Milton Town Clerk Henry L. Avery (1864-1936)

By Muriel Bristol | March 14, 2021

Henry L. “Harry” Avery was born in Milton, January 28, 1864, son of Brackett F. and Susan (Varney) Avery. (A younger brother of the same name, for whom he was a namesake, was born and died in 1860; his father, Brackett F. Avery, enlisted in the NH First Heavy Artillery Regiment, in Dover, NH, August 25, 1864).

Brackett F. Avery, a farmer, aged fifty-one years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Village of Milton 3-Ponds”) household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Susan V. Avery, keeping house, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), his children, Harry L. Avery, at school, aged sixteen years (b. NH), Sally C. Avery, at school, aged thirteen years (b. NH), and John W. Avery, at school, aged ten years (b. NH).

Harry L. Avery was installed as financial secretary of the Teneriffe Lodge’s United Endowment League, January 14, 1890. His brother was installed as vice president, his future wife, Hattie L. Pinkham, was installed as treasurer, and his future employer (and eventual partner), Charles D. Jones, was installed as both sentinel and medical examiner.

MILTON. Teneriffe Lodge, No. 5, United Endowment League, was successfully launched on its career Tuesday evening, January 14, by Supreme Organizer, Benjamin Holt of Lowell, Mass., and an efficient corps of assistants. The following list of officers was publicly installed for the term ending Dec. 31: President, Henry R. Johnson; vice president, John W. Avery; counsellor, A.C. Willey; secretary, Irving W. Tuttle; financial secretary, Harry L. Avery; treasurer, Hattie L. Pinkham; chaplain, Rev. G. Frank Durgin; guide, F.P. Jones; sentinel, Charles D. Jones, M.D.; medical examiner, Charles D. Jones, M.D.; guard, Hazen Plummer; trustees, Charles E. Lord, J.D. Willey, S.M. Bragden. This new comer among the fraternal orders of Milton has our best wishes (Farmington News, January 31, 1890).

The Teneriffe Lodge was the local branch of the Order of United American Mechanics (O.U.A.M.). The United Endowment League, which was a separate enterprise, was “one of a number of short-term endowment [insurance] benefit fraternals that were popular in the 1880s and 1890s and then went bankrupt.”

Harry Avery began working at Dr. C. Dana Jones‘ Milton store in or around July 1890. (Charles D. Jones appeared in the Milton business directory of 1895, as an apothecary).

MILTON. Harry Avery will be the doctor’s assistant at the drug store. Harry is a right good fellow and will please every one (Farmington News, July 4, 1890).

Henry L. Avery, d. [Democrat], ran for Strafford County Register of Deeds in November 1890. He ran against Frank S. Tompkins (1853-1916), r. [Republican], of Dover, NH. He received 173 votes [41.0%] in Milton, to Tompkins’ 249 votes [59.0%]; and 4,394 [49.6%] votes in the county, to Tompkins’ 4,467 votes [50.4%]. Avery did better in the county as a whole, but Tompkins won the election.

Harry L. Avery married in Milton, November 17, 1894, Hattie L. Pinkham, both of Milton. He was a clerk, aged thirty-one years, and she was a clerk, aged thirty-five years. Rev. Frank Haley performed the ceremony. She was born in Milton, January 28, 1859, daughter of Nathaniel G. and Emily (Corliss) Pinkham.

LOCALS. The wedding announcement of Harry L. Avery and Hattie L. Pinkham of Milton has been received. The marriage occurred November 17th. They have the congratulations of many friends, including those of the News (Farmington News, November 23, 1894).

Avery’s mother, Susan (Varney) Avery, died in Milton, January 2, 1895, aged seventy years.

Harry L. Avery won his first election as Milton town clerk in the “lively” election of March 1896 (calculated from 1936 marking his fortieth year in that office). He was then thirty-two years of age. (He replaced Charles D. Jones in that office).

MILTON. The retiring board of selectmen at Milton have remarkable records in serving that town. Geo. Lyman has served in that capacity for 29 years, John U. Sims for 18 years and George Plummer for 12 years. They are republicans. There was a cat-a-cornered fight this year against the “old board” – the “Milton Tammany” its opponents called it – and the following board, also republicans, were elected: Samuel H. Wallingford, Joseph H. Avery, Freeman H. Loud. Luther Wentworth was foremost in the battle, and though there were four candidates against him, it required three ballots to defeat him for second place on the ticket. Evidently there were lively times at Milton town meeting (Farmington News, March 13, 1896).

