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Special Collections: Evans and Wills Inc. Records

Evans and Wills Inc. Records

About the Collection

Joseph Evans (1838-1909) of Evesham Township, New Jersey and his brother-in-law, Joshua Stokes Wills (1845-1934) noticed wild cranberries growing on a family member’s property at Friendship Neck in what is now Tabernacle and Washington Township and they purchased it in 1869. They went into business together as Evans and Wills Co. This property would become known as Friendship. In 1893 Evans and Wills expanded Friendship by buying adjoining land and increasing the property from 1200 acres to 2010 acres. They constructed buildings, including an office, residences and a large packing house. In 1931, they expanded their business to include blueberries. Garfield Alloway, who lived on the property, was also involved in the business and in the 1930s, Evans & Wills sold him 65 acres of the Friendship property for Alloway and his son to create their own blueberry business. Joshua Wills and Joseph Evans were among the original incorporators of the Growers Cranberry Company, Inc. in 1895.

In 1882 Evans and Wills bought land from Lydia Stokes Wills’ estate creating Quoexin farm in Medford and Southampton. In the following three decades they expanded by buying contiguous parcels down the Quoexin stream. The property upstream was converted to reservoirs with the
new properties being used for the actual farming. In 1903 Evans and Wills purchased the Willow Farm in Evesham Township and began cranberry farming there. Evans and Wills became incorporated in 1931 as Evans and Wills Inc.

Additionally, Joseph started his own company - Joseph Evans Co. - with land adjoining the Willow Farm, purchased from John Buzby in 1900. The bogs were expanded in 1905 with the purchase of additional land from Philip Schaffer. In 1905, he also added bogs at the Union Saw Mill, with land that had been a family concern. After his death in 1909, the family continued to operate the Joseph Evans Co., until the business merged with Evans and Wills Co. in 1953.

In 1951, the family split up the properties and Francis Wills Sharpless (grandson of Joshua Wills) became the owner of the Quoexin bogs. In 1955 Albert and Lydia Evans Andrews (granddaughter of Joseph Evans) purchased Friendship. The other Evans heirs continued to operate the Willow Farm and Joseph Evans bogs in Evesham Township. Friendship was sold in 1962 to a developer, Friendship Forest Lakes, and then purchased by the State of New Jersey in 1981 and included in Wharton State Forest. The Willow Farm and Joseph Evans bogs were sold to Philip S. Seltzer in 1966. They have become both Kings Grant development and part of Black Run Preserve. Quoexin continues as a cranberry farm, now owned by Thomas Gerber.

This collection contains the business records of the Joseph Evans Company and Evans and Wills Inc. These include incorporation documents, stockholder information and reports, board meeting minutes, land acquisition and sale records, as well as financial records and invoices. The collection also includes information about the companies’ cranberry and blueberry farms - including ledgers recording the yields of each crop and the laborers’ names and wages.

Collection processed by Heather Halpin Perez, Special Collections Librarian, Summer 2022.

Evans Family Photographs

Packing label, yellow background with wording

Packing box label for Laurel brand, New Jersey cranberries.

Ledger book with handwritten entries

Agriculture records, recording the production of one of the blueberry fields.

Typed letter on paper

Stock certificate information from the National Cranberry Association, 1953.

Photograph of two women with bonnets, bending over in field.

Cranberry pickers in the field. (From the Evans Family Photographs, U0071 - 157)

In with the Old: The History of Evans and Wills (TR Productions)

Related Resources

Copyright Notice

While Stockton University’s Bjork Library’s Special Collection and Archives owns the collection, Stockton may not own the copyright for all of the items. Researchers wishing to reproduce materials are responsible for obtaining the proper permissions.