Will Tom Evans was born on January 29, 1877. His twin sister Gillie
Love Evans was born the same day, but it is not known which one was the first!
He married Minnie Lee Harris on December 15, 1899. She was just
a little younger than Will Tom. She was born on November 5, 1878, to
Dr. Thomas C. Harris, a Civil War Vet, and Annie Harris.
In 1901 their first child, Winnie, was born. Three years later, Thomas
Moody was born on June 11, 1904. But Minnie Lee got ill after his birth
and less than three weeks later, on July 2, 1904, she passed away. Will
Tom was left with a new born son and a three year old daughter. He
married Lizzie McNeese within the next few years. Lizzie was about
fifteen years younger than Will Tom. She was born on June 4, 1892,
to G. Brown McNeese and Lucy Ann Shackleford McNeese.
Will Tom was a farmer and continued to live with his new family out in
the Union Community in Lee County south of Plantersville. His visits
to Tupelo were occasionally mentioned in the paper:
The Tupelo Journal
March 21, 1913
Mr. Will Tom Evans, of Plantersville R.F.D., spent a few hours here Friday.
The Tupelo Journal
March 28, 1913
Tom Evans, of Plantersville R.F.D., was in town (Verona) Wednesday.
A couple of years after these were mentioned in the paper, Lizzie and
Will Tom had their only child, J.C. Evans, in 1915. For some reason,
soon after J.C. was born, Lizzie and Will Tom stopped living together. They
never got a divorce, and they never spoke ill of each other, but they just
did not live together anymore. Some of the grandchildren were told
that Lizzie got sick not too long after J.C. was born and she went home to
live with her parents for a while and just never went back to Will Tom. But
the 1920 census shows them together still:
1920 Lee County, Mississippi Census
Evans, Will Tom head Rents M W Can read and write MS MS MS Farmer
Evans, Lizzie Wife F W 28 Md. Can read and write MS MS MS
Evans, Winnie D. Dau. F W 18 Single In school, Can read and write MS MS MS
Evans, Thomas Son M W 15 Single In school, Can read and write MS MS MS
Evans, J.C. Son M W 5 Single MS MS MS
Lizzie was very kind and humble and read her Bible every day. She
never said one bad or ugly word towards anyone in her life. She got
rheumatism very bad later in her life. She got so crippled she couldn't
walk even. She slept like she was in a chair.
Will Tom himself was a character. He smoked and drank quite a lot but he lived a very long life. He
loved to work at the North Mississippi Fair and Livestock Show when it came
to Tupelo each year. Once Minnie heard a loud banging on the door fo
their home in Tupelo one night. She called the police but then found
out it was Will Tom who had been at the fair and wanted to stay at her house
that night instead of going all the way back out to Union! Will Tom
also never had to have glasses. He could read the newspaper at age
100 without needing glasses! He quite drinking at about age 95; he
just decided it was time to quit. He also claimed to have lived all
100 of his years without stepping foot outside of Lee County!
Lizzie's ill health finally took its toll on her. On August 20,
1954, at the age of 62, she passed away. She was buried at the Union
Methodist Cemetery. Will Tom was featured in the paper again when he turned 94, with a picture of him and his birthday cake:
Will Tom Evans Honored On 94th Birthday
Will Tom Evans, born January 29, 1877, celebrated his 94th birthday recently with a special dinner. Mr. Evans has lived all of his life on the same farm which is five miles South of Plantersville in the Union Community.
Mr. Evans looks forward every morning to getting his Tupelo Journal which he reads without the aid of glasses.
Mr. Evans is a member of the Union Methodist Church and resides with his daughter, Mrs. Homer Griffin. He has two sons, T.M. Evans also of Union, and J.C. Evans of Nettleton and grand and great-grandchildren.
Relatives and friends enjoyed the special occasion and many called during the day to extend best wishes to Mr. Evans.
Will Tom did not pass away until August 3, 1977. He was 100 years old when he died.
August 4, 1977; page 18
Mr. Evans Rites Set
Lifelong Resident of Union, Miss.
William Thomas Evans, 100, was dead on arrival Wednesday at the North Mississippi Medical Center.
He was a lifelong residen tof the Union Community and the oldest member of Union Methodist Church, where he served as a steward for 50 years.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Union Church with the Rev. Kenneth Corley and the Rev. G.H. Hill officiating. Burial will be in the Union Cemetery with McGrath-Raspberry Funeral Home, Inc. in charge.
Survivors include one son, J.C. Evans, Plantersville; a daughter, Mrs. Winnie Griffin, Plantersville; nine grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild.
One son, T.M. Evans, Plantersville, preceded him in death last October.
The body will lie in state at the church one hour prior to services.
Pallbearers will be Jimmy Evans, Roger Evans, Billy Evans, Boyd Yarbrough, Bob Marion, and Byron Fellows.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Union Methodist Church and the Union Cemetery Fund.
Winnie Davis Evans
(md. Homer Fleetwood Griffin)
Winnie was born on August 31, 1901. She and Homer had three girls together. Winnie was a housewife and had a long life. She passed away on April 6, 1985, at the age of 83.
Thomas Moody Evans (md. Dorothy Wallace)
Moody was born on June 11, 1904. He married Dorothy about 1944 and they had one son together. He was a carpenter and moved around a lot, though Dorothy stayed home with their child while he worked. He was a cut-up too! He passed away on October 13, 1976, at the age of 72.
J.C. Evans (md. Annie Lou Payne)
J.C. was born on June 30, 1915. He and Annie Lou married when they were about 17 (she was born on the very same day as he!). They had a large family together. He was a carpenter and worked with his half-brother Moody on jobs away from home. He and Moody were very close after they had reached an adult age. He passed away on January 11, 1993, at the age of 77.
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