The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        Alphonso Calhoun Avery, now one of the Judges of the Superior Court, son of Colonel Isaac T. Avery, resides in Burke County. He is the eldest male survivor of this distinguished family. His three elder brothers, Waightstill, Clark, and Isaac J., (as we have recorded,) were killed in the late civil war.

        He was born about 1837, liberally educated, graduated at the University in a large class of 70 members in 1857, among whom were B. B. Barnes, John W. Graham, L. M. Jeggitts, Thomas S. Kenan and others. In the proceedings of the commencement, Mr. Avery, then in his sophomore year, received at the hands of Governor Swain a copy of Shakespeare, a prize offered by the professor of rhetoric for the best composition in that class. "Uni. Mag.," IV, 278.

        He studied law, and was just commencing the practice when he obeyed the call of his country to do duty for her defence. He was engaged at the battle of Manassas, where his leader, the gallant Colonel C. F. Fisher, fell, and did noble service under Pender. During the last closing years of the war, he was on the staff of General D. H. Hill.

        Since the war he has devoted himself to the practice of his profession, of which he was the pride and ornament, only occasionally interrupted by his election to the Legislature. He was a member of the Senate in 1866 and again 1867, and a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1875.

        He was the Democratic elector in the 8th district; and by his ability and exertions did much to insure its success.

        He was elected Judge of Superior Courts, which elevated position he holds now. He married Susan, youngest daughter of Rev. Robert A. Morrison, and sister of Mrs. Stonewall Jackson.

        William Waightstill Avery was born at Swan Ponds, in Burke County, on the 25th of May, 1816. He was the oldest child of Colonel Isaac T. Avery and Harriet E. Avery. His father was the only son of Waightstill Avery, and his mother was the eldest daughter of William W. Erwin, and a granddaughter of William Sharpe.

        There were, during his boyhood, no classical schools in the Piedmont region equal to Bingham and others in the central counties, and on attempting to enter college, in the year 1832, W. W. Avery found that he was not thoroughly prepared in the ancient languages. He remained at Chapel Hill during the vacation and prosecuted his studies under the instruction of the late Dr. Mitchell and Abram Morehead, Esq., then a tutor, and so faithfully did he apply himself that in one year he stood at the head of his class, and graduated with the first honors in 1837 in same class with Perrin Busbee, Peter W. Hairston, Pride Jones and others.

        He studied law with Judge Gaston and was licensed to practice in the Superior Courts in 1838.

        He was from boyhood an ardent admirer of Mr. Calhoun, and naturally became a Statesrights Democrat. He was unsuccessful as a candidate for the Legislature in 1840; but in 1842 was elected as a Democrat from Burke County, though Governor Morehead, the Whig candidate for Governor, carried the county by a very large majority.

        He had a large and lucrative practice as a lawyer, and did not appear again actively as a politician till the year 1850. In May, 1846, he was married to Corinna M. Morehead, a daughter of the late Governor Morehead. She is still living.

        He served afterwards in the House of Commons, as a member from Burke, in 1850 and 1852.

        In 1856 he was chairman of the North Carolina delegation in the National Democratic Convention that nominated President Buchanan, and during the same year was elected to
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