The advantages of mechanical training at the plant of the world famous Corliss Engine Company in Providence were reflected in the after work of Thomas Evans, who made this city his home for forty-five years and who here attained distinction as a constructing and consulting engineer. He was a man of natural attainments that were developed by the life work he selected and as time passed he rose higher and higher in his profession and was looked upon with respect and admiration by the entire community which profited by his achievements. His contributions to the comfort of humanity and to the progress of the commercial world were notable and will be a permanent monument to his memory in the official records of Rhode Island.
He was born in England, May 31, 1841, a son of Ephraim and Hannah (Jenkins) Evans, and acquired his education in that country, coming to the United States in 1863 and locating in Providence. Here he obtained employment in the works of the Corliss Engine Company, where he worked for a number of years, during which period his industrious attention to the operations of the plant brought him such knowledge of the operations that he was qualified to take charge of a large steam plant in South Manchester, Connecticut. He remained in that plant for ten years and then returned to Providence, opening offices in Westminster Street as a consulting and constructing engineer. He built up a very successful and profitable business. In addition to this work he devised a number of important mechanical improvements, among the most useful of which was the Evans Patent Grate Bar, which was adapted to either horizontal or vertical boilers and was so patterned that it prevented in great measure the formation of clinkers, which are the cause of much trouble to firemen and are the cause of the warping and cracking of grates. Mr. Evans was a loyal member of the Republican party. He was a member of the Masonic Fraternity, and in his younger days belonged to the Central Club of Providence. His death occurred in Providence, on June 17, 1927.
Thomas Evans married, in 1866, Martha A. Pollette, daughter of William and Susan Pollette, and they were the parents of two children: Anna L., and Thomas S. His wife died May 22, 1921.
In the death of Thomas Evans the city of Providence lost one of its most respected and useful citizens. He was a man of kindly spirit, studious and fond of reading, especially the works of his fellow-countryman, Charles Dickens. He was home loving, a devoted husband and an affectionate and tender father. He was for forty-five years a familiar figure to the people and his accomplishments will long be of service to civilization and advancing prosperity.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.