William E. Evans, of the law firm of Evans & Pearce, Van Nuys Building, Los Angeles, was born in London, Kentucky, December 14, 1877, a son of P. M. and Vina Catherine (Jones) Evans. He is descended from old Southern families on both his father’s and mother’s side. His parents reside at London, Kentucky.
Mr. Evans was reared on his father’s farm, and then after graduating from the public schools, enrolled at the Sue Bennett Memorial College, where he took a general course. He read law and was admitted to the bar in 1903, and practiced law in Kentucky until he came to Glendale in 1910, where he has since resided. He was associated with Mattison B. Jones in the practice of his profession, with offices in Los Angeles, until 1917, since which time he has been associated with Albert D. Pearce.
In April 1911, he was made city attorney of Glendale, and filled that office for nearly ten consecutive years. These ten years in the life of the city constituted one of the most important eras in the history of the municipality, and the work of Mr. Evans as city attorney was of inestimable value. During that time the city took over the management of the water and electrical distribution, thus embarking upon an experiment in the ownership of public utilities by a municipality. The move was fraught with more risk that subsequently assumed by the other cities with a large number of precedents to guide them; yet, the enterprise was a success, and its freedom from embarrassment and expensive litigation, which in some cases follow closely upon the heels of similar ventures was evidence of the soundness of the City Attorney’s judgment and his knowledge of the law. There were also a number of intricate questions handled by him during his incumbency of office, dealing with the railroad, gas and telephone companies, which were carried out with marked success and resulted in advantage to the city. He appeared on a number of occasions as the representative of the city before the Railroad Commission and the Supreme Court of the state, with conspicuous success.
He is associated with J. G. Huntly in developing real estate, putting on high-class residential sub-divisions on Kenneth Road. The new building occupied by the Pendroy Dry Goods Company was built and is owned by Huntly & Evans. It is Glendale’s most pretentious building, the cost exclusive of location, approximating $150,000.00. Mr. Evans is a leader in the ranks of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County. He is chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee of the Sixty-first Assembly District, and a member of the Republican State and county Central Committees. Of the latter he is first vice president. Without his making any campaign for it his name was placed in nomination for United States Congressman, at the same convention held in Pasadena in February 1922 that nominated Mr. Lineberger. He received sixty-six votes on the first ballot to approximately ninety each for both Mr. Lineberger and Mr. Flower, who had made vigorous campaigns. He refused to allow his name to appear on the next ballot on which Mr. Lineberger was nominated. During the World War Mr. Evans was a member of the legal advisory board for his district. He is the attorney for, and was one of the organizers of, the Glendale State Bank. He was attorney for the Bank of Glendale at the time it was taken over by the Los Angeles Trust and Savings Bank (now Pacific-Southwest). He is also attorney for the Glendale National Bank, and was one of the organizers and vice-president of the South Side Sate Bank, in Los Angeles. Fraternally, he is a Knight Templar Mason and Shriner, and an Elk. For needed recreation he holds a membership in the Flintridge Country Club. He belongs to the Glendale Chamber of Commerce and the City Club of Los Angeles.
In the spring of 1907, Mr. Evans journeyed to Los Angeles from Kentucky, and on April eighteenth, married Cecil Corinne Smith, also a native of Kentucky. She is the daughter of James Dudley and America (Ewell) Smith. Her father was a lawyer, who, although his career was cut short by death in 1900, while still a young may, had risen to prominence not only in his profession, but also as a capitalist. Her mother was a daughter of Colonel Richard Leighton Ewell, a veteran of the Union Army in the Civil War, and of the Virginia branch of the Ewell family. The Ewell family is of Scotch ancestry, and was founded in America about the middle of the seventeenth century. The name in Scotland was spelled Yuille. In America, the name, like many other family names, in due time, by some of its members, came to be spelled as pronounced, Ewell. The Ewell family is one of America’s largest and most illustrious. Its name is found in all walks of life, and not least is it mentioned in the military annals of the nation.
Mrs. Evans began her education in the public schools of Louisville, Kentucky, her parents having moved there when she was nine years old. Residing there until the death of her father, she, with her mother, came to Los Angeles and continued her education until she was in her junior year at the Los Angeles High School, when business called her mother back to Kentucky. She matriculated at Hamilton College, Lexington, Kentucky, for a course in literature and dramatic art. In 1906, she and her mother again came to Los Angeles to live. At present she is an active member of the Tuesday Afternoon Club, and was a member of its board of directors for three years. Mrs. Evans was one of the organizers, and is a director, of the Glendale Chapter of the American Red Cross, and was the first chairman of the hospital garment department of that organization. She is a member of Glen Eyrie Chapter, Order Eastern Star, and the Ebell Club of Los Angeles. She belongs to the Christian church. Mr. and Mrs. Evans have one daughter, Catherine Cecil, age nine years. The family home is now at 333 North Orange street, but early in 1923, Mr. Evans will build an Italian type residence on Cumberland road, Kenneth Heights, Glendale, California.
From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. p.340-345. Photos of William E. Evans and Cecil Corinne Evans are on pages 342 and 343.