Grove Farm – Home to Many a Ferris

Ferris Grange or Grove Farm

Ferris Grange or Grove Farm, on Ferris Ave. Photo from 1903.

In 1667, Thomas Hunt was given a patent, a land grant, in Westchester County, New York. Some of that land became known as Grove Farm. The area would eventually become part of the Bronx and then part of New York City. It is quite near, but not on, Throgs Neck. It passed through the Hunt family until 1756. At that time, it became the property of Marianne Hunt, who married John Ferris (1733-1814).

John Ferris was the great-grandson of Jeffrey Ferris through his son

, John. He would be the first, but certainly not the last Ferris to live and prosper at Grove Farm. In some texts, it is known as West Farm.

Elijah Ferris (1768-1842), John’s son, would next occupy the family manor. The lands would be divided between his three sons. William Livingston Ferris (1805-1886) and John Haviland Ferris (1799-1862) would receive portions of the extensive holdings.

Elijah Ferris property

Elijah Ferris property from county map, Oct. 1839. Click for a much larger image.

His son, Charlton Ferris (1810-1871) would raise his family here, as well. He would receive the majority of the lands. After Charlton, the trail of Ferris ownership gets a little cold but I will continue to research it.

Journals of Elizabeth Seaman Leggett

if you read the times of the old war, you will know something of the Hoboys and Skinners scamps who stole from friend and foe alike, landless, reckless – who prowled about the farm homes seeking what they might not only devour but to carry off the cattle and sheep, chickens anything. So many homes were left unprotected with women and a few servants, perhaps slaves in those days. The home was a mile from the main road or from any neighbor. The farm itself was quite a territory. You know in those days farms were not bought by the acre but by the mile so Grove Farm extended for many miles. When I was a child and heard my uncles tell, I thought, it embraced all of the West Chester, well it was a grand place for those fellows to attack – …

Now too there came tramping a set of these outlaws and came into this middle kitchen; our little grandmother (Marianna “Myanna” Hunt b. c 1738, d. 9 Jul 1809) knew no fear – but she knew well enough what this sudden incoming meant, in a flash, she thought of the barns, horses, cows, sheep – everything. A big big fire blazing on the hearth with great inviting wooden arm chairs – how good it did look and feel to those fellows after their tramp in the snow. They waited no invitation to be seated and the wooden bowl full of foamy dough and the smell of the frying cakes – grandmother gave her kitchen of (?) to a girl who and sent her into the kitchen proper where some servants had come in to toast by the fire and said, “Sit down boys, and we will have some cider for you.”

The boys felt sure of their game and the smell of the cakes, and the prospect of cheer beguiled them and good little grandmother knew how to make the best of a bad situation. It was not the first time that these gangs had been about. The cider was hot – set by the fire to heat – good strong cider, with a drop in it. Always there was a plan laid, if an attack threatened.

Oh, the grand-mothers of the war time. She joked with the boys saying you’ve caught us this time, you are more lucky than those fellow who came around last, but be easy with us. I’ll treat you well, so don’t destroy what you don’t take, you know the Quakers are peaceable and make friends with everybody, even those who called enemies – but in the providence of things all are one in the sight of the Father.

The cider began to work, the hot good cakes did their share and being so softlyen sconced and knowing the man of the house was away, they ate and frank and snoozed a little and the time went on. Finally they went to the barns – to find that all the live stock had been driven to West Chester, and a small army of neighbors had come with guns to help their neighbor – they had been fairly beaten and no blood shed – then our little grandmother laid her hands on her hips and laughed for she was a merry woman, and old Sam, the master par excellence among the servants, said, “We did better then the masta could.” And for his ready wit was filled with cider and dough-nuts.

Much, much more at the link.


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  1. I would like to know if the charlton ferris house was relocated onto st helenas campus…or is the ferris house there now a different residence?…917dash741dash2768 dorothy poggi

    1. I know that. Many houses were physically moved around this area. I went inside the house on the Campus that had the sign on it. I know it was used for the Nuns home for many years. The school doesn’t seem to have an answer.

  2. There is a Ferris House on the Campus of Monsignor Scanlan HS…right across Lafayette Ave. from where the Charlton Ferris hOuse…was…I am trying to find out which Ferris lived there?

    1. I contacted the Bronx Historical Society and they did not know anything of a Ferris House on the actual Scanlan HS grounds

      1. I wonder if the Ferris family donated a house for the Nuns to live in. There is a sign noting “Ferris House”. Maybe this was a donation to what was at that time the West section of St. Josephs School for the deaf and dumb across Lafayette from the Charlton Ferris Home.

  3. By the way I used to play in the empty well left behind by the Charlton Ferris House….I once caught a snake and chased my Girlfriend down to Brush ave. into her bathroom…LOL

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