William Waightstill Avery Photo

William Waightstill Avery

Born: May 25, 1816

Death: Jul 3, 1864

Birthplace: Burke County

Nationality: United States

William Waightstill Avery

Date of Birth : May 25, 1816
Date of Death : Jul 3, 1864
Birth Place : Burke County

William Waightstill Avery was a North Carolina politician and lawyer. Born at Swan Ponds in Burke County, North Carolina, he was the brother of Isaac E. Avery, the son of Isaac Thomas Avery, and the grandson of Waightstill Avery. In 1846 Avery married Mary Corinna Morehead, the daughter of Gov. John Motley Morehead. At Marion, N.C. in the fall of 1851, Avery was beaten with a cowhide whip by Samuel Fleming, a merchant from Burnsville, who was a participant in a lawsuit in which Avery Appeared as legal counsel for Ephraim Greenlee. Avery was unarmed and a smaller man than Fleming. He could not defend himself. Several weeks later Fleming came to Morganton bragging of his courage and making unpleasant comments about Avery. When Fleming appeared in the courtroom and stood five feet from Avery and near the presiding judge, Avery shot Fleming dead where he stood. Avery was brought to trial for murder but was acquitted on the grounds of extreme provocation leading to temporary insanity. A Democrat, Avery served in the North Carolina House of Commons and later in the North Carolina Senate to which he was elected Speaker in 1856.

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