Lee County Biography


Avery Merriman, who was a brave soldier during the Civil War, is a son of an early settler of Paw Paw, and for several years has been an important member of the farming community of this county, and owns and successfully manages a fine farm in Wyoming Township. He was born in Geauga County, Ohio, February 2, 1846, and is the son of Peter and Mary Merriman, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio respectively.

The father of our subject learned the trade of a carpenter, and removing to Ohio carried it on in Geauga County for some years. In the fall of 1846, he came to Illinois, as he shrewdly foresaw that in this newly-settled region skillful mechanics would be in demand. He was accompanied by his wife and four children, as well as by several other families, and traveled by the most expeditious mode of those days, which was with team.

The first location of the family was at Shabbona Grove, where they lived close by the Indians for two years, and two years later they came to Paw Paw, and became among the earliest settlers. A store and blacksmith shop, and one or two habitations in Paw Paw, were the only indications of a village at that early day. Mr. Merriman bought land, erected a house for himself and family, and was prosperously engaged at his trade until 1877. He then removed to Wayne County, Neb., and, buying a farm, devoted his attention to its cultivation until he died, in 1880.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Mary French, and she was born in Geauga County, Ohio, her parents being Avery and Elizabeth French. Her death occurred in Paw Paw in 1863. She was the mother of eight children, as follows: Milton; Orlina; Melissa, who died in infancy; Sidney, who served in Company K, Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry, during the late war and died while bravely fighting in the battle of Stone River; Avery; Marcus, who died at the age of fourteen; Henry and Arthur.

Avery Merriman was a mere infant when brought by his parents to Illinois, and he was reared in Paw Paw. When the Rebellion broke out and threatened destruction to the Union, he watched its course with intense boyish enthusiasm and in 1864 volunteered for service and was accepted, his name being enrolled as a member of Company K, Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry. He joined his regiment at Nashville, Tenn., in time to take part in the battle between Thomas and Hood, and afterward followed the retreating army to Huntsville, Ala., where his regiment was stationed until the spring of 1865-- Then returning to Nashville, he was sent to New Orleans and from there to St. Louis, where he was honorably discharged in November, 1865.

When Mr. Merriman returned to Paw Paw, after his experience in army life, he sought employment as a farm hand, and was thus engaged by the month for two seasons. Afterward lie conducted farming operations as a renter, and then bought the farm where he now resides, purchasing eighty acres at first and adding to it until he now owns two hundred and eighty acres of well-tilled land.

He was married in December, 1868, to Josephine Potter, a native of Wayne County, Pa., and the daughter of Lester and Miranda Potter, of whom see sketch elsewhere. They arc the parents of five children: Albert, Lovancha, Josie, Allie and Charlie A.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892


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