Robert Avis

My Avis Family Tree   

[NOTE:  You will need to download the MrSid browser plug-in to view some of the census records]

Broken links? Questions?  email me

This family is descended from Robert Avis and Ann Jarvis, according to James E. Avis, who has published a book "My Avis Family in America"  I haven't researched it that far back.  The farthest I have researched this family is to Robert Avis and Martha Darke

Robert Avis was born on 18 Aug 1755 (probably in Berkeley County, West Virginia), during the beginning of the French and Indian War (1755-1763).    On 7 Mar 1776, Robert enlisted for 18 months in the Virginia company commanded by Captain William Darke and served in the regiment commanded by Colonel Peter Mecklenburg.  When he had completed his service in 1777, he returned home and married Martha Darke (believed to be the younger sister of his commander William Darke).  In 1800, Jefferson County was formed out of portions of Berkeley County.  Martha died in 1804 and Robert married Rachel McCormick sometime after that.  On 1 Oct 1810 Robert was living in Harpers Ferry. 

Here is the information from the 1810 Census:  (View actual census)

Robert Avis
Harpers Ferry, Jefferson, Virginia

Free White Males
Under 10 yrs. old - 0
10 to 15 - 1  
16 to 25 - 6 
26 to 44 - 5 
45 and up - 2    

Free White Females
Under 10 - 3  (this would include: Francis Creamer, Sarah Ann Avis not sure about 3rd)
10 to 15 - 1
16 to 25 - 1
26 to 44 - 1
45 and up - 0

all other persons except Indians not taxed - 0
slaves - 0

(note: Robert would be 54 or 55  in this census.  I believe that Joseph Creamer and Elizabeth Jane Avis are living with Robert, as well as their daughter Francis)

  By 20 Dec 1811,  he had moved to Charlestown.  On 9 Jun 1814, Robert joined a committee to form the 'Farmers Mechanics and Merchants Company' to raise funds for people who worked in those industries.  The committee met on that date at Fulton's Hotel.  By 17 Oct 1814, Robert was renting a house in Harpers Ferry and on 12 Mar 1815, Robert placed his home in Charlestown up for sale.  One year, almost to the day, after forming the 'Farmers Mechanics and Merchants Company in Charlestown, the committee established a branch in Harpers Ferry under the names R.  Avis, B. Williamson and T.B. Evans. (8 Jun 1815).  The Articles of Incorporation were filed on 22 Jun 1815.  By 16 April 1817, Robert was renting a gunsmith shop in Charlestown and a gun shop with his son Robert Avis Jr.  Robert Jr. was living in Charlestown, while Robert was  still living in Harpers Ferry.  They were running an ad in the newspaper.  On 13 May 1818, Robert ran an ad selling a 100 acre tract of land in Charlestown. 

Here is the information from the 1820 Census: (View actual census)

Robert Avis
Harpers Ferry, Jefferson, Virginia

Free White Males
Under 10 - 1
10 to 15 - 0
16 to 18 - 0
16 to 25 - 0
26 to 44 - 1
45 and up - 1

Free White Females
Under 10 - 1
10 to 15 - 1
16 to 18 - 2
16 to 25 - 0
26 to 44 - 1
45 and up - 1

Foreigners not naturalized - 1
# of persons engaged in agriculture - 0
# of persons engaged in commerce - 1
# of persons engaged in manufacture - 0

under 14 - 2
14 to 25 - 0
26 to 44 - 0
over 45 - 0

under 14 - 1
14 to 25 - 0
26 to 44 - 1
over 45 - 0

Free Colored Persons:
Under 14 - 0
14 to 25 _ 0
26 to 44 - 0
over 45 - 0

Under 14 - 0
14 to 25 - 0
26 to 44 - 0
over 45 - 0

All other persons except Indians not taxed - 0

 On 14 May 1823, Robert's wife Rachel died.    On 26 Dec 1823, Robert married Elizabeth Allison.  On 20 Apr 1829, Robert applied for a pension for his service in the Revolutionary War: 

(view pension papers, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7)

Pension File Transcription For Robert Avis:

State of Virginia Jefferson County Sct.

