Monday, June 18, 2007
William Henry Harrison Averill
William H.H. Averill was born Sept. 18, 1843 in McDonough, Ill., and died Dec. 27, 1924 in East Corvallis, Ore. During that time he married and had children with Mary Gennett Moss (MGM in the following listing of children), who was born May 30, 1849, and died April 1, 1890, in Bandon, Ore.
After Mary's death, William married Martha Jane Robison, who was born Dec. 31, 1860 in Elston Station, Mo., and died May 22, 1959 in Corvallis, Ore.
(This from March, 21, 1939 interview of Martha J. Robison, WHHA's second wife; interview at her farm home about two miles east of Corvallis in Linn County)
My own family are not really pioneers. My father's name was Lewis Robison and we came to Oregon in the year 1871. Most of my people settled in Coos County, in this state.
Concerning the Averills, the first member of the family to come to Oregon was H.J.C. Averill who emigrated in the year 1852. He took up a Donation Land claim a short distance west of Albany and lived there for several years. There were a number of small lakes and swamps near this original claim and the malaria was bad. The family was sick a great deal and several children died of that disease. He finally sold his claim and moved to the present Halsey region, and later moved to Brownsville. He died at Brownsville about 1897.
H.J.C. Averill was a pioneer surveyor. A great many of the early town sites and roads were laid out by him, among them the old town of Boston, or "New Boston", near Shedd.
"Grandfather (H.J.C.) Averill was first married to Hulda Ann Warren. She died in 1859, only a few years after coming to Oregon. Grandfather Averill married again, this time to a Mrs. Jack whose maiden name had been Sarah Leggett. This Sarah Liggett Jack Averill married a third time after H.J.C. Averill's death, this time a man named Bilyeu. Thus the Jack-Averill-Bilyeu clan are a peculiar mixture in so far as relationship is concerned. Sarah Averill was a Methodist and her husband was a Baptist. This also led to some peculiar mix-ups.
In those days the Baptists were most particular concerning closed communion. Grandfather Averill often went to church with Sarah, at the Methodist meeting house. When the Methodists observed communion grandfather Averill thought it nothing wrong to join with her in the free Methodist way. The Baptist elders heard of this and felt that discipline should be maintained.
They brought H.J.C. Averill up before the church and reproved him for his looseness, telling him that he must acknowledge his fault or be expelled from the church. This grandfather would not do. He would have been expelled forthwith but a number of prominent members-among them the Stannards (2007 NOTE: the Averill house in Brownsville today stands at the corner of Stannard and Averill) of Brownsville-protested and declared that if Averill was expelled, they, too, would withdraw. Grandfather Averill was allowed to retain his membership but not in very good favor with the stricter Baptist members.
My husband's name was William Henry Harrison Averill. He was the oldest son of H.J.C. Averill and was born in Illinois in 1843. Other brothers and sisters in the same family were:
Alfred Averill, father of Virgil Averill who now lives at Halsey, Oregon and is a newspaper publisher. Henrietta Averill, whose married name is Walton, and lives in Campbell, Calif.
Perm Averill. (Still living) Olive Averill Stannard; wife of Ed? Stannard, a Brownsville pioneer merchant. She died a few years ago.
My husband, W.H.H. Averill came to Oregon with his parents in 1853. The train in which they had travelled had some trouble with the Indians. My husband has told me that he usually rode a little pony and sometimes fell considerably behind the train. One day he was left behind for a considerable distance and an Indian came along and was about to take him from his mount but he raised a great shout and members of the train came to his rescue. After that he managed to keep his pony up with the rest of the train, even though its legs were rather short. He was ten years old at that time.
W.H.H. Averill was first married to Mary G. Moss in 1867. The Moss family were pioneers of the Sweet Home valley. After his marriage, he went out to the Summer Lake country in southern Oregon. He was the post master at Summer Lake for some time. His wife was the only white woman within twenty-five miles. While at Summer Lake, he hauled freight from Oregon City by way of the Oakridge route up the Willamette forks to Summer Lake. The Indians were sometimes rather troublesome. One time while out on a freighting trip, the Indians went on a rampage.
To escape, he left his wagons and took one of his horses to rescue his family. A man with him rode the other horse. When he reached Summer Lake he found that his wife had already left in the care of another party and the uprising proved not to be serious, at least in their neighborhood.
He often used to tell of his adventures when hunting. At one time he was following a deer and chancing to look behind him he found a Cougar was also following him. He turned just in time to shoot the animal as it was preparing to spring. He had only one shot in his muzzle-loader but he made that one count. The cougar measured over nine feet in length. At another time he was out hunting and a bear got after him. He killed that one, too, just in time.
Mary Moss Averill died in 1890. I married W.H.H. Averill in 1892. We came to this place to live in 1895 and I have lived here ever since. My husband died in 1924.
-- Martha Robison Averill
-- © 2000 Patricia Dunn; http://www.rootsweb.com/~orlinngs/resources/wpa/averillm.htm