by Kathleen Sasso
This is the first post from a new blog about Brookside Farm Museum. Please subscribe if you are interested in the history of the Farm and the people who lived here. I have been conducting research both online and sifting through the records at the house to cultivate the stories of the Avery, Smith and Harris families. Kathleen Sasso
According to the North America Family Histories 1500 -2000 (The Groton Avery Clan), Abraham Avery was born September 12, 1764 to Jonathan and Preserved (Smith) Avery.
He was their only son. Abraham is a descendant of the Avery’s of Groton. His 4X Great Grandfather was Christopher Avery and he descended as follows beginning with his father: (Jonathan, Abraham, Thomas, Capt. James, Christopher).
According to the Barbour Collection, Connecticut Town Marriage Records pre 1870, Abraham married Elizabeth Noyes on February 6, 1785 with Reverend Daniel Minor officiating. (Note: Abraham’s birthdate on this record is September 18, 1763)
Elizabeth Noyes – Wife
Elizabeth was born September 8, 1766 to Moses Noyes and Hannah Selden in Lyme, New London County. She had seven siblings: Calvin Noyes, Moses Noyes, Eliakim Noyes, Elias Noyes, Seth Noyes, Mindwell Noyes, and Eunice Noyes. Elizabeth died on February 17, 1837 at the age of 71 and is buried in the Old Stone Cemetery in Niantic, CT.
Together Abraham and Elizabeth had ten children:
Moses Avery (1786-1788)
Elizabeth Avery (1788-1874)
Mary Avery (1790-1858)
Abraham Selden Avery (1792 – 1868)
John Noyes Avery (1794-1817)
Hannah Avery (1795-1852)
Thomas M. Avery (1798 – 1869) – took over property of Brookside Farm Museum
William Avery (1800 – )
Enoch Avery (1801 – 1802)
Dr. Samuel Avery (1805 – 1842)
1790 – Abraham Avery is listed in the 1790 Census Report, it appears, as a neighbor to Jon. A. Avery, living in New London, County, with 4 household members: 1 Free White Person- Male- 16 and Over, and 3 Free White Females.,
1800 – Abraham Avery is listed in the 1800 Census Report living in Lyme, New London County with 7 household members: 3 Free White Males under Age 10, 1 Free White Male between age 26 and 44, 1 Free White Female under Age 10, 1 Free White Female between age of 10 and 15, and 1 Free White Female between the ages of 26 and 44. Jonathan Avery is listed again as a neighbor.
1810 – Abraham Avery is listed in the 1810 Census Report living in New London County > “Second Society”, with 9 household members: 1 Free White Male under 10, 1 Free White Male between age 10 and 15, 2 Free White Males between age 16 and 25, 1 Free White Male 45 and over, 1 Free White Female between age 10 and 15, 2 Free White Females between age 16 and 25, 1 Free White Female between age 26 and 44.
1830 – Abraham Avery is listed in the 1830 Census Report living in New London County > Lyme, with 10 household members: 1 Free White Male age 15 thru 19, 1 Free White Male age 13 thru 39, 1 Free White Male age 60 thru 69, 1 Free White Female age 30 thru 39, 1 Free White Female age 40 thru 49, 1 Free White Female age 60 – 69, 1 Free White Female age 90 – 99, 1 Free Male Colored Person age 10 thru 23, 1 Free Male Colored Person age 36 thru 54, 1 Free Female Colored Person under age 10.
The census reports at the time did not list addresses but based on the neighbors recorded, it appears that Abraham lived in the same location which is most likely somewhere on the same property that was taken over by his son Thomas Avery on Society Road in East Lyme, CT.
According to the information provided in the National Historic Register application for the Thomas Avery House, Jonathan Avery, Abraham’s father, purchased 4 parcels of land from Daniel Smith in 1751 and the Avery clan was actively farming at this location since at least that date.