[Ed.: We may note the circumstance that all three selectmen – each a member of long tenure – was replaced by an entirely new board. The Milton town government of that time apparently felt no pressing need for staggered terms in order to ensure “continuity”].

MILTON NEWS LETTER. The work on Henry L. Avery’s new house on Charles street is being pushed rapidly. It will be one of the finest houses in town when completed (Farmington News, July 16, 1897).

MILTON NEWS LETTER. Harry L. Avery has resumed his place in C.D. Jones‘ drug store, having been absent a few weeks while at work on his new house (Farmington News, August 18, 1897).

Avery, Jones & Roberts appeared in the Milton business directory of 1898, as builders, and as manufacturers of  lumber, shingles, and clapboards. H.L. Avery appeared also as town clerk, and as one of fifteen Milton justices-of-the-peace.

MILTON. Harry Avery, town clerk, and formerly clerk in Dr. Jones‘ drug store, has removed to the shoe store of his father-in-law, N.G. Pinkham. All the town records were found uninjured in the safe (Farmington News, February 25, 1898).

(Nathaniel G. Pinkham appeared in the Milton directory of 1900, as a merchant of boots and shoes, as well as newspapers, on Main street, with his house on Silver street).

The Milton Water Company was incorporated by the NH General Court, July 19, 1899, with Harry L. Avery as its treasurer (NH Secretary of State, 1901).

Harry L. Avery appeared in the Milton directories of 1900, 1902, 1905-06, and 1909, as town clerk and partner in Avery, Jones & Roberts, lumber, etc., on Main street, opposite the bridge, with his house on Charles street. His brother, John W. Avery, appeared as a shoe cutter, with his house on Charles street, on the hill; and their father, Brackett F. Avery, appeared as a farmer and milkman, with his house at 21 So. Main street.

Harry L. Avery, a storekeeper, aged thirty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton Village”) household at the time of the Twelfth (1900) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of six years), Hattie L. Avery, aged forty-one years (b. NH), and his children, Theron W. Avery, aged five years (b. NH), and Louise P. Avery, aged three years (b. NH). Harry L. Avery owned their house, free-and-clear. Hattie L. Avery was the mother of two children, of whom two were still living. Their household was enumerated between those of William C. Hall, a storekeeper, aged forty-one years (b. ME), and [his father-in-law,] Nathaniel G. Pinkham, a storekeeper, aged sixty-six years (b. NH).

Avery-Jones-Roberts - 1900Avery, Jones & Roberts appeared in the Milton business directory of 1901, 1904, 1905-06, and 1909, as builders, and as manufacturers of  lumber, shingles, and clapboards. H.L. Avery appeared also as town clerk, and as a Milton justice-of-the-peace.

[LOCAL.] The offer of a gift of a town clock for Milton, by an out of town citizen, if the people will raise money for a bell, has stimulated an effort to this end, and an organization was effected at a meeting Saturday evening, Dr. M.A.H. Hart being president, Harry L. Avery, secretary, and N.G. Pinkham, treasurer. It is proposed to place this clock and bell in the tower of the Congregational church as the most conspicuous place in the village (Farmington News, November 29, 1901).

The new town clock was started officially at noontime on Saturday, August 30, 1902, as a part of Milton’s centennial celebration. (See Milton’s Centennial). Several cannonades were fired over the course of the day from the Avery family farm. (His father being a veteran of a heavy artillery regiment).

LOCAL. The order of exercises for the Milton centennial of next Saturday begins with bell ringing and the firing of cannon on the Brackett Avery mountain. Field sports at 8 o’clock, with prizes; at 10 o’clock there will be a procession of trades, orders, and school children. Dinner will be served from 11 o’clock to 2 o’clock in a tent on the Nute school grounds, and the literary exercises will begin at 2 o’clock. Hanson’s American band will be in attendance during the day and evening. The new bell and clock at the Congregational church will be ready for sounding (Farmington News, [Friday,] August 29, 1902).

