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BENSON FERRIS born March 21, 1794 Greenwich and died July 11, 1882 Tarrytown NY; married January 23, 1822 Maria Acker born February 27, 1797 and died March 14, 1881; 1879 Mr. Benson Ferris became president of the Tarrytown National Bank; ancestors of Mr. Ferris were an old New England family who settled in Greenwich, Conn; his grandfather, Oliver Ferris, was an officer in the Revolution, and served under General Montgomery in the invasion of Canada and was present in 1775, at the siege and capture of St. Johns. At the time he was quartermaster of his regiment, with the rank of lieutenant, but was afterwards promoted to a captaincy. In the spring of 1802 Oliver Ferris removed from Greenwich to Westchester County, and purchased from Major Jacob Van Tassel the farm on the banks of the Hudson which, through the genius of Washington Irving, has become famous as "Wolfert's Roost." Oliver Ferris married Abigail, daughter of Joha Lockwood, of Greenwich, Conn. Their children were Elizabeth, wife of Aaron Close; Abigail, wife of Daniel Dutcher; Martha, wife of John Jewell; Letty, wife of Daniel Ackerman; Sarah, wife of Smith Scofield; Benson; and Mary, wife of Jacob Storms. Benson Ferris born March 21, 1794, and came with his father from his native town in Connecticut. He early acquired the rudiments of a good English education, and was for some years under the tuition of the Rev. Thomas Gibson Smith, pastor of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow. Under him he commenced the study of Latin, in which he became proficient, and was especially fond of Virgil, to whose writings he frequently referred. On January 23, 1822, he married Maria (February 27, 1797 March 14, 1881), daughter of Captain Abraham Acker (a lineal descendant of Wolfert Acker, the founder of Wolfert's Roost), and continued to live at the old homestead, "Wolfert's Roost," until 1835, when he sold the house and land adjoining to Washington Irving, who has given it an immortal fame. See He then built a new house on the west side of Broadway, a little north of Sunnyside Lane. In 1856 he sold this place and removed to Tarrytown, where he died July 11, 1882. During his life he held nearly all the offices of the town of Greenburgh, and was for twenty years a justice of the peace, and in this office used all the weight of his influence to prevent rather than to promote litigation. He was a prominent member of the Old Dutch Church and of the Second Reformed Church, in which he was an elder for many years. He was universally es­teemed in the community as a man of exemplary Christian life and distinguished usefulness. Mr. Ferris left four children   Wil­liam A., Benson, Jemima and Oliver. Of these children, Benson (, the second son, and the subject of this sketch, born at the old homestead, July 16, 1825. His early educa­tion was obtained at the old school house, a relic of the olden time, which stood on the road running east from Sunnyside Lane to the Saw Mill River, about one hundred yards east of Broadway. He afterwards attended the Tarrytown Institute, which was then under the able care of Professor William G. Weston, A.M. After leav­ing this institution he was assistant for two years at the Pauld­ing Institute, of which Professor Weston was also principal, and was for some time teacher in the old school house, which he first attended. He then started a store at Irvington, which was the first one opened at that place, then known as "Dearman". In 1856 he removed to Tarrytown, which has since been his home, and three years later become engaged in the hardware business, in which he continued till 1861. He has been, during the whole of his busi­ness life, closely connected with the public affairs of the town and county. While living at Irvington he was a member of the board of education, and has held the same position at Tarrytown. In 1866 William H. Robertson, then county judge, appointed him school commissioner for the second Dis­trict of Westchester County. In 1879 he was elected a trustee of the village of Tar­rytown. In 1865 he was elected trustee of the Westchester County Savings Bank, and has held the offices of secretary, vice president and president, in which last position he still remains. He was one of the originators of the Tarrytown National Bank, and has been a director since its organization. In 1855 he was one of sixteen who organized the Republican Party in Westchester County, and was appointed, in 1858, one of the executive com­mittee of the party, at a county convention presided over by Horace Greeley, who was his friend and confidant. This position he held for many years. Mr. Ferris married, in 1875, Mrs. Mary P. Dutcher, of Providence, R.I. In 1879 he was elected a trustee of the village of Tar­rytown. There are few men who have been more actively employed in promoting the public and social interests of Tarrytown. He was one of the original incorporators of the Young Men's Lyceum, in 1869, and has served as one of its directors until the present time. He became a director of the Tarrytown and Irvington Union Gas Light Company in 1864, and has been secretary, vice president, and president. He is a member of the Westchester His­torical Society. In 1861 a committee was appointed by the citizens of Tar­rytown to assist the families of soldiers who had volunteered for the war. Of this committee Mr. Ferris was an active member, and many thousands of dollars were raised and distributed under this direction and that of his associates.

