I REMEMBER CLARENCE EVANS

by Alan Dodd

When I first knew Clarence, he seemed an old man to me, though he really was not. He was very bald, homely, with a big nose and an odd way of speaking. He did not give the impression of being the smart man that he really was.

He still took pictures of everything that happened in Gaylordsville, but no longer sold any, as by my time everyone had their own cameras.

When he was young, he bought a big glass plate camera and went to a school to learn to take pictures and develop and print plates. He went to picnics, parades, ball games, etc. as well as did portrait and family pictures and sold the prints. He probably had the only camera in town at one time.

He was a photographer of the old school. He learned to take pictures when they were hard to take and never changed, even when he had a modern camera and modern film. He spent a long time and took one GOOD picture, instead of taking a lot and using the best as people do now.

In the quality and composition of his pictures he was a genius. His fault was that he never labeled any of his plates. He left many dozens and even though many have been made into prints and slides, no one is old enough to identify many of them. Many of the pictures shown at the Gaylord School and many in John Flynn's "History of Gaylordsville" are from his pictures.

The Gaylordsville Historical Society has a diary written by Clarence as a young man, when he and his father ran a farm between South Kent Road and the river. They sold eggs, milk and tobacco. Their farm was located between the two roads and the barn has since burned down.

Clarence sold building lots to George Ward for the Basket Shop and to Thomas Honan for the store and post office. He donated the lot to the Gaylordsville Fire Department for their firehouse. He kept a piece between the store and the firehouse so he could walk to the store on his own land.

Clarence was a good citizen of Gaylordsville, active in the church and Grange. When he was well past middle age, he met and married a retired school teacher from the city who was spending the summer in Gaylordsville. Though they were extreme opposites, they seemed to have been happy together for a long time.

Clarence’s main job for many years was carrying the mail between the post office and the railroad station, first with a horse and wagon, and then with a Model T Ford and at last a Model A. There were four mails a day at 9, 11, 4 and 6 so in the days of the horse and wagon, it took most of his day. It was a contract job and I have been told that knowing that no one else wanted the job, once in awhile Clarence would quit and bid it in for more money and get a raise.

Clarence lived to be in his eighties and died in the middle of a cold, snowy winter. I was one of his pall bearers. His funeral was at the church and as there was deep snow and cold, only the pall bearers went to the Gaylord Cemetery. So ended my acquaintance with Clarence Evans.

Ó 1999 Alan Dodd