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Many thanks to Jean Murchison for a family tree sent in 1998 that detailed the line of her husband, a descendent of TG Avery. Many thanks also to Sherri Sontag for permission to use information on the Boswell and Avery families from her website www.ourtennesseefamilytree.com
Contents of this page:
Reminiscences and oral history (by nephew's son and letters from niece)
paper trail: (census, WWI draft registration, many newspaper clippings, articles on Avery reunions)
Thomas Green Avery
10-4-1878 to 1-10-1963
1870-Laura Avery Warmath
1876-Ida Tennessee Avery;
after 1880-Joe Avery
Regardind 2nd wife, surname Meadows, note that Tom's cousin Nannie Rosamon (d/o his uncle John Wesley Rosamon) married a J.W. Meadows.
Crockett County to
Minnie Viola Hawkins
11-9-1882 to 5-31-1925
2nd wife: Velma Mabel Meadows
3-15-1889 to 12-12-1984
1902-Eunice Ellen Avery
1903-Thomas Wilbur Avery
1905-Paul Constance Avery
1911-Minnie Rebekah Avery
1915-Nell Frances Avery
1917-Lena Mae Avery
His maternal aunts & uncles:
1829-Henry C Rosamon; c.1831-Margaret Rosamon (Henderson); c.1833-Nancy Rosamon (Bell); c. 1835-Julia Ann Rosamon (Smith); 1838-Mary J Rosamon (Warmath); c. 1839-George M Rosamon; 1842-John Wesley Rosamon; 1844-LDH (son) died 1845; 1846-Ruthy Lucinda Rosamon (Warren)
paternal aunts & uncles: to be added when I do Avery section
Click on image to enlarge. Once enlarged, to zoom, move cursor to right of image, back onto image, and click again.
Reminiscences and Oral History
One: from the son of Vinas Hardison
The following story is to be taken with a grain of salt, as it was told by the son of Tom Avery's nephew, and the exploits sound much more like something Drew Avery (Tom's uncle) would've done. Wendell Avery, in a phone conversation July 2007 also expressed doubt that Tom Avery ever did any such thing, as he was an upstanding mill owner, but that Drew Avery, on the other hand, might very well have (though he himself never heard the story).
A son of Vinas Hardison (Vinas was Tom's nephew) told a story, not sure of its veracity, of an Avery relative whom he thought was Tom Avery (Vinas' uncle). This Avery was a bootlegger, and the sheriff had it in for him. Tom Avery would go out to Arkansas, pick up hooch, and come back on the train. One day he put about that he was making a booze run, took two empty suitcases, and got on the train. He returned with two suitcases, pantomiming their weight. The sheriff stopped him and ordered him to open the bags. Tom Avery said he couldn't do that, the bags were his property, the sheriff had no right. The sheriff insisted. "Alright," Tom Avery said, "but if you open the bags and there's any loss or damage to what's inside, I hold you responsible." Then he opened the bags, both at once.
They were filled with live cats. The cats took off in every direction. Tom told the sheriff, "Those were valuable cats, worth $25 a piece, and as you claimed responsibility, you now owe me $25 each for those cats." According to the story the sheriff had every boy in the county rounding up cats, which he'd bring to Tom Avery. Tom would look and say, "Naw, that's not one of my cats."
Vinas's son followed this story with the comment, "Of course cats would suffocate in a suitcase, but it makes a good story." It also says a little bit about the Avery family. At least one of them must've been regarded as something of a rascal.
Two: letters from Mary Lou Hardison (his niece)
Undated letter from Mary Lou Hardison Barnett Foutch (d/o Tom's sister Ida): "The Avery family: this is just a few things to maybe help piece this Avery family together. The Grandfather, William Alexander Green Avery was a Doctor, don't know just what year he passed on but when he died his patients wanted his wife Sarah to take up his practice so she did, and it seems she had to ride a horse to go and see his patients. She was exposed to the bad weather and it affected her health and she took bad sick and died and Laura was just 12 years old and the relatives thought they could not live on there together so they scattered them out to live with relatives. My mother Ida went to live with Doc Boswell's family, a cousin. Aunt Laura lived with Chess Warmath and wife. I don't have the information on where the others lived. Troy Avery, a cousin, took over the farm and it seems that Uncle Tom Avery was the only one that ever got his part of the Farm. It seems the others never applied for their share. (NOTE: in a phone conversation July 2007 Wendell Avery said that he thought the farm was sold for back taxes, that Troy and Drew in fact never took it over.) I don't know if Sam was still living don't know when he died never heard of his passing or any family of his. Charles married and had one son, Jim Avery. And Aunt Laura married Sid Warmath, had a big family. Mother married George Hardison, had a big family. Uncle Tom married had a big family and Joe married, had one boy and one girl." She added to the children listed in the 1880 census, "Son Joe not borned yet. Lydia, daughter, died in infancy and Jessie, son, died in infancy." On another occasion she said the two who died in infancy came between Laura and Ida.
