Thursday, December 2, 2010

Levi Evarts, Portrayer of Santa Claus

Levi Evarts was born on January 1, 1844, to Reuben and Rebecca Evarts in Richland County, Ohio. According to his brother's death record, Levi's twin brother, Eli Evarts, was born on December 31, 1844, so Levi and Eli Evarts were twins, but were born in two different years.

On August 18, 1862, Levi Evarts enlisted in Company E of the 102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was discharged from his military service during the Civil War on June 30, 1865. In December of 1908, Levi Evarts was admitted to the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home in Sandusky, Ohio, now known as the Ohio Veterans Home.

Levi Evarts died at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home on July, 27, 1931. His obituary, which appeared in the July 28, 1931 issue of the Sandusky Register, reported that Mr. Evarts had played the part of Santa Claus in Sandusky stores for many years. The article stated, "He always wore a long flowing beard and required little make-up to fit him for the role as the jolly old Santa." Levi Evarts was buried in the Bellville Cemetery in Richland County, Ohio. An image of his tombstone can be viewed at FindaGrave. Levi Evarts was survived by his widow, five sons, a daughter, a sister, and a brother.

An article in the April-June 1990 issue of The Pastfinder tells us that Levi Evarts was formerly a teacher in Jefferson Township of Richland County, Ohio. The newsletter also provides us with the marriage date of Levi Evarts and Ella Ridenour, which was December 2, 1874. Levi Evarts lived a full life, and gave joy to Sandusky area youngsters for many years.

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