The early records of New England show this name under a great variety of spellings, including: Averell, Averal, Avery, Everill, and others, and people using widely different forms of the name today are of the same lineage. While the activities of those bearing the name have been wide and useful, they seem to have been very modest about recording their deeds, and it is among the most difficult to trace. Northern New York has had many of them among pioneers, and the cities of Plattsburgh and Ogdensburg are among the chief "stamping grounds."
(I) William Averill, merchant tailor, was parish clerk of St. Peter's, Cornhill, London, from 1536 to 1605. He was a man of literary tastes and abilities, and a poet of no mean order. He married, Nov. 2, 1578, Gulliam Goodale, daughter of Robert Goodale, "brown baker," of the same parish, and they reared eighteen children.
(II) William (2), son of William (1) and Gulliam (Goodale) Averill, was, doubtless, born before 1600; he came to America in 1636, and was made freeman at Ipswich, Mass. the next year. He was accompanied by his wife, Abigail, and seven children, but the names of only four of these are now known, namely:
William, Sarah, Thomas and John.
The daughter became the wife of John Wild, and suffered martyrdom in the wretched witchcraft delusion at Salem and vicinity. William Averill was a member of Major Daniel Dennison's train band, and subscribed money to pay for military instruction. He died in 1653, and was survived by his wife for several years. Among his effects was a corselet or coat of mail, which was valued at one pound. This was, doubtless, brought from England as a means of protection against Indian assaults.
(III) William (3), son of William (2) and Abigail Averill, born probably after 1600, in England, was a carpenter in Ipswich until 1663, when he removed to Topsfield, Mass., purchased one hundred acres of land, and resided there the ramainer of his life.
He married, July 31, 1661, Hannah, daughter of John Jackson, of Ipswich, and they had fourteen children that grew to maturity. Many of his descendants settled around him, and the locality was known as "The Colleges." His widow was in Connecticut in 1735.
William, Nathaniel, John, Job, Hannah, Ebenezer, Isaac died young, Thomas, Abigail, Ezekiel, Paul, Silas, Isaac and Mary.
(IV) Isaac, thirteenth child of William (3) and Hannah (Jackson) Averill, was born Nov. 11, 1680, in Topsfield, and was trained to be a carpenter. The records ascribe to him much ingenuity, and he framed the largest meeting house at that time in Providence, Rhode Island.
He married, May 16, 1709, Esther Walker, of Rehoboth, Mass., daughter of Philip and great-granddaughter of "Widow Molly Walker," one of the pioneers of Rehoboth, with her sons. They had children:
Samuel, Daniel, Moses, Lucy and Esther.
(V) Daniel, second son of Isaac and Esther (Walker) Averill, was born 1716, died Oct. 23, 1785. He built a grist mill in New Preston, Conn., and operated it for many years, and which is still running. . In partnership with his father-in-law, he engaged in some large real estate transactions, purchasing from the Indians lands in Kent and New Milford, Conn.
He married, Nov. 11, 1742, Lucy, daughter of Edward and Hannah (Brown) Cogswell, of Chebacco, Ipswich, Mass., born April 14, 1726.
Lucy, Judith, Nathan, Daniel, Esther and Ruth.
(VI) Nathan, eldest son of Daniel and Lucy (Cogswell) Averill, was born in New Milford, Conn., Dec. 15, 1745, died April 11, 1820. He married, March 2, 1768, Rosannah, daughter of Stephen and Sarah (Ferris) Noble, born July 12, 1752, died Dec. 5, 1812.
Lavinia, Noble, Nathan, Urania, Stephen N., Calvin, Clavina, Hannah, Lovicy, Prudence, Lucy and Sarah.
(VII) Nathan (2), third child of Nathan (1) and Rosannah (Noble) Averill, was born April 10, 1774. He married, Nov. 3, 1794, Polly, born June 11, 1778, in Salisbury, Conn., daughter of Joseph Ketchum, a quartermaster of the revolutionary army, and his wife Phebe Moore. The last named was born 1757 in Salisbury, died Oct. 24, 1816, daughter of Samuel and Rachel (Landon) Moore. Samuel Moore was born in Southold, Long Island, son of Samuel Moore, born 1615 in England, married 1636, Martha, daughter of Christopher Youngs, vicar of Reydon, Southwold, Suffolk, England. Joseph Ketchum was a descendant of Thomas Hurlbut, a lieutenant at Fort Saybrook, and wounded in the Pequot war; also descended from Henry "Catchame," who came to Ipswich, Mass. in 1638, the first of the name in the new world.
