Monday, June 15, 2009

Stephen Avery

Marriage Certificate
Originally uploaded by midgefrazel
Stephen Avery, Justice of the Peace

The Problem
The trouble with being a blogger is that my blog posts written months or years ago do not surface in a search unless they bear the name of the people or person that is part of the research. People usually perform a quick search for an ancestor based on their first, middle and last name [with perhaps a location]. Those of us who write blogs try to be creative and interesting and title our posts to encourage readers. So, I am naming this blog post with the name of the person I am researching today instead of marriage certificate [the name given to the scanned image here]. Do you see the problem? To fully enjoy this story, you will need, dear reader, to click on each and every link to the photographs I am using to tell the story!

The Background
Such as this is with the original handwritten marriage certificate found in a tiny envelope in the family Bible that belonged to my 2th great grandparents, Dudley Wheeler Stewart and his wife Eliza Fish Denison. [blog post dated 14 May 2008 titled Family Bible] [gravestone]

Upon carefully opening the certificate, I realized that this document needed to be preserved. I photocopied it and the envelope until I could clearly read what was written on it. I took photos of it with my digital camera and scanned only the photocopied certificate. I transcribed both the certificate and the envelope and went on my first gravestone adventure to find the graves of Rebecca NOYES and her husband Edward STEWART. As you can see, I discovered very quickly the joys and heartbreaks of small family cemeteries.

The Discovery
This morning, I pulled out my copy of Richard Anson Wheeler's, History of Stonington and began to continue researching his family as yesterday I discovered that one of his daughters, Grace Dension Wheeler was not only a historian and writer but also a genealogist!

Judge Wheeler, like many prominent men of his day, married well, not once, but twice. Both of his wives were daughters of families that are big names to this day in this section of Connecticut. He married first, Frances Mary AVERY, and had two daughters. When she died in 1855 at age 33, he needed a new wife, to care for his young daughters and his household, so he married again in 1856 Lucy Ann NOYES and added another daughter, Grace Denison WHEELER.

Now, if you've been paying attention to surnames, you have been seeing, Wheeler, Avery, Denison and Noyes, so you can see why linking all these families in my genealogy software is quite a time consuming task!

The Man
Frances Mary AVERY's father was Stephen AVERY [1756-1828] Where have I see that name before, I thought? Oh, yes, he's the man who married the people on the marriage certificate. Bingo!

Wheeler's History of Stonington, states [p. 208] that Stephen Avery "was a prominent man in Stonington, and held various offices of trust, particularly town clerk, which he held for a number of years before and at the time when the town was divided and the town of North Stonington was established, 1807, again being elected town clerk of North Stonington, which he held until his death. He served in the Revolutionary war..."

So, there you have it! The story of the Justice of the Peace. Oh, wait. I guess I should look him up at and find out what he did in the Revolutionary War. Sigh, more research.....


Stephen AVERY was a son of Rev. Nathan AVERY who has an excellent gravestone! I just looked it up and Stephen is buried in the same cemetery as his parents, Great Plain Cemetery in North Stonington!

I have removed his middle name from this blog post because Stephen's birth record in the Vital Records of Stonington in the Barbour Index (1:178) simply says Stephen Avery


DianaR said...

Wow - just one big happy family!! Your genealogy software must have a field day with all this interconnection. BTW - on the stone for Edward Stewart, how did you know that was his stone? Is it next to Rebecca's? Her's is very well-preserved. I also love the "dear reader" comment - very Charlotte Bronte of you!

Midge Frazel said...

Edward's gravestone is next to hers on a straight line. Both have footstones also aligned. They look to be matching and probably were carved in similar wording.

I didn't notice that I was missing the one for Edward, so we had to go back and re-photograph some of them. It was the first graveyard I took photos in that I had not been to before.

Family Curator said...

That's what I call "connecting the dots." How exciting to find the relationships, and the gravestones too.

Isn't Stonington that pretty town near Mystic CT? Lighthouse with historical society and lobster shack on the point?