Franklin C. Avery was born on April 8, 1849, in Ledyard, Cayuga County, New York. He joined the Union Colony and moved to Greeley in 1870. While there, he assisted in surveying and platting the town and its streets as well as locating and laying out ditches. In 1871 he moved to Laporte and began cattle ranching. In 1872, the Agricultural Colony chose him as engineer to lay out the streets of the new town of Fort Collins. Larimer County elected him county surveyor in that year and reelected him again in 1874. In addition to his long involvement in ranching and real estate, Avery served as a member of the Fort Collins city council for many years. He founded the Larimer County Bank in 1880/1881, which later became First National Bank, and helped to erect the town’s opera house.

Avery was also very involved in real estate, ranching, water, and irrigation in Northern Colorado. A founding member of the Larimer County Ditch Company in 1881, he was also a founding board member of Water Supply and Storage Company, serving on its Board of Directors and as president for many years. He conceived of the idea to bring water from the Laramie River across the Continental Divide into Chambers Lake and the Cache la Poudre River Basin, a project realized when the company built the Skyline Ditch in the 1890s. [1. Evadene Burris Swanson, Fort Collins Yesterdays (Fort Collins: Evadene Burris Swanson, 1993), 111, 122, 172-175; Ansel Watrous, History of Larimer County Colorado (The Old Army Press, 1911), 345.]