Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS , GRIFFITH ( 1835 - 1935 ), microscopist, bacteriologist, and pioneer of protozoon pathology .

Born 7 Aug. 1835 at Ty-mawr , Towyn, Mer. , the third child and only son of Evan Evans ( 1801 - 1882 ) by Mary ( 1809 - 1877 ), daughter of William Jones of Tyddyn y Berllan , Towyn . His father claimed descent from Merioneth families which have a distinguished record in Welsh history, numbering among his ancestors Lewis Owen , slain 1555 and Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt , antiquary . Griffith Evans was educated at the British school , Bryn-crug , and afterwards privately. He was a pupil of John Pughe at Aberdovey and Towyn . In Dec. 1853 he entered the Royal Veterinary College , qualifying as M.R.C.V.S. in May 1855 . He was in the first group to obtain a commission in the Army as veterinary surgeon by examination, and, placed top of the list of examinees, he became veterinary surgeon in the Royal Artillery , Jan. 1860 . He went to Canada with troops, and was stationed at Montreal , June 1861 . He registered in the medical faculty, McGill University , and graduated M.D. , C.M. , 1864 . The subject of his graduation thesis was ‘ Tuberculosis ’ — he gave evidence of its infectious nature, and advocated open-air treatment. He returned with troops to England in July 1870 .

Posted to India 1877 , he was sent to Sialkot in the Punjab to investigate a disease that was endemic and had been for many years extremely fatal to cavalry and artillery horses there and at other stations in India . It proved to be anthrax fever . In Aug. 1880 he was requested to proceed to Dera Ismael Khan to investigate a disease known as ‘ Surra ’ that had been fatal to horses and camels of the Punjab Frontier Force for many years. He was able to prove that the disease was caused by microbes in the blood; these have been given his name as ‘ Trypanosoma Evansi .’ He returned to Britain in Dec. 1885 . He retired from the Army in 1890 with the rank of inspecting veterinary surgeon , and settled at Brynkynallt , Bangor, Caerns. He was awarded the Mary Kingsley medal in 1917 , and the honorary degree of D.Sc.(Wales) in 1919 .

He married , 26 Oct. 1870 , Catherine Mary ( 1843 - 1923 ), only child of John Jones , surgeon , of Gelli , Llanfair Caereinion, and grand-daughter of Owen Jones of Gelli ( 1787 - 1828 . They had one son and four daughters. He died 7 Dec. 1935 .

Sources:

  • Report on ‘Surra’ Disease, Military Dept., Government of India , December 1880 ;
  • report in The Vetinary Record Journal of the British Vetinary Association , 1880 ;
  • autobiographical memoir in Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology , 1907 ff , xii, 1918 ;
  • Griffith Evans MSS. in the N.L.W ;
  • personal knowledge.

Author:

Ywain Goronwy ap Griffith, (1882-1963), Towyn, Mer

Published date: 1959