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Benton County Commissioners of the pre-territorial period 1846 – 1848

Note: The dates contained in the parenthesis are the dates of service in office.

Representatives to the Territorial Legislature

Joseph Conant Avery (1849)

Avery was born in Lucerne County, Pennsylvania on June 9, 1817 and educated in the county seat of Wilkes-Barre prior to moving west to Illinois in 1839. In 1841, he married Martha Marsh and five years later crossed the plains to settle the area of present-day Corvallis in the spring of 1846. In the winter of 1850, Avery platted a town site from a portion of his land which he initially named Marysville and later changed to Corvallis, to avoid being mistaken for Marysville, California (possibly after a shipment of gold was sent to the wrong city and never recovered). In 1849, he built a store building and began a mercantile business which he operated for the next 23 years. Avery was very active in the politics of the County for over a quarter of a century, serving several terms as a member of the first Territorial Legislature for Oregon, and as Postal Agent during the administration of President James Buchanan. Early residents of the County remembered him as a generous person who performed many charitable deeds, acts of kindness, and showed great hospitality to early emigrants to Oregon. Avery died on June 16, 1876 in Benton County. One of his business locations still stands today as Robinett’s Hardware at 400 SW 2nd Street, and is the oldest commercial building in Corvallis.

Abram Nelson Locke (1849, 1852 – 1854, 1856)

Locke was born in Virginia on June 11. He married Harriet Sennet on January 5, 1836 and settled in Benton County north of Corvallis in 1847. Locke died on October 14, 1872 in Benton County. In addition to his two terms as Probate Judge and Commissioner, he served as one of the Representatives to the Territorial Legislature and was one of the first petitioners for a survey of roads in the County.  As Sheriff, he served from 1860-1861. Locke also donated land for the cemetery that bears his name, which is one of the oldest in the state.

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