The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia


AVERELL, William Holt - Cooperstown

William Holt AVERELL was born in Cooperstown, NY, in 1794, 
seven years after his father came to the town of Otsego. He 
received a thorough education, and graduated at Union college. 
He subsequently studied law, and was admitted to practice. He 
did not long continue actively engaged in his profession, owing 
to the fact that, on the death of his father, he found his time fully 
occupied with the management of his business and estate. Mr. 
Averell continued to reside in Cooperstown until his death, which 
occurred in August, 1873. His ancestors were mainly of English 
origin, and were among the early settlers of this country. He had 
some French blood in his veins, and inherited many of the 
characteristics and distinguishing features of that people. His 
grandfather served for a short time in the army of the Revolution.
Mr. Averell never held any public office except that of bank 
commissioner, to which he was appointed in 1841 by the governor 
and senate. The duties of this office were discharged with marked 
fidelity and intelligence. His political convictions and opinions 
were of the most pronounced character; and for the greater part 
of his active political life - contending in the minority - he was a 
valuable and influential man, and was recognized as a leading 
mind by the most prominent Whigs of the State during the 
existence of that party. Mr. Averell once or twice accepted a 
nomination for congress against great odds and with no 
expectation of election.
He was one of the original directors of the Otsego County 
bank, organized in 1830; he always remained a member of the 
board, and was several years its president. He continued in the 
First National bank as director and principal shareholder.
Intellectually, Mr. Averell had no superiors in this county and 
few in the State. His brain was large, his perceptive faculties acute, 
his mind active, and his memory excellent. He had a keen sense of 
humor; and his acquaintance with men and history made him a most 
interesting companion for young and old. He was of the "old 
school," and held his views and opinions with firmness and 
tenacity; but he never harbored a grudge or cherished animosity. 
To the poor he was constant benefactor; and when a man enjoyed 
his confidence he was his friend for life.
His interest in his native village was unflagging; but with the 
prodigality and extravagance of the times, so especially marked 
after the inflation attending a paper currency, he was ever at war.
He was an Episcopalian, and long a vestryman in Christ church 
in this village.
The friends who knew Mr. Averell well for many years will long 
remember him for his many excellent deeds, kindly traits of 
character, his great courtesy, his warm heart, his hospitality, and 
his usefulness.

Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, page 280


Return to Biography Index