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