On this the 20th Day of April 1829 personally appeared in open court, being a court of Record for the County aforesaid Robert Avis - resident in said County aged seventy four years - who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the provisions made by the acts of Congress of the 18th March 1828 and the 1st May 1820 - that He the said Avis - enlisted for the term of eighteen months on the seventh day of March in the year 1776 in the state of Virginia in the company commanded by Capt William Dark in the regiment commanded by Col Peter Muklenburgh in the line of the state of Virginia on the continental establishment that He continued to serve in the said Corps untill the month of June 1777 when He was discharged from the service in the state of North Carolina that he hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension except the present that His name is not in the Roll of any state except Virginia and that the following are the reasons for not making earlier application for a Pension.

As I was told that my application would be shut out because I had a little property - but which has continued to diminish for the support of a dependant female family until nothing is left but the house hereby appraised - and that I am now reduced in my old age and must suffer for the necessarys of life - I have four daughters all dependant on me. I do voluntarily swear that I was a resident Citizen of the U. States on the18th March 1818 - and that I have not said that time, by gift sale or in any manner disposed of my property or any part thereof, with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provisions of an act of Congress entitled an act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and Naval services of the U. States in the Revolutionary War, paper on the 18th March 1818 and that I have not nor has any person in trust for me any property or securities contracts or certs due to me nor have I any income other than what is contained in the Schedule hereto annexed and by me subscribed.

Viz a house that is in the town of Bolivar Jeff, Cty, appraised to be worth between five and six hundred dollars since the 18th March 1818 no changes have been made in any property except the sale of some personal for common support.

signed Robert Avis

The 1830 Census:  (View actual census, view page 2)

Robert Avis
Bolivar, Jefferson, Virginia

Free White Males
under 5 - 0
5 to 10 - 0
10 to 14 - 1
15 to 19 - 0
20 to 29 - 1
30 to 39 - 0
40 to 49 - 0
50 to 59 - 0
60 to 69 - 0
70 to 79 - 1
80 to 89 - 0
90 to 99 - 0
100 and up - 0

Free White Females
under 5 - 1
5 to 10 - 1
10 to 14 - 0
15 to 19 - 0
20 to 29 - 2
30 to 39 - 1
40 to 49 - 0
50 to 59 - 0
60 to 69 - 0
70 to 79 - 0
80 to 89 - 0
90 to 99 - 0
100 and up - 0

Slaves - 0
Free Persons of Color - 0 

 On 2 Mar 1832, an inventory was taken of Roberts debts and property: (view page)

A true and correct estimate of Mr. Robert Avis' property as reported by us on the 3d day of March 1832.

The house & lot Mr. Avis resides in - - $200
The red house & lot - - 200
The long house & lot - - 150
The Swaney (?) house & lot - - 50


Henry Studer $600.00
Stephen Root

The amount of Mr. Robert Avises debts as reported by us March 3d 1832
To Amos Jenning Dr. By Note - - $90.00
To William Anderson By Note - - 90.00
To Joseph L. Ruple by Note - - 40.00
To Wm. Anderson By Acct - - 52.00
To Their Doctor's Rices - - 300.00
To sunday debts for teaching my children 20.00


Jefferson County to wit

Personally appeared before me a Justice of the peace for said county Henry Studer and Stephen Root(?) and made oath according to Law that the above is a true and correct estimate of Mr. Robert Avises property. Given under my hand this 3d day of March 1832

Geo. B. Stephenson


Jefferson County to wit

Personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace for said county Robert Avis and made oath according to law that the above report of the debts he owes is just and true as stated - Given under my hand this 3d day of March 1832

Geo. B. Stephenson

   On 21 Jun 1832, Robert wrote an open letter to the Virginia Free Press regarding his service in the Revolutionary War and his pension: 

                                        (View actual letter)

Virginia Free Press June 21, 1832 pg. P3c2 (Microfilm from Library of Virginia)

We readily comply with every reasonable request of our Revolutionary soldiers, and therefore insert the following statement most cheerfully. A "plain, unvarnished tale, " needs no polish. If the power belonged to us, we would gild with the sunshine of prosperity and happiness, the last hours of every one of them. With an overflowing treasury, why should we suffer a single old patriot to reproach his country, in his dying moments, with the sin of ingratitude? Some useful hints are given in this brief sketch.

STATEMENT OF ROBERT AVIS A Revolutionary Soldier:

 I was born August 18, 1755, the summer of Braddock's war. I am now 77 years old; I have had three wives, and raised and educated twenty children; I had five sons in the last war, all thought to be great marksmen and good soldiers; I have now three children under seven years old, one only sixteen months; the two oldest of these go to school, and cost me twenty dollars a year. The last two years I have been fatally crippled, not capable of doing any thing of consequence. - Government has allowed me eight dollars a month, payment to commence from last March -no arrearages, after waiting fifty-six years for faithful service rendered. I shall look for more, as I know it is justly due. If I get it, I will thank kind Providence; if I don't, I must do without it as well as I can; but I hope the business will be reconsidered, and justice take place; that is all I want. Thanks be to God, I am in good health, and have had a great deal of happiness in this life, considering the many hardships I have gone through. I am singular in some respects: I never drank any strong spirits, so as to disguise me; I never wore watches, boots, gloves, or an umbrella; I never chewed tobacco, snuffed, or smoked; I thought every thing that was in a manner useless, might as well be let alone. I was nearly two years in the army; my papers are at the city, with sufficient proof from good men who knew me from my infancy, and were in the war with me - who have stated that I was a good and faithful soldier; and after my return, a good and faithful citizen. These facts I thought might give satisfaction to some of my old acquaintances.


Bolivar, Jefferson Co, June 21, 1832

(Note:  Robert says he had five sons in the last war (War of 1812).  A search of War of 1812 Records shows five Avis' from Virginia.  James Avis, served in Captain Humphrey's Company Riflemen, Virginia Militia; John Avis served in Boyd's 4th Regiment, Virginia Militia; Joseph Avis served in Captain Humphrey's Company Riflemen, Virginia Militia; Samuel Avis served in Captain Humphrey's Company Riflemen, Virginia Militia; & a William Avis who served in Beatty's 4th Regiment, Virginia Militia.  Is it possible that this William is Robert's son? A letter written by his granddaughter Ellen Avis does not mention an Uncle William.  Robert did get guardianship of at least one other child that I know of, Byron O'Banyon, it could be possible that he raised some of his grandchildren or nephews as well.  There is a William Avis, living in one of his houses in the inventory of his estate below)

His obituary appeared in the Virginia Free Press: (View actual obituary)

Virginia Free Press June 19, 1834 Pg. P3c2

DIED On Sunday night last, in the 79th year of his age, Mr. Robert Avis, of Bolivar. Mr. Avis was a soldier of the Revolution, and generally enjoyed notwithstanding his good old age, a large share of health. In a statement made by him two years ago, he remarked, "I am singular in some respects: I never drank any strong spirits, so as to disguise me; I never wore watches, boots, gloves, or used an umbrella; I never chewed tobacco, snuffed, or smoked; I thought every thing that was in a manner useless, might as well be let alone." Another example of the importance of temperance in all things.

 His Will states:

Robert Avis, who obtained a warrant or certificate dated 22nd March 1832 for a pension as private in the army of the Revolution died on the 15th June last. He received the regular semi annual payments to the 4th March preceding his death. The undersigned qualified as administrators on his estate and are anxious to draw the amount of pension which accrued between the said 4th March & the time of his decease. Not being possessed of the forms required, they take the liberty to address you on the subject. The form viz (which is requested) at as early a day as may suit your convenience, the necessary forms accompanied by such instructions as would prevent any error in preparing the pension papers, would confer a favor on the undersigned a well as on the widow & children of the said Robert Avis.