Another letter from Mary Lou (Sarah's granddaughter via Ida T) to Nell Murchison (Sarah's granddaughter via Tom Avery) from 1981: "... we checked the 1900 Crockett Co census and of course that was 20 years later and our grandparents were dead and all the children living some other place so I can't find out what year Uncle Joe was borned after your father, but Uncle Joe must have been a baby when Grandfather Avery died, for my mother said after he died Grandmother Avery took over his practice as a Doctor and that she exposed herself and her health and did not live long. If you notice the ages of Grandmother and her oldest son, she was only 15 years old when he was born. It is all so sad when I think about it. Mother always thought the oldest son Charlie and the other son Sam and Aunt Laura maybe could have kept the family together if it had not been for Troy and Drew Avery who took over the farm. They must have been Grandfather's brothers (NOTE: in a phone conversation July 2007 Wendell Avery said he thought the farm was sold for back taxes, and in fact was never taken over by Troy and Drew Avery)...concerning my mother's side of the house I just do not know too much about the older ones that passed on. As far as I know Uncle Sam never did marry. I know Uncle Charlie did and that's where my mother and father married was at his house for my father had it recorded in his Bible. And I'm sure he had a son named James--we always called him Jim Avery, and of course Pearl and Milburn were Uncle Joe's children. And I think their mother's name was Minnie same as your mother but I can't remember if ever knew who their mother was before Uncle Joe married her... Do come back to see us and be sure to keep us informed about Miss Velma..."
Regarding the Drew and Troy Avery and Doc Boswell spoken of by Mary Lou--Email July 2007 from Sherri Sontag said in part, regarding the children of James Avery, "Most of their kids married into my Boswell family...My great-great-grandfather, Napoleon Boswell, was the only one who did not marry an Avery.
John Thomas Boswell was the father of the Boswell family.
James Thomas Boswell married Emeline Jane Avery
Lucy Boswell married Drew Avery
Charles Boswell married Rose Ann Avery
John "Doc" Boswell married Nancy Avery.
Drew and Troy were brothers"
1880 census, Crockett County, TN, Quincy: VERY FADED INK
William A.G. Avery, age 38, farmer and MD.
Wife Sarah Avery, 30, housekeeper.
Son Charles B., 15, laborer.
Son Samuel D., 12, laborer.
Daughter Laura L., 10.
Daughter Ida T., 4.
Son Thomas G., 1.
Crockett County marriages: T.G. Avery and Minnie "Hawkin" on 12-25-1899.
haven't yet found him in the 1900 census
7-11-1907 (PROBABLY NOT THE RIGHT GUY) Dyersburg State Gazette, Friendship: Tom Avery has sold his interest in the machine shop here and has accepted a position as engineer with the Humboldt Cotton Mills.
1910 census, Crockett County, District 12:
Thomas G Avery, age 31, married 10 years in marriage 1, born TN of parents born in TN, occupation: milling--flour mill.
Wife Minnie V, age 27, mother of 3 of whom 3 are living, born in TN of a father born in NC and a mother born in TN.
Daughter Eunice E, age 8.
Son Wilbur T, age 6.
Son Paul C, age 4.
boarder Dr. John A. Harwood?, born in MD of parents born in MD, occupation: doctor.
8-21-1913 Tri-County News: "T.G. Avery was in Trenton Monday."
10-16-1913 Tri-County News (Crockett County), Thursday: "Mrs. A.S. Warmath of Jackson visited her brother T.G. Avery and family last week, returning home Sunday. Her husband came over Sunday and returned home with her." (Mrs. A.S. Warmath = Laura Avery Warmath).
12-18-1913 Tri-County News: "Misses Flora Warmath of Jackson and Nannie Hefley of Crockett Mills visited T.G. Avery and family this week." (Flora Warmath = Flora Dell Edwards d/o Tom's sister, Laura Avery Warmath. Nannie Hefley the = daughter of Harriet Della Warmath Hefley.)
Same issue: "Lunsford Lodge I.O.O.F. at a recent meeting elected the following officers: T.G. Avery, N.G.; W.B. Sorrell, V.G.; W.B. Lunsford, Sec; C.E. Sweatt, Treas."
