Waightstill Avery (1741-1821) is the namesake of Avery County. He was born in Connecticut and moved to North Carolina about 1770. Avery was the first attorney-general for North Carolina, and once fought a duel with Andrew Jackson. He had extensive land-holdings in his namesake county.
William C. Newland
William C. Newland (1860-1938) - was a mayor of Lenoir and served in both the North Carolina House and Senate. He was the 11th Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina (1909-1913) and died in Banner Elk.
Samuel Franklin, Sr.
Samuel Franklin, Sr. (1780-1857) is reportedly the great-nephew of Benjamin Franklin. He is buried at Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church.
Hugh Morton (1921-2006) is known for many accomplishments. He owned Grandfather Mountain, helped save a battleship, and took over a half million photographs.
Tommy Burleson (1952 - ), at 7'2", holds many claims to fame. He played on the 1972 Olympic Team, earning a silver medal, and helped NC State University win the 1974 NCAA National Championship. Burleson went on to play for the Seattle SuperSonics, the Kansas Kings, and the Atlanta Hawks.
Horton Cooper (1892-1986) was not only a World War I veteran and educator, but wrote two histories of Avery County as well.
Gloria Houston (1941-2016) was an author of popular children's stories based on local history. Two of her best known are The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree and My Great Aunt Arizona.
Howard Marmon (1876-1943) was an industrialist and automotive innovator. A car he designed, the Marmon Wasp, won the first Indy 500. He was born in Indiana and spent many summers in Avery County. He owned property in Pineola.
John B. Palmer
John B. Palmer (1826-1893) was colonel of the 58th North Carolina Troops, and later a railroad president. He lived along the Linville River during the Civil War era.
Walter W. Lenoir
Walter W. Lenoir (1823-1890) was a Confederate officer during the Civil War. He later owned most of Grandfather Mountain.
Paul Johnson (1957 - ) was born in Newland and is the head football coach at Georgia Tech.
Joe L. Hartley
Joe L. Hartley (1870-1966) started the Singing on the Mountain in 1924.
Thomas Ferebee (1918-2000) was from Mocksville, North Carolina. He was a student at Lees-McRae College prior to WWII. During the war, Major Ferebee was the bombardier aboard the Enola Gay when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
Shepherd Monroe Dugger
Shepherd Monroe Dugger (1854-1938) grew up in the Banner Elk area. He was the area's first historian, penning War Trails of the Blue Ridge, The Balsam Groves of the Grandfather Mountain, and numerous articles for regional newspapers.
William "Keith" Blalock
William "Keith" Blalock (1837-1913) lived in Watauga County at the time of the Civil War. He first joined the 26th North Carolina Troops, was discharged and scouted for a couple of years, and then joined the 10th Michigan Cavalry. He moved to Montezuma many years later.
Malinda Sarah Pritchard Blalock
Malinda Sarah Pritchard Blalock (1839-1903) lived near Blowing Rock at the time of the Civil War. She joined the 26th North Carolina Troops under the guise of "Sam Blalock," and served for about four weeks until she was discharged. She moved to Montezuma many years later.
Dr. Mary Martin Sloop
Dr. Mary Martin Sloop (1873-1962) was a medical doctor, educator, author, co-founder of the Sloop Memorial Hospital, and founder of the Crossnore School. She was named 1951 Mother-of-the Year.
Lulu Bell and Scotty Wiseman
Lulu Bell Wiseman (1913-1999) and Scotty Wiseman (1908-1981) were one of the major county music acts of the 1930s and 1940s. She was voted the most popular radio entertainer in 1936, and served two terms in the NC General Assembly. He was born in the Ingalls area. Scotty both collected ballads and penned many original songs.
Myron Houston (1907-1993) was owner of the Sunnybrook Store near the Ingalls community.
Aunt Zona's (1876-1969) real name was Arizona Ester Hughes Houston. She was an early Avery County educator. In 1953, she was honored as the North Carolina Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Ebenezer Childs
Dr. Ebenezer Childs (1764-1862) was the first trained physician in what became Avery County.