EVISON (Everson, Eveson, Evinson), ROBERT, engineer at Fort Prince of Wales, Churchill (Man.); fl. 1746–49.
Robert Evison joined the Hudson’s Bay Company on 26 March 1746 as “Chief Engineer” for three years at £100 per annum. He was sent to Churchill where his duties, under Governor Robert Pilgrim, were connected with the defence of the recently completed stone fort against attack from the French and with the training of the men in military discipline, “the use of small arms and also of great Guns.” On his arrival in the summer of 1746 Captain Evison examined the powder magazine and, according to Pilgrim, pronounced it “a Compleat Pece of work & not much unlike the magazine in the Famous City of Tournay.” The governor added, “I Sopose he has seen that having been as he says in Flanders.” Evison inspected the battery that had been positioned on Cape Merry to protect the entrance to the Churchill River and he reported to London that the guns could be pointed against the fort. His recommendation to move the battery to the side of the river on which the fort stood was dismissed, however, and in 1747 he was sent exact instructions for correcting and improving the site.
Like Joseph Robson, who had been transferred to Churchill in 1746, Evison was a member of the council there. He can be identified as the engineer who according to Robson “knew very little of the theory of military architecture” and who became involved in Robson’s disagreements with Pilgrim in 1746 and 1747. Before Robson left the country in 1747, however, Evison had become reconciled with the governor. Evison returned to England in 1749 and nothing further is known of him.
[HBC Arch. A.1/37; A.6/7; A.11/13; A.16/10, Officers’ and servants’ ledger (Churchill) for 1749–69 (the previous ledger is missing). Evison’s “Draught of the battery at Cape Merry” and “Draught of Prince of Wales’s Fort,” both dated 4 Oct. 1749, are in G.1/94 and 95 respectively. See also: Joseph Robson, An account of six years residence in Hudson’s-Bay, from 1733 to 1736, and 1744 to 1747 . . . (London, 1752), 35–36. a.m.j.]