Biography of James Merritt AVERY 1832-1913

James Merritt Avery was born 8 Feb 1832 at Charlotte, Chautaugua County, NY, the son of John and Sarah Ann Cooper. He married 6 Jun 1852 in Dewitt, Clinton County, MI to Sarah Emeline Campbell, born 4 Oct 1834 in Summerhill Twp, Cayuga County, NY. She was the daughter of Elson Campbell and Huldah Phinney. James Merritt Avery died 10 Feb 1913 but was preceded by Sarah who died 31 Jan 1913 and both are interred at Cherry Valley Cemetery, Nirvana, Lake County, MI.

He lists his occupation in the 1860 census as a Deguerre Artist (photographer). Photography was all the rage in this era. Such figures as Matthew Brady, who photographed the civil war became famous and prosperous during the war but Brady went bankrupt after the war. At this time James Merritt Avery was living within his father's household. After the Civil War, it appears that he was a farmer.

"James M. Avery—Settled on the northwest quarter of Section 28, Cherry Valley township, in the Spring of 1871; soil being plains, with pine, maple and oak timber. He has about 25 acres improved, and has recently sold 80 acres to H. B. Campbell, who will move on in the Spring. For fruit he has cherry, and small fruits in abundance. Has Balm of Gilead for ornamental, and intends to set out a number of sugar maples, in the Spring. Estimates the standing pine on his place at 200,000 feet. Has a comfortable log house and log barn; supply of water from well. He has timber on the ground for a frame barn, 30x40 feet. His stock consists of a yoke of oxen, 1 cow, 3 young cattle, 8 sheep, 1 hog and poultry. In 1878 he raised 4 acres wheat, 4 acres rye, 1 acre oats, 3 acres corn, 2 acres buckwheat, and ½ acre of potatoes. Last fall he sowed 9 acres wheatand 2 acres rye. Has an excellent garden, each year, and seems well contented." source: The Lake County Star, newspaper, Lake County, Michigan. Article: "Progress in Lake County", February 13, 1879

James Merritt Avery served as a union soldier in the Civil War. His grave has a military marker. He enlisted as a private in Company C, 42nd Wisconsin Infantry, enlisted at Dekorra, Wisconsin 29 Aug 1864 and was discharged 20 Jun 1865 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to his pension application record, he was discharged as a sergeant. There is no information concerning the reason he served in a Wisconsin unit. He had a great uncle Amos Avery who lived in Waupun, Wisconsin and thus cousins in Wisconsin, as well.

James and Sarah had four children: Adolphus Sephronius Avery became a postmaster. Henrietta (Nettie) Medora Avery married William Riley Tripp and removed to Texas. Catherine Amy Avery married a Charles O'Dell (who died prematurely) and then Richard Henry Johnson. She was widowed twice, and an adopted daughter cared for her late in her life. John Edward Avery, adopted, married Mabel Grace Kuhns and had six children.

An obituary appeared in the Lake County Star, Baldwin, Michigan on February 14, 1913.

© 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."

Bibliography of Sources

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James Merritt Avery and Grandson

James Merritt Avery


Location of grave is Cherry Valley Cemetery, Nirvana, Lake County, MI, USA. Wife, Sarah Emeline Campbell Avery is interred in the same cemetery.