Henry Avery, retired farmer and pioneer resident of Clay county, and a former postmaster of Wakefield, Kan., was born on his father's farm at Lowell, Orleans county, Vermont, April 29, 1838, a son of George and Delliah (Cummings) Avery. His ancestors, both paternal and maternal, were among the early settlers of America and numbered among them were men who served in the war for independence and later in the War of 1812. The Avery family was founded in America by Dr. William Avery, a native of Barkham, England, who came to the Massachusetts Colony in 1650, and who was one of the founders of the town of Dedham. His grandson, George Avery, who was the grandfather of our subject, served in the Continental line in the War of the Revolution. He was born in Truro, Mass., in 1759, and died in 1856. Benjamin Parke Avery, one of the distinguished members of the family, was one of the founders of the San Francisco Art Association and School of Design, editor of "The Overland," a monthly magazine published in San Francisco, and was appointed by President Grant, in 1874, minister to China, and died in the city of Pekin in 1875, while serving in this capacity. Several of the family have attained prominence as clergymen, while others have filled positions of trust and usefulness in the town, State and Nation. A genealogy of the Dedham branch of the Avery family, published by W. W. Avery, Plymouth, Mass., contains an exceedingly complete chart of the Avery descendants.
George Avery, father of our subject, was a native of New Hampshire, born at Plainfield on March 24, 1798, and died at Wakefield, Kan., in 1889. His wife, Delliah Cummings Avery, died at Wakefield in 1875, aged seventy-two. They were the parents of ten children, one of whom died in infancy. The others are as follows: Cummings, born October 16, 1828, died August 4, 1872; George Thatcher, born October 29, 1829, died May 20, 1834; Phoebe, born February 20, 1831, the widow of Joel Hines, and resides in Clay Center; Mary, born March 23, 1833, died in 1907; Albert, born August 19, 1834, died February 4, 1875; George, born May 20, 1836, was killed in a railway accident at Manhattan, Kan., in 1907; Henry, the subject of this sketch; Sarah S., born December 20, 1839, the widow of William C. Richardson, of Clay county; Lucia Jane, born December 10, 1841, the widow of R. A. Elkins, of Wakefield, Kan., and Juliaette, born September 10, 1844, died August 6, 1877.
Henry Avery was reared on his father's farm in Orleans county, Vermont, acquired his education in the schools of his native township and was engaged during the early years of his life in teaching. He came to Kansas in 1861 and during the years 1862-63 was a freighter from Wakefield to Denver. In the last named year he enlisted in Company L., Eleventh Kansas cavalry, under Lieut.-Col. Preston B. Plumb, and served in a campaign against the hostile Indians for twenty-two months. On completion of his military service he returned to Vermont, where he married, and returned to Kansas in 1866, locating in Clay county, where he engaged in farming. He took an active part in the organization of the county, which was during the year of his arrival, 1866, and was a member of the first board of county commissioners. He was appointed postmaster at Wakefield February 1, 1898, and served in that capacity until June 30, 1913. He has been successful as a farmer and has attained State wide reputation as a breeder of pedigreed Percheron horses. His is the distinction of having brought to Kansas the first imported registered Percheron stallion. On Feb. 26, 1866, Mr. Avery married, at Lowell, Vt., Miss Orpha Farman, a daughter of Herod and Alvira (Hitchcock) Farman, who was born on February 1, 1841. They are the parents of the following children: Fred H., born December 15, 1866, was graduated from the Kansas State Agricultural College with the class of 1887 and died in 1896; Herman W. and Herbert F., twins, were born May 26, 1870. Herman W. is a successful farmer of Clay county and was elected to the State senate in 1908 from the Twenty-second district. Herbert is a draughtsman in the civil service of the Government at the arsenal, Rock Island, Ill.Pages 410-412 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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