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|Size||About 3000 items (9.5 linear feet)|
|Abstract||Alphonso Calhoun Avery of Burke County, N.C., was a lawyer, a judge in the North Carolina Superior Courts, a North Carolina Supreme Court justice, and a major in the 6th North Carolina Regiment during the Civil War. He married Susan Washington Morrison in 1861 and Sallie Love Thomas in 1888. He had eleven children, including Isaac Erwin Avery and Gladys Avery Tillett. The collection contains personal and professional correspondence, legal papers, financial materials, and other papers of Alphonso Calhoun Avery. Correspondence concerns family and business affairs, legal work, land transactions, politics, and various legal and historical publications to which he contributed. Included are letters from Avery's son, Isaac Erwin Avery, about his experiences in Shanghai, China, 1894-1895. Legal papers consist of deeds, indentures, surveyors' reports, land plats, powers of attorney, and papers relating to Avery's legal career. Financial papers consist of bills, receipts, purchase lists, and account books. Also included are legal and financial papers relating to Western North Carolina Railroad contractors Chambers and Avery and to various family members' estates. Other papers include biographical and genealogical materials relating to the Love, Erwin, Thomas, and other families; Avery's publications and writings on Civil War and western North Carolina history; Civil War papers relating to Avery and his brother, Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery; recipe and remedy books of Susan Washington Morrison Avery; and volumes containing notes on legal cases, lectures on legal topics, and Civil War clippings and letters. Also included are letters and legal papers relating to land holdings of William Holland Thomas, Sallie Love Thomas Avery's father, who represented the North Carolina Cherokee and acquired vast amounts of land that came under dispute following his financial collapse. Letters concern the Thomas heirs' legal claims, some handled by Charles Walter Tillett, to the land, mineral rights, and Cherokee land boundaries. Legal papers relate to court cases about the lands and include indentures, plats, petitons, notes, testimony, and Thomas's power of attorney for the North Carolina Cherokee.|
|Creator||Avery, Alphonso Calhoun, 1835-1913.|
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Alphonso Calhoun Avery (1835-1913), the fifth son of Isaac Thomas Avery and Harriet Erwin Avery, was born at Swan Ponds in Burke County, N.C., on 11 September 1835. He attended the Bingham School in Oaks, Orange County, N.C., and was graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1857. After two years spent overseeing one of his father's farms in Mitchell County, Avery studied law under Richmond Pearson and obtained his license to to practice in the county courts in June 1860.
On 27 February 1861, Avery married Susan Washington Morrison (1838-1886), daughter of the Reverend R. H. Morrison of Lincoln County, N.C. In May 1861, Avery was commissioned a first lieutenant in Company F of the 6th North Carolina Regiment, which was commanded by his brother, Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery (1828-1863). Avery saw action at the Battle of Manassas and was promoted to captain after the Battle of Seven Pines. In December 1862, Avery was transferred to the staff of his brother-in-law, General D. H. Hill, where he was promoted to major. In 1864, Avery went with Hill to the Army of the West and then served on the staffs of generals John C. Breckenridge, Thomas C. Hindman, and John B. Hood. In the summer of 1864, Avery received a leave of absence to return home, due to his father's illness and the battle-related deaths of his three older brothers. He was then transferred to the Department of North Carolina and formed a regiment to protect the state's western frontier. Avery was captured by Union troops in the spring of 1865 and imprisoned at Camp Chase in Tennessee until he was paroled in August 1865.
After the war, Avery returned home to Swan Ponds, began practicing law in Morganton, and obtained his license to practice before the North Carolina Supreme Court. In 1866, he was elected to represent Burke, Caldwell, and McDowell counties in the North Carolina Senate, where he served as chair of the Committee on Internal Improvements. Avery was also a contractor for the Western North Carolina Railroad. He lost his political office in 1867 when the Republican party gained control of state government, and he became a member of the Ku Klux Klan in western North Carolina. In 1875, Avery was elected as a delegate to the North Carolina Constitutional Convention, and, in 1876, he was a Democratic Presidential Elector. In 1876, Avery and his family moved to Morganton, which was more convenient for his legal work, and the estate at Swan Ponds was divided among his father's heirs. Following the return of the Democrats to power in 1878, Avery was elected to serve as a judge in the North Carolina Superior Court. He filed over 500 opinions; those of note deal with the homestead, ejectment and boundaries, fraud, and insurance. In that same year, he became a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Morganton, and was ordained a ruling elder in 1879.
Susan Washington Morrison Avery died on 24 March 1886, leaving him with six of the couple's eight children: Mary Graham (1862-1863), Harriet Eloise (b. 1864), Morrison Robert (1868-1890), Anna Julia (1869-1871), Isaac Erwin (1871-1904), Susan Washington (b. 1873), Alphonso Calhoun (b. 1874), and Alfred Lee (b. 1876). On 31 December 1888, Avery married Sallie Love Thomas (1862-1954), the daughter of Colonel William Holland Thomas and Sarah Jane Burney Love Thomas of Haywood County, N.C. Avery and Sallie had three children: Lenoir Thomas (b. 1889), Gladys Love (1892-1984), and Edith Calvert (b. 1894).
