The Civil War in North Carolina



Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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vol. IV, p. 366, giving a narration of his travels through the State, from which it will be seen that he was welcomed and appreciated by the leading men of the country.

        After entering the State, February 4, 1769, having passed the Virginia line he arrived at Edenton, where he became acquainted with Mr. Johnston, then clerk of the court, afterward Governor and judge, and also Joseph Hewes; he passed on to General Allen Jones' plantation, near the present town of Gaston; thence to Halifax, and arrived at Salisbury on March 2, 1769. Here he met Edmund Fanning, who was a native of the same province, a man of fine address, a scholar, and a lawyer of high attainment, who used every art and blandishment to draw Avery into an alliance with Tryon and the adherents of royalty. A personal friendship grew up, but no political alliance. After traversing every section of the province, from the Albemarle and the Cape Fear to the mountains, we finally find him settled at the house Hezekiah Alexander, who agreed to board him "at the rate of 12 for eight months, making allowance if he should not be there so long in the year." Here he associated with the patriots of the incipient Revolution, the Alexanders, the Brevards, the Grahams, Davidsons, Polks and others, with whom he cordially sympathized and united in the spirit of liberty and independence that soon pervaded the lovely valleys of the Yadkin and the Catawba.

        This period was one of stirring interest. The sentiment of revolution was beginning to rouse the gallant men of that day to arms, and the section where he had located was the first and foremost in the fray. He united with the men of Mecklenburg "in the declaration of independence of the 20th May, 1775, and pledged his life, his fortune, and most sacred honor" to the sacred cause of liberty.

        He was elected a member of the Provincial Congress which met at Hillsboro, August 21, 1775, and the next year to the same, which met at Halifax, November 12, 1776. This body formed the State Constitution, in which he rendered important service, and was one of the committee who formed this instrument, so wisely and perfectly formed that under it the State lived for nearly sixty years in prosperity and peace. The next year (1777,) he represented the county of Mecklenburg in the Legislature. William Sharp, Joseph Winston, Robert Lanier, and himself, made a treaty with the Cherokee Indians at the Long Island of the Holstein, "a treaty made without an oath, and one that has never been violated." On January 12, 1778, he was elected Attorney-General of the State.

        July 3, 1779, he was appointed colonel of Jones County, (where he had removed,) in place of Nathan Bryan, resigned, and finding the climate of the low country was impairing his health, he removed, in 1781, to the county of Burke, and settled on a beautiful and fertile estate near Morganton, on the Catawba River.

        The year previous (1778,) he had married, near New Berne, Mrs. Leah Frank, widow of Mr. Frank, who lived and died in New Berne, and daughter of William Probart, of Snow Hill, Maryland, a wealthy merchant there, who died on a visit to London.

        In 1780, whilst the British occupied Charlotte, under Lord Cornwallis, his office was set on fire, and all his books and papers destroyed. In 1781 he removed to Burke County, and there he resided, in the practice of his profession, until the date of his death, 1821. He represented this county in the Legislature in 1782, '83, '84, '85, '93, in the House, and in 1796 in the Senate. At the period of his death he was considered "the patriarch of the bar."

        It is doubtful if any one family in this State suffered more severely than did the distinguished and gallant Averys.

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