History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 695
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HISTORY OF TEXAS. 695
a child of thle frontier. His physique indicates
the development of a vigorous constitution,
the result of open-air exercise on
both the farm and the range. His genial
and hospitable nature is peculiar only to men
of his latitude.
Willis Avery, the father of V. R. C., was
born in North Carolina, October 17, 1809.
His father was also named Willis Avery,
and he, too, was a native of North Carolina.
The latter was a mariner and made many
voyages across the Atlantic, on one of which
he died and was probably buried at sea. His
wife was Catherine Overton, and Willis was
their only child. Some time after the death
of her husband, Mrs. Avery married William
McCutcheon. They had two childrenWilliam
and Collins Avery, the latter remaining
in Tennessee. The domestic relations
of the family were marred by the
disagreements of its heads, and when William
was about six years old his mother and halfbrother,
Willis, emigrated to Missouri and
located in Lincoln county. Mrs. McCutcheon
was married a third time. her last husband
being Joseph Jennings, who was probably
killed during the Texas Revolution. He
brought his family to Texas the year of the
battle of San Jacinto and took up his residence
in Bastrop county. Mr. and Mrs.
Jennings had four children, as follows:
Abigail, the deceased wife of John Talk;
Joseph, deceased; Catherine, whose first
husband, a Mr. Whistler, was killed by the
Indians, and who was subsequently married
to Sylvester Lockwood; and Samuel.
Willis Avery was married in Missouri to
Elzina Weeks. He was induced to come to
Texas by the offer of cheap lands from those
colonizing the new country, and in 1832
drove his teams through and joined Austin's
colony. He located in Bastrop county, on
the Colorado river, and engaged in tlie puirsuits
of the farm and range. HIe bought a
tract of land of Wilbarger, a brother of a
noted Indian fighter.
When Texas called for volunteers to assist
in establishing her independence, Mr. Avery
responded and followed General Houston
till the capture of Santa Anna and tlhe
termination of the conflict. Later on he
helped swell the ranks of the minute men
for service against the Indians in those
counties, and many are the battles in which
he was an active participant. One of these
fights-and probably the most noted onewas
the Brushy creek fight, in Williamson
county, near where Taylor now stands. It
was here that Jake Burleson was killed. In
recognition of his services at San Jacinto,
the State issued to MIr. Avery a head-right,
which lie located in Williamson county, near
where his son, the subject of this sketch, now
resides, and on this tract he spent the rest
of his life and died, his death occurring July
17, 1889. He was a man of good business
ability, and his accumulations enabled himn
to leave an estate valued at $45,000. He
was a life-long Democrat, but was not an
active politician. Nine children were born
to Mr. and Mrs. Avery, viz.: Nancy, the
widow of William Bryant, of Williamson
county; Malinda, who died at the age of
thirty; V. R. C.. whose name appears at the
head of this article; Thomas; Willis, deceased;
Lucinda, the wife of E. U. Kimtbro;
Henry; Calvin, and Harriet, who married J.
T. Christian, of San Saba county.
V. R. C. Avery had limited educational
advantages. His was the day of private
teachers, and the supply of knowledge of tlhe
average pupil was generally measured by
the size of the father's wallet. A good supply
of muscle was Mr. Avery's largest and
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/745/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .