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Finding Aid to the Bohnett-Evans Family Papers, 1853-1994
BANC MSS 99/388 c  
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The Bohnett-Evans Family Papers, 1853-1994, are comprised of correspondence, legal files, and the memorabilia of two early California families, the Bohnetts of San Jose and the Evanses of San Francisco. The inclusive dates span more than a century and touch on such noteworthy topics as the California Gold Rush, Indian Wars, Progressive Party politics, and the urbanization of the San Jose area. A significant amount of information about women's history and the homefront during World War II may also be garnered from the correspondence and memorabilia in the collection. The best represented figures in the collection are General George S. Evans, Lewis D. (L.D.) Bohnett and his wife, Ivadelle (Bevens) Bohnett, their son, John B. Bohnett, and his wife Ruth Evans Bohnett.
General George S. Evans came to California in 1849 by way of Michigan and Texas, where he served in the Texas Rangers. Over the next ten years he was involved in mining, business, and eventually government work for both Tuolumne County and the State of California. He married Fannie Markham of Sonora in 1857. On October 16, 1861, he joined the California Volunteers at Camp Alert in San Francisco and was commissioned as a major, and later a lieutenant colonel, in the Tuolumne Rangers, Company E, Second Cavalry. Over the next two years he led three companies on Indian campaigns in Southern California and Utah. In 1863 he resigned his commission and returned to California, where he was involved in politics, serving as a state senator and the mayor of Stockton. In the 1880's he made an unsuccessful bid to be the Republican Party's gubernatorial candidate. He moved to San Francisco with his family in 1880, when he was appointed the State Harbor Commissioner. He remained there until his death in 1883.George and Fannie Evans had six children, four daughters and two sons. Their eldest son, George Spafford Evans, Jr., was born in 1874. He went to work as Leland Stanford's office boy in 1887, and remained with Southern Pacific Railroad for 57 years. In 1898 he married Hattie Milliken, and they built their home on Castro Street in San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. They had one daughter, Ruth, born in 1913.Ruth Evans Bohnett grew up in San Francisco. As a young woman she corresponded with numerous friends and relatives and created elaborate scrapbooks, a hobby she apparently learned from her mother. In the early 1930's Ruth attended the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in economics. During her time at the university she was president of her sorority, Phi Omega Pi; Women's Manager of the Blue and Gold; a member of the Women's Executive Committee; and a member of the Prytanean Society. In December, 1937, she married John (Jack) Bevens Bohnett of San Jose. They settled in San Jose, where they had two daughters, Joan and Barbara. Ruth became a member of the San Jose Women's Club and served on the advisory board for the San Jose Nursery. She was also a member of at least two social clubs, the Philanthropic and Educational Organization (PEO) and To Kalon. Before her death in 1994, Ruth published a book about her paternal grandfather, called The Saga of General George S. Evans, 1886-1883: Civil War Brigadier General, '49er and Noted Californian (Linrose Publishing Company, Fresno, California, 1992).Lewis Dan (L. D.) Bohnett was born in 1880 on a farm near Campbell in Santa Clara County. He entered the University of California, Berkeley in 1902, and graduated in 1906. In 1907 he was admitted to the California State Bar, and he worked in Sacramento as a clerk for the California State Assembly. In 1908 he was elected to the Assembly on the Republican ticket. He served in the Assembly from 1908 to 1914, most of that time as a Progressive. In 1914 he ran for United States Congress on the Progressive Party ticket and was defeated by Everis Anson (E.A.) Hayes. Afterwards, he started practicing law in San Jose. In addition to his law practice L. D. was involved in the Santa Clara Water Conservation District and served as a member of the Board of Directors of San Jose State College, now San Jose State University, for 43 years. He died in 1970.In 1908, L. D. met Ivadelle Bevens at her initiation into the Order of the Eastern Star. They were married in 1910 and lived primarily in Sacramento, until they returned to San Jose after he lost the congressional election in 1914. They had two sons, John Bevens Bohnett and Lewis Dan Bohnett, Jr. Ivadelle Bohnett was born in Michigan in 1886. She was raised in Yuba City, California. After she finished grammar school, her family moved to San Jose, where she attended San Jose High School and San Jose Normal School (now San Jose State University). She was certified as a grammar school teacher in 1908, and she taught in Redwood City, San Luis Obispo, and San Jose, until her marriage to L. D. Bohnett. She was involved in several social organizations, including the Young Women's Club of San Jose, the Order of the Eastern Star, and To Kalon. When her son, Jack, entered the University of California, Berkeley and became a member of the Abracadabra Fraternity, she joined the Abra Mothers' Club. In addition to her other activities Ivadelle corresponded with friends and family and entertained in the gardens of the family's San Jose home. She died in 1970, six days before her husband passed away.John (Jack) Bohnett was born in 1914. He spent most of his childhood in San Jose and entered the University of California, Berkeley in 1931. He graduated in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in political science and briefly attended Boalt Hall Law School. In 1937 he married Ruth Evans, who he met while both were traveling on the East Coast in 1932. Eventually, he finished his law studies at the University of Santa Clara (now Santa Clara University), passed the California Bar Exam in 1940, and joined his father's law firm. In 1944, Jack joined the United States Navy. He trained at the U. S. Naval Training Center in Farragut, Idaho, and then was sent to San Diego to train as a radio operator. He was assigned to a troop transport ship, the USS Napa which participated in the war in the South Pacific. He remained on active duty until the end of the war, and returned to his family and legal practice in San Jose in December, 1945. He died in 1983.
Number of containers: 16 cartons, 13 boxes, 14 volumes, and 8 oversize folders Linear feet: 30
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94270-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.
Collection is open for research.