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Sunday, February 22, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 # 8: Caroline Avery, Gateway Ancestor

     Caroline Avery was born on 16 Oct 1814 the daughter of Henry Miner Avery and Hannah Rockefeller.  She was born in the town of Taghkanic, Columbia, New York.  Caroline was the tenth of thirteen children! When she was 15 she married Henry Kells on 3 May 1830.  He was 18 and from the neighboring town of Claverack. By 1840 they were living in Cairo, Greene, New York, this is right across the Hudson River from Taghkanic. By the 1850 Census they are living in Mukwonago, Waukesha, Wisconsin.  According to the birth records of their children they must have moved there in about 1849. Henry and Caroline had 12 children all of whom lived to adulthood.

     The farm they settled on in Mukwonago was land owned by Caroline's younger brother, Stephen Avery.  In a deed dated 12 Dec 1853, Stephen and his wife, Susan, sell this land to Caroline Kells for $400, "...being the farm on which the said Caroline Kells and family now reside containing forty acres..."  Stephen died on 1 Jan 1854 not long after this sale.  Perhaps he had originally intended to move there himself and then could not due to health reasons. Henry bought two more quarters next to this one under a "Swamp Land Grant" as this was all classified as swamp land.  Patent No. 2244 of 2 Mar 1857 states that "...Henry Kells of Waukesha County have complied with all the provisions of law to entitle them to a Patent for...lands granted to the State of Wisconsin by an Act of Congress entitled 'An Act to enable the State of Arkansas and other States to reclaim the Swamp Lands within their limits' approved September 28th A.D. 1850..." In the book, Memoirs of Waukesha County, in an essay on their son, William Kells, p. 514, it states that Henry and Caroline Kells "secured an excellent farm, which they cleared, improved and made their home for thirty-five years." By 1880 they had  retired and moved to the town of Vernon, selling the farm.  At some later date the farm was resold to the state of Wisconsin and is now a bird preserve.

     This is all I know about Caroline, I have no photos of her or family stories about her.  I believe that she was beloved by her children because at least three of her children named daughters after her.  However, as I said above she is very important genealogically because through her we are related to a number of rich, famous, influential, royal or otherwise interesting families! The Avery family was a prominent one of early settlers in New London and Groton Connecticut. Caroline's second great grandfather, Samuel Avery, married Susannah Palmes who descended from Thomas West, second Lord De La Warr (for whom the state of Delaware was named) and who is descended from Henry III and Edward I of England, and Anne Knollys who is a descendant of Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne, and of Edward III of England and the Spencers. So through Caroline we are descendants of English royalty.  Also allied to the Averys are the Miner family, famous as early settlers of Connecticut, one of whom, Thomas Miner, is famous for his detailed diary of the early days of Stonington, Connecticut. In addition the Morgan family married into the Averys, one of their descendants is J. P. Morgan of finance fame. Finally, Caroline's mother was Hannah Rockefeller whose brother, Godfrey was the grandfather of John D. Rockefeller famous oil magnate.  He is my second cousin 3Xs removed. My family knew about the Rockefeller connection but had no idea about the rest! Chances are that Caroline didn't either.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! I remember going to Waukesha to look at land records with you. Glad you made good use of them! And this explains for me where Stephen Avery Kells' first and middle names came from! Stephen Avery's sale of the land to his sister Caroline seems to have been a turning point in her family's life.