Additional information on Sleepy Hollow and Wolfert's Roost from the History of Westchester County. Later on this seat of empire of the wizard sachem came into the possession of Wolfert Acker, one of the privy counselors of Peter Stuyvesant. Afterwards it became the keep or stronghold of Jacob Van Tassel, a valiant Dutchman of old stock of Van Tassels, who abound in Westchester County. It was in his time, during the Revolutionary War, a rallying place for the patriots of Tar­rytown, Petticoat Lane and Sleepy Hollow, who formed a brother­hood for mutual defense and safety. Jacob was a leader in all-daring enterprises, and, as Mr. Irving says, was ready to take a part in any scout or scrimmage by land or water. The portentous bang of his great goose gun carried terror to the heart of the marauding foe. Up to the time of the Revolution the place had formed a part of the old Manor of Philipsburgh, and was occupied by Jacob Van Tassel as a tenant under his feudal lord, Frederick Philipse, but when the latter went over to the King the land was forfeited to the State, and on December 6, 1785, the place was conveyed to Jacob in fee simple by the Commissioners of Forfei­tures. The following is a copy of the original deed, now the property of Benson Ferris, Esq., president of the Westchester County Savings Bank:

THIS INDENTURE made the Sixth Day of December in the Tenth Year of the Independence of the State of New York, and in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Five, be­tween Isaac Stoutenburgh and Philip Van Cortlandt, Esquires, Com­missioners of Forfeitures for the Southern District of said State, appointed in pursuance of an Act of the Legislature of the said State, entitled An Act for the Speedy Sale of the confis­cated and forfeited Estates within this State, and for other pur­poses therein mentioned, pass the Twelfth Day of May, One thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty four, of the one Part, and Jacob Van Tassel, of the County of West Chester, Farmer, of the other part, WITNESSETH, That the said Isaac Stoutenburgh and Philip Van Cortlandt Commissioners as aforesaid, by Virtue of the Power and authority to them in and by the said Act granted; and for and in consideration of the sum of Five Hundred Pounds, Lawful money of the said State, to them in hand paid by the said Jacob Van Tassel, the Receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have granted, bargained, sold, Enfeoffed and confirmed, and by these Presents DO Grant, Bargain, Sell, Enfeoff, and confirm unto the said Jacob Van Tassel and to his Heirs and Assigns, ALL that equal half part of the same is now in the possession of the said Jacob Vantassel, of That certain Farm of land situate, lying and being in the Manor of Philipsburgh and County of West Chester BOUNDED Northerly by Land now or late in the possession of Glode Requa, Easterly by land now or late in the possession of Cor­nelius Van Tassel, Southerly by Land now or late in the posses­sion of Abraham Acker, and westerly by Hudson River, CONTAINING One hundred and eighty five Acres More of less, FORFEITED to the people of the said State by the Attainder of Frederick Phillips, late of the said County, Esquire; And all and singular, the Es­tate, Right, Title and Interest, whether in Possession, Revers­ion, or Remainder of, in or to the said Premises, which, in Con­sequence of any Conviction or Attainder is become forfeited, or attached to, or vested in the People of the said State, TO HAVE and TO HOLD all and singular the said Premises hereby Granted, Bargained, Sold, Enfeoffed and Confirmed, with the Appurtenances, unto the said Jacob Van Tassel and to his Heirs and Assigns to the only proper Use, Benefit and Behoof of the said Jacob Van Tassel and his Heirs and Assigns forever. IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Parties to these Presents have hereunto interchangeably set their Hands and Seals, the Date and Year first above written.
Sealed and Delivered ISAAC STOUTENBURGH (seal)

in the Presence of us,



The place remained in Jacob Van Tassel's possession until March 31, 1802, when it was conveyed by deed, together with another parcel of land near by, to Oliver Ferris of Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut, the whole containing one hundred and fifty acres of land, for the sum of five thousand dollars. Oliver Ferris was the father of the Benson Ferris, at one time clerk of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, who assisted the dominie by reading the Scriptures and giving out the hymns in public worship, and who afterwards was for many years an honored elder in the Second Reformed Church of Tarrytown.