1918 draft registration:
Thomas Green Avery of Gates, Lauderdale County, age 39, born 10-4-1878, flour manufacturer, next of kin: Mrs. Minnie V. Avery of Gates. Tall and slender with gray eyes and black hair.
1920 census, Lauderdale County, Gates:
Tom G. Avery, age 40, miller--flour mill.
Wife Minnie V., age 37 (now born in TN of parents born in TN).
Daughter Eunice E, age 18.
Son Wilbur, age 16.
Son Paul C, age 14.
Daughter Rebecca M., age 8.
Son Carroll R, age 6.
Daughter Nell, age 4 years 8 months.
Daughter Lena M, age 2 years 2 months.
6-22-1923 Lauderdale Enterprise: Gates: Miss Rebecca Avery has as her guest her cousin Miss Reba O'Neal of Friendship (see 7-3-1925)
5-31-1925 death of Minnie Viola Avery. Buried in Gates Cemetery.
7-3-1925 Lauderdale Enterprise: Gates: Miss Reba O'Neal of Friendship was a guest of her cousin, Miss Rebecca Avery Sunday (see 6-22-1923)
7-9-1926 Lauderdale Enterprise: C.N. Wilkes, T.G. Avery and R.J. Moore were appointed a committee to have Gates levee road repaired, the cost not to exceed $1500.
7-23-1926 Lauderdale Enterprise: Gates: Mr. T.G. Avery and children, Carroll and Lena Mai, spent Sunday in Jackson with his daughter, Mrs. W.E. Perry. They were accompanied home by little Nell Avery who had been visiting her sister for several weeks.
11-12-1926 Lauderdale Enterprise: Mr. T.G. Avery and Miss Velma McDougal of this city were quietly married in Ripley Friday afternoon, October 29. Rev. Hall of Martin was the officiating minister. Mrs. Avery is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J. Meadows. This is the second year she has taught school in our city, and by her accomplishments and pleasing personality has won many friends. Mr. Avery is a well-known businessman. He is proprietor of the Light and Power Plant here and also the flour mill at Gates (from Halls Graphic)." (NOTE: I'm not sure if the McDougal is her middle name, the name of a first husband, or the name of her mother's first husband.)
1930 census, Lauderdale County, Halls:
Thomas G. Avery, age 52, married at 19, proprietor--flour mill, owns rather than rents, values his home at $4000, has a radio.
Wife Velma, age 41, first married at 25, born in TN of a father born in AL and a mother from TN, teacher--public school.
Daughter Rebecah, age 18
Son Carroll, age 16.
Daughter Nell, age 14.
Daughter Lena Mai, age 12.
Sister-in-law Erline Lighthart? Lighthost? maybe even Lightfoot? (see 1946 below) age 22, married at 22, born in TN of parents born in TN, teacher--public school (I guess Velma's sister under her married name, though their parents' origins should list the same as Velma's and do not).
Further down same page
Paul Avery, age 24, married at 21, laborer--electric shop.
Wife Virginia, age illegible, married at 23 born in TN of parents born in TN.
Son Thomas L, age 1 year and 2 months.
5-24-1946 Friday, Halls Graphic: Funeral services were held in Jackson,Tenn.,Wednesday for Claud Savage,official of the BM&O Railroad, who died in El Paso, Texas. He was the son of the late George & Mattie Savage, who formerly lived in Halls. His only close survivors are a sister, Mrs. Rufus Douglas, Mobile, Ala.; an aunt, Mrs. J.T. Meadows, Unionville, Tenn. Mr. Savage had made Paducah, Ky. his home for most of his life. Attending the funeral were Mr.& Mrs. J.T. Meadows, Unionville, Mr.& Mrs. Roy Meadows, Unionville, & Mr. & Mrs. Chesley Meadows, Unionville, Mrs. W.A. Perry, Halls, Mrs. William Lightfoot, Halls, and Mr.& Mrs. T.G. Avery, Halls.
7-12-1946 Halls Graphic, Friday: Poplar Grove News. Mrs. A.P. Burks had as her dinner guests Weds. Mrs. W.A. Perry & son Ted, Mrs. T.G. Avery, Mrs. William Lightfoot, Mrs. Johnnie Meadows, of Halls. Supper guests Weds evening were Mr. & Mrs. Oma Hoppers and Mr. H.C. Cook.
8-30-1946 Halls Graphic: Mr. & Mrs. Tom Armstrong, and son Cecil Meadows, returned to their home in Detroit Michigan Tuesday after visiting Mr. & Mrs. T.G. Avery. (Mrs. T.G. Avery d/o Mr. & Mrs. J. Meadows)
12-13-1946 Halls Graphic: Mr. & Mrs. T.G. Avery attended funeral services for Franklin Jones at Friendship Monday.
