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William Woods Averell Edit Profile

army officer , inventor

William Woods Averell, American army officer, inventor. awarded $700,000 in patent infringement suit against Barbour Asphalt Paving Co.


Averell, William Woods was born on November 5, 1832 in Cameron, New York, United States. Son of Hiram and Huldah (Hemenway) Averell.


Graduated from the United States Military Academy, 1855. Attended Cavalry School for Practice, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 1857.


Drug clerk, Bath, New York, until circa 1851. Commissioned brevet Second lieutenant of mounted rifles United States Army, circa 1855. Stationed Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, 1855-1856, ordered to frontier in New Mexico, 1857.

Received leave of absence due to wounds, 1859. Became assistant adjutant general on General Andrew Porter’s staff, 1861, served in 1st Battle of Bull Run. Appointed colonel 3d Pennsylvania Cavalry, United States Volunteers, August 1861.

Lead charge with his brigade in Battle of 2d Manassas, March 1862. Served at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, White Oak Swamp (all Virginia), 1862. Commissioned captain United States Army, appointed brigadier general United States Volunteers, 1862.

Made raids in Virginia, December 1862. In command of 2d Cavalry Division at Battle of Kelly’s Ford (Virginia), 1863, brevetted major United States Army for this action. Served in Stoneman’s Raid, Richmond, Virginia, May 1863, then transferred to West Virginia.

Brevetted lieutenant colonel after Battle of Droop Mountain, 1863. Took part in raids in Tennessee, brevetted colonel United States Army. Commanded 2d Cavalry Division in several battles under General Philip Henry Sheridan, 1864.

Brevetted brigadier general and major general United States Army, 1865, resigned 1865. Appointed United States consul general for British North America at Montreal, 1865-1868. Had interests in manufacturing and engineering.

Invented and patented asphalt paving, 1879, insulating conduits for wires and conductors, 1884-1885. Inspector general Soldiers’ Home, Bath, New York, 1880-1898. Awarded $700,000 in patent infringement suit against Barbour Asphalt Paving Company, 1898.


Married Kezia Hayward, September 24, 1885.

Hiram Averell

Huldah (Hemenway) Averell

Kezia Hayward