Henry L. Avery, d. [Democrat], ran for Strafford County Register of Probate in November 1902. He ran against William W. Martin (1853-1934), r. [Republican], of Dover, NH, and David E.C. Duffie (c1873-1904), soc. [Socialist], of Dover, NH. Martin won the election with 4,271 (59.2%) votes county-wide, while Avery received 2,682 (37.2%) votes, and Duffie received 264 (3.7%) votes.

Hattie (Pinkham) Avery nursed her maternal aunt, Julia (Corliss) Dorr, during an illness. 

MILTON. Mrs. Julia Dorr is quite ill at the home of her niece, Mrs. H.L. Avery (Farmington News, January 29, 1904).

Dorr’s daughter (and Hattie L. Avery’s cousin), Miss Hattie A. Dorr, came up from her Boston home as soon as possible (Farmington News, February 5, 1904).

MILTON. Town meeting passed off quietly, and the following officers were elected to serve the town for the ensuing year: Selectmen, Warren Jewett, Joseph H. Avery, and Charles A. Jones; town clerk, Harry L. Avery; constables, H.W. Downs and Hartley Nutter; school board, Frank G. Howe, Forrest L. Marsh, and Dr. M.A.H. Hart (Farmington News, March 1904).

AJR Box MaterialThe lumber firm of Avery, Jones & Roberts, of Milton, NH, was reported as having a portable sawmill (NH Labor Bureau, 1910).

STREET IMPROVEMENTS. Milton, N.H. The Town has appropriated over $2,500 for the repair of highways and bridges. Harry L. Avery, Town Clerk (Municipal Journal and Engineer, March 27, 1907).

Partner Charles D. Jones died of typhoid fever in Milton, July 2, 1908, aged forty-four years, nine months, and ten days. The firm of Avery, Jones & Roberts continued as Avery & Roberts.

Harry L. Avery, a fancy goods salesman, aged forty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton 3-Ponds”) household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of sixteen years), Hattie Avery, aged fifty years (b. NH), his children, Theron W. Avery, aged fourteen years (b. NH), and Louise Avery, aged twelve years (b. NH), and his mother-in-law, Emily Pinkham, a widow, aged seventy-one years (b. NH). Harry L. Avery owned their house, free-and-clear. Hattie Avery was the mother of two children, of whom two were still living. Emily Pinkham was the mother of three children, of whom two were still living. Their household was enumerated between those of John W. Avery, a shoe shop foreman, aged forty years (b. NH), and Conrad Corson, a leather-board machineman, aged thirty-nine years (b. Canada (Eng.)).

In March 1911, the NH General Court approved the incorporation of the Nute Charitable Association (as set forth in the last will of Lewis W. Nute. Harry L. Avery was named as a member of its board.

Section 1. That Everett F. Fox, Charles A. Jones, M.A.H. Hart, Harry L. Avery, Walter E. Looney, Charles D. Fox, Moses G. Chamberlain, and their successors are hereby made a body corporate by the name of the Nute Charitable Association, and shall have and enjoy all the powers and privileges and be subject to all the liabilities incident to corporations of a similar nature, and by that name may sue and be sued. Harry L. Avery or Charles A. Jones may call the first meeting of said association by letter mailed to each member of said association at least seven days prior to the date set for said first meeting (NH General Court, 1911a).

Section 1 was amended by the NH Senate to add the names Bard B. Plummer, and Joseph H. Avery after the name Harry L. Avery (NH General Court, 1911b).

Avery’s father, Brackett F. Avery, died in Milton, May 30, 1911, aged eighty-two years.

Avery & Roberts appeared in the Milton business directories of 1912, and 1917, as builders, and as manufacturers of  lumber, shingles, and clapboards. H.L. Avery appeared also as town clerk, and as a Milton justice-of-the-peace.

Harry L. Avery appeared in the Milton directory of 1912, as town clerk and partner in Avery & Roberts, lumber, dry & fancy goods, etc., on Main street, opposite the bridge, with his house at 11 Charles street, on the hill. His brother, John W. Avery, appeared as the foreman [shoe] cutter for the M.S. company, with his house 15 Charles street, on the hill. (Their father, Brackett F. Avery, appeared in 1912, as having died May 30, 1911, aged eighty-two years).

