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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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N. L. Avery, who is one of the important factors in the business growth and prosperity of Osceola and Mississippi County, is justly entitled to more than a passing notice in this volume. Since his identification with this city as a business man, no one has been more active and enterprising, or has done more in the mercantile line to increase and extend the trade and influence of the place. His stock is large and complete, and the patronage drawn to him results largely from liberal and polite treatment. His native State is Tennessee, and he was born in Memphis, January 1, 1853. His parents, Hamilton and Henrietta (Polk) Avery, were natives of New York and South Carolina, respectively. His father came to Memphis about 1845, was engaged in the book business for a few years, and then became editor of the Memphis Bulletin, remaining thus occupied for several years. He was then appointed wharf-master, but on account of ill-health he resigned that position, and spent two years in traveling. He returned to Memphis in 1859, and soon afterward died there. His mother is still living, and makes her home in Memphis. The paternal grandfather died at Syracuse, N. Y., in 1889, at the age of eighty-nine years. The paternal grandmother is still living in that city, and is seventy-eight years of age. The maternal grandparents died when N. L. Avery’s (the subject of this sketch) mother was a child, and her grandfather was a brother to President James K. Polk. N. L. Avery passed his boyhood days in attending the public and private schools of Memphis. At the youthful age of thirteen he engaged as messenger in a steamboat office, but subsequently entered a drug store with Mansfield & Higbee of that city. In 1868 he engaged in a wholesale dry goods establishment (Joyner, Lemmon & Gale), remaining thus employed until 1882. He began as an errand boy, and was successively promoted to the highest position, being at his retirement manager of and buyer for the notion department. In 1882 he came to Osceola and established his present business in that city, with a capital of $750. In 1888 he erected the large, fine store-house which he now occcupies. In the same year Mr. Raphael Semmes [see sketch of S. S. Semmes] was admitted as partner in the firm, which probably does the largest business on the Mississippi River between Memphis and Cairo. Mr. Avery owns a large tract of land, 1,000 acres, six miles west of Osceola, and is farming about 400 acres. The firm are the owners of a large tract of land in Phillips County. They have a branch store at Blythesville, which has a large and extensive trade. Mr. Avery is the owner of a block in town, and also other property in the same place. By his marriage with Miss M. F. Pullen, daughter of B. K. Pullen, of Memphis, on November 3, 1875, he became the father of seven children: Hamilton King, Norman L., Jr., Walter Graham (died in infancy), Charles L., Bennie Pullen (died in infancy), Eugene R. and Percy P. Mr. Avery’s family are members of the Episcopal Church. He is a fair type of the self-made man, having risen from the lowest to the highest offices of a large store; and at last, after years of earnest, honest work, we find him starting for himself, with a capital of but $750. In six years he had built that business up from $5,000 in 1882 to $100,000 in 1889, at the same time managing a branch store, doing an annual business of $30,000. This is a creditable showing for a young man, even in this community of almost universally self-made men.

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This family biography is one of 162 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Mississippi County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Mississippi County, Arkansas family biographies here: Mississippi County, Arkansas Biographies

View a map of 1889 Mississippi County, Arkansas here: Mississippi County, Arkansas Map

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