NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
The Ferris family was originally from Leicester, England, and descended from the house of Feriers (Ferrerr, Fereis or Ferris), the progenitor of which in England was Henry de Feriers, son of Guillaume (William) de Feriers, master of the horse of the Duke of Normandy, who received from the Conqueror large grants of land in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. It is said that he took a prominent part in the battle of Hastings.
William Ferers, Earl of Derby, was a descendant, and his descendants, the Ferrers of Derby, bear these arms: Gules seven mascles or a canton ermine. The American family bears: Gules a fleur de lis or a canton ermine with a crescent for difference.
(I) Jeffrey Ferris, or Ferries, immigrant ancestor of the American family, came from England to Watertown, Mass., where he was admitted a freeman May 6, 1638. He went with the Watertown company to Wethersfield, Conn., and was there several years. He sold his farm to John Denning and removed with the first colony to Stamford, Conn., receiving ten acres in the first division of land in 1640. In 1656 he was one of the eleven men of Greenwich, Conn., who petitioned to be accepted under the jurisdiction of the New Haven colony.
Tradition tells us that his first wife was of noble birth, marrying against the wishes of her family. He married (secon) Susannah Lockwood, who died Dec. 23, 1660, widow of Robert Lockwood. His third wife was Judy Burns, who thus signed her name in the receipting for her portion of the estate March 6, 1667. His will, proved at Farifield, Conn., bequeathed to his wife Judy, son James, stepchildren Jonathan Lockwood and Mary Lockwood, son Peter's three children, and son Joseph's two children; also giving ten pounds each to four boys that he brought up.
John, born about 1630, removed to Westchester, Conn.
Peter, July 5, 1654.
Joseph, Sept. 20, 1657.
James, lived in Greenwich.
(II) Jacob Ferris, descendant of Jeffrey Ferris, was living in Plattsburgh, New York, in 1790, when the first federal census was taken, and had in his family three males over sixteen, two under that age, and five females, and was doubtless born as early as 1740. Lewis Ferris, son or near relative, was also head of a family in Plattsburgh. Ezra, John and Noah Ferris were heads of families at Crown Point, and doubtless nearly related.
From Palmer's "History of Gettysburg" we learn that Jacob Ferris was one of the early settlers, receiving 120 acres of land about 1785. His farm included all the territory east of the river and south as far as the bend in the river, near old Fort Burr. The land extended twenty-five feet into the water and included half the water power.
Jacob was one of the first town officers, elected assessor, overseer of the poor and pathmaster in 1786. Jacob built a saw mill on the east side of the river and a grist mill a short distance below it. (Deeds K, 199); also a fulling mill, dyehouse and mill house. He sold one undivided half of the water privilege and mills to Benjamin Mooers in November, 1787, and the other half in October, 1792, to Theodorus Platt. Jacob also built two other buildings on the Point.
(III) William, son of Jacob Ferris, was born about 1770, and came to Plattsburgh about 1785, when the first of the family located there, according to the town history.
He married Betsey Brewer.
William, John, Elizabeth, Eleanor and Daniel (mentioned below).
(IV) Daniel, son of William Ferris, was born in Plattsburgh about 1794, and died in 1881. He lived in Albany and was a soldier in the war of 1812.
He married Hannah, daughter of Nathaniel Emery, who was a soldier in the civil war.
Emery, Eleanor, Catherine, Alvah (mentioned below), John N., Mary Elizabeth, Nathaniel and Seymour (both died in infancy).
(V) Alvah, son of Daniel Ferris, was born in Brandon, Franklin county, N.Y.; died at Malone, N.Y. in 1901. He received a common school education. He was a farmer all his active life.
In politics he was a Republican, in religion a Methodist.
He married Almeda King, of Bangor, N.Y., daughter of John King. She is now (1910) living at Malone, N.Y.
Clarence Seymour, mentioned below.
Frank E., born Aug. 4, 1867, plumber and tinsmith at Malone, married Mae Beebe.
Edith L., teacher in Madrid high school.
(VI) Clarence Seymour, son of Alvah Ferris, was born at Malone, N.Y., June 20, 1865. He was educated in the public schools of his native town, at the Franklin Academy at Malone, and at St. Lawrence University at Canton, where he was graduated in the class of 1888. He taught school in Colton and Waddington, N.Y., from 1888 to 1891.
He studied law in the office of Hon. M. D. Beckwith and Hon. J. I. Gilbert, of Malone, and was admitted to the bar in 1891. He began to practice at Colton, but in 1897 came to Potsdam, N.Y., where he became associated with Hon. A. X. Parker, and continued until his death in August, 1909. Since then he has been without a partner in business.
He was appointed assistant district attorney of the county in January, 1900, for four years, and in 1904 was elected district attorney for four years. In 1908 he was appointed county judge by Governor Hughes, to fill an unexpired term, and in the fall of 1908 was elected for a full term.
In politics he is a Republican.
He was supervisor of the town of Colton for two years, justice of the peace for a time, and member of the board of education in Colton. He has served as a director of the People's National Bank of Potsdam seven years; is trutee of the Potsdam Reading Room; member of Racquette River Lodge of Free Masons, of Potsdam; of St. Lawrence Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; of St. Lawrence Commandery, Knights Templar, of Canton, and of Media Temple, Mystic Shrine; of Excelsior Lodge of Odd Fellows, of Potsdam, and of several college fraternities.
In religion he is a Presbyterian.
He married, in 1895, Olive Oakley Holt, born at West Potsdam, N.Y., daughter of Henry and Sybil (Rich) Oakley, and adopted daughter of Captain I. A. and Eliza (Bailey) Rich. Laura (Dart) Holt was daughter of Charles and Olive (Bailey) Dart. Eliza and Olive Bailey were daughters of Benjamin Bailey (see Bailey).
Judge and Mrs. Ferris have one child, born at Potsdam, March 3, 1901.
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