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John Evans

In office
1862 – 1865
Preceded by William Gilpin
Succeeded by Alexander Cummings

Born March 9, 1814
near Waynesville, Ohio
Died July 2, 1897 (aged 83)
Denver, Colorado

John Evans (9 March 1814 – 2 July 1897) was a U.S. politician, physician, railroad promoter, Governor of the Territory of Colorado, and namesake of Evanston, Illinois; Evans, Colorado; and Mount Evans, Colorado. He is most noted for being one of the founders of both Northwestern University and the University of Denver.

Evans was born in Waynesville, Ohio to David Evans and Rachel Burnett. He graduated with a degree in medicine from Clermont Academy in 1838 and moved to Attica, Indiana, where he practiced medicine and helped founding the Indiana Central State Hospital in Indianapolis. He was appointed its first superintendent. He married, first (1838), Hannah Canby (1813-1850) and, second (1853), Margaret P. Gray (1830-1906). Hannah Canby Evans and three of their sons are buried in the old cemetery in Attica. He later moved to Chicago, where he helped found Lakeside Hospital, later named Mercy Hospital, and was responsible for bringing the Sisters of Mercy to staff the new Mercy Hospital, founded the Illinois Medical Society, and taught at Rush Medical College. His wealth garnered him a fair amount of political power; he founded the Illinois Republican Party and became a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. He sold much of his Chicago holdings prior to a trip to England. While away, the property he sold was lost in the Great Chicago Fire. In 1851 he founded Northwestern University.

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln appointed John Evans the second Governor of the Territory of Colorado on March 31, 1862. Governor Evans and his good friend the Reverend John Chivington founded the Territory's first college, the Colorado Seminary, which would later become the University of Denver. In 1864 Governor Evans appointed the Reverend Chivington as Colonel of the Colorado Volunteers and sent him with 800 cavalry troopers to "quiet" the Indians. Chivington and his men found an unarmed band of Cheyenne and Arapaho led by Black Kettle camped along Sand Creek in the east central part of the Territory. On November 28, 1864, Colonel Chivington ordered his men to attack the encampment killing about 53 unarmed men and 110 women and children and wounding many more. Governor Evans decorated Chivington and his men for their "valor in subduing the savages" and fought off rumors of an unprovoked massacre. On July 18, 1865, new President Andrew Johnson asked Governor Evans to resign because of his attempt to cover up the Sand Creek Massacre. Evans resigned as Governor, but he remained popular in the Colorado Territory for his perceived toughness in dealing with the "enemies" of the Territory. Dr. Evans continued to serve as the Chairman of the Denver Seminary Board of Trustees until his death on July 2, 1897.

John Evans was the father-in-law of Samuel Hitt Elbert, the sixth Governor of Colorado Territory from 1873 to 1874. Mount Evans is named in Evans honor, and Mount Elbert is named in honor of his son-in-law.

In World War II the United States liberty ship SS John Evans was named in his honor.

John Evans' grave marker in Denver's Riverside Cemetery

See also

External links



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