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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. Helen Lusk Evans

On a farm near Lancaster, in Fairfield county, Ohio, on April 18, 1847, was born a daughter to James and Nancy Ricketts Lusk.  She was given the name Helen Isabel.  She had a brother, James Harvey, who was nine years her senior, and when Helen was six years old her sister, Emma Jane, was born.  In 1842 her father determined to go west, and came to Lee county, Iowa, and bought a farm in Marion township, near the postoffice, Clay Grove.  He returned to Ohio and in 1853 they started on the morning of September 5th, to make the journey overland to Iowa, arriving on September 26th.  Helen attended the district school, where she learned all that the master knew, and read every book, paper or piece of printing that came into her hands --- her mind was insatiable and her greatest joy was to learn.  When she was fifteen years old she taught school near Bonaparte for a year.  When she was sixteen she entered the Young Ladies' Seminary at Mt. Pleasant, a very superior school for the times.  She always had a ready pen and at this school won special recognition for her composition work.  On Dec. 3, 1868, she was married to Dr. Jas. Mc.Farland Evans, a young physician, who had come from Pennsylvania.  Dr. Evans was the son of Abel McFarland Evans and Elizabeth Weir, born in Washington county, Pa., Sept. 19, 1841.  At the age of sixteen he entered Waynesburg College, but left school at the end of three years to enlist in the army.  He enlisted May 1, 1861, in Co. K, Eighth Regiment Pa. reserves.  In the second battle of Bull Run he received a severe wound in the left shoulder and was discharged from service because of this disability, Feby. 13, 1863.  He came to Iowa My 28, 1865, and began the study of medicine with Dr. L. E. Goodell, after which he attended the Western Medical College in Cleveland, Ohio.  He began the practice of medicine at Pilot Grove in 1868, in 1872 he moved to West Point, and in 1880 moved to Salem, where he died, June 6, 1912.  For forty years he practiced medicine in southeastern Iowa, and was a man well known in the state.  For thirty-four years he was a deacon in the Congregational church and was one of its most prominent supporters.  In faith he was a Presbyterian, but there was in Salem no church of that denomination.  He had an unusually large library and was a great reader, a man of broad education and skillful in his profession.  There were three daughters born to Dr. and Mrs. Evans:  Elma Victorine, now Mrs. C. H. Cook, of Salem;  Emma Winona, now Mrs. Harry J. Reeves, of Keokuk, and Helen McFarland, now Mrs. F. W. Garretson, of Hamilton, Ill.  The grand children are:  Max Evans Cook, died in 1900;  Helen Elizabeth Cook, died in 1913;  Miriam McFarland Cook, Helen Lusk Reeves, Agnes Evans Reeves, and James Lusk Garretson.  In 1873 Mrs. Evans was very ill, and for years was an invalid, never fully recovering.  The force of her personality and the strength of her mind made one lose sight of the frail body.  She almost never went from home, and yet her friends were legion.  She was an optimist and her life preached always the gospel of courage.  She was a very practical christian and sacrificed every day for someone's aid or comfort.  She taught her children more than they learned in any school, and the memory of her still guides and directs their lives.  She died May 2, 1897.



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