Down on the Farm

by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

A recent trip to West Virginia from Illinois, took me through the heartland of Ohio. As I left the interstate system and drove on local highways, I enjoyed seeing the farms. Many of them still have vintage barns standing that harken back to an earlier era in American agriculture. These farms, in many ways represent a simpler time, yet the hard work from farming in those days was often back breaking.

Mile upon mile passed by when I came upon Rio Grande, Ohio and saw a sign that said Bob Evans Farm. I always enjoy seeing historic sites, so I made the turn and headed to the Bob Evans Farm. You likely know the name Bob Evans for both the restaurant chain and sausage that both bare that name. The Bob Evans restaurants are now a national chain, I always enjoy stopping at them. When I arrived at the Bob Evans farm, I immediately recognized the famous barns sitting eloquently in the pasture. I had seen these barns many times in pictures in Bob Evans restaurants. I was curious to learn more about the story of Bob Evans.

Bob Evans bought this farm in 1953 and it soon became the center for the Bob Evans sausage business. The Bob Evans slogan was “made by a farmer on the farm”. He began advertising on local television and invited people to “come down and visit us”. There were so many visitors to the farm, that Bob Evans soon opened a small restaurant on site, so visitors could sample the sausage and other farm products. This was beginning of the restaurant business for Bob Evans. During my visit, I had dinner at the Bob Evans Restaurant on the farm. The wait staff did a great job of providing service and the food was excellent as always.

Who was Bob Evans? He was born May 30, 1918 in Sugar Ridge, Ohio. He married to Jewell Waters in 1940 and together they had six children. He later served in the US Army during WW II. He was a farmer who had a passion for selling the quality sausage that bared his name. With the support of his family and business partners, the company grew rapidly and expanded throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions. He was also well known for his support of the local community.

Bob Evans, retired from his company in 1986 and remained very active in the community. He was honored by the National Wildlife Federation, was involved with supporting FFA and 4-H and served as member of the Ohio Board of Regents, which governs higher education institutions in the state of Ohio. He passed away on June 21, 2007 at the age of 89.

Bob Evans was a member of Morning Dawn Lodge No. 7 in Gallipolis, Ohio.


WB Gregory J. Knott is the Worshipful Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 in Ogden (IL) and a plural member of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.

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