Of the eight children of Nathan and Polly Averill, the eldest, Maria, born Dec. 21, 1795, married, Jan. 16, 1812, Hon. Reuben Hyde Walworth, chancellor of the State of New York. She died April 24, 1847.
(VIII) Henry Ketchum, son of Nathan (2) and Polly (Ketchum) Averill, was born April 21, 1798, in Peru, Clinton county, N.Y., and was early introduced to military operations. At the age of sixteen years, he was a volunteer in the siege of Plattsburgh, Sept. 1814, under the direct command of General Alexander Marcomb. He was pubglicly honored by joint resolution of congress and presented with a rifle "for gallantry at the siege of Plaattsburgh."
He married, May 29, 1824, Elizabeth, daughter of William Platt and Hannah (Kent) Platt, of Plattsburgh. She was born May 15, 1806, died March 21, 1842.
James, Henry Ketchum, Mary Elizabeth and William Pitt. The alst died in infancy. The daughter became the wife of Pirrie E. Burch, who died in the civil war.
(IX) James, eldest son of Henry K. and Elizabeth (Platt) Averill, was born March 10, 1825, in Plattsburgh, and was baptized James Kent Platt Averill, but dropped the middle names and was known as James Averill. He prepared for the profession of the law and practiced in Plattsburgh and Champlain, dying in the latter place March 13, 1903.
He married, in Grafton, Vermont, March 2, 1846, Julia Jeannette Evans, born July 9, 1826, in Rockingham, Vermont, died Dec. 23, 1897.
Susan Elizabeth, Jeanette A., James and Mary Barry.
(X) Susan Elizabeth, eldest child of James and Julia J. (Evans) Averill, was born June 26, 1847, in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and was married Sept. 5, 1866, at Champlain, to Sylvester Alonzo Kellogg of Champlain. (see Kellogg XI).
(IX) James Averill, son of Henry K. Averill (q.v. pg. 143), was born at Plattsburgh, New York, March 10, 1825; died March 13, 1903, at Champlain, N.Y. When a young man he ceased to use his middle name Kent. He studied law and was admitted to the bar of the state of New York. During his active life he practiced at Plattsburgh and Champlain. He was a brilliant lawyer and well known in the county.
He married in Grafton, Vermont, March 2, 1846, Julia Jeannette Evans, born July 8, 1826, in Rockingham, Vermont, died Dec. 23, 1897, in Champlain, daughter of Simeon and Susan (Kidder) Evans. Her father was born at Athens, Vermont, June 24, 1782, died at Grafton, Sept. 2, 1830. (See Kidder).
Susan Elizabeth, born at Plattsburgh, married Sylvester Alonzo Kellogg (see Kellogg).
Jeannette Evans, born Sept. 22, 1847, at Plattsburgh, married Royal Corbin.
James, mentioned below.
Mary Barry, born at Champlain, March 21, 1854, married ____ Hoyle.
(X) James Averill Jr., son of James Averill, was born at Rouse's Point, N.Y., April 26, 1852, and was educated in the public schools of Champlain. There he engaged in the general insurance business, fire, life, marine and accident, when he was seveteen years old, continuing in this business for a number of years.
In 1879 he embarked in the building of canal boats and various other lake and canal craft, and he has continued in this line of business with much success since then. He was a builder of the float or the Island boat, which represented the island in the Indian pageant at Plattsburgh at the ter-centenary celebration of the discovery of Lake Champlain. This float was also used in the Hudson and Fulton celebration later in the year. He is one of the best known boat builders on the lake.
He and Judge Sylvester Alonzo Kellogg purchased the Champlain Iron Works in 1883 and conducted the business untikl 1887, when it was incorporated as the Sheridan Iron Works, with T.W. Sheridan, of New York city, president; Mr. Averill, vice-president and treasurer. The plant was enlarged to tenfold its original capacity. The company manufactures bookbinders' machinery for T. W. and C. B. Sheridan Company, of New York, Chicago and London, England. The factory is in Champlain.
