William Waightstill Avery (1816-1864) was the son of Harriet Erwin and Isaac Thomas Avery (1785-1864), a prominent politician, planter, and banker in Burke County, NC. Young Avery entered the University in 1834, became a member of the Dialectic Society, and graduated in 1837. In 1846 he married Mary Corinna Morehead, daughter of Gov. John Motley Morehead; they had two sons and three daughters. Avery received his MA in 1850. He became a lawyer, serving in the NC House of Commons and as the speaker of the NC Senate. A colonel in the Confederate army, he died in 1864 of wounds sustained in a skirmish with Tennessee Unionists at Morganton, NC (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 1:71-72).