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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1050-1051 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The Ferris family was originally from Leicestershire, England, and descended from the House of Ferriers, Ferren, Ferreis or Ferris, the first member of which in England was Henry de Feriers, the son of Guetchelme de Feriers, master of the house of the Duke of Normandy, who obtained of William the Conqueror large grants of lands in the counties of Stafford, Derby and Leicester. It is said that he took an active part in the battle of Hastings, having invaded England with William the Conqueror. One of the founders of the family of Ferris in America is Jeffrey, who was of Watertown, Massachusetts, and admitted a freeman May 6, 1635. His descendants settled in Westchester and Dutchess counties, New York. The earliest known ancestor of the Ferris family of Hudson Falls, New York, herein recorded, is Zachariah Ferris, grandfather of Reed Ferris, of "Quaker Hill." Whether Zachariah was related to Jeffrey Ferris is a matter of conjecture. It is more than probable that he was, as the sons of Jeffrey, John, Peter, Joseph and James all married and reared large families, and descendants are found in the same localities a few years later.

(I) Zachariah Ferris was of Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1675, and was made a freeman in 1676. He married and had children:

  1. Zachariah, baptized February 6, 1676;
  2. Sarah, baptized November 12, 1676;
  3. Hannah, baptized July 18, 1680.

(II) Zachariah (2), son of Zachariah (1,) Ferris, was baptized in Charlestown, Massachusetts, February 6, 1676. He married and had a son Benjamin. He came to New Milford in 1711, and is buried at Lanesville, Connecticut.

(III) Benjamin, son of Zachariah (2) Ferris, was a settler of "Quaker Hill" near Pawling, Dutchess county, New York. He became a Quaker preacher and went to New Milford. "Quaker Hill" was so called from the early settlement by the Quakers of the range of hills lying east of Pawling station, bordering on the state of Connecticut. In 1742 the first meeting was established at New Milford, the second at Oblong. In a "List of Heads of Families" in Oblong Monthly Meeting, 1761, is found "Benjamin Ferris and wife."

(IV) Reed, son of Benjamin Ferris, was a resident of the town of Pawling, Dutchess county, New York. His house, later known as the "Kirby House" at the foot of "Quaker Hill," he built in 1771. During the winter of 1778 a detachment of American troops was stationed in Pawling, and for a time General Washington had his headquarters at the Ferris house. Mr. Ferris was a substantial farmer, and his house was like his means, large and ample. It was then considered the "biggest thing" for miles around. Mrs. Akin, mother of the late Judge Akin, and a daughter of Reed Ferris, used to tell the story thus "One day two aides de camp rode up to the door, and inquiring for Mr. Ferris told him that General Washington would like to make his home there for a while. Mr. Ferris consented, and to notify all intruders that this was the home of the commander-in-chief, the officers fastened a paper to the front door reading, 'Headquarters of General Washington.' Mrs. Ferris and the girls at once began preparing the best room for their illustrious guest, who soon arrived and was shown to the south chamber, ever more to be known as Washington's room." Within the historic "Ferris House" occurred in 1778 the trial of General Philip Schuyler "for neglect of duty at Ticonderoga." He was fully acquitted. General Lincoln, president of the court, made the "House" his headquarters. The trial lasted three days; only three witnesses were called, General St. Clair, Lieutenant-Colonel Varick and Major Lansing. After General Schuyler closed his defense the verdict of acquittal was promptly given. Reed Ferris died at "Quaker Hill," March, 1804. He married and had ten children.

(V) James, son of Reed Ferris, was of Dutchess county, New York, where he married Mary Corkins, and had nine children:

  1. Benjamin, married Celesta Bok;
  2. Justin, married Abigail Hand;
  3. John, married Matilda ————;
  4. Cyrus, see forward;
  5. Sally, married Benjamin Sisson;
  6. Anice, married John Derby;
  7. Lydia, married ———— Prouty;
  8. Phoebe, married Reed Church;
  9. Betsey, married Jacob Rogers.