Born to them were:

( WILLIAM DUTCHER AKER FERRIS born January 22, 1823

( BENSON FERRIS, JR. (1825-1899) (subject of above paper with photograph); married widow Mary P. Dutcher in 1875 [her maiden name unk]

( JEMIMA AKER FERRIS born May 26, 1828

( OLIVER FERRIS was baptized September 15, 1832 and died 1902; President, Tarrytown National Bank

( MARY FERRIS born August 24, 1802 Greenburgh NY (?); married Captain Jacob Storms and born to them was:

( ABIGAIL MARY STORMS born September 2, 1825 and died March 3, 1847 NY; married December 29, 1842 in Tarrytown NY at her parents’ house, Captain George Comb See born August 24, 1818 NYC and died November 12, 1873 St Louis MO; buried Ottumwa IA; he was a mason and architect; after Abigail’s death, George married twice and had offspring from each marriage; and born to Abigail and George were:

( JOHN JACOB SEE born October 23, 1843 Tarrytown NY and died April 28, 1934 Sautelle CA; brick contractor and builder; married 1st April 7, 1868 Ellen Grace Hill born in Brooklyn NY and died March 28, 1924 Skagit City WA; married 2d September 18, 1918 Ida May Wing born July 9, 1880 and died September 6, 1934 Los Angeles CA; and born to him and Ellen were:

( ALBERT GEIGER SEE born March 24, 1869 Springfield MO and died February 28, 1941 Mt Vernon WA; 1910 brick mason

( ANNIE ABIGAIL SEE born October 17, 1873 Springfield MO; 1910 professional nurse

( NORA GRACE SEE born August 15, 1877 Waco TX and died September 27, 1969 Anacortes WA; married January 31, 1904 in Whatcom WA, James Walter Hastie, farmer [son of Thomas Pier & Clara Taylor (Scott) Hastie – both born in England] and born to them were:




( MARY ELIZABETH SEE born July 14, 1846 and died June 25, 1847

( SARAH FERRIS born March 3, 1756 and died December 29, 1759 Greenwich

Born to Josiah and his second wife, Mary, were:

( SARAH FERRIS (Sally) born July 10, 1764; married July 28, 1791 as his 2d wife, Noah Waring [son of Jonathan & Mary (Richards) Waring] born July 29, 1757 Stamford CT and died on or prior to February 1799; a Private in Captain Charles Smith's Company, 9th Militia Regiment, under Colonel John Mead, serving from November 10, 1776 to January 11, 1777; born July 29, 1757 and died February 5, 1799; Sally was made administratix of his estate, at Stamford; and born to Sally and Noah were:

( BETSY WARING born May 24, 1792 Stamford CT

( MARILDA WARING (Matilda) born June 18, 1794 Stamford CT – in 1810 David Tupper was appointed as Marilda’s guardian

( NOAH WARING born May 4, 1796 Stamford CT – in 1810 David Tupper was appointed as Noah’s guardian – died c1824 Stamford.

( NANCY WARING born c1798 and must have died as an infant because she is not listed in the letters of administration of her father’s estate when he died in February 1799

( ABSALOM FERRIS (Absolom) born October 4, 1793 and died May 22, 1835/55 Philipstown NY; buried Cold Spring Cemetery, Putnam Co NY; served in the War of 1812; married Phebe Nelson [dau of Justus and Letitia (Horton) Nelson] born August 4, 1805 and died February 1, 1872; and born to them were [Absalom was survived by the following - there may have been more who died before their father]:

( SYLVANUS FERRIS born c1822 Cold Spring, Putnam, NY and died before 1880 since he is not listed in the 1880 census; married Permelia (Amelia) (Pamella) Warren born May 1836 and died after 1900; Sylvanus and Permelia are listed in the 1860 Census in Cold Spring - he was a carpenter; in the 1870 Census they were in Philipstown and she is listed as Amelia; in the 1880 census she was living in Nelsonville; in the 1900 census, she was living in Nelsonville with her son James. From the Centennial 1870-1970 of the United Methodist Church, Cold Spring NY: Lightning struck twice during a violent electric storm on the night of July 7, 1938. One bolt damaged steeple of the historic North Highlands Methodist Church, while another bolt hit a flagpole on the property of Mrs. Elizabeth Ferris in Rock Street, Cold Spring. Only the fast work of the Nelsonville and Cold Spring Fire Departments saved the church from destruction. It was an odd coincidence that both the church and the flagpole were struck, since the former had been erected by the late Sylvanus Ferris, Sr., building contractor with William LaDue, and the flagpole had been put up by his son, the late Sylvanus W. Ferris, Jr. The pole had been brought to Cold Spring from Constitution Island many years before. Born to them were purported nine kids; three of which are:

