Jones, Evan William

1880-1950 | Coal Mine Owner and Operator

Evan William Jones was born in Aberdare, Wales, in 1880. When he was two years old, his mother died and his father died in the early 1890s, leaving Evan on his own.[1]

In 1906, Jones married Bronwen Morgan in Ravensdale, Washington. She was born in Kirksville, Iowa in 1887. After living in many coal-mining towns, they came to Anchorage in 1917, where Evan Jones became the superintendent of the Doherty Mine on Moose Creek, Alaska. He later became superintendent of the Eska and Chickaloon Mines, which were owned by the Alaska Railroad.

In 1920, Evan Jones organized the Evan Jones Coal Company with five other Anchorage investors, including Oscar Anderson. The family then moved from Eska, Alaska to Jonesville, Alaska. Jones sold his interests in Jonesville shortly thereafter, and moved to Healy, Alaska to manage the Healy River Coal Company for Austin E. "Cap" Lathrop. After that, Jones returned to the Eska, Jonesville and Wishbone Hill coal mines. His last mining enterprise was in 1946, when he started developing the Homer Coal Company in Homer, Alaska. He died in that small Kenai Peninsula community in 1950.

Evan and Bronwen Jones had six children. Their two sons died at birth, and four daughters survived: Vanny (born in 1908 in Connelsville, Missouri); Vivian (born in 1911 in Connelsville, Missouri); Martha Bernice (born in 1921 in Alaska); and Margaret (born in 1925 in Alaska). Bronwen supported Evan in all of his mining efforts and put up with the primitive life style that she faced in the mining camps, raising the children, and making a good home.

After Evan Jones’ death, his widow, Bronwen Jones, lived in Wasilla with her daughter, Vivian Teeland. Eventually, Bronwen Jones moved into the Pioneer Home in Palmer, Alaska, where she passed away in 1980. Bronwen and Evan Jones are buried in the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

Vanny Jones Courtnay Davenport (1908-1996), the oldest daughter of Evan and Bronwen Jones, married Ralph Courtnay. They had a son, Ralph W., Jr., born in 1938, and a daughter, Bronwen, born in 1944. Ralph suffered from Addison's disease for many years, and the family moved many times in search of a climate more suitable for him. He died in 1948, after which Vanny took a job teaching in a one-room school in Healy, Alaska. There, she met and married Lawrence Davenport. After a few years in Healy, they moved back to Anchorage, where Vanny worked for the National Bank of Alaska and as a librarian at the bank's Alaska Heritage Library. Lawrence Davenport died in 1974, and Vanny spent the last ten years of her life in the Anchorage Pioneer Home. She died in 1996.

Vivian Jones (1911-1997) married Walter Teeland, another son of an Anchorage pioneer family. They had three children: Colleen, Walter, and Larry. Martha Bernice Jones Visger (1921-2013) had four children: Frank, Margaret, Jeff, and Sally. The youngest daughter, Margaret B. Jones Bennett, had three children: Richard, Evan, and Joanne.[2]


[1] Biography, Evan William Jones (1880-1950), Alaska Mining Hall of Fame, (accessed May 5, 2016).

[2] John P. Bagoy, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage: Publications Consultants, 2001), 38-39.


This biographical sketch of Evan Jones is based on an essay which originally appeared in John Bagoy’s Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage, AK: Publications Consultants, 2001), 38-39. See also the Evan Jones file, Bagoy Family Pioneer Files (2004.11), Box 4, Atwood Resource Center, Anchorage, AK. See also Charles C. Hawley's detailed biographical essay, "Evan William Jones (1880-1950), in Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation,  Photographs courtesy of the Jones family. Edited by Mina Jacobs, 2012.  Note:  edited slightly by Bruce Parham, April 10, 2016.

Preferred citation: Mina Jacobs, ed., “Jones, Evan William,” Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940,

Major support for Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, provided by: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Atwood Foundation, Cook Inlet Historical Society, and the Rasmuson Foundation. This educational resource is provided by the Cook Inlet Historical Society, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt association. Contact us at the Cook Inlet Historical Society, by mail at Cook Inlet Historical Society, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 99501 or through the Cook Inlet Historical Society website,