Averett Family of Halifax County, VA

Dr. Thomas Hamlett Averett (1800-1855) and his wife, Martha Coleman Wootton (1803-1880) settled in Halifax County, Virginia.  Dr. Averett was a practicing physician who also served in the Virginia State Senate and as a Representative in the 31st and 32nd U.S. Congresses (1820-1823). Among their ten children, Dr. Averett and his wife had three sons who went to the University of Virginia: Edmund Berkeley Averett, Joseph James Averett, and William Wootton Averett.

Edmund Berkeley Averett (18 Jan. 1823-1858) attended the University in session 20 (1843-1844) and studied Chemistry, Medicine, and Anatomy & Surgery. He is listed as a physician in the 1850 U. S. Census for Halifax County.

Dr. Edmund B. Averett was mentioned in his father’s will: “Clause 2nd. I [Thomas H. Averett] appoint [James Young] trustee for my son Dr. Edmund Berkeley Averett, it being my will that his share in my estate be held in trust to be used and enjoyed at the direction of the said trustee so that the principal shall not be disposed of during the lifetime of my said son, while he shall enjoy income or profit therefore at the discretion of his trusteee as aforesaid.” This leads one to surmise that Dr. Edmund B. Averett was a spendthrift, and that his father wanted to protect his son’s inheritance from being frittered away.

Edmund Averett died between 2 Sep. 1857 when his will was written, and 26 Apr. 1858, when it was presented at court for probate. The exact date was most likely within the first four months of 1858, since wills were normally presented at the next county court that occurred after a death. (Cook; Halifax County Court)

Joseph James Averett (24 Dec. 1827-23 Feb. 1898) attended the University in sessions 28-29 (1851-1853), during which he studied Ancient Languages, Mathematics, and Chemistry. He became head of Halifax Academy in Halifax, VA, after his father’s death in 1855.

The Danville Female Institute (1854-1858) was founded by William Isaac Berryman. After the Female Institute closed, Nathan Penick moved to Danville and opened the Baptist Female Academy in the same location. Penick’s wife, Jane Averett Penick, taught in the new school. In 1859, the name of the school was changed to Union Female College. Jane’s brother, Joseph James Averett, taught briefly at Union Female College. In 1864, the school again changed its name, this time to Roanoke Female College. Jane’s and Joseph’s brothers, John Taylor Averett and Samuel Wootton Averett, served as co-principals from 1873 to 1887; John served as president from 1887-1892. The institution is known today as Averett University. (Averett website)

Joseph married Rose Celestia [surname unknown] (b. ca. 1834); their children were Emma W. Averett (1856-1909), and Edmund Berkeley Averett (d. young). The family lived at Sedge Hill in Halifax County, VA. In 1862, Joseph Averett enlisted as a private in Company A (Holland’s Company) of the 18th Virginia Infantry Regiment, C.S.A. He was wounded 27 Jul. 1862 at the battle of Gaines Mill, a shoulder wound that caused “atrophy of the muscles and entire inability to raise or otherwise use the arm.” (Certificate of Disability for Discharge, 10 Oct. 1862) The Certificate of Disability also gives a description of J. J. Averett: 5 feet, 11 inches tall, fair complexion, blue eyes, and light hair.

William Wootton Averett (11 May 1830-2 Oct. 1867) attended the University in session 28 (1851-1852), and studied Chemistry and Law. In 1859, he was appointed to manage the postal route between Richmond and Danville. In the Civil War, he enlisted as a private, and served as a clerk in the Post Office Department. He appears on a list of prisoners of war who surrendered in Lynchburg, VA, on 15 Apr. 1865. There is no evidence that he ever married or had children. W. W. Averett died on 2 Oct. 1867 in Memphis, TN, a victim of one of the annual epidemics of yellow fever suffered by the people of that city. He is probably buried in Memphis, but I have found no proof of that. (Daily Dispatch 1867; Memphis Daily Appeal 1867; Papers of and relating to Military and Civilian Personnel; “Post Office Affairs”; “W. W. Averett, Death Record 10775.”)

