An Uncle Avery Ornament

Uncle Avery's Ornaments
(ca. 1920?)

There seems to be a mystery as to who exactly "Uncle Avery" is!!
Which led to Aunt Margaret's sad side story

UPDATED! See conclusion

One name mystery we have surrounds christmas tree ornaments,
handed down - possibly circa 1920s - perhaps later,
that Nana always said were made by "Grand Uncle Avery."

Cousin Sue suggests they might be ca. 1940 or 50 ......

But, Alas!! Of course! There is no Avery! and, certainly
no Avery Uncles discovered thus far ….

There are several John Avery Potters, so, perhaps we might conclude
(based on the “uncle” title, as it relates to Jennie Sue)
the youngest John Avery Potter,
who was born in West Newton, Mass., in 1858, and died in 1931.
Maybe he had been called by his middle name, Avery?
Perhaps to avoid confusion amongst all the other John Potters?

What other possible explanation can there be? Who else could it be??

Perhaps Avery is someone else entirely!
There has been mention of possibly someone out Ohio way.
Some talk of an Ohio relative who was featured in a national magazine
article regarding his clock collection .... Oh, who was that??!!??

So many possibilities to explore!

Let us start with the obvious, known relative with the name Avery and the list is nil. Several middle names can be found, so that is the next obvious place to start!

John Avery Potter
of Westport, Mass., later of Perry City, in Hector, NY

(Not "Grand Uncle Avery," but Jennie Sue's Grandfather)
John Avery Potter

John Avery Potter was the second eldest of 11 kids. His father is named
John A. [probably Avery?] (1778 – 1854), who m. third cousin Rhonda Potter (1784 – 1868).
They shared the same Great Great Grandparents:
Nathaniel Potter and Elizabeth Stokes.

John A. Potter's and Rhoda Potter Potter's Markers
in Westport, Mass.

John A. and Rhoda Potter had the following children:
Ira Potter (1803–1806),
John Avery Potter (1805–1878),
Ezra Potter (1807–1879),
Ruth Potter (1809–1814),
Andrew Potter (1811–1814),
Ira Potter (1813–1875),
Andrew Brightman Potter (1816–1903),
Ruth Potter (1818–1878),
Rhoda Ann Potter (1820–1895),
Abner Potter (1822–1909),
Patience Potter (1825–1895)

At this point, the Potter Line was in Westport, Mass.

Two of John Avery's younger brothers were named Andrew Potter.

Andrew Brightman Potter
of Westport, Mass., later of West Newton, Mass.

(Jennie Sue's Grand Uncle Andrew)
Andrew Brightman Potter Andrew Brightman Potter Obituary 1903

Andrew had an older brother, also named Andrew,
(A younger brother to John Avery)
who was born in 1811, but died in 1814.
So, Andrew, born 1816,
was named after his older brother who had already passed ......


John Avery Potter (1805-1878) & Rebekah Tripp Potter (1810 – 1891)
of Westport, Mass., later of Hector, N.Y.

John Avery Potter Rebekah Tripp Potter

John Avery Potter married Rebekah Tripp on 27 May 1830.
They moved to Perry City, in Hector, NY, shortly after 1835, with daughter Margaret.
Charles was born in 1842, there in Hector.
Charles and Margaret were born 10 years apart.

Andrew Brightman Potter (1816-1903) & Eliza Ann Pike (1820–1909)
of Boston, Mass., later of West Newton, Mass.

Andrew Brightman PotterEliza Ann Pike

Andrew Potter married Eliza Ann Pike on 25 June 1840.
They lived in Boston, Mass., and later moved to West Newton, Mass.
They had one girl and two boys, and later adopted daughter, Etta.

Their younger son, John Avery Potter, was born in West Newton,
and might posibly have been called "Uncle Avery” ...... No record of that.

I have to do more digging to find out if Eliza is of the famed "Pike's Peak" clan.

They all lived back out Massachusetts way ....
Banking, Whaling, Real Estate, etc., so, I am guessing quite comfortably!!

Putting the relationships together relating to Jennie Sue:

Gen 1
John A. Potter married 3rd cousin Rhoda Potter and had 11 children

Gen 2
John Avery Potter's Brother-"Grand Uncle Andrew" Potter had son, John Avery Potter

Gen 3
Charles T. Potter's Sister-"Aunt Margaret" Potter Hoag had dau., Rebecca T. Hoag

Gen 4
"Granny" Jennie Sue Potter Updike only child, but censuses show there was a Willie Potter....

Charles Tripp Potter (1842-1913)
(Jennie Sue's Father)
Charles Tripp PotterCharles Tripp Potter

Jennie Sue’s father, Charles Potter, had but one sibling, sister Margaret Kirby Potter.
Margaret married Marble B. Hoag (have to love that name!), a carpenter/joiner.
They all lived in Perry City - Hector, near where Lt. Jonathan Owen had lived.
ca. 1850s-1880s

This is a map of Perry City, in Hector, NY ... Then and Now
Showing John Avery Potter's and Marble B. Hoag's properties - also shows Samuel D Hoag, who is Marble's dad
Perry City, Hector, NY - Then and Now

Margaret and Marble Hoag had six or seven children,
the first died at 11 months of age, in 1859.

Of the rest--
all but one died within the span of 6 months, during the winter of 1875-1876.
That year, 1876, August 20, Jennie Sue was born.

