William Ernest Evans Papers, 1791, 1846-1941

Manuscript Collection #375

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: William Ernest Evans Papers
Creator: Evans, William Ernest
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1791, 1846-1941) including correspondence, diaries, visitation books, account books, memoranda books, financial papers, minute books, photographs, land records and miscellaneous.
Extent: 3.04 Cubic feet, 405 items, 91 volumes , consisting of correspondence, diaries, visitation books, account books, memoranda books, financial papers, minute books, photographs, land records, and miscellaneous papers.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

November 20, 1978, 50 items and 6 volumes; Correspondence (1902, 1927-1930), accounts (1907-1922), church records (1904-1912), medical records (1896-1899), lecture notes and expenses (1884-1889), and miscellaneous papers of Robeson County, N.C., physician

March 24, 1981, 220 items and 80 volumes; Papers (1894-1930), including physician's visitation records, daybooks, diaries, correspondence, financial records, and miscellaneous items

January 19, 1987, 65 items; Papers (1789-1941) of Robeson County, N.C., physician, including a diary, correspondence, deeds, plats, mortgages, and miscellaneous materials. Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Evans Savage, Greenville, N. C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

William Ernest Evans Papers (#375), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Evans Savage

Processing Information

  • Processed by L. Durham; M. York; C. Creech, December 1994

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The bulk of these papers belonged to William Ernest Evans, a physician who practiced in Carthage (McLeod and Evans) and Thomasville, N.C., but primarily in the Robeson County town of Rowland. Evans, who also had farm property in Robeson County, died in an automobile accident in 1930. Also in the collection are papers which belonged to Evans' father-in-law, William J. Stuart, who was associated with Antioch Church near Red Springs. Stuart moved to Moore County to serve as that school system's first superintendent. In addition, two Robeson County church-related volumes appear in the collection because of the activities of Evans' children, Elizabeth (the donor of this collection) and Stuart. For further information about William E. Evans' personal background or family history consult O.H. 85.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The collection is divided into two subgroups embracing the medical career and other interests of W. E. Evans, and church-related activities. Among Evans' papers are numerous volumes and loose papers pertaining to his medical practice. Volumes known as call or visiting lists (1894-1930) record each patient's name (or the head of household), the date Evans visited, and the amount of the fee. Occasionally, the nature of the patient's ailment is also indicated. Some of these volumes contain birth and death dates for the years 1907-1909, 1914, and 1921.

Volumes containing accounts (1894-1930) primarily reflect bills due Evans for medical services and information regarding Evans' profits from tobacco crops and other means of incoming cash. For example, a ledger (1896-1898; 1929-1931) includes records of Ashpole Farm expenses and the production, cost, and selling price of chickens and eggs.

Monthly summary books (1911-1928) constitute a day-by-day record of Evans' cash and credit receipts as well as, for some years, his auto, farm, and other expenses.

Memoranda books and diaries (1892-1907, 1921-1930) contain brief entries reflecting the nature of Dr. Evans' professional work and personal activities, as well as the description of daily meteorological conditions and various social events in Richmond, Virginia, and Robeson County, North Carolina. In fact, these books also include numerous recipes and remedies for illnesses or household problems.

Notes that Evans recorded at Hampden-Sydney College (1884, undated) and at the Medical College of Virginia (1892-1894, 1904) give an indication of the nature of science and medical education at those institutions. Pamphlets which Evans may have used while he was in school (1890-1895) discuss health-related matters, including the testing of vision, typho-malarial fever, acute croupous pneumonia, typhoid fever, and cholelithiasis.

The Evans Papers contain two published works related to the field of medicine. In addition to printed formulas for use in treating a variety of ailments, Saunders' Pocket Medical Formulary (1891) contains Evans' notes which pertain to medication and formulae. Also, a work on bacteriology written for the general practioner (1906) discusses bacteria, diseases, and tests for verifying various ailments and conditions.

A file of miscellany related to Evans' medical career (1894-1930) contains scattered correspondence, prescriptions, notes, letters, and blotter pads bearing advertisements for patent medicines. Of particular interest is a published letter praising Prima Purificans as a cure for syphilis (undated).

