Few indeed were the white settlers in Nemaha county when Edwin Avery arrived within its borders, and he is numbered among the honored pioneers who laid the foundation for the business prosperity and progress of the community. He lived here when the greater part of the land was still in its primitive condition, the prairies not having been cultivated or utilized for purposes of civilization, and many hardships and trials incident to establishing a home on the frontier were experienced by him, and he also was a witness and participant in the troublous events which preceded the civil war, when party feeling ran very high and it was often unsafe to give candid or unmistakable expressions to any political opinions. At all times Mr. Avery has manifested a deep interest in the welfare and development of the county, and well does he deserve mention among its representative citizens.
A native of Ohio his birth occurred in Summit county, on the 6th of April, 1836. His father, James C. Avery, was a native of New York, and a son of James Avery, Sr., whose birth occurred in Leyden, New York. He was of Scotch descent and died in New Orleans, in 1844. James C. Avery, having arrived at years of maturity, married Ruth C. Coleman, a native of Connecticut, who removed to the Buckeye state, when eleven years of age. Four children were born of their union, all of whom reached adult age. Her father was a farmer by occupation, and by means of the tilling of the soil supported his family. He died in New Orleans, in 1844, but his widow is still living, and now makes her home in Baileyville, Kansas, at the age of eighty-two years.
Edwin Avery, of this review, and the eldest child, was reared in the county of his nativity until fifteen years of age, and during that period devoted his time to the duties of the school-room and the work of the home farm. He then accompanied his mother on her removal to Vermilion county, Illinois, and in that county he was married, on the 14th of October, 1858, to Julia A. Stark, a native of Vermilion county. Her parents were natives of Kentucky. Mrs. Avery died in April, 1878, leaving three children, -- Stanton, Myron and Millie. Mr. Avery afterward wedded Emily Williams, and for his third wife he chose Susan M. Oshton, their wedding being celebrated in 1895.
In 1858, on leaving Illinois, Mr. Avery came direct to Nemaha county, and the following year secured the tract of land which constitutes his present farm. However, he resided for five years in Nemaha township, and on the expiration of that period came to Rock Creek township, where he has since remained. At one time his farm comprised one hundred and sixty acres of rich land, but at a later date he sold one-half of it to his son. Throughout his business career he has carried on agricultural pursuits, and by close application and unremitting industry he has accumulated a comfortable competence. He is a member of the United Brethren church and his life has ever been honorable and upright. In ante bellum days he gave close attention to the slavery question and became a pronounced abolitionist, fearlessly supporting his views at a time when it required great personal courage to advocate the abolishment of that evil. In 1860 he supported Abraham Lincoln, and has never failed to vote for the Republican candidates since that time. He has held a number of local offices, having served as township treasurer, road overseer and a member of the school board, and in all these has discharged his duties in a prompt and creditable manner. His life has been quietly yet honorably passed, and no one is more worthy of representation in this volume than this honored pioneer, Edwin Avery.