Samuel Porter Avery is one of the leading attorneys of Joliet. During the eighteen years he has made his home in this city he has become thoroughly acquainted with its resources and conditions, and is a stanch friend to improvement and progress here, along all lines. As an attorney he possesses unusual ability and knowledge, and to each and every case placed in his hands he gives earnest attention and care, neglecting no point that may be turned in favor of his client. In his profession he commands the respect and high regard of all who know him, his record being that of an upright, just man, who under no circumstances will stoop to deceit or chicanery.
The Avery family was established in America in a very early day. Christopher Avery landed at Salem, Mass., June 12, 1630, coming from Wiltshire, England, on the transport “Arbella” with Gov. John Winthrop. He settled in Gloucester, where he was selectman from 1646 to 1654; he moved to Boston in 1658 and to New London, Conn., August 8, 1665; was made freeman of the colony in 1669 and died at New London March 12, 1679. His only son, James, was born in England about 1620, and married Joanna Greenslade, of Boston, November 16, 1643; removed to New London in 1650; was chosen townsman in 1660, holding the office twenty years; was ensign lieutenant and captain of the only training band of the town; saw active service in King Phillip’s war; was twelve times elected to the general court from 1650 to 1680; commissioner of the peace and assistant judge of the County court. In 1665 he moved to Poquonoc Plains (now the town of Groton), where he built “The Rise of the Avery’s,” recently destroyed by fire; he died in 1694. His sixth child was John; John’s fourth child was Elisha; and Elisha’s son, Elisha, was born in 1718, and married Elizabeth Brown Minor, of Stonington, Conn. Their son, Rev. Joseph Avery, born April 13, 1743, married Deborah, daughter of Hezekiah and Rebecca (Mead) King, of Marshfield, Conn., in 1772, and died March 3, 1814. During the latter part of his life he was a missionary of the Congregational Church in western New York, a sparsely settled region. His son, Samuel, was born at Sag Harbor, L. I., March 30, 1773; married, February 11, 1796, Rebecca, daughter of Noah and Rebecca (Porter) Langdon, of Tyringham, Mass. Noah Langdon was captain of the Eighth Tyringham company of the First Berkshire Regiment during the war of the Revolution, and was at Bennington and Saratoga. Samuel Avery removed, to and became a farmer, in Oneida County, N. Y., where his eight children were born. Of these Samuel K., born in 1810, became a farmer in Oneida County, and there married Asenath, daughter of Abel and Asenath (Smith) Wilder. Abel Wilder was a descendant of Nathaniel Wilder, who settled in Lancaster, Mass., in 1630, and was a prominent farmer of Oneida County, where his daughter was born and educated. The marriage of Samuel K. Avery and Asenath Wilder was solemnized in 1836 and resulted in the birth of seven children. In 1847 the family came to Illinois, settling in Kendall County, where two sons, Samuel P. and John F., were born. The parents owned a large farm (one-half section) near Lisbon, Kendall County, and there remained until death; the paternal grandparents also died there.
The education of our subject was acquired principally in the schools of Newark and Yorkville, Ill. When nineteen years of age he began to teach school, which he followed for three winters in Illinois and one in New York state. He began the study of law in Rochester, N. Y., with Jesse Sheppard, city attorney, and E. B. Fenner, state’s attorney, and later continued to read under A. W. Windett in Chicago. He was admitted to the bar in June, 1876. Immediately afterward he began to practice, establishing his office in Morris, Grundy County. In 1882 he came to Joliet, where for two years he was a partner of J. B. Fithian, and since then has been alone, conducting a general practice of law in its various departments. His attention is given unreservedly to his profession, and he is not connected with any secret organizations or social clubs; nor is he active in politics, although a stanch Republican and deeply interested in local affairs. He was married in Laddonia, Mo., to Miss Kate Wilder, daughter of Judge B. H. Wilder. They are the parents of three children: Laura, Wilder and Arthur.
S. P. Avery, attorney, Morris, was born in Kendall County, Ill., January 13, 1850; son of S. K. Avery, a native of Oneida County, N. Y., born in 1810, a farmer by occupation; he was born, raised and lived on the same farm in New York till 1847, then came to Illinois that fall, and in the spring of 1848, purchased a farm in Kendall County, where he lived till the time of his death, which occurred December 15, 1880. He was a prominent nurseryman and fruit grower, during the latter part of his life in Illinois. His wife, Asenath (Wilder) Avery, was born at Verona, N. Y., December 16, 1814, and married S. K. Avery, January 20, 1836. They moved to Kendall County, Illinois, in 1847, where Mrs. Avery died November 26, 1874. They raised seven children, six of whom are now living, five sons, of which subject is the fourth, and one daughter. Subject was educated at the common schools of Kendall County, and at Fowler Institute at Newark; he read law two years in Rochester, N. Y., with Jessie Shepard, then one and a half years in Chicago with A. W. Windett. Mr. Avery was admitted to the bar in June 1876, came to Morris September 13, 1876, and began the practice of his profession; there he has continued since. Mr. Avery was married, in Laddonia, Missouri, March 10, 1882, to Kate Wilder, born October 20, 1856, daughter of Judge B. H. Wilder, of Audrain County, Missour. Mrs. Avery is a member of the Baptist Church. Subject was with Judge C. Grant, Register in Bankruptcy, from December, 1877, to January, 1881, when Judge Grant died; from that time, subject has been Acting Register. Mr. Avery is a Republican.