George Avis This article submitted by Jim Avis and Dale O. Wiley.George Avis spent his life in Logan County, Virginia (now West Virginia) after arriving here from England. George was born April 22, 1818, SOMEWHERE in England. It is believed that he left England June 6, 1835 under duress and arrived in the USA in 1835, at 18 years of age. No records can be found of his arrival. George's parents are unknown. The rumors from another Avis family are: (1) his family never heard from him after leaving England and (2) that he fought with or killed a soldier for beating a horse. With this rumor is a possible relative, John Avis, maybe brother, father, or uncle, who was in the Coldstream Guard (Horse Guard). John served almost 22 years. The parish shown on John's discharge is Henstridge, a small community on the boarder of Somerset and Dorset Counties in England. John enlisted in the Coldstream Guard at 21 years of age, April 23,1807. One known son of John was Robert Avis who served over 21 years in the Royal Artillery. Robert enlisted October 10, 1848, age 18, and was discharged August 3,1872. Since George named his first son, Hugh Caperton Avis, some believe that he may have worked for Hugh Caperton, a member of the Board of Directors of the James River Canal Project, (a project to connect navigable rivers), or he may have worked as a carpenter on the Hugh Caperton mansion in Monroe County which was built between 1835 and 1838. George married Elizabeth Ellis in 1838, the daughter of Phillip Ellis and Elizabeth Hinchman. Their children were:: Harriet, Hugh Caperton, Burwell, Ann, Thomas, Elizabeth, Minerva, and George Jr. George Jr. lived only 3 months after his mother's death May 16, 1861. George is not mentioned in any of his children's family Bibles. George married an Amelia ? sometime between May 1861 and his death in August 1862. The marriage may have occurred due to the birth and care of George Jr. George was granted, starting in 1848, about 141 acres of land atop the mountains between the Guyandotte River and Island Creek where he lived. WHY? Maybe because of his problems in England. Most other families lived in the valleys. Later he moved to the valley. Prior to 1858, the 129th Regiment of the Virginia Militia was organized in Logan. The list of volunteers show many Logan people. Most were well-known, and were some of the early settlers. This list can be found in the Virginia State Library in Richmond and the National Archives in Washington DC. George was appointed First Lieutenant of Company 1 and later Captain of Company 4 of the 129th. In those days, the militia officers were appointed or elected by the Militia members. This would indicate that George Avis was a strong leader in the local community. In one early family record is found the following: "On September 10, 1858, the record (of the 12th Regiment of the Virginia Militia) is transferred to that of the 129th and is kept by Ulysses Hinchman. His first entry tells of a meeting at which John DeJournette was elected Colonel; P.K. McComas, First Major; Reece Browning, Second Major; and Ulysses Hinchman, Clerk. "Officers attending the meeting were Captains George Avis, James H. Hinchman, John Starr, John Hatfield, John Chapman, and Barnabus Carter, and Lieutenants Martin Doffs, George Bryant, Granville Riffe, Louis White, Charles Station and Green A. Clark." So, it is seen that George Avis was a long time leader in the Logan County, Virginia, area. The last we know of George Avis was from his military records of November 13, 1861, when he was 43 years old. What happened between then and August 17, 1862, when George died? This was a period of nine months. George had obviously been a strong man. Then why did he die at the age of 44? By November 1861, the local (Logan County) 129th Militia was down to 60 to 70 men. Some of these men belonged to the Black Striped Company. On January 12, 1862, the Union Army came to Logan to break up the Black Stripers. The Union Troops ran into a few skirmishes with the local troops. They also burned the Logan County Court House, a factor in the later, 1990's search for George's history. The record shows that every Logan man with a gun took up positions and opened fire on the Union Troops. The Court House was burned January 15, 1862. Based on the above, did Captain George Avis, age 43, remain in Logan County and probably lead the defense of the county and the Court House in January 1862? Assuming that George did stay and did fight, was he wounded to such an extent that he died seven months later? Then, by accident, it was discovered that George had a second wife. He was married between his first wife's death, apparently in childbirth of George's 8th child, on May 16, 1861, and his own death on August 17, 1862. Surely, the answers to these questions would be found in the courthouse records of Logan County for 1861 and 1862. These records had been moved to the Virginia State Library sometime after 1865 and included birth, marriage, and death records. These records were looked at in 1993 by Dale Wiley, a great great grandson of George Avis. None of the records were legible - all had water damage from the fire in the Logan County Court House in January 1862. Thus, the mystery about George Avis resulted from the non-understandable fact that of seven adult children of George, none had him listed in their family Bibles, plus the damaged Court House Records that forever hid part of his life, marriges, and death - and damage that probably, George had tried to prevent and which effort possibly led to his death. When George died in 1862, his children were 8,11,13,15,18, 20, and 23 years old. In 1867, Hugh Caperton Avis, George's first son, was the administrator of George's estate. In 1867, Hugh had a summons issued to the Sheriff of Calhoun County, West Virginia, to have George's children appear at a court hearing in Logan County in reference to the protection of George's minor children. The question then arises: did the second wife take the children to Calhoun County and treat them in such a way as to cause them to not list her or their father in their family Bibles? Hugh Caperton Avis was in the 129th and later was assigned to the State Line Calvary Brigade, the 36th Regiment of the Virginia Infantry, known as the Logan Wildcats. Hugh with wounds from the battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864, was captured at Waynsboro, Virginia, March 2, 1865 and was sent to Fort Delaware Prison March 9, 1865. He was released June 19, 1865, and walked back to Logan. Hugh Avis, later became a prominent business man in Logan County and died at the age of 91 in Logan, in 1933. The Logan County Records of Deeds show that Hugh had 75 entries in purchase deeds and 100 entries in sales deeds.