Harry L. Avery appeared in the Milton directory of 1917, as town clerk, and as a partner in Avery & Roberts, merchants of lumber, dry & fancy goods at 28 Main street, opposite the Bridge, with his house at 11 Charles street, on the hill.

Avery-Roberts - 1917WEST MILTON. The town meeting at Milton drew out a big vote as a result of a sharp contest for the selection of the third selectman. The old board was re-elected as follows: Selectmen, Forrest L. Marsh, Bard B. Plummer, James F. Reynolds; town clerk, Harry L. Avery; treasurer, Everett F. Fox. School meeting was held at the close of town meeting and Dr. M.A.H. Hart and Everett F. Fox were unanimously re-elected as member of the board of education and school treasurer, respectively (Farmington News, March 15, 1918).

Harry L. Avery of Milton received his appointment as a notary public, January 28, 1919 (NH Secretary of State, 1919).

Harry L. Avery, an owner, aged fifty-five years (b. NH), headed a Milton (“Milton Village”) household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Hattie L. Avery, aged sixty years (b. NH), his child, Louise P. Avery, a retail grocery bookkeeper, aged twenty-two years (b. NH), and his sister, Sallie C. Avery, aged fifty-two years (b. NH). Harry L. Avery owned their house on Charles Street in Milton Village, free-and-clear. Their household was enumerated between those of Herbert R. Duntley, a leather-board laborer, aged thirty-eight years (b. NH), and John W. Avery, a shoe shop shoe-cutter, aged forty-nine years (b. NH).

Hattie L. (Pinkham) Avery died of pleuro-pneumonia in Milton, December 21, 1922, aged sixty-three years, ten months, and twenty-three days. (Dr. M.A.H. Hart signed the death certificate; her husband, Harry L. Avery, recorded her death in the Milton town records).

Avery & Roberts appeared in the Milton business directories of 1922, 1927, and 1930, as builders, and as manufacturers of  lumber, shingles, and clapboards. H.L. Avery appeared also as town clerk, and as a Milton justice-of-the-peace.

WEST MILTON. Owing to the bad traveling, the attendance at town meeting from West Milton was very slim, and would have been slimmer had not Abbie Bennett, pastor at Nute chapel, and Elvah Kelley announced they were going if they went on snowshoes, which instilled courage in some of the men. Town clerk, Harry L. Avery, and treasurer, Everett F. Fox, were elected without opposition. Fred M. Chamberlin was elected a member of the board of selectmen for three years. Fifty dollars was appropriated to make the spring on Silver street suitable and sanitary for public use. One hundred dollars was appropriated to beatify the grounds near the railroad station at Milton, the work to be done under the direction of the Womans’ club (Farmington News, March 23, 1923).

In that same election Milton voters rejected the use of the “Australian” ballot, i.e., the secret ballot, rather than the customary show of hands. They also opposed waiving the poll tax for women voters.

Avery & Roberts appeared in a list of three hundred forty-nine larger NH timber operators in 1925. 

This list of the larger operations in the State of New Hampshire was prepared by the State Forester, Mr. John H. Foster. It includes all those who cut 50 M [million] feet or more during the year 1925, their total production being 246,808,000 feet (Cline, 1925).

(F.J. Cathcart of Farmington, NH, Giles & Langley of Farmington, NH, M.H. Eaton of Union, NH, and the Plumber Lumber Company of Union, NH, as well as a number from Rochester, NH, appeared also in the list).

Harry L. Avery appeared in the Milton directory of 1930, as a partner in Avery & Roberts, with his house on Charles street. Avery & Roberts appeared as merchants of dry goods, wood and lumber, on Main street. Son Theron W. (Emma P.) Avery appeared as a Spaulding Fibre Co. employee; and daughter Louise P. Avery appeared as residing in the home of H.L. Avery, on Charles street.

Harry L. Avery, a dry goods retail merchant, aged sixty-six years (b. NH), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his daughter, Louise P. Avery, aged thirty-two years (b. NH). Harry L. Avery owned their house on Charles Street, which was valued at $1,600. Their household was enumerated between those of Clemence Dixon, a U.S. Government mail messenger, aged forty-one years (b. MA), and John W. Avery, a shoe shop shoe-cutter, aged sixty years (b. NH).