Mr. Averill has, since 1887, been president of the First National Bank of Champlain, having succeeded Timothy Hoyle in that office.
In politics he is a Democrat, and he was supervisor of the town for twelve years.
He is a prominent member and senior warden of the Protestant Episcopal church. A typical self-made American, Mr. Averill won, by his own industry, enterprise, and ability, high places in public and business life. He is a useful and much respected and honored citizen of Champlain. Of the highest integrity and exemplary personal character, he takes rank among the foremost men of his day in this section.
He married, April 4, 1899, at St. George's Church, Montreal, Canada, Grace Stanley Mills, daughter of James Walter and Elizabeth (Chester) Mills. Robert Mills, her grandfather, born in London, England, married Mary Rodd, a native of Devonshire, England. Elizabeth Chester was daughter of Rev. Albert Tracy and Elizabeth (Stanley) Chester. Rev. Albert Tracy Chester was a native of Connecticut, a prominent Presbyterian minister of Buffalo, New York.
Children, born at Champlain:
Stanley Evans, Feb. 23, 1900.
Jeannette, May 5, 1901.
Elizabeth Chester, Oct. 4, 1902.
James Kent, Oct. 15, 1904.
John Platt, April 25, 1908.
[Transcriber's note: this material was published in 1910, so any other children this couple may have had, are not listed.]
It seems a reasonable presumption that this family is allied to that founded by William (2) Averell at Ipswich, Mass., but no evidence can now be found to establish the connection. Every descendant of William (2) Averell, bearing the name of William, is accounted for, and it is presumable that the William Averell, who founded the family now under consideration, was a nephew or grand-nephew.
(I) William Averell appers in what it now Hampton, Conn. as early as Jan. 7, 1714, when he purchased one hundred acres in teh northeastern corner of what was then Windham, near the Pomfret line. Hinman says that he had formerly lived in Pomfret, but this seems doubtful. His name appears as the sixty-ninth on the roll of members of the Windham church, including those who joined between 1701 and 1726. The district where he settled was then known as Appaquaug, now Hampton. With his wife he was dismissed from the Windham church in 1723 to form the second (now Hampton) church.
He married, Oct. 13, 1721, Ruth Bemis.
He died Nov. 14, 1748, and she died Oct. 20, following year.
James, died young.
Ephraim, born July 3, 1723.
Mary, May 24, 1724, married a Preston.
Elizabeth, Feb. 17, 1725, married Jonathan Burnap.
Stephen, died young.
Stephen, Oct. 18, 1730.
Ruth, July 2, 1733.
James, mentioned below.
(II) James, youngest child of William and Ruth (Bemis) Averell, was born Feb. 23, 1735, in Hampton, and settled late in life in that part of Preston, Conn., now Griswold. No record appears of his marriage or children, and his family record is the only authority for the next generation.
(III) James (2), son of James (1) Averell, was born about 1760, probably in Hampton, Conn., and lived for a time in New Preston, Conn., whence he removed in 1787 to Cooperstown, N.Y., where he died in December, 1836. He was a very active and industrious citizen, and contributed much to the development of Cooperstown, where he was a pioneer. In 1792 he exchanged his first farm for one lying in Cooperstown, and on this he built a tannery, and was for many years known as a successful business man. He aided largely in building up the village, and acquired a handsome competence.
He married Mercy Holt, born Dec. 7, 1766, in Hampton, daughter of William and Mary Holt, died Dec. 15, 1799, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
James (mentioned below), William Holt, Horatio and Maria.
He must have married a second time, as the history of Cooperstown states that his wife died in 1834, but the fact is not otherwise accounted for.