1-10-1963 Funeral Home records of Lauderdale County show Thomas Green Avery born 10-4-1878, died 1-10-1963, son of W.A.G. Avery and Sally Rosamon, wife Velma Meadows of Gates. (Obituary is reprinted as part of 1993 letter transcribed below "T.G. Avery Musical Celebration")
"T.G. Avery Musical Celebration"
"Dear Family and Friends,
Music has been a major force in the Avery family for generations and it seems only natural to want to celebrate that tradition. As a result, a musical celebration is being planned to honor T.G. Avery and the Avery family's musical heritage. This first time event is scheduled for October 16, 1993, at 7:00 p.m. in the first Baptist Church of Halls, TN.
As part of that heritage, we would love your participation. So, dust off that instrument and warm up those voices. Solos, ensembles and instrumentals are welcome. Individual performances are limited to 5 minutes and must be scheduled by October 1st to be a part of the printed program....
Speaking of the program, we'd love to print stories, anecdotes, and pictures as a keepsake for those attending the service...An explanation of who, where and when on the photos would be appreciated. Of course the most important part of any celebration is the audience participation. So mark your calendars for October 16 and get the family ready. We'll all sing a couple of hymns before it's over..."
(Along the side was a photocopy of what was apparently Tom's obituary: "T.G. Avery 1878-1963. Mr. Avery served as choir director in area churches for more than 40 years. 25 of those years were spent as choir director for Halls First Baptist Church. mr. Avery and family furnished music for hundreds of revivals, funerals, Christmas and Easter programs, and other special occasions, in Lauderdale and nearby West Tennessee counties.
Thomas Green Avery was the owner and operator of Gates Milling Company (established in 1915) and proud father of seven children."
9-15-1993 The Lauderdale Voice
"T.G. Avery's descendents reunite"
"Family members and descendents of the late T.G. Avery gather for lunch Saturday for their annual reunion.
Avery, founder of Gates Milling Co., was choir director at First Baptist Church in Hals for a number of years.
Present were three of the seven Avery children, Carroll "Boots" Avery and his wife Rebecca of new Concord, KY; Paul Avery and his wife, Virginia, or Gates; and Nell Avery Murchison of Halls.
Robert and Betty Shackelton hosted the ninth annual event at their home on Austin Peay Highway near Covington.
Other family members present were Burnell and Pat Savage of Bernardsville, NJ; Linda Lester of New Concord, KY; Martha Nell Norsworthy of Murray, KY; Buddy and Jean Murchison of Bartlett; Tom and Margaret Avery of Bartlett, Paul J. Avery of Memphis; Dickie and Leigh Hart of Dresden; Sonny Avery of Halls; Tommy and Jean McDearman and children, Jennifer and Robert, of Halls; Harold and Robin Smith of Oakland, TN; Bob Shacelton and Susan Floyd of Red Banks, MS; Jim and Joyce Avery of Millington; Dawn Wheeler and son Jarrod, of Memphis; Jim and Linda Avery of Memphis, and children James, Kendall and Michael; Mike and Shirley Hensley of Memphis; and friends of the family, Toby and Charlie Crook of Brighton."
(This clipping was sent by Mary Lou Hardison, and had a note on it from Nell Avery Murchison to Mary Lou that said, in part, "Thank you for the card, I miss Henry so very much...This is a Ripley, TN, paper which our son Buddy bought several months before Henry died. This is about 12 miles from Halls so I see him often, Love Nell." Enclosed with the clipping was a list of names and addresses of the attendees and a photocopy of the sheet transcribed above about the "T.G. Avery Musical Celebration."
Halls Cemetery in Lauderdale County:
Velma Meadows Avery, wife of T.G. Avery, 3-15-1899 to 12-12-1984.
Nell Avery Murchison (Tom's daughter) 10-21-1915 to 2-18-1994
and many more Murchisons, including J.H. "Buddy" Murchison 1883-1927.
Gates Cemetery in Lauderdale County
Minnie Viola Avery, wife of T.G. Avery 1882-1925
Thomas Green Avery 10-4-1878 to 1-10-1963.
Thomas Wilbur Avery 11-19-1903 to 10-1-1986, same stone Duette Doerr Avery 6-3-1905 to 6-25-1984.
Paul C. Avery 11-27-1905 to 4-11-1994.
Virginia L. Avery 3-24-1904 to ---