( SYLVANUS WARREN FERRIS, JR. born November 19, 1861 Phillipstown, Putnam, NY and died March 9, 1925 (Engineer's Hospital, West Point NY) Cold Spring, Putnam, NY; buried Ferris Plot, Cold Spring Cemetery, Philipstown NY; at one time resided Cold Spring NY; married c1881 Elizabeth Emma Cuslee [dau of Benjamin & Adelia (Jones) Cuslee] born July 26, 1861 West Hurley, Ulster, NY and died July 9, 1952; buried with Sylvanus. Note: Through the Cuslee connection, this line also connects to the (1) John Ferris line. Listed in the 1870 Census with his parents as being 8 years old; listed in the 1880 census as being 18 years old and an apprentice in foundry; listed in the 1900 census as being 39 year old pattern maker who owned a mortgaged house, married 9 years, wife entitled ‘Lizzie’ who is listed as a mother of 3, 2 living; 1910 census lists Sylvanus as 49 year old carpenter in foundry residing in Cold Spring Railroad Ave.; 1920 census lists Sylvanus as 58 years owning free house, residing Cold Spring Village Rock Street. From the Centennial 1870-1970 of the United Methodist Church, Cold Spring NY: ‘ river tragedy occurred on Monday morning, March 9, 1925. Shortly after 6 o'clock Sylvanus Ferris and Row Merante started to row across the Hudson to their carpentry jobs at West Point. The river was practically free of ice when they started from this side. Nearing Constitution Island, according to reports, they probably realized that an approaching floe of ice would overtake them, so they head for the island. Believing that they had reached their destination in time, observers paid no further heed. Some minutes later the boat was seen floating alone with the ice but with no occupants. A general alarm was then sent out, and the enlisted men assembled on the shore of West Point noticed that one man was clinging to the boat. After nearly three hours of careful paddling through the floating ice, four enlisted men in two canoes found Mr. Ferris tied to the boat. The unconscious Mr. Ferris was rushed to Engineer's Hospital but he died at 10:45. There was no trace of Mr. Merante. He had lived on Garden Street and was survived by a widow and three small children. Mr. Ferris, living in what had once been the Rock Street School, was survived by his widow, his son Warren, his daughter Mrs. Roger Free (Thompson), and a brother James F. Ferris. Though not given to much talking, Sylvanus was always ready to discuss local history. He was a member of the Putnam County Historical Society and of Martelaer's Rock Association (reorganized as the Constitution Island Association in 1925). Born to them were:

( MILDRED VALENTINE FERRIS born May 16, 1893 NY and died January (16) 22, 1988; buried Cold Spring Cemetery, Philipstown NY; married 1st before March 9, 1925 Andreanus Roderick Free ‘Roger’ born c1900; married 2d after 1945 William Arthur Mitchell (1876-1954); and married 3d September 12, 1956 at Cold Spring, James W. Thompson; no offspring to any of the three marriages

( WARREN CUSLEE FERRIS born August 1895 (1899) NY and died May 30, 1954; in the 1920 census, he resided with his parents in Cold Spring; unmarried. From the Beacon News, October 6, 1936: Warren Ferris Runs for Putnam County Treasurer. Warren Cuslee Ferris, who is seeking the office of Putnam County Treasurer on the Democratic ticket, is a banker. He holds a position with the Chase National Bank in New York City. A descendant of the Warren, Nelson, Davenport, and Garrison families who were among Philipstown's first settlers, Mr. Ferris lives in Cold Spring. Mr. Ferris has a wide acquaintenance throughout Putnam County because of his active interest in veteran affairs. He has served as Commander of the George A. Casey Post, American Legion, Cold Spring, and as adjutant of the Putnam County American Legion. A member of the United States Aviation Corps, he served in France during the First World War, and is a member of the national veteran organization known as the Forty and Eight. Mr. Ferris is a former secretary of the Methodist Sunday school in Cold Spring and is a member of various other organizations. Reuben Ferris, one of the candidate’s illustrious ancestors, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Seventh Dutchess Company in the Revolutionary War. Mr. Ferris' grandfather, Sylvanus Ferris, an outstanding contractor in his day, was the builder of the St. Mary’s Church in the Highlands in Cold Spring. Sylvanias Warren Ferris, Mr. Ferris’ father, also was a carpenter and builder. His mother, Elizabeth Cuslee Ferris is descended from the famous Jones family in Long Island.


