This letter was written by Dr. Samuel Dixon Evans (1816-1888), the son of Josiah Evans (1767-1841) and Rebecca Locke (1771-1826) of Cumberland County, North Carolina. Dr. Evans was married to Eliza J. Evans (1834-1922) in 1855 and resided in Marion, South Carolina. He was an 1846 graduate of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
He wrote the letter to his brother, James Carver Evans (1811-1869), who married Martha Henrietta Knight in 1839; they had eleven children, including sons James Jr., Josiah, and Oliver, and daughters Larry, Cecilia, Sue Douglas, and Henrietta. It was son Josiah, born in 1851 and named after his paternal grandfather, that Dr. Evans referred to when he told his brother, “you named your son right.”
Before the Civil War, James Evans was a farmer. After the war, he went into business with James Evans, Jr., running a general store. In the last years of his life, Evans wrote many essays and articles for the Fayetteville News.
Dr. Dixon Evans’ brother-in-law, Col. John Gilchrist Blue, was a member of the convention that passed the Ordinance of Secession for North Carolina in 1861.
Addressed to James Evans, Esq., Fayetteville, North Carolina
Marion, South Carolina
July 3d 1851
Your kind favor of the 21st ult. containing hints of “news ahead” was received in good time. Dr. Godbold will pay me for the boots and you will allow Sikes eight dollars for them. You named your son right, I am glad your crop looks quite tolerable, and I should like to test the quality of your apples & peaches, but there is scarcely a chance for that, unless the fates should be more propitious to me than they have hither been. Ah, but I remember! I have resolved to conquer both chance & fate and I’ll do it. Certain fortune I’ll not submit to circumstances. On the contrary, I’ll make circumstances submit to me. I’ll do it all — this and more, if necessary. Now I wonder if you are ready to say, you don’t like such as this pretty much? Brother of mine, tell me in your next, or at least as soon as you can, all about what you hint so mighty strong in your last communication to me. It must be astonishing!
Please say to Sikes that I want the finest and most elegant pair of pump sole boots made for me that ever was builded for a white man. I want them as soon as he can make them. You must tell him what I want them for, but don’t I beseech you tell anybody else. Please see to this at once. My boots are much admired. Tell Sikes so.
I am glad to hear of your children’s good health. I should be pleased to hear of Sister Henrietta’s entire recovery.
We had a glorious party here (given by twelve young men of our District) on the night of the 24th ult. There was to have been dancing, but as some of the managers were members of the church, it was proscribed. I was a manager and informed them that I would quit the whole concern in disgust if dancing was permitted. It was really a brilliant affair and the tallest kinds of compliments have been bestowed on the managers. Old Marion never saw better times in all her life than she saw on that night. The Masonic Fraternity celebrated the day as is their wont. They give an excellent dinner to which the brass band were invited, and I, being a part of said band, was there. “Old Marion against the world for grand celebrations, splendid dinners, magnificent parties, and handsome women” — such is the heading of a piece in our newspaper about the festivities of the 24th ult, “So note it be.” I invited some of my relations in North Carolina to said feast.
We have had a great deal of rain of late and we are agoing to have a rail road with cars running on it by this village in two years!
I do not think South Carolina will secede, per se. I hope not. We have a great many demagogues and I can’t say what they may induce our noble and gallant state to do. I do not like present appearances. I look upon separate state action as madness. Love to all.
Affectionately, — D. Evans, M.D.