Saturday, Dec 03, 2022

David Bowen Evans

David Bowen Evans and Hannah Williams Evans Snyder

David Bowen Evans was born in Brigham City, Box Elder, Utah on 9 March 1874 to parents Jonah and Frances Bowen Evans. His parents came from Glamorganshire, Wales, immigrating in 1863 with their three-year-old, Thomas, Dave’s oldest brother, after converting to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. David was the seventh child of six living siblings, all boys, and the fifth baby to be born in the United States. Sadly, his mother died when he was only two years old, after giving birth to her eighth child. This baby boy also died, so David remained the youngest of the family.

David’s father remarried in 1877 when David was three. His new stepmother brought three living children to the marriage, and eventually added six more half-siblings to the mix.The yours-mine-and-ours Evans family moved to Samaria, Idaho (near Malad) about 1880.

Dave homesteaded in the Bannock (Arbon) Valley in 1898, proving up in 1908 (the earlier claims were squatter’s rights, which were then transferred to homesteads). He joined his two older brothers, Tom and Lorenzo (“Ren”), who were also seeking new opportunities.

The year 1898 was notable for Dave in other ways too, as he married Hannah Williams on 5 June. Hannah was born 13 August 1882 in Samaria, Idaho, the daughter of Samuel Daniel Williams and Elizabeth Powell, converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Breconshire, Wales who immigrated in 1868 and eventually settled in Samaria. Hannah was the ninth child of eleven, and like her new husband, had several half-siblings due to her father’s polygamous marriages. Her father was the first bishop of Samaria. (It is hard to believe now, but Samaria at that time rivaled Malad in size).

David and Hannah eventually had six children: Hortense, 1900; David Voile, 1904; Lester William, 1907; Homer William, 1909; Waldo, 1910; and Frances, 1912. Waldo was the one who continued to farm the homestead in Arbon Valley.

Dave Evans served as a rural mail carrier, the first one in the valley going between Arbon and Malad. He contracted to carry the mail once a week via horseback or sleigh. He later used a packhorse to carry all the mail and packages and haul items requested by the remote homesteaders in the valley. This contract was later taken over by others, including Tom Davis, who almost froze to death in a blizzard. Until you live through a winter in the valley, you can’t really understand how much the people of the valley loved and appreciated their rural mail delivery carriers (and still do today)!

David Bowen Evans died young at age thirty-nine, right after Christmas on 30 December 1913. He left behind five young children at home. The death certificate states he died of nephritis and chronic endocarditis (heart disease). He was buried in Samaria, Idaho.

Hannah struggled along as best she could for eighteen months. She then married Ed Snyder on 28 July 1915 in Pocatello. She and Ed had three more children: Barbara, 1916; Ruth, 1917; and Marjorie, 1920. The dugout that had started with David Evans to become an actual house was improved upon by Hannah and Ed until they had a very modern home, with indoor plumbing and electricity.

As with all the Arbon wives, their contribution cannot be overlooked or overstated. They were giants in their own rights, and Hannah was no exception. At one point, Hannah did not get to a real town for over five years, depending on her husband to get the supplies she needed. Hannah gardened, raised her own meat, canned her produce, sewed and washed the clothes, and did a thousand other things, all under what we today would consider very primitive conditions. Being so remotely located, the native peoples were something most Arbon wives feared, but it was said that Hannah was never afraid of them after she learned to speak their language.

Hannah and Ed moved to Pocatello in 1943. Ed died in 1958 at the age of seventy-four. Hannah lived another six years, until 22 November 1964, dying at age eighty-three. Hannah and Ed were buried in Pocatello, Idaho.

David’s son Waldo officially took over the farm in 1943, although he’d already been running it since he was a teenager. Waldo promised his mother Hannah that he would never mortgage the original homestead and he kept this promise, passing the farm down to his living descendants. There are still at least five families in the valley who descend from David through his son Waldo.


Ward, Laurie Jean, Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1982).

The links provided above will lead to information on other family members.