TOWN MEETING IN  MILTON. A good percentage of the local check list was represented at the town house Tuesday. The various articles in the town warrant were acted upon excepting the article relative to the adoption of the Municipal Budget Act. In the contest for the office of selectman, the vote was as follows: Ford, 236; Blaisdell, 192; Blair, 107. Roy Pike was elected town treasurer; Herman Horne, tax collector; Harry Avery, town clerk; Robert Page of Milton Mills was reelected as a member of the school board in which capacity he has served for the past 20 years (Farmington News, March 15, 1935).

Younger brother John W. Avery died in Milton, March 5, 1936, aged sixty-seven years.

Henry L. Avery died of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage in Milton, September 30, 1936, aged seventy-two years, eight months, and two days. (Dr. M.A.H. Hart signed the death certificate; Avery’s deputy clerk, Ruth L. Plummer, recorded his death in the Milton town records).

Avery, Harry L - TR1936TOWN CLERK FOR 40 YEARS, DEAD. Milton, Oct. 1. – The many friends of Harry A. Avery of Milton will be sorry to learn of his sudden death at his home here Wednesday night at the age of 72. Mr. Avery was serving his 40th year as town clerk of Milton and is one of the oldest town clerks in point of service in the state. For many years he was a member in the business firm of Avery-Roberts company. He is survived by a son, Theron, a daughter, Louise, with whom he lived, and a sister, Miss Sally Avery, all of Milton. He was a member of Masonic bodies (Portsmouth Herald, October 1, 1936).

Avery’s daughter, Louise P. Avery, served as town clerk in her own right from the March 1937 election until her own death from a cerebral hemorrhage in Milton, May 12, 1942, aged forty-four years, eleven months, and twenty days. (Dr. M.A.H. Hart signed the death certificate; Louise P. Avery’s deputy clerk, Ruth L. Plummer, recorded her death in the Milton town records).

IN MEMORIAM. Miss Louise Avery. Members of Fraternal Chapter, O.E.S., are grieved to learn of the sudden death of Miss Louise Avery of Milton which occurred Tuesday afternoon. Prominent in the social and civic life of her native town of Milton, she was suddenly stricken ill at her office and survived but a short time. She had been town clerk of Milton since 1936 [1937]. Besides holding this office she served as collector of water rents, clerk of the school district, organist at the Community church and treasurer of the Nute High school alumni. She was a member of the Milton Woman’s club, Community church and also a member of Fraternal Order, O.E.S., of Farmington. Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at the Milton Community church and burial will be in Milton (Farmington News, [Friday,] May 15, 1942).


References:

American Lumberman. (1907). American Lumberman. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=iC4iAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA13-PA45

Cline, A.C. (1925). The Marketing of Lumber in New Hampshire, 1925. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=NBLxAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA9-PA69

Find a Grave. (2020, August 18). Brackett F. Avery. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/214558859/brackett-f-avery

Find a Grave. (2020, August 18). Harry L. Avery. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/214557733/harry-l-avery

Find a Grave. (2020, August 18). Louise P. Avery. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/214558537/louise-p-avery

Find a Grave. (2013, August 13). William W. Martin. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/115395147/william-w-martin

Find a Grave. (2014, August 23). Frank S. Tompkins. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/134747123/frank-s-tompkins

NH General Court. (1911a). Journals of the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=vmQ3AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA726

NH General Court. (1911b). Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of New-Hampshire. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=iT8tAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA317

NH Labor Bureau. (1910). Directory of Manufacturing Establishments, Arranged by Industry. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=sjFLAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA186

NH Secretary of State. (1901). Abstract of Annual Returns of Corporation, 1900. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=R3U9AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA4-PA13

NH Secretary of State. (1919). Annual Report of the Secretary of State. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=GL5LAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA137

Wikipedia. (2020, July 27). Order of United American Mechanics. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_United_American_Mechanics

Wikipedia. (2021, February 20). Secret Ballot. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_ballot

Wikipedia. (2021, February 21). Tammany Hall. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tammany_Hall

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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