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William Holt Averell

July 8, 1794
August 17, 1873
Home Town:
Cooperstown, NY
Later Residences:
Cooperstown, NY
Jane Russell Averell (1829)
Biographical Notes:
William Holt Averell was the son of James Averell and Marcy Holt Averell. He was born in Cooperstown, New York in 1794. As a young man, he assisted with his father's store and tannery business. He was prepared for more advanced studies at the Fairfield Academy in Connecticut. Averell eventually received his A.B. from Union College in 1816 and then attended the Litchfield Law School in 1817. His sister Marcia attended the Litchfield Female Academy from 1811 to 1813. He married Jane Russell in 1829 at Claverack, New York. She died only four years later in Cooperstown in 1833. Averell was more actively involved with business and banking than with legal practice during his lifetime. He was the director of the Otsego County Bank, which later became First National, from 1830 until his death in 1873. He was also involved in land speculation and cotton manufacturing.
"The pleasure of Miss Lewis' company is requested at a Ball to be given at the house of Mr. Phelps, on Tuesday, the 24th int. at 1/2 past 6 o'clock P.M."

Hand-written invitation to Litchfield Law School ball, from George Boardman, George Devereaux, Joseph Clay Stiles, William Holt Averell, and William Greene, 1818

Mary All Lewis Collection, Folder #5, ca. 1818-1823

Years at LLS:
Other Education:
Attended the Fairfield Academy in Connecticut, and later received his A.B. from Union College in 1816.

Profession / Service
Business; Political Office
Political Party:
State Posts:
Bank Commissioner (New York) 1841

Related Objects and Documents
In the Ledger:
help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
Houghton, Josiah. "LLS Law Notebook 1817-1818." Litchfield Law School Collection, Series 1, Subseries 1, Litchfield Historical Society. Available online at

Handwritten list by William Samuel Johnson, "Catalogue of the Students at Law in the school at Litchfield Conn. at & after Aug. 15th 1817..", Connecticut Historical Society, Johnson Family Papers, 1722-1863, Box - Johnson Paper
Secondary Sources:
Avery, Clara A. The Averell-Averill-Avery Family of Ipswich, MA. In Two Volumes, Vol. 1. Press of Evangelical Publishing House, 1906. Accessed at on November 21, 2023

Hurd, D. Hamilton History of Otsego County, New York. With illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers, Philadelphia, Everts & Fariss, 1878 Accessed at on November 21, 2023.

New York State Historical Association, ...

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