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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Benjamin H. Avery

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[This information is from pp. 388-390 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Benjamin H. Avery, an enterprising merchant of Jefferson, Schoharie County, and an ex-member of the New York State legislature, was born in Jefferson, December 29, 1852, son of Beriah and Lydia (Buckingham) Avery. His immigrant progenitor, Christopher Avery, came over from England early in the Colonial period, lived for some years at Gloucester, Mass., and was Selectman there in 1646, 1652, and 1654. In March, 1658-9, Christopher Avery bought land and one-half of a house in Boston, situated where the post-office now stands. This property he sold in 1663, and in 1665 he bought a house and lot in New London, Conn., his son James having moved to that colony some years before.

From Christopher the line is traced through James, Thomas, Abraham, William, Benjamin, John, and Beriah to Benjamin H., the subject of this sketch. The original dwelling-house, built by Captain James Avery in 1656 in what was formerly New London and afterward Groton, Conn., was burned in July, 1894. Some of the Avery ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, and a monument to their memory has been erected by John D. Rockefeller, the Standard Oil magnate, who is related to the family.

John Avery, the grandfather, who was a tanner, served in the Assembly in 1850, and held other offices. Beriah Avery, Benjamin Avery's father, was engaged in mercantile business in Jefferson for a number of years, and was quite active in public affairs, serving as Supervisor with marked ability. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. His wife, Lydia, who was a daughter of William Buckingham, of Harpersfield, became the mother of four children — William, Benjamin, Mary, and Edward. William, who succeeded to his father's business, died in 1876, aged about twenty-six years; and Mary and Edward died in early childhood. Beriah Avery died in 1891, at the age of sixty-seven years, his wife having died one week previous.

Benjamin Avery attended school in Charlotteville for a time, and completed his studies at the Stamford Seminary. Going to River Falls, Wis., he was employed there as a clerk until 1876, when he returned to Jefferson, and purchased the business left by his brother William. He has one of the largest and oldest established general stores in town, and ranks among the substantial merchants in this part of the county. As a member of the Board of Supervisors he was active in forwarding the interests of the town. In the legislature he introduced no less than twenty-four bills, fourteen of which became laws. He was assigned to the Committees on Internal Affairs, Villages, Fish and Game, and Agriculture, being chairman of the first-named body; and his work in the committee-room and upon the floor was heartily commended by the majority of voters, irrespective of party. Politically, he is a Democrat. He has been treasurer of the water company since its organization, having been instrumental in securing the construction of the works, and he was a director of the old railroad line.

Mr. Avery married Anna D. Fuller, daughter of J. Dean Fuller, of Jefferson. They have two children — William H. and Edna B. For twenty-two years Mr. Avery has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has served as steward and Sunday-school superintendent for a greater part of that time. Mr. Avery is an Odd Fellow, belonging to Richmondville Lodge, No. 525, and is also a member of the band, of which he has been leader for a number of years. Mrs. Avery is a member of the church and of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

[Editorial note: This entry was not returned to the author with corrections.]

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