William Avery was born in 1622, in Barkham, Berkshire, England, the son of Christopher and Margery (Stephens), Avery. William married Margaret Allright. They, together with their three children: Mary, William, and Robert, came in 1650 to the Massachusetts Colony and settled in Dedham, Massachusetts. He and his wife were admitted to the church on February 16, 1650. He was a sergeant in the Dedham militia as well as the Deputy to the General Court. He was a member of the Ancient Artillery Company.
In the Dedham Town records, William’s was granted land to open his forge as a blacksmith; however, later he is referred to as Dr. Avery. How one goes from being a blacksmith to a physician
to me is a mystery. However, I think that his description as a physician is correct. In 1853, Dr. Ebenezer Alden, who was them the President of the Norfolk District Medical Society said “Dr. William Avery was the earliest educated physician, who is known to have taken up his residence in Dedham. “ Further on in the town records, his son, William Avery, Jr. is also described as a blacksmith. I think that he was a physician who started a blacksmith shop with the intent of turning it over to his son.
Margaret Avery died on September 28, 1678. Shortly thereafter, William moved to Boston. Despite his move, in 1680 the Dedham Town Records state that “Capt. Daniel Fisher and Ensign Fuller report that Dr. William Avery, now of Boston, but formerly of the Dedham Church, out of entire love of his Church and Town, freely give into their hands, sixty pounds, for a Latin school, to be ordered by the Selectmen and elders. “
So how did William Avery become a book seller? Shortly after moving to Boston, William married Maria (Woodmansey) Tappin, whose son was running a bookstore. William took over the store and added an apothecary department to it. In 1679 in the History of Printing, the store is described as being near sign of the Blue Anchor.
William died on the 18th of March 1686. He is buried in the burial ground of King’s Chapel in Boston. Several years ago I was in Boston, so of course I had to go and visit his grave. A very helpful Park Ranger (King’s Chapel is a national park) showed me a map of the graves and noted that the headstones had been moved at some point so while he is buried there, he probably is not buried beneath his gravestone. I had no trouble find the site as it is directly to the right to the gate to the graveyard.