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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 779-782 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The origin of the name Avery has occasioned much discussion. According to the Patronymica Britannica it may come from any of the following: Aviarius — "A keeper of birds"; Avery — "A place where forage for the kings horses were kept"; Alberic — "German personal name, softened in Norman times to Aubray." Another authority traces the name to Avernum, from the French Avoir, to have or to hold. The name has been spelled Avery, Avrey, Auvrey, Auerey, Averie and Averye. The Averys have been found in the southwestern counties of England. In Cornwall (whence the Groton Averys, from whom Philo Avery descends) Thomas Avery appeared at Bodmen in 1310; William Avery in 1333; Michael Avery was mayor in 1544; Thomas Avery was mayor of Tintagel in 1603; William Avery in 1746, and Richard Avery in 1801, etc. ("History of Tugg Manor.") In 1579 a grant of arms was made to William Avery, of Filongley, Warwick. There were many Averys in Somerset also. Arnold Avery was a justice of the peace in 1650; Henry Avery was a soldier in 1654; Joseph Avery was deputy governing the Merchant Adventurers Company in Holland in 1660; Robert Avery was a Royalist officer in the civil war; Benjamin, Richard and Timothy were Presbyterians in Berkshire in 1697. The Averys were in the clothing trade in Newbury. The English residence and parentage of Christopher Avery, the immigrant ancestor, is unknown, consequently the Groton Averys have no established claim to any coat-of-arms.

(I) Christopher Avery, a weaver, was born in England, about 1590. The date of his death is not sure, but Minor gives it in his diary as March 12, 1679. There are several traditions as to the date of his coming to America — one that he came from Salisbury, Wilts, England, in the "Arabella," with John Winthrop, and landed at Salem, Massachusetts, June 12, 1630; another that he came with the younger Winthrop in 1631. The family is very old in Cornwall, England, and the best opinion is that he came from there. He was selectman of Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1646-52-54. At Salem he took the freeman's oath June 29, 1652; was chosen and sworn clerk of the band, constable, and clerk of the market. His wife did not come with him to this country, and in 1654 he was relieved of a fine that had been imposed on him for living apart from her. From "Records of Massachusetts," vol. 3, p. 364: "October 19, 1654. Christopher Avery being fined at Ipswich court for living from his wife, upon his petiçon to the court being aged, poore, havinge used means to procure his wife hither the fine is remitted." In 1658 he sold his lands in Gloucester and removed to Boston, where March 18, 1658, he purchased a home in what is now the business centre of Boston, paying therefor forty pounds. The lot was twenty-six by forty-six feet, and located in what is now the centre of the postoffice building on Devonshire street. The famous old spring (which gave the name to Spring Lane) was near, and is now preserved under the postoffice. He sold the lot in 1663 for the same price (40 pounds), and followed his son James to New London, Connecticut. Here he claimed exemption from watching and training on account of his age, in June, 1667, and was made a freeman of the colony of Connecticut, in October, 1669. According to an affidavit in the probate court he left an only son James.