(VI) Cyrus, son of James and Mary (Corkins) Ferris, was born in Queensbury, New York, in 1800, died at Sandy Hill, Washington county, New York, 1871. He was a clothier and followed that business all his life. He was a Whig and Republican, supporting them with a great deal of ardor. He married Diana, born 1807, died 1874, daughter of Richard Rich. Children:

  1. Walter A., born April 27, 1827; married Eliza Kingsley; served in the civil war.
  2. Lyman Rich, see forward.
  3. Maria, born May 20, 1832; married Noble W. Clark; children:
    1. Ella, married, August 18, 1870, Louis Kellenny;
    2. Sophia (deceased), married Henry Winser;
    3. William B., married Sarah Gibson.
  4. Celestia, born May 28, 1834; married, May, 1860, Russell C. Hall; children: Anna, Martha, Catherine, Charles.
  5. Maria, born 1836, died 1873; married Rufus C. Gardner.
  6. Charles Edwin, born December 25, 1844 married Cora Rogers.

(VII) Lyman Rich, son of Cyrus and Diana (Rich) Ferris, was born at Comstock, Washington county, New York, 1830, died at Hudson Falls, 1888. He was educated in the public schools, and learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed all his active life. He was a Republican in politics, and a member of the Baptist church. He married Minerva A., daughter of Jacob and Delilah (Fairchild) Miller. Children:

  1. Emma G., died in childhood;
  2. George Alfred, see forward;
  3. Lizzie M., died in infancy;
  4. James Miller, born July 16, 1860; married Adeline Van Wormer, of Fort Ann, New York, and has a daughter Helen;
  5. Walter F., died in childhood;
  6. Noble Clark, died September 9, 1898; married Jennie C. Brooks.

(VIII) George Alfred, son of Lyman Rich and Minerva A. (Miller) Ferris, was born March 26, 1856, in Sandy Hill (now Hudson Falls), Washington county, New York. He was educated in the public schools of that village, and early in life was a teacher in the district school. He then entered the employ of Allen Brothers, paper manufacturers, as bookkeeper, and for thirty-one years held various clerical and confidential positions with that company, continuing until Allen Brothers sold their plant and business to the Union Bag & Paper Company, in 1906. Since then he has engaged in real estate and other enterprises. He is secretary of the Washington County Fair Association, and has served on the village boards of health and education. He is prominent in the Masonic order, in which he has deservedly attained high honors. He is past master of Sandy Hill Lodge, No. 372, Free and Accepted Masons; past high priest of Sandy Hill Chapter, No. 189, Royal Arch Masons; member of Cryptic Council, Royal and Select Masons, of Saratoga Springs; eminent commander of Calvary Commandery, No. 69, Knights Templar, of Hudson Falls. He has served as assistant grand lecturer of the 20th district, and two terms as district deputy grand master of the same district of New York. In Scottish Rite Masonry he has attained the thirty-second degree in the Sovereign Consistory of Albany; and Iron Grotto, No. 14, M. O. V. P. E. R., of Glens Falls. He is also a member of Oriental Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. of Troy, New York, and president of the Masonic Temple Association of Hudson Falls. He is a Republican in politics. He is an active member of Baptist church, member of board of trustees of same. He married, August 10, 1881, in Hudson Falls, Harriet Eliza, daughter of John Caspar and Julia (Austin) Schermerhorn, a descendant of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn, of Holland, and Schenectady, New York, through his son Ryer. She descends through Jan Schermerhorn and his wife Catherine Knickerbocker; Cornelius R. Schermerhorn, born 1779, and his wife Catherine Sanders, daughter of Henry Sanders; John Caspar Schermerhorn, born July 6, 1809, died December 15, 1862, and his wife Julia Austin, married May 23, 1855. Julia Austin is a daughter of Jonathan and Maria (Reynolds) Austin, who had children: Harriet Eliza, married George A. Ferris; Charles A., Charles Irwin, Maria Reynolds, the latter three all dying in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. George A. Ferris have two children,

  1. Evelyn Marguerite, taught in schools of Hudson Falls; now a student in Teacher's College, Columbia University;
  2. George S., student in mechanical engineering department, University of Pennsylvania.

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