 

William Smith Averett (7 Feb. 1841-22 Apr. 1864), attended the University of Virginia in the 37th session (1860-1861), studying Latin, Greek, and Mathematics. There is no indication in the Matriculation Books who his parents were, and he does not appear in the genealogies of Thomas H. and Martha Averett. His guardian in 1860 was John O. Holt of Lynchburg, VA. On 5 Jul. 1861, W. S. Averett enlisted as a private in Company G of the 11th Virginia Infantry Regiment. By the end of 1863, he was promoted to corporal. Corporal Averett died 22 Apr. 1864, of “Vulnus sclopeticum” (damage from a gun wound) after being shot in the shoulder during the Battle of Plymouth (April 17-20, 1864) which was fought near Weldon, NC. Averett was buried in the Weldon Confederate Cemetery; however, he also has a tombstone in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Lynchburg, VA, so his body may have been moved. There is no evidence that he ever married or had children. (“11th Regiment VA Infantry”; Findagrave.com; Service Jacket; Siniard; UVA Matriculation Books; Williams)

[Note: My thanks to Patrick Wasley, Digital Resources Librarian and Archivist, Mary B. Blount Library, Averett University, for his help in locating sources on the Averett family. The birth dates above are from the U.Va. Matriculation Books, and the death dates from newspapers, military records, and tombstones.—JLC]

References:

  • “11th Regiment VA Infantry.” Richmond (VA) Enquirer, Volume 61, Number 80, 6 May 1864, p. 1.
  • Averett, Joseph J. Certificate of Disability for Discharge, 10 Oct. 1862, in Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Virginia. Record Group 109, NARA M324, roll 597. (accessed through Fold3.com)
  • Averett, William S. Service Jacket in Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Virginia. Record Group 109, NARA M324, roll 498. (accessed through Fold3.com)
  • Averett, William W. Papers of and Relating to Military and Civilian Personnel, compiled 1874-1899, documenting the period 1861-1865. Record Group 109, NARA M347, roll 011. (accessed through Fold3.com)
  •  “Averett History,” in Averett University. [website] c2011. http://www.averett.edu/ir/history/index.php
  • Averett University.  “Averett Family Tree” http://www.averett.edu/library/collections/0402_averett_tree.pdf (Accessed 6/22/2011)
  • Cook, Kenneth H. “Physician, Mason, legislator.” News and Record (South Boston, VA). 6 Oct. 1977.
  • Halifax County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1753-1913.  “Martha C. Averett etc. vs James Young, Exr. of Thomas H. Averett etc. 1857-005” Local Government Records Collection, Halifax County Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
  • J. C. Holst & Co., Undertakers, “Report of the Health Officer (dated 5 Oct. 1867).” Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) 6 Oct. 1867, p. 3.
  • “Post Office Affairs.” Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 30 March 1859, p. 1.
  • Siniard, Diane. “Civil War Medical Terminology.” [webpage] 2005-2011. http://nccivilwar.lostsoulsgenealogy.com/medterms.htm
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
  • [Untitled.] Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 5 Oct. 1867, p. 3.
  • “Virginia, Deaths and Burials, 1853-1912,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XR9M-MVR : accessed 07 Nov 2013), J.J. Averett in entry for Emma Averett, 1856.
  • “W. W. Averett, Death Record 10775,” Shelby County (TN) Records [website] https://register.shelby.tn.us/
  • Wayland, R. L., Jr., “Exploring Danville’s Past” [website]. c2010-2011. http://www.dangene.net/streets/averett.html  (Accessed 6/22/2011)
  • Williams, Delores, Confederate Soldiers Burying Ground, Weldon, NC. (updated 2015) http://www.ncgenweb.us/halifax/military/confsoldiers.htm
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Samuel Perkins Allison (28 Sep. 1827-1 Apr. 1858)

Samuel Perkins Allison was the son of Colonel William Allison (1810-1834) of Tennessee, and his wife, Louisa Perkins (1811-1831). Both mother and father are buried in the Allison Cemetery in College Grove, Williamson County, Tennessee. Because both of his parents died before he was 9, Samuel was raised by his paternal grandmother, Nancy Ogilvie Allison. At age 16, Samuel attended the University of Virginia in session 20 (1843-1844), and studied Ancient Languages, Mathematics, and Chemistry. While he was at U.Va. his guardian was an uncle, Thomas F. Perkins, who resided in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee. (Findagrave.com; U.Va. Matriculation books)

After his year at U.Va., Allison attended Yale University from 1844 through 1847. During his time there he was a member of the secret society Psi Upsilon and the literary society Calliopean. (Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, 1701-1901; Jubilee Anniversary Report of the Class of 1847, Yale University, 1847-1897.)

