Edwin T. Evans (1837-1909) was a pioneer of Great Lakes shipping. He joined his father, James C. Evans as a freight forwarding merchant. When James C. Evans purchased several lake steamers from a recently failed shipping line, and established the Evans Line, Edwin joined him in organizing the endeavor.
In 1862, Jame Evans and his son Edwin commissioned the construction at Buffalo of the 720 ton Merchant, the first iron propeller boat to sail the Great Lakes. In 1865, their line contracted with the newly formed Erie and Western Transportation Company which, in turn, was closely associated with the Pennsylvania Railroad, to furnish ships which would connect the Pennsylvania railroad’s operations in Buffalo with those of the Northern Pacific Railroad at Duluth, Minnesota. Their line, renamed the Anchor Line, became one of the leading freight and passenger lines operating on the Great Lakes. Edwin Evans continued to be a principal of the Anchor Line and of the Erie and Western Transportation Co., serving as the Western manager for the latter.
The Anchor Line followed the success of the Merchant with the construction of the India, China and Japan, the first iron passenger and package freight steamers on the Lakes. The Alaska, Cuba, Java, Scotia, and Russia, all large iron propellers joined them by 1873,. He was a member of the Executive Committee and of the Board of Directors of the Lake Carriers Association from that organization’s founding in 1880 until his retirement from active business in 1905.
Edwin Evans was a member of the executive committee of the Board of Trade and Merchants Exchange. He was also a President of the Charity Organization Society of Buffalo, and he was a trustee of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy in addition to his role as a Buffalo Parks Commissioner.
Edward Townsend Evans passed away in Buffalo on December 20, 1909.