EVANS, William Bacon, 1875-1964

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  • Name: William Bacon Evans
  • Alternative names:
  • Gender: M
  • Birth date: 27 July 1875
  • Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Nationality: US
  • Spouse(s):
  • Children:
  • Meeting: Chester Monthly Meeting, Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (4th & Arch Sts.)
  • Branch:
  • Disowned date: --
  • Death date: 25 February 1964
  • Place of death: "Stephen Smith Home for the Aged," Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Works by: Seven Bird Songs (1943), Sonnets for Lovers and for Lovers of Sonnets, Jonathan Evans and His Time (1959)


h. Phila., July 27, 1875, son of William and Rebecca (Carter) Evans, bro. of Alice, Ruth, Grace, Charles.
Moved with family to Moorestown, N. J. when young. Membership transferred to Chester Monthly Mtg.
ed. Moorestown Friends, Westtown School, Columbia U., Harvard U., and Rollins College.
1893 graduated from Westtown and worked for a short while in father's glass and paint store.
Took an active interest in Christiansburg Industrial Institute under the auspices of the Friends' Freedmen’s Assoc. for training of colored youth.
1903-summer, went to Europe to practice French study European birds.
1903-1909 served on Westtown Comm.
1908—1910 taught French and General Science at Westtown.
Considered not so successful in the classroom as outside of it. Called Master Bacon by his own wish. Enrolled in evening classes in Phila., and eventually received B.S. and certificate from Columbia U.
1918 clerk of Phila. Yearly Mtg.
1919-1930 taught orphan boys at English Quaker Mission in the castle Ras-el-Metn in Lebanon hills with Daniel and Emily Oliver. Taught English, French and general science.

depending heavily on his own ingenuity as books and materials were not available. Learned Arabic. 1931 visited Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho, Tiberius in Galilee and Damascus. Began writing poetry in Syria of songs of home birds he missed. Life-1ong lover of poetry, reading, writing and quoting. Avid enthusiast of ornithology and botany. Member of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Soc. at the Acad. of Natural Science, Phil.
Gradually adopted plain dress as he grew spiritually.
Used the plain language whether he spoke in French or English.
1941 staff assoc. at Pendle Hill. Jocularly known as “resident saint.”
During WW II worked in laundry to remain uninvolved in war effort. Refused to pay income tax.
Helped unite Phila. Yearly Mtg. and travelled in Ministry.
Spent last 15-20 yrs. compiling Dictionary of Quaker Biography, working mostly with sources from the Haverford Collection.
Also spent elderly years making, giving away, and selling toys and puzzles, painting bird pictures.

At the close of his life he was a member of Phila. Monthly Mtg. at 4th and Arch Sts.
Wrote over a dozen books. Among them: Seven Bird Songs, 1943; Sonnets for Lovers and for Lovers of Sonnets; Jonathan Evans and His Time, 1959.
d. Feb. 25, 1964, Stephen Smith Home for the Aged, Phila., aged 88 years.


Brinton, Anna Cox, The Wit and Wisdom of WBE, Pendle Hill Pamphlet, 146 (1966).
Friend's Journal, 10 (1964),138.
Hinshaw,William W., Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, II (1938), 704.
Th Westonian, LXV,1 (Spring 1959), 7-8. Westtown through the years (1945), 217, 358.

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