Born September 18, 1842 near Glasgow, Kentucky, Evans attended the public schools near Harrodsburg, Kentucky. He moved to Hopkinsville, Christian County, where he served as deputy county clerk in 1859. He was a captain in the Union Army 1861–1863. He served as deputy and later as chief clerk of the circuit court.
Evans read law and was admitted to the bar in 1864. He commenced practice in Hopkinsville, and served as delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1868, 1872, 1880, and 1884. Evans was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1871 and to the Kentucky Senate in 1873. He moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1874, where he continued the practice of law. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1876 to the Forty-fifth Congress. He was the Republican nominee for Governor of Kentucky in 1879, but lost to Luke P. Blackburn. He was appointed by President Chester A. Arthur as Commissioner of Internal Revenue on May 21, 1883, and served until April 20, 1885, when he returned to Louisville and resumed the practice of law.
Evans was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Congresses (March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1899). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1898 to the Fifty-sixth Congress.
Evans was nominated by President William McKinley on March 3, 1899, to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Kentucky vacated by John W. Barr. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 3, 1899, and received commission the same day. Evans's service was terminated on July 1, 1901, due to reassignment to another court. On July 1, 1901 Evans was reassigned to the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. He served in this capacity until his death at his home in Louisville, Kentucky, December 30, 1923. He was interred in Cave Hill Cemetery.