After serving as a Superior Court judge for ten years, Avery was elected to the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1888. In 1892, Avery also acted as the dean of the law school at Trinity College. Following his retirement from the Supreme Court in 1897, Avery resumed his private law practice and taught law classes in Morganton. In addition to his legal work, Avery also wrote prolifically on legal topics, the Civil War, and western North Carolina history. After struggling with diabetes, Alphonso Calhoun Avery died in Morganton on 13 June 1913.
William Holland Thomas (1805-1893), the only child of Richard Thomas and Temperance Calvert Thomas, was born on 5 February 1805 in Haywood County, N.C., shortly after the death of his father. In 1823, he opened a store in Qualla Town, and, by the end of the decade, he had opened two more stores and acquired large tracts of land. Familiar with the Cherokee language, Thomas befriended Yonaguska, the chief of the North Carolina Cherokee. Thomas studied law and became the attorney for the North Carolina Cherokee, and, in 1839, Yonaguska named Thomas the new chief of the North Carolina Cherokee. Thomas represented the North Carolina Cherokee in Washington, D.C., 1836-1848, working to secure their rights under the Treaty of New Echota of 1835. As a result of his efforts, the United States government officially recognized the Eastern Band of Cherokee in 1848 and granted many of their claims. However, because North Carolina did not allow the Cherokee to sign contracts, Thomas used much of the award money to purchase land for them under his name.
Thomas was an influential figure in Western North Carolina because of his work for the North Carolina Cherokee and his extensive land holdings. He served in the North Carolina Senate, 1849-1861, and was a member of the Committee on Internal Improvements. However, Thomas began to neglect his business affairs, and fell increasingly into debt. In 1857, he married Sarah Jane Burney Love of Haywood County, and the couple had three children: William H. (b. 1858), James R. (b. 1860), and Sallie Love (1862-1954), the second wife of Alphonso Calhoun Avery.
During the Civil War, Thomas served as a colonel in command of the 69th North Carolina Regiment, known as Thomas's Legion. Following the war, Thomas faced increasing financial and personal hardships. He was declared insane in 1867 and spent the remainder of his life in and out of mental hospitals. He died on 10 May 1893 at the state mental hospital in Morganton.
In the decades after the war, almost all of Thomas's land was sold in order to pay his debts. Decades of legal battles ensued, as the courts worked to sort out which lands belonged to whom. Thomas's creditors fought to settle his debts, the Cherokee Indians wanted to gain control of land Thomas had purchased for them in his name, and his heirs sought to protect their rights to his lands. Alphonso Calhoun Avery acted as attorney for the Thomas heirs until his death in 1913, and Charles Walter Tillett, husband of Gladys Avery Tillett, represented the Thomas heirs until his death in 1952.
(Avery family sources: Edward W. Phifer, "Saga of a Burke County Family," The North Carolina Historical Review 39 (Summer 1962); William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. I, 1979.)Back to Top
Personal and professional correspondence, legal papers, financial materials, and other papers of lawyer and judge Alphonso Calhoun Avery of Burke County, N.C. Professional correspondence concerns Avery's business affairs, legal work, land transactions, politics, his work as dean of the Trinity College Law School, and the various legal and historical publications to which he contributed. Personal correspondence includes letters to and from his first wife, Susan Washington Morrison Avery, and his second wife, Sallie Love Thomas Avery, discussing family affairs. Also included are letters written by Avery's son, Isaac Erwin Avery, from the American Consulate in Shanghai, China, in 1894 and 1895.
Legal and financial papers relate to Avery's professional and personal affairs, which were often interrelated. The legal papers consist of deeds, indentures, surveyors' reports, land plats, powers of attorney, and papers relating to Avery's legal career, including court briefs, summonses, petitions, notes, and other court documents. Financial papers consist of bills, receipts, purchase lists, and account books for Avery, Susan Washington Morrison Avery, and Sallie Love Thomas Avery. Also included are legal and financial papers relating to Western North Carolina Railroad contractors Chambers and Avery and to the estates of Avery's father, Isaac Thomas Avery; Sallie Love Thomas Avery's grandfather, James R. Love; and her uncle, R. G. A. Love.
The collection also contains biographical and genealogical materials; Avery's publications and writings on Civil War and western North Carolina history; and Civil War papers relating to Avery and his brother, Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery. Also included are a recipe book and a household remedy book of Susan M. Avery and volumes containing notes on legal cases, lectures on various legal topics, clippings on the Civil War, and letters on North Carolina troops in the Civil War.