After his graduation from Yale, Samuel Allison was admitted to the bar, and returned to Tennessee to practice law in Nashville. During his brief law career, Allison became well known and respected in Nashville. In 1854, he was a delegate to the Great Southern Convention (a convention on business issues) in Charleston, SC. “He was a Democrat in politics, and the unsuccessful opponent against the Hon. Felix K. Zollicoffer in one candidacy for Congress.” (Jubilee Anniversary Report of the Class of 1847, Yale University, 1847-1897, p. 364) The city was shocked at the news of his death from tuberculosis at age 31. He had never married. Allison is buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, TN.

References:

  • “Article IX. Great Southern Convention in Charleston.” DeBow’s Review, v. 16, new series, v. 2. New Orleans, 1854, p.632-633.
  • Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, 1701-1901. New Haven, Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., 1901, p. 99, 302.
  • Chapin, Henry Barton, editor. The Jubilee Anniversary Report of the Class of 1847, Yale University, 1847-1897. New York, 1897, p. 11, 95-96, 364.
  • “Died [Samuel P. Allison],” Nashville Patriot (TN), 2 Apr. 1858, p. 3.
  • Findagrave.com.
  • Ogilvie Kith and Kin, v. 25.
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
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Jacob Wyatt Arnold (2 May 1839-25 Nov. 1887)

Jacob Wyatt Arnold was the son of William Penick Arnold and his wife, Matilda Jane Early. (Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940) He attended Washington College in Lexington, VA, in 1860-1861. In June 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate army as a private in Company I of the 4th Virginia Infantry Regiment, but was soon promoted to full sergeant. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1862, and to Captain in 1864. He served as the Quartermaster in the Virginia 26th Cavalry Regiment. (Historical Data Systems)

After the Civil War, Jacob W. Arnold attended the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia in session 43 (1866-1867). The photograph below is of the Medical School Class of 1867, with professors seated in the front row. The person I believe to be J. W. Arnold is circled in red.

class of 1867_2

 

Dr. Arnold married Sarah Wilson Logan in 1868, in Winchester, Frederick County, VA. Their children were Olivia M. and Anna L. Arnold (twin daughters) and a son, W. Erskine Arnold, who died young.

In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Arnold was elected to represent Rockbridge County as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates for the 1885-1886 term. (Register of the General Assembly) He died on November 25, 1887, at his home near Natural Bridge, and is buried at High Bridge Presbyterian Church, in Rockbridge County, VA.

References:

  • Ancestry.com. 1850-1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
  • Ancestry.com. Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
  • [Death announcement for Dr. J. W. Arnold], Salem (Va.) Times-Register, 2 December 1887, p. 2.
  • Driver, Robert J., Jr., The Confederate Soldiers of Rockbridge County, Virginia: A Roster. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Publishing, 2016, p. 14.
  • Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
  • Tombstone of Jacob W. Arnold, High Bridge Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Natural Bridge, Rockbridge Co., VA. Findagrave.com
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Virginia. General Assembly. A register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776-1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions. Richmond, VA, 1918, p. 324.
  • Washington and Lee College. Catalogue of the officers and alumni of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, 1749-1888. Baltimore, MD, 1888, p. 123.
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Benjamin Allen (1 Jan. 1838-12 Dec. 1895)

Benjamin Allen was born in Benton County, Alabama, the son of Dr. Elijah Allen (1802-1856) and his wife, Acenith Louisa Hollingsworth (1811-after 1859). The family moved from Alabama to Nacogdoches, Texas, between March 1836 and Oct 1837, when Elijah Allen claimed land in that area. Dr. Allen served as physician in the 3rd brigade of Texas Militia, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, for one month in 1841. (Sparks)

