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Waightstill Avery - A Stan Klos Corporation

Waightstill Avery
submitted by Candice Boyd

Waightstill Avery, the tenth son of Humphrey and Jerusha Avery was born on May 10, 1741, in Groton, Connecticut. He attended school in Long Island, New York, and graduated from Princeton in 1766. After teaching for a year, he studied law in Maryland then moved to North Carolina to practice in 1769. Waightstill Avery traveled throughout the state and spent a year in Salisbury (Rowan County) before boarding with Hezekiah Alexander in Charlotte (Mecklenburg County).  An advocate for education, he helped establish Queens College, a classical school named for British Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg. In 1772, he was elected to the provincial assembly, and was appointed attorney general for the Crown.

Waightstill Avery became an advocate for independence and signed the disputed Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence on May 20, 1775.  He was a member of the committee that drafted the Mecklenburg Resolves signed May 31, 1775. Later that year, he was he was appointed to the Provincial Council. He resigned his position as the attorney general for the Crown in May 1776 and was appointed member of the committee that met in November 1776 to write North Carolina's first constitution. In 1777, Avery was elected to the first General Assembly and was named North Carolina's first attorney general.

In October 1779, Waightstill Avery became a member of the governor's council, and resigned as the attorney general to lead the Jones County militia, where he earned the rank of Colonel. He acquired property in Burke County and named his plantation Swan Ponds; he joined his family (wife Leah Probart and children Issac, Polly, Elizabeth and Selina) there in 1781. After the Revolution, Avery continued to practice law and was active in politics, representing Burke County in the House of Commons, 1782-1785 and 1793, and in the State Senate, 1796.

 

After a paralyzing injury and political retirement, Waightstill Avery died on March 15, 1821.   In 1911, Avery County, the last of 100 counties in North Carolina was formed from portions of Mitchell, Watauga and Caldwell Counties and named in honor of Waightstill Avery.

 

Sources/Links:      

 

http://www.netvaly.org/avery.htm

http://hometown.aol.com/mcknit1775/declar/1775.htm                                                 http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/battle1/battle1.html#p1

http://www.cmstory.org/exhibit/plcmc/1.htm
http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/htm/00033.html
 http://www.queens.edu/queens/about/history.asp

APPLETON'S ORIGINAL OCR:

AVERY, Waightstill or Waitstill, lawyer, born in Groton, Connecticut, 3 May 1745; died in Burke County, North Carolina, in 1821. He was graduated at Princeton in 1776, and went to Mecklenburg, North Carolina, where he became a lawyer. In 1775 he took part in the convention and signed the paper known as the "Mecklenburg Declaration," and in the same year he was sent to the Hillsborough congress. In 1776 he was a member of the state congress, and in 1777 the first attorney general of the state. In 1779 he was a colonel of militia in active service.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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