Biography of John AVERY 1798 - 1883

John Avery - a descendant of Captain James Avery of Groton Connecticut - was born 4 Mar 1798 at Lyme, New London County, Connecticut to Moses Avery and Elizabeth Munsell. He married Sarah Ann Cooper, (born 1801/1810 at Watertown, Jefferson County, NY) in August 1821 at Jefferson County, NY. She, Sarah Ann Cooper, was the daughter of Ezra Cooper and Sarah Arnold and had been married previously to a Mr. Mitchell.

John enlisted during the War of 1812 and probably served in the 23rd Infantry Regiment New York Militia as a drum major. He would have been very young and it was common for boys to serve as drummers. According to the History of Shiawasse and Clinton Counties, Michigan, he participated in the capture of Fort George [May 27, 1813] as well as the capture of the brigs Adams and Caledonia. [the regimental history does not list the capture of the brigs, however, the regimental history lists many other engagements]. He was taken prisoner at the assault and siege of Fort Erie [August 15th to September 17th, 1814] by native americans for about a year. He was later released when merchants Adams and Ball of Twelve Mile Creek purchased his freedom.

After the war, John Avery and his family continued to live at Watertown, New York and later (1830-32) at Charlotte, Chautaugua County, New York. His father, Moses Avery, had immigrated to Oxford County, Ontario, Canada between 1830 and 1835 along with Orin Avery, another son of Moses.

The children of John Avery and Sarah Ann Cooper:

  • Dr. John Avery, Jr. b. 29 Feb 1824 Watertown, Jefferson County, NY
  • Sarah Ann Avery b. 1830 Charlotte, Chautaugua County, NY
  • James Merritt Avery b. 8 Feb 1832 Charlotte, Chautaugua County, NY
  • Tyler Caldwell Avery b. 5 Feb 1833 Charlotte, Chautaugua County, NY
  • Laura Avery b. 11 Sep 1837 Norwich, Ontario, Canada. She may have married David C Balcom
  • Marvin Emory Avery b. 16 Jun 1840 probably at Clinton County, MI
  • Sanford Cooper Avery b. 21 Aug 1843 probably at Clinton County, MI
  • Thomas Avery b. abt 1851 [adopted] appears in 1860 census
  • Horace Avery [adopted]

About 1836, John Avery removed to Oakland County, Michigan for a couple of years. John and his brother Horace Avery probably went to Michigan first and brought their families along later. John’s daughter, Laura, was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada in 1837; Norwich was home, by then, to John’s father Moses Avery. By 1838 he had purchased land in Greenbush Township, and again purchased land - 1843- in Bingham township, Clinton County, Michigan. He appears in the 1850 Clinton County, Michigan federal census at Duplain Township. He resided in Bingham Township, about 3 miles from the village of St Johns, until his death in 1883. He is enumerated in the 1880 Federal census living alone with a servant.

In his advanced years, John Avery was the keeper of the Clinton County Poor Farm located 3 miles from St Johns. The number of years for which he was poor farm keeper is unknown. In the 1872/1873 term, the poor farm was home to 24 indigent persons of which one was insane and 5 were under the age of 16. Of the 5 children under the age of 16, 3 were stated to be idiotic. It was not easy to be keeper, as the following attests:

Last January the keeper was stabbed by one of the inmates, and the year before one of the paupers endeavored to kill him. Both of these men are in prison, the first in Jackson for five years, and the other in the Detroit House of Correction. This shows the necessity of keeping vicious persons out of the poor-houses, as both of these men were able to work, but drifted into this establishment by reason of their laziness. Hon. H. M. Perrin, of St. John's, accompanied us on our visit to this institution. Source: Pauperism and Crime in Michigan in 1872-73, Lansing 1873, WS George & Co State Printers, page 104.

His first son, John, became a noted and properous physcian after serving in the Civil War as a surgeon. John Jr served 2 terms in the state legislature. Another son, Marvin Emory Avery was killed in action, battle of Richmond, 6th Michigan Mounted Rifles. Son, James Merritt Avery, served PVT CO C 42 WIS INF Civil War.

© 2006 Mark L. Fields. This work may be reproduced and redistributed, in whole or in part, without alteration and without prior written permission solely for genealogy research purposes, provided all copies contain the following statement: "© 2006 Mark L. Fields. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Mark L. Fields."

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