The collection was acquired in 2019 and 2020 from members of the Evans and Wills family. It includes more than 300 glass slides from the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as digitized versions of some of the glass slides. The collection also includes other digitized photographs and film negatives. Additionally, a register of the dairy cattle from 1895-1928 is included. While some of the images depict agricultural workers and work being done in the fields of the family businesses, this collection does not include the records of the Evans and Wills Inc. cranberry and blueberry company. These are located in collection U0014, Evans and Wills Inc. Records.
William Evans (1666-1728) emigrated from England with his parents. In 1707 he purchased 1,000 acres of land in Evesham Township from Margaret Cooke, with an additional deed purchasing the same 1,000 acres from the local Lenape Native Americans. Through the generations the land was divided among his descendants. At the southernmost portion of this land stood Hillside Farm, and with some additional purchases throughout the years, spread approximately 400 acres.
The William and Susan Evans House, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, is situated at the top part of a hill overlooking out into meadows and at the southernmost part of woods or wetland throughout. It is also not known who built the original home but the earliest known residents were William (1806-1863) and Susan Evans (1808-1894), this William being the 4th great-grandson of William Evans (1666-1728). Other structures on the property included dairy and horse barns, carriage house, ice house, smoke house, corn crib, wagon sheds and several tenant houses. Of those structures only the house and smoke house remain. The farm was predominantly a dairy operation but the pictures indicate that vegetables such as tomatoes and potatoes were raised and sold for produce. Additionally, an orchard on the hill beside the house grew fruit that was likely sold in the Philadelphia markets.
Eventually Joseph Evans (1838 –1909), son of William Evans, took over the farm, living there with his wife Lydia Wills Evans (1843-1936) and their four children William Henry, Anna, Ezra and Joseph Stokes Evans. Joseph, with his brother-in-law Joshua Stokes Wills (1845-1934), noticed cranberries naturally growing on Joshua’s father’s property (Henry Wills). They bought the property from Henry Wills’ brother and received the other half from Henry Wills as a gift in 1868, beginning the cranberry growing business as Evans and Wills.
The oldest of the glass negative photographs in this collection were taken by Joseph, and the more recent were taken by his son Joseph Stokes Evans who eventually took over Hillside Farm and lived there with his wife, Mary Roberts Evans. Upon the death of Joseph Stokes Evans, the farm passed to Joseph Stokes’ nephew, William H. Evans Jr., son of William Henry. The dairy herd was sold in 1969. Because it was determined that land that had once been home to Native Americans should not become a housing development, William sold parts to both the Evesham Township School and Lenape High School Districts. The Hillside family house is maintained by the Lenape High School District and the wooded/wetlands portion is now part of Evesham Township’s open space.
James Culbertson, Special Collections Intern, Spring 2020, and Kate Rowland, Special Collections Intern, Spring 2021.
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.