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John Gary Evans is Born

Today in Masonic History John Gary Evans is born in 1863.

John Gary Evans was an American politician.

Evans was born on October 15th, 1863 in Cokesbury, South Carolina, which at the time was part of the Confederate States of America. His father was a Confederate General who passed away when Evans was five years old. After the passing of his father, Evans lived with an uncle. He completed his secondary education in Cokesbury before going to Union College in Schenectady, New York. In 1881, his uncle passed away and due to financial difficulties he had to leave school. He did return to graduate in 1883.

In 1887, Evans began practicing law in Aiken, South Carolina. He became well known in the community for representing poor farmers in the area. This led to Evans having ties with Benjamin Tillman who he would alter succeed as Governor of South Carolina.

In 1888, Evans was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, he was only 25. In 1892, he was elected to the South Carolina State Senate. In 1894, he became the youngest Governor of South Carolina at the age of 31. He was the 85th Governor of the state. Evans had an uneventful time as Governor and largely continued Tillman's policies. Evans did preside over the constitutional convention of 1895.

Evans pledged not to run for reelection as Governor in 1896. Instead he set his sights on the United States Senate, hoping to continue following Tillman politically. He lost elections for the United States Senate each time he ran in 1896, 1897 (special election), 1902 and 1908.

After losing the election in 1897, Evans enlisted in the United States Army during the Spanish American War in 1898. He helped to form a civilian government in Havana, before returning to Spartanburg to resume his legal practice.

After Evans failed to make it to the Senate in 1908, he decided to turn his attention to the internal politics of the Democrats. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1900, 1912 and 1916. In 1914, he became the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic State Executive Committee. From 1918 to 1928 he was National Democratic Committeeman from South Carolina.

In 1922, Evans returned to the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Evans passed away on June 26th, 1942.

Evans was a member of Spartan Lodge No. 70 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.