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John Averett
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{Italics} written by George Washington Gill Averett, John’s son


"My father John Averett was borned in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Father had one or two sisters whose names I haven't got. There was one brother, Elijah Averett, older than my father. Sometime after the Revolutionary War, my grandfather died, either in Virginia or in some of the Southern States, the date and facts in the case I never knew. At least my grandmother and her children moved south to Georgia, and North to South Carolina. While my father was yet a boy his mother bound him out to learn the 'hatter' trade. Being something he did not like, he served out his time and never worked one day at the business, but turned his attention to shoe and boot making and wagon making, and always had a farm, teaching all of his boys to farm. Some of them learned trades; Elisha, Elijah, and John learned to lay stone. G.W.G. Averett, wheelwright and gunsmith.

Either by being appointed administrator or by some other means, John's older brother Elijah came into possession of the Aaron Averett estate, which amounted to about $1800. Elijah moved to Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, in 1800, and soon after, his house burned, thus destroying all papers concerning the estate. After that, John lost interest in the matter.

John Averett married in South Carolina, some woman whose name is unknown, but soon after the birth of a boy child, name not known, his wife proved to be untrue to him, and they separated and ceased to live together everafter. And from one of the above states mentioned, emigrated to Kentucky in the early settlement of the same, and settled in Baron County, where he became acquainted with Jannett Gill.


They were lawfully married in Barren County, Kentucky, May 1, 1806, and had born to them one child, a girl Mary Averett, on February 28, 1807. Soon after the birth of their first child, my father sent with a surveying party authorized by the government to survey the wilds of Tennessee, in the region of Cumberlain and Duck Rivers, and after assisting in surveying for some time, he became satisfied with the country and desired to move to the same. On returning to Kentucky, he and my grandfather, George Gill, and his family all emigrated to the state of Tennessee, father settling in Maury County and grandfather George Gill settled in Giles county or Hickman. My father, John Averett and his wife lived here from about the year 1809, to about the year of 1830. They had born to them during that time the following:

Jennett Averett on Feb. 20, 1809

Elisha on Dec. 12, 1810

Elijah (twins) on Dec. 12, 1810

Eliza on July 12, 1815

Sarah on Oct. 29, 1816

Pyrenia on Feb. 11, 1819

John on Aug. 15, 1821

George W. G. on Jan. 20, 1824

Son (died unnamed) on May 3, 1827

Alexander Murray on Aug 20, 1828

Being in an inland portion of the country quite secluded from the things of the more populous part of the country, John Averett’s family lived a quiet sober life, seeming to appreciate the comforts and blessings of life.

“We had but small advantages of education, having to walk three miles for all the schooling that we, as children, obtained in this place. My father bought 40 acres of land, most of the same under cultivation; and being land that did not produce very heavy crops of grain my father didn’t become very wealthy, seeming to lose more instead of making it. He raised some cotton and flax, and we manufactured the same with our own hands into clothing for our own use, both for Sunday and every day. We always went barefooted in summer time and in shirttail. Sometimes both the boys and girls went barefooted both in winter and summer, except in very cold weather.

About the year 1832, my father went into raising tobacco quite extensively thinking to help him and family by so doing. He bought several hog-heads of tobacco and shipped them along with his own to the city of New Orleans only to have them condemned by the city inspection. So, he lost all of his tobacco, which hurt him financially.

In the following year two of my brothers, Elijah and Elisha, and my brother-in-law Elbridge G. Porter enlisted in the Black Hawk Campaign under Captain A. Bigerstaff of Hamilton County, Illinois. This matter somewhat frustrated my father in his calculations and he slacked his efforts in the tobacco business. He betook himself more to the raising of corn and wheat. Sometimes he had to borrow money to keep his promises and to pay his debts, although he had plenty of farmland and stock land, yet was poor.”

Soon after the birth of the last child, John Averett went to Illinois with some of his neighbors, to see the country, and bought himself a place in White County, Illinois. He returned, sold his farm in Tennessee to John Commel, and in 1830 moved his family to Illinois. Jennette and her husband, S.A.P. Kelsey, accompanied them. After a short time, they traded this place for one in Hamilton County, nine miles south of McLain Burrow (McLeansboro) in a place known as Maberry Settlement, on the north fork of the Salina River. They were very comfortably situated there, owning 80 acres of land, 40 of which were under cultivation. They seemed contented there until the spring of 1835 when they were visited by two men, elders of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), who preached to them the tenets of this religion.


John and his wife, with five of their children and their sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, embraced this religion. In 1837, John sold his Hamilton County place and relocated at Caldwell, Missouri, where some of his children were already living. It seems they were persecuted here by border ruffians who did not like religion of any kind, so they went back across the river into Illinois. They crossed the river at Hannibal, Missouri, going two and one-half miles from Payson, Adams County, Illinois, where they rented some ground and stayed for a year. Then they moved down to Pike County, Illinois, 12 miles south of the county seat. Later, John bought more land near Pleasant Hill and worked there for five or six years until his health began to fail.

“In the spring of 1839, my father [John], mother, sister Pyrenia, brother Murray, and my sister Mary Porter and her husband E.G. Porter moved from Adams County, Illinois to Pike County, Illinois. They settled one half mile from a small place then called Fairfield, which was changed to the name of Pleasant Hill. They lived in the south portion of Farfield on the waters of the creek, which was about five miles from the Mississippi River. On the second bottom of the same, there was a rich fertile county. My father bought forty acres of land and followed the pursuit of farming in the same neighborhood until his death. Some years after, my mother also died and finally two brothers and two sisters and one of the sister's children and many nephews and nieces died in the same neighborhood. Most of them were buried in the McCullen graveyard.”

“About the year of 1845 or 1846 my father sold out his possessions consisting of two 40 acres of land. One timber on the neighborhood of Pleasant Hill, Pike County sold to John Venabel, and moved about four miles near a village named Martinsburg, Pike Co., Illinois. He bought 40 acres of land and improved the same. He cleared out a small farm and buildings. He lived on the same place until the day of his death. On that memorable day, the 19th of April 1847, he was able to work hard at rolling logs and clearing up land for the spring plowing. He took sick about sunset and before late bedtime he came to his death.

He died in a short time that same evening without having time to send for myself or anyone else any distance away. I was only two or three miles away. Going home that night, being uneasy and not knowing why, I was met at the gate and told of my father's death, this being the most unexpected shock I had met with in life."