The Hoag children are all buried at the Perry City Cemetery with their parents.

Charles Potter and wife, Eunice Stilwell Potter, are also buried there.

Charles Tripp Potter & Eunice A Stilwell Potter
Charles Tripp PotterEunice A Stilwell Potter

The Hoag Family Marker in Jones Cemetery AKA Perry City Cemetery.
Children inscribed on the three other sides.

Philip T Hoag (1858 – 1859)
Elizabeth B Hoag "Lizzie" (1860 – 1876, age: 15) Rodney F Hoag (1863 – 1876, age:12)
Rebecca T Hoag (1868 – 1900, age: 32) Mary C Hoag (1869 – 1876, age: 6)
Anna E Hoag (1873 – 1876, age: almost 3) Unnamed Male Hoag (1875 – 1876, age <1) Hoag Marker

So, all of Jennie Sue's first cousins, save one,
had perished by the time she was born in 1876.

Cousin Sue tells of a story about horrible, coughing deaths of which Granny spoke ...
I will have to get more info.

Diphtheria was claiming many children .....
there were many, various, serious epidemics going around at that time, of course.
According to the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885,
Scarlet Fever was Philip's cause of death in 1859.
Diphtheria took all but one of the rest.

Any how, censuses show Aunt Margaret and Uncle Marble sent the surviving daughter Rebecca Tripp Hoag (named after her grandmother) out to Massachusetts to live with her Grand Uncle Andrew Potter …. whose son is John Avery Potter--

“Uncle Avery," perhaps??

Charles and Eunice probably traveled to Boston, and more than likely more than once.

John Avery Potter was certainly tied to back home,
especially when you consider his daughter, Margaret,
was able to send her surviving daughter off to Boston
to live with her Grand Uncle Andrew.

So, perhaps this is the connection as to probably why
we received so many of these ornaments ....
or, something like that .... ??

(Spoiler alert: Nope!)

The clues in this investigation, so far, has been pieced together through
grave markers, period newspapers, local histories, census information,
and vague recollections ....

These are truly wonderful ornaments.

No one recalls any mention of a Grand Aunt Margaret .......
Or, Jennie Sue's "brother," Willie Potter, for that matter ......
But, that's for another page!!

The mystery continues below ...

There are probably a couple dozen of these floating about,
scattered around with the various cousins around the country!!!

And these really awesome egg-shaped diorama thingies .....
Each has a cut out piece glued in for a 3-D effect!

(the tree, and the guy carrying a tree are cut out and in front of the background)

Can you see the shadows they cast?
The green one is hand painted,
but the white one seems like a card that has been cut up.

And these Punched Tin thingies ....
there are also some of these, as separates, to hang on the tree…...

Just guesses as to whom Avery actually is, really, at this point..... haha

Best guess is that Grand "Uncle" Avery
was Jennie Sue's 1st Cousin, Once Removed.....

If so, John Avery Potter was 18 years older than Jennie Sue,
and 10 years older than Rebecca Tripp Hoag.....

It would certainly have been more respectful to address him as "Uncle Avery,"
rather than Avery, given the age differences.

With all these clues, the answer must be right in front of me.......


So, much time has passed since this page was first created,
and many familial discussions later ...

I was talking with Cousin Sue about the Hermon Camp house, as I have a postcard,
dated 1907, the year Eunice was born, which was signed
"Aunt Hermionie"

Turns out Hermionie was Hermionie Camp Griswold, Hermon Camp's
youngest daughter. Her job as a young girl was to run the flag up the flag pole
as a signal, to announce to all the town significant events of the Civil War.

Hermionie and Jennie Sue must have struck up a good friendship,
as Sue mentioned how Granny would fondly remember the grand parties
attended at the Camp mansion.

A recollection which led to mention of memories of "porch visitors,"
who would come and visit on the impressive front porch.

One such visitor mentioned was someone named Mrs. Arden,
who would come visit with her daughter Elizabeth,
whom, it appeared, was always itching and scratching all over.

A funny recollection, but I rememebered the name Elizabeth Arden
and began to search out who this "Mrs. Arden" was.
Turns out she was Alice Mae Stilwell Arden. A close cousin of Granny's.

I think they were second cousins.
Plus, Alice's Aunt Kate Stilwell married Ossian Sears,
whose son Keith Sears (another 2nd cousin I believe)
was very close to the Updike family and lived a block away.
We have Aunt Kate's hand painted tea and dessert set.

OK ... I am going somewhere with all of this!

Alice had a sister, whom I am guessing was named after Aunt Kate Sears,
Katherine Stilwell who married William Wright.

So, finally we land...

After much research on finding all these folks, it turns out Alice's son, Alfred, went off to live with the Wrights, I am thinking to go to college. Well, lo and behold, if that census which revealed Alfred was living there, also referred to William as Avery!!

William AVERY Wright!

We have a Winner!!

*until I find out otherwise!

It would certainly make sense, that if cousin Alice was porch sitting with Granny, there is a strong likelihood that this was the conduit for possession of Grand Uncle Avery ornaments!!

Avery had lost his wife at a young age, about 40, when their twin daughters were probably about 15, or so. I am guessing the ladies of the clan took he and his kin under their wings, so to speak, helping out ... because back then, that is what family did.

Alice Mae Stilwell Arden lived to be 106 years old!! Out living daughter Elizabeth by a dozen years. Elizabeth was 72 when she passed.




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