Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 129, page(s) 711-712


Ernest Leroy Averill was born January 22, 1883, in Branford, Connecticut, a son of George M. and Harriet E. Averill. He died on September 13, 1942.

Colonel Averill completed his preliminary education in the public schools in Branford and New Haven, where he graduated from the high school with honors. Attending Yale University, he was graduated in 1905 and admitted to the bar of the state of Connecticut in that year. He at once entered into the general practice of law and became one of the most prominent members of his profession in the state of Connecticut.

His professional and public career, both as a lawyer and a soldier, has been of the utmost value to this state. He was intensely interested in military affairs from an early age and, along with his other activities, he took time to participate intensively in the general affairs of the state. His work as a member of the general council of the American Bar Association was outstanding. As deputy attorney general of the state of Connecticut he became especially interested in the affairs of the National Association of Attorneys General, acting as its secretary and later as its vice president and president.

His most outstanding legal effort for the state of Connecticut was his careful preparation and trial of the controversy between the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut concerning the diversion of the Connecticut River tributaries, and he devoted a great part of his time to the investigation and research of interstate water problems.

Closely paralleling his legal activities was his military service. He served as an ensign in the Connecticut Naval Militia and, from 1911 to the date of his decease, in the National Guard of the state of Connecticut, rising from the rank of a private to a brigadier general. In 1916 he served on the Mexican border and from 1917 to 1920 he was on active duty in France in the World War as captain of field artillery and assistant judge advocate. He was also very active in the First Company Governor's Foot Guard, from which he retired as its major commandant shortly prior to his death.

Another of his outstanding legal accomplishments revolved around his consistent championship of state rights in banking, and for many years and until his appointment as state director for selective service he was chief counsel for the Connecticut Bankers Association.

Many of the laws in our statutes are the result of study and preparation given to questions presented to the state legislature in the sessions of 1923 to 1927, during the latter term of which Colonel Averill was the chairman of the judiciary committee and the House leader. His complete understanding of the problems of the people of his native state particularly fitted him for the preparation of laws for their guidance.

As a lawyer, in his dealings with his clients Colonel Averill kept uppermost in his mind their problems and a proper solution in their interests. Too frequently the question of compensation was entirely disregarded. His devotion to their interests marked him as a faithful counsellor and advocate.

During the last years of his life he devoted himself assiduously to the question of the draft of our youth and took no small part in the formulation of the selective service system, which, as state director, he administered during its entire operation in Connecticut to the time of his passing. Criticism of any fault in his fellowmen never passed his lips, nor would he countenance it in others if it was within his power to prevent.

He enjoyed a very happy home life with a charming family consisting of his widow, Lulu Johnson Averill; two daughters, Mrs. Curtis Brockelman and Mrs. Roger Smith; and two sons, Major William P. Averill and George Averill.

Of Colonel Averill, it may well be said that his was a life fully consecrated to the welfare of his nation, his state and his fellowmen.