Charles D. Avery, the subject of this sketch, is one of the old residents and honored citizens of Sibley township, who emigrated to Kansas in 1872 The first year of his residence in the state he lived on a rented farm six miles south of Blue Rapids. The following winter (1873) he came to Cloud county and paid John Taggart, a brother of Oscar Taggart, of Concordia, eight hundred dollars for his homestead right and moved his family on the farm, where he continued to reside, and where he has acquired a commodious home, after long years of privations and reverses incident to grasshoppers, prairie fire and drouth. The former did not damage him as seriously as the prairie fire that came in March of that year and burned the corn in his cribs, along with some hogs. In scorching the latter, forty or fifty little motherless pigs were more or less ruined; a new harvester, for which he had just paid one hundred and twenty-five dollars, his new wagon, fanning mill, wheat and oats in the granary; all were consumed and the house only saved by the most strenuous efforts. This was a serious loss to a man just starting in a new country and several hundred dollars in debt, but upon this foundation Mr. Avery has gained a competency and a desirable home.
Mr. Avery is a native of Niagara county, New York, born in 1839. He is a son of Daniel and Almeda (Lewis) Avery. His father lived in Vermont, the place of his nativity, and that of many generations of Averys until after his marriage, when he removed to the state of New York, where he resided until his death in 1880. He was a blacksmith and farmer by occupation. Mr. Avery's mother died in 1860. Our subject is the second youngest child in a family of thirteen children, only one of whom besides himself is living. Mr. Avery was reared in the family of a paternal aunt and drifted away from the hearthstone of his parents.
When the contest between the north and south was inaugurated, Mr. Avery joined the Twelfth New York Independent Battery Light Artillery, with its quota of one hundred and twelve men under Captain W.H. Ellis. He enlisted November 20, 1861, for three years, and when his time expired re-enlisted and demonstrated his patriotism by serving until the close of hostilities. His company were in the front rank at the battle of the Wilderness and Shelton Farm. They had four guns taken by the enemy at Jerusalem Plank Road. They participated in the engagement at Ream's Station, one of the hardest fought small battles in the history of the Civil war. While they were stationed at Fort Haskell in front of Petersburg a shell was sent in their midst. They saw it advancing and as they dodged behind various places of protection the iron sphere exploded, sending its missiles in every direction, but fortunately no one was hurt.
Mr. Avery was slightly wounded from the explosion of a shell. The soldiers were quartered in a bomb-proof retreat where they slept. It was a sort of dugout. The earth was excavated to a depth of five feet and covered with dirt, well packed down. Each apartment consisted of four bunks, with three men to each berth. Mr. Avery had been doing guard duty and had repaired to this place of safety for a few hours' rest and sleep. He had just retired in one of the bunks, when with a terrific noise a shell of about sixty pounds weight came crashing through. As it exploded he was struck on the wrist, which cracked the bone and disabled him for duty for about five weeks, but instead of going to the hospital he remained in the battery. Mr. Avery, with two cousins, were comrades, all going into the service and returning together. Their company was under the charge of three different captains. The first was discharged for disgraceful conduct, the second was George F. McKnight, and he was succeeded by Charles A. Clark. The two latter were from Buffalo, New York. Soon after the war Mr. Avery settled in Jackson county, Michigan, where he was married to Miss Mary E. Wilcox in 1867. To their union seven sons and three daughters were born, viz: Charles Avery, their eldest child, is a well known photographer of Concordia. Several illustrations in this volume show the excellent character of his work. Arthur, whose personal sketch follows this of his father. Lewis is a farmer of Sibley township. Myrtle is the wife of John Taylor, of Sprague, Nebraska. Guy is a jeweler of Hanover, Kansas. Cecil, who was recently married and lives on the homestead. Lulu is the wife of William Clark, a prominent and well-to-do young farmer of Sibley township. Ralph, a young man of twenty, who is teaching his first term of school in district No. 95. He graduated from the Great Western Business College in 1902. Roy, the youngest son, is aged sixteen and Juanita, a little daughter, aged eleven. Mrs. Avery, who was a very estimable woman, was deceased in May, 1894. The Averys are highly respectable people, as well as prosperous. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal church of district No. 95.
Mr. Avery is a Republican politically and has held various township offices. He is an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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