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Evans, Moses (1812–1853)

John G. Johnson Biography Entry

Moses Evans, early Texas settler, soldier, and surveyor, was born in Kentucky in April 1812 and arrived in Texas before 1836. He lived at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he was labeled the "wild man of the woods." He served in the Texas Revolution as a second lieutenant in Capt. Joseph Bell Chance's company of Maj. Robert McNutt's command. This company was left at the upper encampment to guard the sick and baggage during the battle of San Jacinto. Evans was awarded 320 acres for service from April 7, 1836, to May 30, 1836, and 640 acres for the baggage detail. About 1839 he joined the Mexican Federalist movement and was made captain of guerrilla forces. He was abandoned when he was wounded in the shin and unable to travel, but he managed to subsist. He joined the "spy" company of Benjamin McCulloch at the outbreak of the Mexican War and continued in service until hostilities ceased. Evans advertised his surveying service in various Texas newspapers, indicating his fee as from one-third to one-half of the land surveyed. Although he could not read or write he was able accurately to locate and describe the land surveyed and eventually owned a great deal of land. His name was associated with the so-called "wild woman of the Navidad," whom he pursued and caught only to find "she" was a runaway male slave. After his conversion to Methodism in 1847 he became an exhorter. His flaming red beard, unusual mannerisms, and striking costume combined to make him a picturesque figure on the frontier. Evans never married. He died on October 6, 1853, and was buried in Washington County Cemetery. When he died his estate was administered by William J. Evans, who advertised large tracts of land in Washington and other counties.

Colorado Tribune, March 22, 1851. Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Thomas L. Miller, Bounty and Donation Land Grants of Texas, 1835–1888 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Worth Stickley Ray, Austin Colony Pioneers (Austin: Jenkins, 1949; 2d ed., Austin: Pemberton, 1970). Mrs. Jonnie Lockhart Wallis, Sixty Years on the Brazos: The Life and Letters of Dr. John Washington Lockhart (1930; rpt., New York, 1966).

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

John G. Johnson, “Evans, Moses,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 13, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995