Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site

THE AVERY FAMILY (with other information)

A prominent family was that of John Avery. The History of Greene County ,N. Y., says that the family tradition is that five brothers came to America and Connecticut, and that Thomas the son of one of them moved westward and settled in Westerlo, Albany County, N. Y.

John Avery of Jefferson, the son of Thomas (tombstone, John Avery, d. June 14, 1863, aged 65 yr. 10 mo. 10 da.) was born in 1797, "learned the tanning business and after working with David Conklin at Rensselaerville, Levi Tremain at Oak Hill and Col. Zadoc Pratt at Prattsville, bought of the latter a tanning establishment at Jefferson, and settled there in 1822."

He was a Justice of the peace in 1834, the first elected to that office, a member of the trustees of the Jefferson Academy, and in general prominent in public affairs. A son John was prominent in Greene County, N. Y. Two of his sons Hezekiah and Beriah conducted each a store in Jefferson village. A daughter Mary married Rev. Andrew Montgomery, for several years an earnest pastor of the Jefferson Presbyterian Church.

There are elaborate genealogies of the Avery Family, but they have not yielded definite record of John Avery of Jefferson. This may have been found in one of them:

His presence in Jefferson suggests a relation to Squire John Avery.

A book entitled Historic Connecticut in the Bloomfield, N. J. Library says that the Avery Family and the Bailey Family were very prominent in Groton , and were active in the defence of Fort Griswold. David Baley (Bailey) a revolutionary soldier was from Stonington, Conn.

Joseph Moxley, whose father was killed at Fort Griswold, survived from it by jumping from the fort where he landed on a British bayonet. He came to Jefferson and settled on what is known as Moxley Street, with a large and prominent list of descendants.

The abundant supply of hemlock bark in Jefferson made tanning a profitable business in the early days of the town. Eli Jones had a tannery from 1816 later followed by his brother Chauncey. Eugene Bouton remembers the felling of a very large hemlock tree on his mother's farm and peeling of its bark as the principal reason for its fall, though it must have supplied a good deal of very useful lumber. Mrs. Percy E. Raymond reported peeling of hemlock bark in some part of Delaware county in recent years (l949). Milo Graham, son of John G. Graham of Meredith Hollow (Merridale) told his cousins who had walked twenty miles from Jefferson about 1863 for a visit that his father tanned with "Japonica."

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Squire Avery's wife was Hannah Minor, daughter of Sarah (Minor) Boies and one of the five sisters of Enos Minor, who was overseer of highways in 1809, Dist.6. They came from Columbia County, where their father's name if known would probably link them with the Minors of Woodbury, Conn. where there was another Enos.

Hezekiah Avery's store was east of the driveway to the sheds and wagon house of the old Jefferson Hotel. At one time he resided about opposite the Tyler residence on the road from the Potter Hill road to Harpersfield. The sheds on a line with the store and back of it protected teams and furnished a meeting place for village boys.

"Hezekiah Avery died at his home in Stamford Sunday morning, May 9. He was a son of John Avery and was born here. He was a merchant here for many years, and later represented a large New York wholesale house. Funeral in Stamford Tuesday, burial in Stamford Cemetery. He leaves a wife and one daughter, Mrs. George Bancroft. Courier, May 13,1897

Beriah Avery's store was next to the Jefferson Hotel on the west. It was the Post Office for many years. His son, Ben H. Avery carried on the store for a considerable time. Later he became interested in California mining. His brother Will was probably a little older.

Letter from Ben H. Avery to his brother-in-law, J.J.Fuller of this place. Their son Will is now at Larkin P.O., Shasta Co., Cal.
"We are now pretty well settled and have taken in six of our burned out citizens. They are sleeping on the floor and hustling for fodder the same as the rest of us. We have to get out in the bread and food line and take our chances with the rest of the crowd. The stores are all sold out and there is no place where you can buy any food, so all are dependent on the supplies that are sent in. The millionaire and the tramp are on the same footing here now and the people are taking their losses very philosophically." Courier, May 3, 1906

On the Avery monument in the Old Jefferson Village Cemetery are these inscriptions :

Mrs.Carrie Van Cleve,a former resident of this town, and widow of the late Adison Avery, died at ther (sic) home in Hasbrouck Heights, N. J., last week Wednesday. Her maiden name was Tinklepaugh, and her home was in Summit. Alex. Avery now of Hobart was her son, and he attended the funeral in New Jersey. Jefferson Courier, June 20, 1901

Alex. was born after the monument was erected . Adison Avery was born about 1835. If she was 10 years younger, she would have been born about 1845 and died about at the age of 56. She was not known to have been buried in Jefferson. She was from Summit, probably born there, where her family lived near Summit Lake.

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There was a Rav. (sic) John Avery in Truro on Cape Cod in the early days and the family is very numerous in this country. It is likely that those of Jefferson descended from very early settlers. But such connection has not been found.

I. The History of Greene County, N. Y. says that the family tradition is that five brothers came to Connecticut and Thomas the son of one of them moved westward and settled at Westerlo in Albany County, N. Y. The name is very numerous in the Connecticut Census of 1790.

II. John Avery of Jefferson, the son of Thomas, born in 1797, and as his tombstone shows July 25, "learned the tanning business, and after working at it with David Conklin at Rensselaerville, Levi Tremain at Oak Hill, and Colonel Zadoc Pratt of Prattsville, bought of the latter a tannery establishment at Jefferson and settled there in 1822." He was inspector of schools in 1823 and overseer of highways, Dist. 36; Justice of the peace in 1834, and was generally spoken of as Squire Avery, or by the less exact as "Square" Avery, and was the first elected to that office; a member of the Assembly; a trustee of Jefferson Academy in 1836 and probably other years, and it was generally understood among the younger element that he was to be reckoned with for any depredations against the Academy property after its educational service.

"The oldest building in the town of Jefferson was torn down Tuesday when the old mill house below the dam at Mann's pond was demolished. It was built by Stephen Judd in 1796, afterwards owned and operated by Jacob Jones, and several others. Some of the big timbers were yet sound. The old mill had been the scene of many interesting incidents. A splintered post taken out recalled the time when one Sunday Squire Avery asleep in the saw dust was startled by a bolt of lightning which tore up things about him. It is said that it determined his course about running the mill on Sundays." Jefferson Courier July 30, 1908.

His house was on the north side of the road between the Potter Hill-Harpersfield four corners and Evergreen Cemetery, with a walk to the Potter Hill road.


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