That old time religion

The Jeffrey Ferris lineage is associated with several religions in the first 200 years of American life. Members were often heavy donors to their churches. The clergy attracted more than one Ferris man, and they served the Lord valiantly wherever they went.

The first Ferrises, Jeffrey and his immediate family, were Congregationalists. That was, for all intents and purposes, the official religion of Connecticut. Still, they began to wander to other Protestant faiths with the Methodists and Baptists attracting the most attention from the family in the first few generations. Later, the family would embrace Presbyterianism, and a few would become Episcopalian.

One outlier, and there’s always one, was Benjamin G. Ferris (1802-1891) of Ithaca, NY. He’s the great-great-great-grandson of Jeffrey. Ben became a very prominent citizen of early Ithaca, as a lawyer, Tompkins County District Attorney, and was elected to several other local offices. He served Millard Fillmore as Secretary of the Utah Territory for six months in 1852.

Ben was a Swedenborgian. The beliefs of that faith were somewhat popular among the learned of the time.

Ferrises holding more common religious views include:

  • Enoch Ferris (1762-1830) – Baptist minister

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    , ordained 1797

  • Silvester Ferris (1784-1869) – Baptist minister
  • Henry Ransom Ferris (1793-1843) – Methodist minister
  • Isaac Ferris (1794-1860) – Baptist minister
  • Ebenezer Ferris (1794-1849) – Methodist minister
  • Ira Ferris (1804-1869) – Methodist minister
  • Ambrose F. Ferris (1816-1873) – Methodist minister
  • Charles Grandison Ferris (1827-1888) – Methodist minister, Civil War chaplain
  • Daniel Ostrander Ferris (1837-1896) – Methodist Episcopal minister
  • George Irwin Ferris (1907-1990) – Baptist minister
  • Raymond Tuttle Ferris (1913-1974) – Episcopal minister

I’m sure I will find more. Many of these men were traveling preachers, ministering to several congregations along a circuit. Others founded churches with their fellow pioneers. I have found no Roman Catholics as yet, though there may be a Mormon or two yet undiscovered given some of the folks who moved west after the Civil War.

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