(view will, page 2, page 3, page 4)

In the Name of God. Amen. I, Robert Avis, of Jefferson County & State of Virginia being in a weak state of body, but sound in mind & memory and understanding, praised be God for it, and considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof and to the end I may be the better prepared to leave this world whenever it shall please God to call me hence, do therefore make and declare this my last Will & Testament in manner following: that is to say, It is my will that all my just debts be paid and my funeral expenses discharged by my executor hereafter named &appointed, out of my personal estate, as soon as may be after my decease. I give unto my wife, Elizabeth Avis the house and lot on which I now live, fronting the street eight poles and running back ten poles long, and I also give unto the said Elizabeth Avis all my household furniture that shall be in my house at my decease. viz: Beds & bedding, chares (sic) & tables of all discription (sic) black bureaus, stove, pales (sic), pots, ovens, and the cupboard furniture. Also all my Books that may be in the house, such as Bibles and history, Psalm books, Testaments, none of the above named property to be removed during her life, after her death the above named property is to be equally divided among my three daughters, viz: Betsey Ellen & Virginia Washington and Mary Avis. I furthermore will the two Story House now in the occupancy of W_____  Joshua Riley to be rented out, the rents of said house to be applied to the schooling & clothing of the above named three daughters Betsey Ellen, Virginia Washington & Mary Avis until they be of a proper age say fifteen years old, and for the necessary use of maintaining them and my above named wife Elizabeth Avis, and furthermore the above named house under rent to the said Joshua Riley to be equally divided between Betsey Ellen & Virginia Washington & Mary Avis after the death of my wife, Elizabeth Avis and furthermore I will unto my son John Avis & Samuel Avis & Elizabeth Cramer, the sum of five Dollars each of them. the above fifteen Dollars to be paid out of the rents of some part of my property in twelve months after my death by Executor if it will not distress my wife and children. If it should, six months longer will be allowed. I also will one quarter of an acre of Ground laying back of my lots in front I now live on unto Sarah Washburns, also adjoining the same one quarter of an acre unto Susan Copelin, the two above named Lots may be laid off as shall best suit the situation, and not to injure the other Lots and to leave them as equal as you can, the balance of my lots that are not sold, and the Tenements to be made use of for the maintenance of my wife and three youngest children and after the death of my wife to be equally divided between the three youngest children. The Lot in the possession of W. James Hyatt esq. if not paid for in the time stipulated in the articles of agreement, it maybe left to the judgment of my executors, and if not used to be put on interest, and the interest to be applyed (sic) to the use of my wife and three youngest children and after the death of my wife to be divided among the three last mentioned children Betsey Ellen Avis, & Virginia Washington Avis & Mary Avis, all the property to be equally divided by my Executor as shall be hereafter mentioned, viz: W. D. Phelan and Wm. Adams as my executors of this my last will and testament. In testimony I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fourteenth day of April 1834. N.B. If I have any money or moneys Owe me more than will pay my above named debts, they may give the remainder to my wife Elizabeth Avis, for the use of schooling my last named children. I also request my friends the above named executors, to pay their particular attention to my childrens schooling after my decease, this my particular request whereunto set my hand & seal.

Signed, sealed and delivered as his last will and testament by the Testator in our presence who at his request and in his presence have hereunto set our hands as witnesses.

Jefferson County, VA

At a court continued and held for Jefferson County on the 20th day of August 1834, this last Will and Testament of Robert Avis decd. was proved by the oaths of Joshua Riley, Stephen Root and John Hyatt the witnesses thereto & ordered to be recorded and on the motion of Wm. D. Phelan & Wm. Adams the Executors named in said Will, who made oath according to Law& with George Zorger (?) & Stephen Root their securities entered into &acknowledged a Bond in the penalty of $2500 with condition as the Law requires, certificate is granted them for obtaining probation (?)due forms.

