Born on 22 June 1837 at Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry, he was described by the Rev. Hugh McKeagh as 'one of two great scholars since the establishment of Methodism, of whom Irish Methodism was proud,' (the other being Adam Clarke). He was Commissioner of National Education for thirty years and for several years Examiner to the Intermediate Board of Education. He edited the Christian Advocate and both as editor and as convention speaker was a leading opponent of Home Rule. He died in Dublin on 15 May 1924.
His two sons were both educated at Methodist College, Belfast: Edward William M. Evans (born at Bandon, 17 July 1871, died London 1954) and Sir Robert Charles Evans (c.1878-1961). In 1905 they founded the London publishing firm of Evans Brothers Ltd., which continues to publish educational books for the British and overseas markets. Inheriting an uncle's estate, they took a great interest in the Irish Methodist Ministers' Supernumerary Fund.