The town of Evant is on the Hamilton and Coryell
County line, with only thirty-six percent of the north side of Evant
in Hamilton County. It is about sixteen miles south of Hamilton.
The first settler in the area which would become Hamilton County is
believed to be Robert Carter, who was killed in an Indian Battle
in October, 1861, and was buried in Langford Cemetery. Robert
Carter settled at Fairview in 1854. He was followed in 1855 by James
R. Carter and Henry Jones Carter.
Evant was originally known as Langford Cove which was
located a half mile south of the current town in a cove of mountains. Langford
Cove was named for Asa Langford who arrived in the area in
early 1855. Asa Langford purchased a half section of land for $112
on 15 August, 1855. Frederick Bookerman had arrived a few months
before the Langfords. Langford built a saw mill, a grist mill, and
a flour mill and opened a small store and a blacksmith shop. Frequent
Indian raids slowed the development of this settlement. Another early area
resident was William Beauchamp.
In January, 1860, residents of Langford
attempted to have the Texas Legislature attach their town to Hamilton
County because Hamilton was much nearer than Gatesville.
Evan and Charlotte Brooks with their three children arrived
in Hamilton County, TX, from Alabama in 1876. After 1878 Mr.
Brooks built his home 140 yards inside Hamilton County. On 12
February, 1881, Mr. Brooks offered lots for sale in his new town,
which would be named Evant on 23 May, 1884. Evan Brooks hoped
that Evant might become the county seat of future Mills County (which
was established in 1887) and hence laid out the town with a square. The
first store in Evant was the Hunter and Lampkin General Store
owned by Andrew J. "Andy" Hunter and a Mr. Lampkin.
Other families who came early to the Cove were William Clift
Winters, Tommy Winters, Sr., Billie Winters, Dr. Sawyer, D. W. White, W.
N. White, Sam Enochs, J. L. Singleton, Alex Williams, Joseph Hardy Dixon,
Dr. H. McNeill, Isaac W. Seale, R. M. Hill, John Carter, Frank
Wurts, Dr. Griggs, and W. D. Blackburn.
Joseph Hardy Dixon, a teacher, was born in 1845 in Stewart Co., GA, and died in
Hamilton County, TX. He was a son of Thomas Dixon and Martha
William Clift Winters and his first wife, Nancy M. (Adams)
Winters were in Langford Cove in
time to become charter members of Evant Methodist Church when it
was established in 1875. After Nancy M. (Adams) Winters died
2 September, 1876, William Clift
remembered his widowed neighbor, Harrett A. Garner Jones, back in
Baldwyn, Prentiss, County, MS. Harrett’s husband, William
Toliver Jones had not returned home after the Civil War. As Mr.
Winters’ loneliness increased, his remembrances of Harrett grew
fonder. Mr. Winters rode his donkey (or mule) all the way to Baldwyn
to marry Harrett about 1878. When Mr. Winters arrived
in Baldwyn, he found that Harrett was no longer in Mississippi.
She had gone to Texas with her two youngest children--Martha Ann
Jones and James Henry Jones. William Clift was a determined man, so he rode his mule to Fannin
County, TX, where he found Harriett (Garner) Jones and married her
on June 27, 1878. [Harriett's first husband, William Toliver Jones
had been a Confederate soldier in the 2nd Regiment, Mississippi
Partisans. William T. Jones never returned home after the Civil
War.] Mr. Winters brought his new bride to Langford Cove, and
that is probably the reason her children who came to Texas also
came to Hamilton County. Margaret Amanda Jones Grisham and her
husband, James Lemuel Grisham, Sr. followed Harriett to Fannin
County, arriving there about 1 September, 1878. James Lemuel
& Margaret Amanda left Fannin County after June 1, 1880 and were at Blue Ridge in
Hamilton County before July, 1880, when Blue
Ridge Baptist Church was established. James H. Jones married Pernina
Jane "Nina" Coker on 22 December, 1880, in Hamilton
County, TX. Martha Ann Jones married Joseph Evans "Joe"
On Sunday evening, 30 May, 1882, James
Henry "Jim" Jones was
shot as he was going to the mountain to turn his horses into the pasture while his wife
was on the front porch churning and holding their eight-month-old-son, William
Charles Jones. Perry Langford and Ves Howard ambushed Jim and shot him
from behind. They were tried for the Jones' murder in Coryell
County. Howard was not convicted, but Perry Langford was convicted,
sent to prison, and released only shortly before his (Perry's)
Until Perry and Ves were arrested, they with the Langford mob, continued to
harass the family. All of the family--Pernina Jane "Nina"
Coker Jones and her baby son, William Clift Winters, Harrett
Garner (Jones) Winters, James Lemuel Grisham, Sr. and Margaret Amanda
Jones Grisham, Martha Ann Jones Snider and Joseph Evans
"Joe" Snider fortified the the Winter's house in which they stayed.
At night they slept on the floor and stayed out of the moonlight
lest the mob kill them also.
Members of the mob would shoot through the windows aiming at
their beds. The mob also
would beat on the walls with whips. According to Grisham legend,
Perry Langford had an intense desire to kill any
of Jim Jones’ relatives.
Until after 1900 Hamilton County was ruled by mobs--the Gentry mob, the
Langston mob, and others. Sheriffs were powerless to enforce the
Pernina Jane "Nina" Coker Jones and her little son lived
with William Clift and Harrett Garner (Jones) Winters approximately
four years before she married Dr. W. Hiram McNeill.
In 1896 John A. Gardner, a minister, moved to Evant and
established a printing press. Evant’s first newspaper was The
The telephone arrived in Evant in the late 1890's when J. Y.
Price of Evant strung telephone lines from Evant to Pearl,
Bee House, Izoro, Lucille, Grundyville, and Lampasas. Its only
switchboard was in Lampasas. One store in each small town had one
telephone to serve the entire community. The telephone in Evant was
in the Wirtz store. In 1902 Mr. Price installed a
switchboard in Evant. In 1904 Mr. Price ran lines from Evant
to Star, from Star to Shive, and from Shive to
McGirk. The switchboard in Evant was closed at nights and on
Sundays until World War I when it was necessary for the switchboard to be
open every day. A microphone was installed (hung from the ceiling over the
pulpit) in the Baptist and the Methodist churches so that
the telephone operator on duty could listen to the church service she was
In 1909 J. Y. Price owned the first car in Evant, a Maxwell.
The Maxey family published The Four County Press during
the 1950's covering news from Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, and Mills
The town of Evant incorporated in 1976 and James L. Inabnet
was elected the first mayor on 2 April, 1977. The first aldermen were Cad
Williams, Joan Box, Terry Horton, Cutis Koerth, and Edward Perkins.