or “Fancy meeting you, here!”
This is the story of Harlo Hakes Ferris and Rubey Statira Ferris. It is a love story and among the most unusual that you will find in the Jeffrey Ferris lineage.
Harlo Hakes Ferris (1886-1983) was born in Wisconsin to William Ferris and Carrie Hakes. He became a minister of the Congregational Church, worked in several non-clerical jobs and was a YMCA mission director overseas during World War I.
Reubey Statira Ferris (1886-1955) was born in Michigan to Jay Floyd Ferris and Rubey Statira Tomlinson. She was trained at the Chicago Art Institute and operated a successful commercial art business in Chicago from 1907 to about 1913.
The couple is related and both are from the Jeffrey Ferris lineage. Reubey is from the lineage of Jeffrey’s son John while Harlo is from son Peter. They are seventh cousins, twice removed.
In 1913, Reubey traveled to China to work for the American Bible Society. She lived with her sister, Mary Lydia Ferris Swan and her husband, Dr. Alfred Swan. He was working for the Shanghai YMCA.
Dr. Swan noticed on a list of church visitors that a man named Ferris had arrived. He thought it would be a great jest to invite him to supper and see his sister-in-law’s reaction. The joke was on him, however, as the two fell in love.
I’m sure there were frantic letters home to establish that they were not close kin. Harlo went on to Mumbai, Bombay, but the two wrote each other. Finally, Harlo popped the question and Reubey replied with a one word telegram “Coming”.
The couple was married in Mumbai in 1919. Harlo Junior was born in 1920. The couple would have another son and a daughter, and live and minister in Wisconsin until Reubey died in 1955.
Reubey is responsible for the design of several notable stained glass works in the First (Park) Congregational Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan. A mural she painted decorates the Milton Congregational Church, Milton, Wisconsin. An inventory in 2004 documented over 120 of her paintings.