North Carolina Avents

There are two, maybe three, branches of the family in NC. 


Col. Thomas had four sons: William, Peter, John and Thomas. Thomas died young, and left five daughters, most of whom moved to NC with their husbands. John stayed in Virginia, but sons William and Peter moved to NC.


William married Sarah Massie (his brother Peter married Sarah's sister Amy) and they had the following children: John, Joseph, Sarah, Rebecca, William, Jr., Thomas and Gilly (Ogilvie).


As shown elsewhere on this site, Col. Thomas Avent acquired property on the north side of the Roanoke River (in Northampton Co. across from present-day Roanoke Rapids, NC) as early as 1712, and probably earlier. This property was inherited by William, who died in 1761. Sometime near the year of William's death his sons John and Joseph, daughter Sarah and Sarah's husband William Ragland moved as a group from Northampton Co. to Chatham Co., NC (located SW of Raleigh). Daughter Rebecca and husband Seth Cotten followed 1777 - 1778.


John Avent settled on the north side of the Cape Fear river and established a ferry called Avent Ferry around 1775, which ran until it was replaced by a bridge in 1928 (the ferry site can easily be located on a map, in Chatham Co. where Rt. 42 crosses the Cape Fear river.). His brother Joseph settled on the south side. The river divides these branches of the family to this day. 


At around the same time, brothers of John and Joseph, William and Thomas, moved to Nash Co., NC. William became a prominent landowner and farmer and his descendants formed the community of Aventon, which is there to this day (the webmaster, though he is descended from the Chatham Co. branch, lives within a couple of miles of Aventon). William was the Captain of a company of militia in the Revolutionary War (see the page 'Avents in American Wars' for more on William's activities during the Revolution). Thomas died young, and two of his sons, Abner and Amos, moved to TN before 1820. Another of this Thomas' sons, Allen Burton Avent, moved to SW VA, near the VA/TN line.


Col. Thomas' son Peter was a Constable in Sussex Co., VA as well as a Lt. in the VA colonial militia. He appears to have moved to NC between 1761 and 1765 (deeds show that Peter was in Brunswick Co., VA in 1761, and then he shows up on a deed in what was then Orange Co., NC in 1765. Chatham Co. was created out of Orange Co. in 1771.)


It appears that he may have been a participant in the American Revolution. The records of the Chatham Co., NC, Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions (1774 - 1788) show a Peter Avent as a member of the militia company commanded by Captain Elisha Cain in Chatham Co., NC, in 1772. This may be another Peter Avent, however, as a Peter Avent, Pvt, NC militia, shows up on a roster of Capt. Bynum's (Chatham Co.) company taken 7 April 1781, two years after this Peter's death.  


He married (first) Amy Massie (sister of William's wife Sarah Massie) before 3 June 1742 in VA and had the following children: William, Isham, Joseph, John, Thomas, Sarah, Elizabeth, Lucy, Mourning and Rebecca. Many of these children moved south or west: Isham was in Rowan Co., NC (the area around Salisbury, NC) by 1768, and Joseph moved to GA, where he became a soldier in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. 


Peter was in Cumberland Co., NC, by 1776 and in 1777 he took as his second wife a Mary Tomlinson. His will was probated in Northampton Co., NC, in 1779.


Little is known of Peter's descendants, and this is one of the areas of Avent genealogy most needing additional research. It is likely that many of the branches of the Avent family that are unable to prove their descent from Col. Thomas Avent are descendants of Peter Avent.