(IV) James (3), eldest child of James (2) and Mary (Holt) Averell, was born in 1790, in Cooperstown, where he grew up. In the spring of 1809 he settled in St. Lawrence county, N.Y., locating in the western part of DeKalb, in what afterwards became a part of Depeyster. He traveled by way of Plattsburgh over a newly opened state reoad which was at the time impassable for wagons, and was obliged to employ pack-horses to convey his goods to his home in the wilderness. This was on a tract of three thousand acres of timber land which his father had purchased from Mr. Cooper, father of J. Fenimore Cooper, the novelist. His first home was of primitive character and was located on the state road, about a mile south of Depeyster four-corners, where his first child was born, being the second white person native of that town. She was cradled in a dug-out log, placed on rockers. After remaining there about one year Mr. Averell removed to Ogdensburg, and soon became identified with the growth and progress of that thriving village. He was possessed of unusual executive ability and foresight, and became identified with various enterprises, which he managed successfully. He was a lumber dealer, merchant and general trader, and such was his shrewdness and energy that he advanced rapidly in material success. He was identified with the various improvements, such as steamboating and railroad building, which were calculated to promote the advancement of the town and community. He was for several years associated with Sylvester Gilbert and Amos Bacon in lumbering and general mercantile operations. He was a believer in the old adage: "Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves." Wilful waste, in the smallest degree, was foreign to his nature. As illustrating this characteristic, it is related that on one occasion he sharply rebuked an employee for throwing away a small quantity of flour. On the evening of the same day, when informed that one of his rafts, valued at fifty thousand dollars, had been wrecked in the rapids of the St. Lawrence river and was a total loss, he remaked: "Well, it can't be helped," and thus dismissed the matter without further apparent thought.
While not a politician, Mr. Averell felt a keen and intelligent interest in the progress of the nation and had well settled principles, regarding political matters. In early life he was a Whig, and gave earnest support to the Republican party from its organization. He was often urged to accept positions of political character, but preferred to remain a private citizen. He did, however, accept one official station in 1840, when he was appointed judge of the court of common pleas. For several years he was president of the Ogdensburg Bank.
Mr. Averell passed away at his home in Ogdensburg, July 8, 1861, leaving a large estate to his two sons, James G. and William J. Averell.
He married, early in life, Lydia Ambler, who survived him more than twenty-three years, and died Feb. 27, 1885, in her ninety-second year.
(V) William John, son of James (3) and Lydia (Ambler) Averell, was born Nov. 23, 1821, in Ogdensburg, and was prepared for college under the tutorship of Lewis Taylor, an eminent Greek scholar, and one of the well-known writers of his day. He entered Union College at the age of seventeen years, in 1839, and graduated two years later. He inherited from his father great business ability and executive force, and was engaged in business on his account in 1842, in Troy, N.Y., as a wholesale dealer in groceries and wines. After two years there, he went to New York City, and was for eleven years engaged in the importing trade, returning to his native town in 1855. There he continued to reside until his death, Feb. 28, 1897.
He was an intelligent observer of men and events, and took a deep interest in the progress of his country and native town. While declining all proffers of political honors, including a nomination for lieutenant governor, he took an active part in public life and exercised great influence in the community and the state. He commanded the confidence and esteem of those who knew him, and was ever ready to encourage and foster anything calculated to advance the general interest. He did consent to serve his home community as the duty of a good citizen, and acted as mayor of the city of Ogdensburg, and as supervisor, being the only Democrat elected to the latter office in the county, after the organization of the Republican party.
In 1861 he engaged in the banking business and was ever regarded as an authority on finance. He was president of the Ogdensburg Bank from 1895 to 1897; was vice-president of bank in Gouverneur, N.Y.
He married (first) 1848, Mary Lawrence Williamson, of New Jersey, daughter of Commodore Williamson. She died June 1, 1876.
The son resided in Rochester, N.Y., where he died Oct. 13, 1905; children: William Holt, Elizabeth and Ruth. The daughter is the widow of the late Edward H. Harriman, who was the greatest power in railroad management in the world during his life; children: Caroline, married Robert Gerry; Carrol, William Averell and Roland.
Mr. Averell married (second), Sept. 29, 1880, Mary, daughter of William H. and Sarah O. (Dewey) Perkins, of Rochester (see Perkins VII), who survives him. They have one son, Chester Dewey, born Nov. 30, 1882, in Ogdensburg. He took a special course in agriculture at Cornell College, and now conducts a farm and large dairy in the town of Ogdensburg.