( LILLIAN FERRIS born April 1869; married Charles T. Valentine and they resided in Pawling NY; listed in the 1870 census with her parents as being one year old; listed in the 1880 census as being 11 years old; 1900 census she is listed as 31 years of age having been married 7 years to Charles - a proofreader - and they were childless

( JAMES F. FERRIS born November 1867/70; at one time resided at Cold Spring NY; not listed in the 1870 census with his parents so he may have been born after the census, which would make the 1870 birthdate more reasonable, but he was listed in the 1880 census as being 12 years old, so, apparently he born in the 1868 timeframe; 1900 census he was listed as a 32-year-old stationary engineer; married Mary {maiden name unk}

( MARY FERRIS born July 27, 1824 and died November 22, 1885; married Alza Hill and born to them were:

( NANCY HILL born May 11, 1844; married March 18, 1897 John Smith; no offspring

( PHEBE JANE HILL born February 23, 1846 and died August 30, 1903; unmarried

( FERRIS HILL born December 3, 1848

( ELIZA JANE HILL born June 15, 1852; married George H. Speedling

( WILLIAM HILL born December 10, 1854; unmarried

( ATHALINDA HILL (twin) born March 26, 1859; unmarried

( SARAH C. HILL (twin) born March 26, 1859; married George Merritt

( ALZA A. HILL born July 16, 1861

( MARY L. HILL born January 15, 1865

( JOSEPH N. HILL born April 27, 1868

( ATHALINDA FERRIS born June 22, 1830 and died January 8, 1858; buried Cold Spring Cemetery; married a Mr. Mosher


( WALTER FERRIS died unmarried Tarrytown NY

( RICHARD FERRIS [perhaps the Richard Ferrys who witness will of Constant King of Roxbury NJ June 20, 1778]

( RANDOLPH FERRIS born February 22, 1779 and died November 21 (1), 1856 Madison NJ; age 77y 9m; married November 17/18, 1797 Amy Sherwood born December 1, 1778 Connecticut and died October 6, 1848; age 69y 10m; there is disagreement among Randolph's descendants to the number of children he and Amy had. The following are listed as known and supposed [it is noted that one source has this twig, spelled Farris]:

( HICKFORD FERRIS born May 7th, 1799; this marriage and subsequent offspring is speculation (see Note beginning of chapter); married May 4, 1819 Maria Stiles [dau of Moses & Hannah (Weaver) Stiles]; and born to them were:

( HANNAH STILES died unmarried Newark NJ

( MARIA STILES resided Newark NJ 1886

( SALLY ANN STILES married a Mr. Gosgrove; had several children, all of whom died young, except one, who married and moved to New Haven CT

( FLOYD FERRIS born May 7, 1801

( RACHEL FERRIS born August 28, 1803

( ELIZABETH FERRIS born December 14, 1805

( EMILY MATILDA FERRIS (supposed) born July 5, 1806; married Rev. James C. Richards and they were members of the Morristown Presbyterian Church

( MASON FERRIS born January 5, 1808 and died November 1899 Madison NJ; married January 8, 1833 Elizabeth C Lindsley (1809-1880); resided in Chatham and Madison NJ; and born to them were:

( JOHN DENNIS FERRIS born 1835 [The LDS has a John Dennis Ferris married to Delia Francis Harris and having a son John Dennis Ferris being born March 21, 1862 at Union Hill. - don't know if this is the same one.]


( EZEKIEL ARCHER FERRIS born May 15, 1810 and baptized June 7, 1829 Morristown NJ Presbyterian Church

( CHARLES A. FERRIS (supposed) born April 23, 1812; married January 18, 1833 Ann Cherry; members of the Morristown Presbyterian Church

( WILLIAM H. FERRIS born September 1, 1814; ?married Mariah Clark Hand?


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