(II) Captain James Avery, only child of Christopher Avery, and probably the founder of the family that is known as the Groton Averys, was born in England, about 1620, died April 18, 1700. He came to America with his father, and lived at Gloucester, Massachusetts, for several years. Miss Caulkin's History of New London, p. 67, says: "On the 19th of October, 1650, grants were made by the townsmen to Mr. Blynman, Obadiah Biven, Hugh Caukin, Hugh Roberts, John Coile, Andrew Lester, James Averye, Robert Isbell." He received many other land grants in the several distributions, and others for public and military service. His dwelling in New London, once "the unadorned church and watch tower of the wilderness," is still in good repair and was owned and occupied by an Avery in 1893. He was active in military affairs and is generally spoken of as ensign, lieutenant or captain. In the English-Dutch quarrels and in their own Indian troubles he saw much military service and fully earned his rank of captain. He was equally prominent in civil affairs; he was chosen selectman and held office for twenty years; he was a commissioner to "try small causes." Here he gained his title of judge. Before his court came actions for small debts and complaints of evil speaking and disorderly conduct, wills were proved and marriages performed. He was in this office many years. From 1658 to 1680 he was elected to the general court twelve times. In 1871 Judge Wheeler published a list of representatives from Groton which was set off from New London in 1705. "It is worthy of note that out of 545 representatives of the town of Groton, 104 have borne the name of Avery, and all were descendants of Captain James Avery." He was prominent in church affairs, and the references to him in the records are numerous. He married, November 10, 1643, in Boston, Joanna Greenslade, born about 1622 and living in 1693. Children, the three first being born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the others in New London, Connecticut: Hannah, James, Mary, Thomas, John (see forward), Rebecca, Jonathan, Christopher and Samuel. Captain Avery married (second), 1698, Mrs. Joshua Holmes, a widow.

(III) John, third son and fifth child of Captain James and Joanna (Greenslade) Avery, was born in New London, Connecticut, February 10, 1654. He was of Groton, that part of New London lying on the east side of the river (Thames). He conveyed land in 1691, was appointed "ensign" by the general court in 1692 and again in 1693, and May 13, 1697, "John Avery was appointed captain of the train band at New London, on the east side of the river." His name appears with the title in the patent of New London granted by the general court, October 14, 1704. In 1700 he became one of the original proprietors of New Lebanon, Connecticut, and May 10, 1705, the general court confirmed him and his associates in the possession of lands in that town. He is known to have held lands in Preston, Connecticut, in 1706. There is no record of him later than January 5, 1713. Captain John Avery married November 29, 1675, Abigail, born September 30, 1656, daughter of Samuel and Abigail Cheseborough, and granddaughter of William and Ann (Stevenson) Cheseborough. William Cheseborough was of Lincolnshire, England, and founder of Stonington, Connecticut. Children of Captain John and Abigail (Cheseborough) Avery; Abigail, Abigail, Mary, John, Benjamin, William, Elizabeth, Anna, Elisha, Desire, Josiah, Daniel, Nathaniel, see forward, Thomas.

(IV) Nathaniel, thirteenth child and seventh son of Captain John and Abigail (Cheseborough) Avery, was born about 1701. There is little in the records concerning him. He married, about 1724-30, Abigail ————, and the children's names are taken from the will, the sons being named first, therefore the chronological order is not to be depended upon: Andrew, baptized April 16, 1732; Nathaniel, Elisha, William (see forward), Desire, Mary, Any (Amie), Abigail.

(V) William, son of Nathaniel and Abigail Avery, married, about 1750, Mary ————; children: William (see forward), John, Daniel, Silas, Betsey, Temperance and Amy.

(VI) William (2), eldest child and son of William (1) and Mary Avery, was born probably at Lyme, Connecticut, about 1751. He removed to Sharon, Connecticut, where he learned and worked at the trade of hatter. He removed with his family during the latter part of the century to Duanesburg, Schenectady county, New York. From there the family scattered. He married, in 1772, at Sharon, Connecticut, Lucy Everett. Children:

  1. William, removed to Oswego county, New York, died in Parish, February 13, 1849.
  2. Eliphalet, see forward.
  3. Moulton, removed to Onondaga county, died in De Witt, New York.
  4. Ira, removed to northern part of Schoharie county.
  5. Whitfield, also removed to northern part of Schoharie county.
  6. Shuman, removed to southern part of Oneida county, New York.
  7. Anna, married Stephen Smith, of Chatham, New York.
  8. Amy, married Henry Fairchild, of Conneaut, Ohio.
  9. Lucy, married ———— Watch.
  10. Amos.

