Leaves From the Ferris Family Tree

The lineage of Jeffrey Ferris in America

Peter’s wife, the unknown Squire

Elizabeth Page "Molly" Stark 1737-1814

To represent all pioneer women in Vermont, here is the statue of Molly Stark found in Wilmington, VT. Photo by rickpilot_2000 on Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

The genealogy records are bare of information. A woman named “unknown Squire” married Peter Ferris and bore him some children, including one Squire Ferris, before dying. Who was “unknown Squire”? Peter is in the lineage of Jeffrey Ferris and his son, Joseph.

Peter Ferris, Jr. was born on April 21, 1725, in Greenwich, Connecticut. He died on April 7, 1816, in Rutland, Vermont. He is buried in the Adams Family Cemetery in Panton, Vermont. He was 90 years old. He had two or three or four wives and at least eight children. (3.1.2.3) PETER FERRIS

Upon further review, I have placed Hannah Benedict as a wife of Peter, based upon the records of the South Salem Church online.

He is believed to have lived in Crum El­bow, Dutchess County, New York from 1755 to 1763. In 1766 or 1767, he and his family moved to the eastern shore of Lake Ticonderoga, in what is now Vermont, and were among the earliest white settlers in the region. In 1778, British and Loyalist troops discovered him, and his son, Squire, hunting near Crown Point and they were captured and taken to prison in Canada. http://www.ferristree.com/updates/joseph1.htm Also: Vermont Encyclopedia page 123.

We know virtually nothing about his first wife, other than her maiden name was Squire. One record says that she was the “daughter of Jonathan Squire of Cornwall, Connecticut and Nine Partners.” https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/9H6C-473 The History of Cornwall has Jonathan Squire as one of the very first settlers (about 1740), having arrived from Plainfield.

Jonathan Squires, an original purchaser of two rights, was another enterprising pioneer from Plainfield. In 1739 he settled on Cream Hill, southwest from Mr. Douglas’s place, on the road (long since discontinued) leading from Rexford’s to the grist-mill. … Jonathan Squires was a man of activity, and was frequently employed in the public business of the town. But few of the first settlers were more wealthy than he.

Jonathan Squires is recorded in the town of Patterson (Franklin), Putnam (Dutchess) County, New York, October 1, 1798. Historical and Genealogical Record Dutchess and Putnam Counties

Let’s begin our search with the assumption that “unknown Squire” was born about 1725. That would place her marriage to Peter Ferris in the neighborhood of the birth of her first child Jacob, in 1747, age 22 or 23 perhaps. Peter married Esther Dudley Everest in 1785, so that would put an upper limit on her date of death.

Jonathan Squire(s) had no daughters that could possibly be “unknown Squire”, nor did his father, also Jonathan. Looking at the cousins and aunts, the pool is extremely limited.

Timeline:

  • 1725 – Peter Ferris born
  • unk – Sally / Polly / Nancy Ferris born?
  • 1747 – Jacob Ferris born
  • 1752 – Lewis Ferris born
  • Aug 25 1752 – Mary Ferris born (updated)
  • 1757 – Peter Ferris (son of Peter) born
  • 1763 – John Ferris born
  • 1763 – Squire Ferris born?
  • 1765 – date Squire Ferris said family arrived in Panton, VT, with him at age 2
  • 1767 – Squire Ferris born?
  • May 11, 1769 – Peter Ferris marries Hannah Benedict in S. Salem, NY (this Peter Ferris?)
  • October 13, 1776 – American fleet under Benedict Arnold fight English on west shore of Lake Champlain. Americans retreat to Ferris homestead (Ferris Bay, thereafter Arnolds Bay) on east shore. Soldiers and civilians retreat to Fort Ticonderoga.
  • June 1777 – Peter and Squire return to Panton to find British had destroyed their farm
  • 1778 – Carleton’s raid. English sweep shores of Lake Champlain and send 244 men and boys to imprisonment in Canada.
  • 1778 to 1781 – Peter held captive in Canada
  • 1785 – Peter marries Esther Dudley
  • 1816 – Peter Ferris dies

Based upon this timeline, Peter had no children with Hannah Benedict or Ester Dudley. That leaves several issues unresolved. How many wives did Peter have that bore him children? Who is “unknown Squire”? Oh, one more question. Was Squire Ferris a big, fat liar? Most of this story relies on the statements that he made over the years in support of his bid to receive a Revolutionary War pension from Congress.

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