Also in the collection are correspondence and legal papers relating to the land of William Holland Thomas, father of Sallie Love Thomas Avery. Thomas represented the North Carolina Cherokee Indians and acquired vast amounts of land that came under dispute following his financial collapse. Correspondence concerns the Thomas heirs' legal claims to the land, mineral rights, and Cherokee land boundaries. Legal papers relate to the various legal cases concerning the Thomas lands and include indentures, plats, petitions, notes, testimony, and Thomas's power of attorney for the North Carolina Cherokee.Back to Top
Personal and professional correspondence of Alphonso Calhoun Avery. Professional correspondence concerns Avery's business affairs, legal work, and land transactions. Also included are letters from Josephus Daniels concerning politics and Avery's political campaigns. Correspondence also concerns Avery's work as the dean of the law school at Trinity College and the various legal and historical publications to which he contributed. Personal correspondence includes letters to and from Susan Washington Morrison Avery and Sallie Love Thomas Avery discussing family affairs. Also included are letters written by Avery's son, Isaac Erwin Avery, from the American Consulate in Shanghai, China, in 1894 and 1895, describing his experiences and impressions of China; letters of North Carolina Civil War officers, 1894-1896 discussing their wartime experiences and North Carolina troops; and letters, 1932-1954, about a portrait of Alphonso Calhoun Avery.
Arrangement: by subject, then chronologically.
Legal and financial papers relating to Alphonso Calhoun Avery's professional and personal affairs, which were often interrelated. Legal papers consist of deeds, indentures, surveyors' reports, land plats, powers of attorney, and papers relating to Avery's legal career, including court briefs, summonses, petitions, notes, and other court documents. Financial papers consist of bills, receipts, purchase lists, and account books for Avery; his first wife, Susan Washington Morrison Avery; and his second wife, Sallie Love Thomas Avery. Some materials relate to Avery's political career, including legal documents from the North Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1875. Also included are legal and financial papers relating to the firm Chambers and Avery, contractors for the Western North Carolina Railroad, and the estates of Avery's father, Isaac Thomas Avery; Sallie Love Thomas Avery's grandfather, James R. Love; and her brother, R. G. A. Love.
See the Avery Family of North Carolina Papers (#33) for a Chambers and Avery daybook, 1868-1869.
Arrangement: by subject.
Civil War documents, publications and writings, biographical and genealogical materials, and other papers of Alphonso Calhoun Avery. Civil War materials include official letters to Avery and his brother, Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery; receipts; lists; and a contract to mine iron at the Cranberry Forge. Publications by Avery include "Memorial Address on the Life and Character of Lieutenant General D. H. Hill," and "Farthest at Chickamauga." Writings include the "History of the Presbyterian Churches at Quaker Meadows and Morganton," and essays on Burke County, N.C., history, the McDowell family, and other topics. Also included are several undated speeches to various societies and an article on the Carson-Vance duel with a contribution by Avery. Biographical materials include essays, obituaries, and clippings, and the genealogical material relates to the Love family and the Erwin family. Also included are a recipe book and a household remedy book of Susan M. Avery.
|Oversize Paper OP-3456/1b|
Correspondence and legal papers relating to the land of William Howard Thomas and his heirs' legal claims to that land. Correspondence concerns mismanagement of the estate, mineral rights on the Thomas lands, Cherokee land boundaries, the commission Thomas earned for acting on behalf of the Cherokee tribe, and the court case Thomas Heirs v. Tallassee Power Company. Major correspondents include Sallie Love Thomas Avery, James R. Thomas, and Gladys Avery Tillett. Legal papers relate to the various court cases concerning the Thomas land, and include indentures, petitions, notes, testimony, and other court documents. Also included are financial papers relating to the Thomas land claims, plats, a list of property owned by Thomas, and documents granting Thomas the power of attorney for the Cherokee in 1839, 1844, 1848, and 1860. This series also contains biographical materials, publications by Thomas and the Thomas heirs, and publications concerning William Holland Thomas and the North Carolina Cherokee.
Volumes compiled by Alphonso Calhoun Avery containing notes on legal cases, lectures on legal topics, clippings on the Civil War, and letters about North Carolina troops in the Civil War. Volumes 5-16 contain a mixture of notes and lectures on legal topics. The notes concern specific cases tried before the North Carolina Supreme Court; most are hastily written and difficult to decipher.
Volume 1: Clippings on Civil War Topics, "Extracts of Letters of Major General Bryan Grimes" (pp. 1-32), clippings from Civil War newspapers (pp. 32-35), " History of Fort Hamby, its capture and destruction, between Wilkesboro and Lenoir, N.C.," by Robert L. Flowers (pp. 36-37). The rest of the volume contains legal notes. #03456, Series: "5. Volumes, 1867-1897." Folder 250
6.1. Acquisitions Information: Acc. 101580.
|Image Folder PF-03456/1|
Oversize papers (OP-3456/1-4)
Oversize image (OP-P-3456)
Image folder (PF-03456/1)Back to Top