, then 12 years old, to dig the Potatoes and fatten the hogs.
Mr. Evens and his sons built a shanty of hemlock brush
by the side of the big hemlock tree to live in while they built the
log house. Mr. Evens then brought his family and goods to
Richburg so the children could go to school until February 1837 when
he again broke camp and mooved in to
the log house in the forest 3 miles from any inhabitants.
The floors of the house was made of planks split out
of basswood trees and hewed with an ax the roof of shingles 3 feet
long and not sawed. The space between the logs was chinked with pieces
of timber split out of logs and fastened in the cracks. No stove or
fire place except a space left without floor in one end of the house
on which a fire was built.
The family started from Richburg in the morning with a hors (horse) .)
team and reached the log house before dark. The oldest son,
J.P. and S.W., the writer of this sketch, also started in the morning
each with a pair of oxen and a load of goods on old fashioned sleds,
arriving after dark at Wilord Taylors who then lived on the farm later
known as the Grove Farm now owned I think by a man by the name of
It being so very dark, we stoped at Taylors and
visited until the moon came up, then commenced the journeyed over the
mountain to the log house in the woods ariving there about midnight.
The next day all the children who was able to wallow
through the snow was out gathering moss of the trees to cork the
cracks in the house while the men was building a shelter for the
cattle which was made of hemlock boughs. That done, they
commenced the choping.) and getting the land ready for crops
and before it was to late to put in spring or summer crops. We had
cleared and got in twelve acres, of corse some of them was late but we
got quite good returns.
Game was plenty, the deer frequently came around in
sight of the house and one day in the winter of 1837-38 a large wolf
pased thru the doar yard while the family was eating dinner.
The family consisted of Father, Mother, four boys and three girls. We had good health and was happy as larks.
In the fall of 1837 Deacon Samuel Cooper with his Wife and two sons Theron and Silas came
in a settled on the farm. Where Theron now lives I think Theron or the
boys together managed the farm whil he Father done blacksmithing. That
same winter, Joseph Hodges moved in, then Jai Elliot and others.
Then came the necesity of a school house which was
built of logs on the ground very near if not exactly where the
Baptist Church now stands. The Settlers being nearly all
Baptist, a Baptist Church was organized in 1838 of members living in
Annin Creek and at Ceres and to the name of the First Baptist Church of Annin Creek.
I think Father Evens preached to the Annin Creek Church about until
the fall of that year or until the fall of 1840 and which time he
engaged to preach at the Norwich and Smethport Church as an
assistant. Elder Sawyer being settled as their as
Pastor and there being to mutch work for one man. The two churches
being one at that time and bearing the name of the Norwich and Smethport Church .
Mr. Evens returned to his farm on Annin Creek in
the fall of 1841 and the next year was employed by the missionary
board of Philidlphia to travel as a missionary in the McKean and
Potter Countys and I think he traveled about 3000 miles on hors back
in in the corse of that year. And during his labor as a
preacher of the Gospel he Baptised six of his Children. One the
the Genesee River, and five in Annin Creek and of the the six became
members of the Annin Creek Church. Sylvester W Evens