In a letter dated, November 13, 1978 from Mrs. Samuel G. Morrison (Chairman of the Smith-Harris House Commission) to Miss Barbara Ann Cleary of the Greater Middletown Preservation Trust, Mrs. Morrison appears to have conducted an extensive search of land records and transfer of property in the town of Lyme and here is a summary of transactions by date recorded for Abraham Avery:
April 9, 1792 – Abraham Avery purchased 10 acres of land from Joshua Moor
1793 – Abraham Avery purchased 28 acres from Joseph Poquiantup.
1799 – Abraham Avery purchased 14 acres of land from Sarah Poquiantup, Aaron Poquiantup, Solomon Poquiatup and Lucy Poquiantup all of the Niantic Tribe of Indians.
Mrs. Morrison also noted in her letter referring to the Smith-Harris House, that “Real estate transactions indicate the house was there in 1845, and it is even possible it could have been built before Abraham Avery’s death in 1834. The ell, now removed, referred to in Vol. 1 p. 478 was older, and there has been speculation it may have been part of an earlier house on the same site.”
Abraham died on October 4, 1834 at age 71 and is buried in the Old Stone Cemetery, in Niantic, CT.
Abraham Avery’s will was found in the following database: Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999. Hartford > Old Lyme District > Probate Packets, A- Chadwick, D, 1830-1880.
Estate of Abraham Avery
Town of Lyme
1835 No. 16
Old Lyme Probate District Court
1 Wills and Codicils
1 Accounts of Administration
4 Total Documents
Deposited in Connecticut State Library
Public Acts 1909 Chap. 175
September 13, 1912
In the name of God, Amen. I, Abraham Avery of Lyme in the County of New London, being of sound disposing mind and memory, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form following:
That is to say, imprimis, I will that all my debts and funeral charges be paid and discharged by the executor herein after named. Item I do give unto my loving wife Elizabeth Avery the sum of Forty dollars annually to be paid out of my
Estate during the time that she may remain – in my widow. Item I give unto my two daughters Mary and Hannah each the sum of One hundred dollars and all my household furniture to be equally divided between them. Item I do give unto my son Thomas Avery the use of my real estate, cattle, horses, sheep and farming tools (provided he pays the legacies as above bequeathed. Lastly, I do make and constitute my son Thomas Avery Executor of this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal this 26th day of June in the year of our Lord 1834.
Signed sealed and published and pronounced by the said Abraham Avery as his last will and testament , who in his presence and the presence of each other, have here unto subscribed our names ——-
Frances P. Dwyer
Elizabeth C. Dwyer
Inventory of the Estate
An inventory of Abraham’s estate conducted on March 26, 1835, also transcribed by Kathleen Sasso:
We the subscribers having been appointed by the Honorable Court of Probate for the District of Lyme, to appraise the real and personal estate of Abraham Avery late of Lyme deceased, met at the late residence of the deceased on the 26th day of March 1835 and made the following inventory of said Estate.____
50 Sheep $100 and one two year old catt $25 and one yearling $15 140.00
2 ( ) cows $30 one three year old heifers 16 dollars 46.00
2 Cows with Calf $34 one pair of three year olds $30 64.00
1 pair two year old steers $20 2 calves $11 31.00
1 two year old heifer $7 2 saddles $5 12.00
1 Horse waggan and harness $10 one pair of cart wheels 6 dollars 16.00
1 Plow 3 dollars 4 chains 3 dollars 1 crow bar 2 dollars 8.00
3 jacks $1.25 one shovel and spade 4/6 one dung fork 4/6 2.75
4 rakes 4/6 one ox cart and two Heads $10 10.75
1 shoat $7 200 lb pork 12 dollars 100 lb beef $5 24.00
40 lb ham $3 25 bushels of potatoes $6.25 9.25
Buildings and 90 acres of land 2250.00
acres of salt meadow 25 $100
$15 in oxen $15 115.00
Total $ 2728.75
Peter Comstock (signed)
Josiah Manwaring (signed)
( ) holder under oath