Joseph Conant Avery 1817 - 1876

Joseph C. Avery moved to Oregon in 1845 with 25 head of cattle. After exploring the western side of the Willamette Valley, he staked out a 640-acre provisional land claim where the Marys River enters the Willamette River. Part of this land today is Avery Park.

According to the Averys' grandson, "He figured steamboats would someday come up the Willamette as far as Corvallis, and he wanted a town there waiting for them." [J.C. Avery. Two descendents remember. Corvallis Gazette Times. Friday, March 19, 1976, p. A18]

On November 5, 1845, Joseph C. Avery, eventual founder of Corvallis, registered his provisional land claim near the confluence of the Willamette and Marys Rivers.

Martha Avery 1824-1911

Martha Marsh was born in Pennsylvania, Jan. 24, 1824. She married J.C. Avery on March 13, 1841, in Illinois. She did not come to Oregon with J.C. in 1845, but came west the following year with her uncle, three children under five years of age, and a milk cow. Joseph met them in eastern Oregon and led them by the Barlow Road to Corvallis. Together they had nine children, one of whom died as a child.

Her grandson, Virgil, described her as a tough little woman. She was never sick in her life until her teeth began to ache. [J. C. Avery, Two descendants remember. Corvallis Gazette Times. March 19, 1976, p. A18]

Martha Avery's silver flatware service, donated to the BCHS by her great grandaughter Dorothy Rath

In 2008, Dorothy Jean Johnson Rath, the great-granddaughter of Corvallis founders J. C. and Martha Avery, donated the silver flatware service that belonged to her great-grandmother to the Benton County Historical Society. The flatware was made by the Schulz and Fischer Company of San Francisco in 1868. (A year later, this same company furnished the golden spike to railroad builder Leland Stanford.) Each piece of the service is engraved with Martha Avery's monogram. The Rath donation also includes a cape and veiled cap worn by Florence Avery, daughter of J. C. and Martha Avery, who was born in Illinois in 1844.


Photo of Applegate Trail marker, taken circa 1985 at Monroe, Oregon

Dr. Harry Conant founds the Monroe Gazette newspaper.

Chloe Donnely Boone teaches in Benton County near Greenberry. She is the first woman school teacher in Benton County. She is Daniel Boone's great-granddaughter.

Applegate Trail is established. For a short time, this was another route into the Willamette Valley.


On December 23, 1847, the Oregon Territory House of Representatives created Benton  County. It is a vast tract of land. The county's boundaries are from the middle of the Willamette River south to the 42nd parallel (today the boundary between Oregon and California), then west to the Pacific Ocean. Its northern boundary is Polk County (approximately where it is today), going West to the Pacific.


Pioneer surveyor Joseph C. Avery's surveyor's chains used to measure and lay out the town of Marysville (Corvallis) in 1851

Avery measured off a few town lots in the future town of Marysville, which later became Corvallis, Oregon. The city sold lots in Marysville.


J.C. Avery wore this belt next to his body. It is not clear if he wore the belt around his waist, or across his shoulder.

 David Henderson, a farmer who arrived in the Oregon Territory in 1846, files papers indicating his occupancy, in 1848, of 320 acres - the future townsite of Philomath, Oregon.

 The First Methodist Episcopal Church is organized in Corvallis.

 Many Benton County residents, primarily men, leave for California in pursuit of gold.

Joseph C. Avery went to the California gold fields after the discovery of gold in 1848. He returned home for the winter, returning to the gold fields in the spring of 1849, where he remained through the summer. When he returned in the fall of 1849, he brought with him a stock of general merchandise that he purchased in San Francisco, shipping it to Portland and then to his land claim on the present site of Corvallis, Oregon, where he opened the first store in the vicinity. The following year, in 1851, he platted the town of Marysville, Oregon Territory (later renamed Corvallis).


Brass and wood scale used by L.C. Burkhart of Albany, Oregon, in 1849 in Feather River, California, during Gold Rush.
George W. and Kezia Newton Bethers

George W. Bethers, an early Benton County settler, writes a momentous letter to the Religious Telescope, the Ohio-based official publication of the United Brethren Church. Bethers requests that the Church send a minister to the Marys River Settlement, an area of pioneer farms that included the future townsite of Philomath, Oregon.


The J. C. Avery Building, used as the Territorial Capitol Building in 1855. This view is at the final location on SW Adams Street, just west of Second Street.

On March 3, 1849, the Oregon Territory is organized.

The J. C. Avery Building, which was used as the Territorial Capitol Building for a brief time in 1855. This view is at the final location on SW Adams Street, just west of Second Street. The building was shifted from its original location facing Second Street at Adams Street, to this location, slightly west, facing Adams Street, about 1882; it was demolished by the end of 1888.

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