(VII) Eliphalet, second son and child of William (2) and Lucy (Everett) Avery, was born at Brahams [Bramans] Corners, Schenectady county, New York, June 25, 1775. He became a farmer, and settled in Florida, Montgomery county, where he was the owner of a substantial estate accumulated through his own energy and thrift. He married, in Schenectady county, May 27, 1796, Celinda Burchard, of Connecticut, born May 2, 1778. She survived her husband, and died aged ninety, at Duanesburg, New York, where she was well known as an active Christian worker in the Methodist church. Children:

  1. Austin, born April 20, 1800, died February 28, 1846; a farmer of Duanesburg; married Elizabeth Young.
  2. Amy, born September 17, 1803; married Abraham Hitchcock Foote.
  3. Lucy, born September 3, 1805; married Rev. Frederick Brazee.
  4. John, born November 13, 1809, died February 13, 1888; married Lavinia Nobles.
  5. Lucinda, born April 14, 1812, died September 20, 1816.
  6. Moses Chauncey, born January 20, 1815, married Emmaline Cornell.
  7. Philo, see forward.
  8. Lewis, born August 20, 1820, died May 6, 1883; married Phoebe Ladd.

(VIII) Philo, fourth son and seventh child of Eliphalet and Celinda (Burchard) Avery, was born on the farm in Schenectady county, New York, October 7, 1817, died in Florida, July 6, 1879. He was reared on the farm, and after his marriage removed to Florida, Montgomery county, where he purchased and cultivated one of the farms of that town. He was a substantial, prosperous man and left behind him a goodly estate, on which his widow now resides. He married, in Duanesburg, July 5, 1841, Clarinda Howard, born April 18, 1825 (see Howard). Children:

  1. Edna, born June, 1846, died at age of sixteen.
  2. Sarah C., born April 29, 1850, died April 18, 1907; married Henry Clay Young, of Buffalo county [i.e. Erie County], New York; had Edna, Harry, Clara and Marjorie Young.
  3. J. Alice, born November 6, 1853, married Alva J. Merry, a prosperous fruit grower of Benton Harbor, Michigan; have Wayne A. and M. Eveline Merry.
  4. Beulah, born January 3, 1857; married Charles Currie, a farmer; live upon the Avery homestead, which Mr. Currie operates; children:
    1. Mabel, born August 31, 1882, wife of Howard O. Patterson, an attorney of Brooklyn, New York, and has a son, Howard O. Jr., born July 26, 1908;
    2. P. Avery, born December 8, 1883, resides in Dakota, unmarried;
    3. W. U. Thomas, born February 17, 1886, married Grace L. Cooper, born December 11, 1885;
    4. Alice, born December 15, 1888, married John H. Schuyler and has Donald A., born November 28, 1908;
    5. Clara, born August 21, 1892;
    6. Laura H., born December 13, 1894.

Mrs. Philo Avery (Clarinda Howard) is a daughter of George W. and Sarah (Ketchem) Howard. George W. Howard, born December 14, 1799, lived to a good old age, and died on the old Howard farm, taken up and cleared by his father, Enos Howard, a pioneer of the county, coming here from Columbia county, New York, and dying at age of eighty-eight. Sarah (Ketchem) Howard, wife of George W. Howard, was born in 1809, died in Duanesburg, November 17, 1898; daughter of William and Sarah (Cornell) Ketchem, pioneer settlers of Schenectady county. By his two wives William Ketchem was father of eleven sons and seven daughters. George W. and Sarah (Ketchem) Howard were parents of eleven daughters and a son. Ten of the daughters married, and three of them yet survive (1909) but are very old. The son and a daughter Harriet died in childhood. The families of Avery and Howard in both Montgomery and Schenectady counties through their long connection have been active church workers and communicants of the Baptist church. Their political preference has been generally for the Republican party. They have usually been agriculturists, although some have gone into commercial life, while the trades and professions have claimed others. They have generally been men of substance, largely gained through energy and thrifty habits. The women of the families have been fitting helpmeets, good wives and faithful mothers.

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