The concept of Evo was well known long before Charles Darwin.
The common skeletons of mammals and reptiles strongly implied common development.
Even the few fossils available in 1800 showed that there were many species that had become extinct, and, that the further down you found the rocks, the more primitive were the organisms you found within.
In 1801, a French naturalist named Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck took a great conceptual step and proposed a full-blown theory of evolution.Lamarck was proposing that life took on its current form through natural processes, not through miraculous interventions. For British naturalists in particular, steeped as they were in natural theology, this was appalling. They believed that nature was a reflection of God's benevolent design. To them, it seemed Lamarck was claiming that it was the result of blind primal forces. Rejected by some on religious grounds and shunned by scientists like Cuvier for lack of deductive rigor in his arguments, Lamarck died in 1829 in poverty and obscurity.
But the notion of evolution did not die with him. The French naturalist Geoffroy St. Hilaire would champion another version of evolutionary change in the 1820s, and the British writer Robert Chambers would author a best-selling argument for evolution in 1844: Vestiges of a Natural Creation.
But the problem was explaining how species could change.
That was Darwin's contribution - Natural Selection. He pointed out two fundamental facts - far more offspring are born than survive to reproduce, and, each offspring is a little bit different to its parents.
No, Darwin Didn't "Hate" God
Creationists have a story they tell - Darwin's beloved daughter died, Darwin got upset, so he invented Evo to pay God back.
In fact Darwin was sympathetic towards religion - he hesitated to publish because he didn't want to upset his devout wife, and he was reluctant to stir controversy.
But when a Creationist suggests this to you, ask him why he is trying to distract you by attacking the messenger, instead of arguing the message.
Darwin = Satan
Creationists have a concept of Darwin as an agent of Satan, sent to subvert humanity with heretical ideas.
And if they had a time machine they could go back and get rid of him, and everybody would go back to being Creationists again.
But it's a "When it's time to railroad ...." situation. (Looking at the history of inventions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_invention), it's easy to see that many ideas were obvious steps up from the last memetic one- now that the saw exists, let's improve it with a circular one, etc.)
If Darwin hadn't published his ideas, somebody else like Alfred Wallace would have. There was simply so much evidence being collected by so many people that the conclusion was unmistakeable.
Darwin Recanted on His Deathbed
This is almost certainly untrue
The story first surfaced 25 years after Darwin's death when a woman named Mary Lord claimed she was present when Darwin died, and that he repented his sins and recanted his Theory of Evo.
But Darwin's children, who certainly were there, denied both parts of the story - she wasn't there, and Darwin didn't make any effort to reach out to God.
But again, what does it have to do with the science? It actually doesn't matter whether Darwin was an axe-murderer or a saint - what is relevant is whether his explanation makes sense.