James R. Evans

In 1879, James R. Evans and his wife, Julia A. Evans, purchased the farm. In 1880, James was 35 and listed as a general merchant. They had a son, Asac, daughter Ella, and daughter Ettie. They also had two farm laborers living with them: George Messanger, 26 and Charles Miers.

Robinson’s 1887 Map with James R. Evans as owner

Robinson’s 1887 Map with James R. Evans as owner

James R. Evans was a decorated Civil War Hero. Born on September 12, 1845, he entered the army as a musician when he was less than 16 years old, enlisting in Company F 62nd New York State Volunteers. He was transferred to Company H New York Volunteers the same day. The 62nd New York Volunteers were known as Anderson’s Zouaves. Formed in 1861, Anderson’s Zouaves were named in honor of the Union defender of Fort Sumter, Robert Anderson. Initially they had a reputation as a thoroughly undisciplined unit and unfit for combat. But gradually they earned a reputation for tough fighting. Serving in the VI Corps, they participated in all the major battles of the Army of the Potomac serving throughout the war. Zouave units were characterized by exotic and colorful uniforms modeled after the Franco-Algerian Soldiers.

French zouave during the Crimean war; painting by Aleksander Raczyński

French Zouave during the Crimean war; painting by Aleksander Raczyński

In 1895, James R. Evans received the Congressional Medal of Honor. His citation read, Evans “went out in front of the line under fierce fire and, in the face of the rapidly advancing enemy, rescued the regimental flag with which the color bearer had fallen.” His act got him promoted to Captain. He was also awarded the New York State Medal, presented to men who participated in the Battle of Gettysburg and another medal for “gallantry in action.”

Congressional Medal of Honor

Congressional Medal of Honor

Evans was the local postmaster and served as justice of the peace; he also was employed by the Greenwood Lake Railroad company. He died at the age of 73 in Caldwell.

James R. Evan Grave

James R. Evan Grave

Transcribed from HMR Architects Martin Berry House Preservation Plan.