January 23, 1816 ~ September 17, 1907
Joel Evans had a good reputation for being a very intelligent man. Daniel R. Anderson tells the following story about Joel Evans and some of his friends in Waynesville:
"A coterie of wits, E. Baily, Arnold Boone, Neddy Lynch, Sam Rogers, Sr., David Evans, Sr., Joel Evans, Geo. W. Brown, Elton Dudley, ~~ that lot; and another regular was my father, Dr. Wm. H. Anderson, were member of a club that made a rookery of the store house of Hadden & McClelland, and the way they did "rook", oh, my! An open debate on any live subject, interspersed with well-told stories, filled out the long evenings till closing time.
I was always interested in that "gang" because it was as good as a moving picture show is to me now. My father had a sense of the eternal fitness of things ~ and boys were not eligible ~ so when I wasn't busy playing "Welly," with the other "kids" of the town, I would sneak into the store, and slip behind a large table that was piled high with goods and "stop, look and listen!" They were always great on conundrums, only one of which will I record.
Geo. Brown was late, and some one had propounded to those present, "what is the worst kind of 'bat' that flies after night?" Joel Evans answered, "A brick bat." About that time Geo. Brown drifted in and immediately Joel put the new one on him in this wise, "George, what is the worst kind of 'brick bats,' that fly after night?" George was silent for only a little while, and with a funny little grin said, "I don't know unless it is hard ones," and the laugh was on Joel.
Joel Evans was a man of superior intelligence, and vast information on most any subject, and I have put a question to him, and he would look at me and pass on and never open his head. Perhaps I would meet him again in a week or so, and without any preliminary he would answer that question as though he was just asked about it. That was his way! If he didn't know, he would find out; being sure that you wanted the information, or would not have asked him.