The life of William Woods Averell illustrates the political and economic geography of late 19th-century America.
Averell graduated in the lower part of his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He remained in the military for most of his life.
Prior to the Civil War, Averell served in the New Mexico Territory, incurring injuries in conflict with nations such as the Zuni, Kiowa, and Navajo.
Averell was promoted to major general during the Civil War, where he served in the Union forces and his portrait was taken by famed photographer Matthew Brady, above. Averell saw action in the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) and the Battle of Fredericksburg before being relieved of duty by Gen. Philip Sheridan. (Averell had failed to follow Sheridan's orders.)
After the war, Averell served as the consul general to British North America (now Canada) in Montreal.
Averell was also a successful entrepreneur. Taking an interest in the urban landscape, Averell made a small fortune securing contracts to pave city streets from 5th Avenue in New York City to Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
large settlement with a high population density.
(1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).
a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.
chief officer appointed by a government to protect and support the interests of the government in a foreign region or city.
person who starts and manages a business.
study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.
to acquire something, usually unwanted or unpleasant.
the geographic features of a region.
before or ahead of.
having to do with states supporting the United States (north) during the U.S. Civil War.
having to do with city life.