EVANS, Charles, 1802-1879

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Charles Evans (December 25, 1802 - April 20, 1879) was a physician at Friends Asylum and a member of the editorial board of The Friend (Phila.) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



  • Name: Charles Evans
  • Alternative names:
  • Gender: M
  • Birth date: 25th December 1802
  • Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Nationality: US
  • Spouse(s): Mary Lownes Smith (m., 1836)
  • Children: None
  • Meeting: Philadelphia (Arch St.)
  • Branch: Orthodox
  • Disowned date: --
  • Death date: 20 April 1879
  • Place of death: Philadelphia?, Pennsylvania
  • Works by: Account of the asylum for relief of persons deprived of their reason (1839), Considerations addressed to the members of the Yearly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (1846), Biog. notice, of Joseph Hartshorne (1852), Journal of William Evans (ed. 1870), Friends in the Seventeenth Century (Phila., 1875, Reprinted), An examen, &c.; a criticism of Robert Barclay's of Reigate "Inner life of the Religious Societies of the Commonwealth" (1878)



Charles Evans was born on December 25, 1802 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Jonathan and Hannah (Bacon) Evans. He was educated at the William Penn Charter School and studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1836, he married Mary Lownes Smith, the daughter of Robert Smith III, who was the first editor of The Friend. The couple made their home first on Race Street, above 7th Street in Philadelphia, but later moved to West Philadelphia. He was at times found fault with for parting his curly hair in the middle; it would go no otherwise. In 1861, Evans made visits to England and Ireland. This journey was partly undertaken on account of an affection of the throat. From childhood his health was frail. When he died in 1879, he left a substantial legacy to Westtown School.

Medical practice

Charles Evans studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In his medical practice, he was said to have helped at least 1000 babies into the world, though he had no child of his own who survived. He was an attendant physician at Friends Asylum for years.

The Friend and Hicksite separation

While his name does not appear as editor of The Friend, he was one of an editorial committee, and received a salary as virtual editor. At his own suggestion the amount of this salary was reduced, and again at his own suggestion, he later acted without any salary. His editorials written during the "revival" periods in the United States and England were conservative. He ably defended reliance upon guidance of God's Spirit, as against "go ahead anyhow" measures. Charles and his elder brother, William Evans, were less tolerant of "Gurney Friends," than was their brother Thomas Evans. Of the five sons of Jonathan Evans, Thomas was not only the most able, but also possessed the widest outlook.

In 1827, Evans attended, during Yearly Meeting week, a meeting for planning separation, held at Green Street, Phila., and reported to the Yearly Meeting (Arch St.) the following day that such a meeting had been held. This announcement caused some consternation among those responsible for the Green Street meeting. Some of them denied that such a meeting had been held. When Evans appealed to John Comly, he remained silent.

During the period following the separations in New England and Ohio, The Friend (Phila.) occupied a very difficult position. The Friend (London), The Friends Review, and most other Orthodox Quaker publications actively supported the views and policies of Joseph John Gurney. The assistant clerk of Philadelphia Yearly Mtg. (Arch St.) also favored him. Alone, the oldest of Quaker journals, supported (as its publishers believed) original Friendly principles. A separation in Philadelphia was narrowly avoided by declining correspondence with any Yearly Meeting. In The Friend (Phila.), 101:186, it is stated that Charles Evans had a part in preparing Friends Library. This was a mistake. William Evans and Thomas Evans edited Friends Library.


  • The Friend (Phila.) , 12:257, 52:296, 53:123, 101:186 (portait)
  • Haines, Clovercroft Chronicles, p. 335.
  • Jos. Smith's Cat., 1:577.
  • Friends Hist. Lib., Swarthmore, Pa., BX 7631.
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