Ordered that William Smallwood, Richard Cruzen (?), Jeremiah Stephens and James B. Chenoweth or any three of them, being first sworn, appraise in current money, the slaves, if any, and the real and personal estate of Robert Avis, decd. & make report thereof to the court.

A Copy Teste Saml. J. Cramer c.a.



Jefferson County to wit:

James B. Chenoweth, Richard Cenuzeu (?) & Jeremiah Stephens personally appeared before me and were duly sworn in obedience to the within order.
Given under my hand this seventh day of January 1834 (prob. 1835)
James B. Wager
A list of the real and personal property belonging to the estate of Robert Avis, decd. appraised by Jeremiah Stephens, Richard B. Cereizen(?) and Jas. B. Chenoweth January 10th 1835.
The house and lot, which is occupied by Wm. Avis$800.00
The store house and lot occupyed (sic) by S. W, Patterson633.00
The land laying in the rear of the above houses & lots at $55 per acre about 4 1/4 acres 233.75
1 Small Wheel 1.00 - 1 Large trunk 2.00 - 2 tin canisters 87 1/23.87 1/2
1 old trunk .10, scales, weights & 2 brass spigots 2.002.10
1 Bed, bedding & bedstead $11 - (2 quilts & 1 blanket 7.25)18.25
2 Quilts unfinished 1.00 (large trunk .75, toilet table .50)2.25
2 Half-gallon measure, large canister & scales.75
2 small wheels & reel 1.00 - large looking glass 2.003.00
1 large brass eight day clock $35 - (2 eliptic tables 11.00)46.00
1 Mahogany bureau & cover $14 tea chest .5014.50
1 Bible, Life of Lafayette 7.00 half dozen chairs 4.5011.50
2 pictures .50, pine chest .50, 8 old chairs & 1 for children 2.253.25
2 tin buckets, tin pan & cup .25, frying pan, smoothing irons &hatchet1.00 1.25
Curtains for 4 windows 1.00, 15 yds. carpeting 7.508.50
Rocking cradle & contents 2.00, feather bed & 2 blankets 4.006.00
1 Bed, bedstead & bedding $16, bureau $3, cupboard $4 table 1.5024.50
The contents of cupboard $6, candlesticks .94, table .257.19
Andirons, shovel & tongs .12 1/2, waiter 6 1/4, tea kettle 1.00,sifter .25 1.93 3/4
1 Pot, oven, frying pan, gridiron 1.64, 2 flour barrels 12 1/21.76 1/2
1 ten plate stove $6, coffee mill .37 1/2, pot, trammel 1.00, cupboard .507.87 1/2
1 jug & crocks .37 1/2, grind stone .50, wood saw .50, 2 tubs .501.87 1/2
1 Pick, crobar, Thammes 1.25, pitch fork .18, hoe & an .251.68
Cotton cards .12 1/2, etcelyards .44, dripping pan .25.81 1/2
1 milch cow 10.00
total: $1845.61 1/4

In obedience to an order of the County Court of Jefferson at their August term 1834 -
The subscribers being sworn & affirmed according to law, met at the late dwelling of Robert Avis decd. and appraised the real and personal estate of the said decd. as shown to us by the Executor, for its value in ready money, as we believe, which the within list will show, Certified under our hands this 10th day of January 1835/
Jefferson County set:
At a court held for said County, on the 20th day of July, 1835, The foregoing Appraisement was ordered to be recorded.
Saml. J. Cramer c.c.


Children of Robert Avis and Martha Darke:

Elizabeth Jane Avis
Martha Avis
John Avis
Joseph Avis
James Avis
Robert Avis, Jr.
Samuel Avis (1796 - 1859)

William (?)

Children of Robert Avis and Rachel McCormick:

Sarah Ann Avis 
Susan Avis

Children of Robert Avis and Elizabeth Allison:

Virginia Washington Avis
Mary Avis
Betsey Ellen Avis


What is your name?

E-mail address?