Benjamin studied at McKenzie College, Clarksville, TX, and taught high school at Mt. Enterprise from 1858 until 1859.[1] He attended the University of Virginia in session 36 (1859-1860), and studied Chemistry, Medicine, Anatomy & Surgery, and Anatomy. He later taught at McKenzie College and in several other Texas schools. (Sparks)

Benjamin Allen married first Monnie Margaret “Mattie” Ross (1842-1862) on 12 Dec. 1861. The couple had one daughter, Monnie Mary Allen (1862-1875). Between 1862 and 1870, Allen married secondly Mary M. “Mattie” Lawler (1848-1915). He and his second wife had 6 children, Walter Payne, Laura, Benjamin, Blanch, George Marion, and Albert Earl Allen.

Benjamin Allen has two tombstones, one in Allen City Cemetery in Athens, Henderson County, Texas, and the other in Oakland Memorial Park, in Terrell, Kaufman County, TX, so it is unclear exactly where he is actually buried. (Findagrave.com; Sparks)

[1] According to Sparks, the book History of Kaufman County, Texas, vol. 2, states that Benjamin Allen taught at the high school in Mt. Enterprise from 1858-1861. However, according to the U.Va. Matriculation Books, he was in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the University of Virginia for part of that time.

References:

Allen, Benjamin tombstones, Allen City Cemetery in Athens, Henderson County, Texas  and Oakland Memorial Park, Terrell, Kaufman County, TX. Findagrave.com.

[Benjamin Allen obituary.] Terrell Times Star (Texas), 20 Dec 1895.

Kaufman County Historical Commission, Kaufman, TX. History of Kaufman County, Texas, vol. 2. The Commission, 1978.

Sparks, Sadie Greening. The family of Dr. Elijah Allen & wife, Acenith Louisa Hollingsworth of Nacogdoches County, Texas. [website] 18 Oct 2000. http://www.sadiesparks.com/elijahallen.htm

 

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James Clark Allen (4 Sep. 1845-19 Feb. 1861)

James C. Allen was the son of Charles Henry Allen and his wife, Catherine Linnington Clark. (Groves, p. 240) He was born in Abbeville, South Carolina. Charles Henry Allen and a partner, Henry S. Kerr, started the Abbeville Banner newspaper in 1844. After the Civil War the Banner was merged with the Abbeville Press to become the Abbeville Press and Banner. (ChroniclingAmerica.com)

James attended the University of Virginia in session 37 (1860-1861), during which he studied Latin and Moral philosophy. In the months before the Civil War began, the students at U.Va. began to form military companies, and drill on grounds. Many of the students withdrew from the university, and went home to participate in their local militias.

James was one of these students. In January or February 1861, James went home to Abbeville and enlisted as a private in the McDuffie Guards (later Company B of the 1st South Carolina Rifles or “Orr’s Rifles”). The company was sent to Sullivan’s Island, SC, to join the seige of Fort Sumter.

On 19 February, 1861, James Allen was accidentally killed by a comrade with a bayonet while at the Moultrie House [Hotel] on Sullivan’s Island, thus becoming one of the earliest casualties of the Civil War. He is buried in Upper Long Cane Cemetery, Abbeville, SC. (Findagrave.com; Kirkland; Upper Long Cane Cemetery NRHP Registration Form)

[Note: James Allen’s birthdate of 4 Sept. 1845 is taken from the U.Va. Matriculation Books, and was written by the student himself.—JLC]

References:

  • “Abbeville Banner, Independent Press, Abbeville Press, Abbeville Press and Banner.” In ChroniclingAmerica.com. [database online] https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/essays/607/
  • Allen, James Clark tombstone, Upper Long Cane Cemetery, Abbeville, SC. Findagrave.com
  • Charleston Daily Courier (Charleston, SC).
  • Groves, Joseph Asbury. The Alstons and Allstons of North and South Carolina.Atlanta, GA, 1901. Accessed via books.google.com.
  • Kirkland, Randolph W., Jr. Broken fortunes. Columbia, SC, 1995.
  • “Pvt. James Clark Allen,” Upper Long Cane Cemetery. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, p. 8. http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/abbeville/S10817701013/S10817701013.pdf
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
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