Mary Ingersol Tod Evans, 1802-1869

Mary Ingersol Tod Evans, a pioneer in philanthropic service to the Akron area, was decades ahead of her time.

Born in Youngstown, Mary Ingersol Tod was the daughter of a judge. She was married twice. Her marriage to John McCurdy of Warren produced three children. Her first husband died in 1830. She then married Dr. Dana D. Evans of Akron. He died in 1849.

Evans became a leader and role model in 1851 through her involvement with the Young Men’s Association Women’s Committee. A year later in 1852 she served on the Ladies Committee of the Fireman’s Festival.

During the Civil War, she was active in Akron’s Soldiers Aid Society, although never an officer in the organization Affiliated with Cleveland’s Sanitary Commission, the Akron Soldiers Aid Society contributed literally thousands of dollars worth of food and clothing to soldiers away fighting the Civil War. These Akron women spent evenings knitting mittens and socks for soldiers. They also packed food and other goods to be used in Army hospitals in a small room above a store on South Howard Street. The food and goods were shipped to Cleveland’s Sanitary Commission and then onto the hospitals that cared for the wounded. In addition, the organization raised much money by holding “dime parties,” socials and dinners.

Evans also served as the matron of the Northern Ohio Hospital for the Insane. Evans is best known for establishing the Ladies Cemetery Association. Evans believed that the Akron Rural Cemetery deserved to be as beautifully kept as the rest of the city. A live-in groundskeeper seemed to be the solution.

She enlisted the help of her sisters, Julia Ford and Grace Perkins, as well as many community women. Together, they sponsored concerts and other events, raising funds to build a residence for a groundskeeper. Evans submitted what seemed to be an early press release, encouraging the Akron Daily Beacon to promote the event.

Evans remained active until her death in 1869.

Photo courtesy of the Beacon Journal.