John Evans House, 1897, Ashburn (Then & Now)

Evans House Ashburn GA Photograph Courtesy Wayne Blue at Vanishing South Georgia 2014

Thanks to Wayne Blue, who obtained this photograph from a grandson of John L. Evans, we now have an idea of what this Ashburn landmark looked like in its early days. I just heard from Lynette Robison that she and her husband have purchased the house and are in the process of restoring it. I was so glad to hear this, as it’s one of the most beautiful and important houses in Turner County.

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On 30 June 2014, David Baldwin shared this fascinating history of the house: The house was built in 1897 by John West Evans according the the Ashburn Advance newspaper. Mr. Evans was associated withe the Betts Saw Mill in Dempsey, near Eastman, and he came over with the crowd in late October 1888 after the Georgia Florida and Southern railroad line connected north of Ashburn completing the line from Macon to Palatka, Florida. Mr. Betts and Mr. Evans married sisters Ella & Josephine Bohannon of Dodge County. He was originally from Hawkinsville. He attended Sparta Academy in Hancock County. His teacher was William Northen, who later became Governor of Georgia and who signed the charter establishing Ashburn as a city. Mr. Northen also served as President of the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention and would stay in homes like this one, as he traveled the state doing his duty. Mr. Evans was the first Postmater in Ashburn. He served in the Georgia Militia during the War Between the States. He died early.

This is the only house in Ashburn that is noted for being truly haunted. In 1935, a young lady who ran the local theater was leasing the second floor and decided to have a Christmas party. They hired a young black woman (Aza Martin) to cook the chicken. Supposedly the young lady got drunk and did not have the chicken ready. A young man with a bad temper carried her to the third floor attic and beat her with a wooden chair. Sheriff Story later found the chair with blood on it. At 3 am the boys of the party brought her body down to put it in the trunk of a car. Mrs. Evans, the daughter in law of Mr. John West Evans (deceased), opened her downstairs door and saw them bringing the body down the stairs. They took the body to a negro named James Worthy, a coal suite operator. He placed the near dead girl in the loft in his house. He was arrested in the following weeks but then let go. She continued to be reported missing. Finally,in March her body was found in Little River by some black loggers. Her mother identified her by the shape of her teeth and her dress. An inquest was held by main men of the town who determined the death was by unknown origin. The young man that committed the crime was reported to have attempted suicide between December and March, but survived. He went on the live as a Christian but no doubt he had to live with this crime all his life. The boys there that night committed to forever hold a secret as to what happened and as far as this writer knows they have. The murdered lady is said to haunt the house by those that have lived there. Milton Cravey was one.

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8 Comments

Filed under --TURNER COUNTY GA--, Ashburn GA

8 responses to “John Evans House, 1897, Ashburn (Then & Now)

  1. John Robison

    After living in the house for almost a year I can say that the only thing that is in the house are the squirrels that get in on the third floor from time to time other then that there are no ghost!
    Thanks, John

  2. David Baldwin

    I would like to correct a mistake I made above. John W. Evans attended Sparta Academy in Sparta, Georgia, not Sparks, Georgia or Sparks Academy. Mr. Evans and Mr. Betts married the Bohannon sisters of Dodge County, Eastman, Georgia. One was Josephine Bohannon, the other was Ella Bohannon. Hence the county road on the s.w. section was Ashburn was named Josella Road. Thanks, David Baldwin

    • David, thanks for the update. I corrected it. I’m more interested than ever in this story now, as my maternal great-great grandmother was a Bohannon from Pulaski/Dodge County area.

  3. tarobinsonsr

    Great job, Brian, as always; neat pictures, and solid history lesson 🙂

  4. Robin

    I was born & raised in Ashburn and remember stories about this “haunted house”. I look forward to seeing this once grand house being restored.

  5. John P. Rabun, Jr.

    It was good to hear from Wayne Blue, even indirectly. We were at Mercer University together in the 1950s.

  6. brendaseabrooke

    This is the third time this was sent to me. Do you have a virus?

    Sent from my iPhone

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