In addition, the collection is comprised of papers reflecting Evans' interest in cockfighting, records pertaining to his agricultural pursuits, financial records, and miscellany. Correspondence (1927-1930) from throughout the United States and notes (1929-1930) recorded in the rear of an account book pertain to Evans' raising of cocks for use in fights. Among the records concerning Evans' farming enterprises are tobacco receipts (1929-1930) from markets in Wilson, Lumberton, and Fairmont, N.C., and Mullins, S.C.; and ledgers detailing farming expenses for material and labor (1907-1935). Miscellaneous financial records include bills and receipts (1893-1927), bank deposit slips and bank statements (1913-1930), a receipt book, and promissory note pads. Miscellaneous material includes clippings, especially concerning Evans' death; three volumes containing prayers, recipes,instructions for cleaning, and household accounts (1911-1932); a ledger of unclear origin (1916-1926) containing poetry and records of a gift shop and Minnehalia Lodge; and two photographs.

The W. E. Evans subgroup also contains correspondence and notes from William Ernest Evans (1908-1930) and his wife Ida S. Evans (1930-1941), and land records pertaining to Robeson and Brunswick counties, N.C. The file of William Ernest Evans' correspondence contains a certificate of title, notes which are religious in nature and relate information about church expenses and missions, and personal and business letters containing such topics as the monetary value of various fertilizers, interest rates, Evans' landholdings, and acreage cultivated. A copy of an unpublished governmental document (1921) concerning the Harrison Narcotic Law and the legal aspects tied to the medical distribution of narcotics is also included.

Included in the Ida S. Evans correspondence file are several letters relating to life insurance claims for W. E. Evans, letters and information (1931) regarding the deceased doctor's narcotics license, and an official document (1930) recognizing Ida S. Evans as legal administrator of the late W. E. Evans' estate and possessions. In addition, there are letters which discuss past due land taxes and a land agreement with the town of Rowland, N.C. (1932), and the sale of property in Southport, N.C. (1941).

Land records (1791-1935) include deeds, surveys, mortgages, indentures, and liens primarily concerning dealings of the Evans family and friends in the area of Robeson County, N.C., and one item referring to Brunswick County, N.C.

The church-related subgroup chiefly contains papers of individuals who were associated with Robeson County churches.

The personal papers of William J. Stuart (1854-1873, undated) consist of correspondence and miscellany. Letters to his aunt discuss a Sons of Temperance celebration and other of the group's activities at Davidson College (1854), and an "unethical" speech by "Rad-scalawag" Oliver Hart Dockery at Carthage (Sept., 1868). Also included in the Stuart papers are a broadside advertising the fourth annual fair of the Robeson County Agricultural Society held at Red Springs (1858); certificates recording Stuart's allegiance to the U.S. government and his enrollment in the Police Guard (1865); an indenture between Stuart and a freedman tenant (Jan., 1871); financial papers (1865, 1867); scattered items concerning Stuart's relatives Martha and James Smith (a trustee of Antioch Academy); and a pocket diary (1861-1867) containing notes concerning religion, the finances of Antioch Church, and land at Floral College in Robeson County, N.C.

Of particular interest is a volume (1846-1855) containing board minutes and financial reports concerning the founding and operation of Antioch Academy by the congregation of Antioch Church. Minutes discuss the purchase of land, fund-raising, school regulations, and the teaching staff. Also included is the academy's contract with A. M. Cormick giving detailed specifications for construction of the building (Oct. 16, 1846).

Minute books reveal activities of the Children's Missionary Society and the Junior Chapter of Mirmians at Ashpole Church in Rowland, N.C. (1904-1910), of which William Evans' daughter Elizabeth was a member, and of the Covenanter Band of the Rowland Presbyterian Church (1909-1914), of which William Evans' son Stuart was a member.

Sermons in the subgroup (1868-1877) delivered in Carthage, Greensboro, and before the graduating class of Thomasville Female College (June, 1868), concern rational versus sensuous faith, watchfulness and prayer as protection against temptation, and Paul's testimony to the Gentiles.

The oversize file contains land records (1791-1897, 1913) for Robeson County.

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Series 1:
W. E. Evans
Series 2:

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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