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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Thomas E. Ferrier

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[This information is from pp. 111-114 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Portrait of Thomas E. Ferrier

Portrait: Thomas E. Ferrier

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Thomas E. Ferrier, one of the representative business men of Catskill, was born in the town of Warwick, Orange County, N. Y., on April 15, 1821, son of Joseph and Hannah W. (Edsall) Ferrier. According to the best information obtainable his first progenitors in this country were French Huguenots, who during revolutionary or religious disturbances in France emigrated to Ireland and thence to America.

His great-grandfather was Thomas Ferrier, who was born in 1705, and died in 1792. This Thomas removed from Connecticut to Orange County, New York, settling near Amity. His wife, whose name in maidenhood was Hester Lucky, died in 1796. Their family consisted of three daughters and one son — Sarah, Hester, Jane, and Robert. Sarah married David Perkins, Hester married Benjamin Carpenter, and Jane became the wife of William Owens.

Robert Ferrier, who was the grandfather of Thomas E., and who succeeded to the possession of the homestead farm, was born in 1762, and died in 1822. He married Mary Wilcox, said to have been of German ancestry, who was born in 1764, and died in 1836. They had a family of ten children, namely: William, born in 1786, who died in 1873; Anna, born in 1788, who died in 1858; Joseph (father of the subject of this sketch), born in 1791, who died in 1871; Thomas, born in 1793, who died in 1839; David, who was born in 1795; Hester, born in 1798, who died in 1889; Elizabeth, who was born in 1800; Robert, born in 1802, who died in 1872; Michael J., who was born in 1805; and Sarah M., born in 1807, who died in 1821, at the age of fourteen years. William married Hannah Samons, and settled at Ypsilanti, Mich. Anna married Daniel Nanny, and settled in the town of Warwick, N. Y. Joseph married Hannah W. Edsall, and settled in the town of Warwick, N. Y. Thomas married Sarah Dennison, and settled on the Ferrier homestead. David married Eliza Cain, and settled first in Yates County, New York, whence he removed subsequently to Sunbury, Delaware County, Ohio. Hester became the wife of Samuel Conklin, and settled in Yates County, New York. Elizabeth married David Carr, and settled at Wautage, Sussex County, N. J. Robert married Emily Tobey, and settled at Dundee, Yates County, N. Y. Michael J. married Mary Ann Neighbor, and went to reside at Swartswood, Sussex County, N. J.

Joseph Ferrier, who was brought up to agricultural life, settled on a farm adjoining the homestead. His wife, in maidenhood Hannah W. Edsall, was of English ancestry. They reared the following children: John M., born in 1816, married Frances Coleman in 1841, and died in 1843 as the result of an accident. Sarah M., born in 1818, who married Matthew Bailey in 1840, after his death became the wife of James Thompson in 1862, died August 10, 1899. Thomas E., born in 1821, is the subject of this sketch. Louisa, born in 1824, married Cornelius J. Jones in 1845, and after his death married for her second husband William Walling. She died in 1858. Almira, born in 1827, married Cornelius J. Laziar in 1844, and is still living. Edsall, born in 1831, married Anna M. Hummel in 1859, and is now one of the faculty of Lafayette College at Easton, Pa. Robert, born in 1835, married Cecelia D. Jones, and died in 1877.

Thomas E. Ferrier when in his fifteenth year left home and went to Edenville, where he remained two and a half years, working in a country store. He then attended the district school for a year, after which he taught school for a year at Bellvale in the town of Warwick. Then, returning home, he was employed during the summer of 1840 on his father's farm. In the fall of that year he left home for a trip through the West with the view of gaining a knowledge of the country and of possibly finding a desirable place in which to settle. Railroads were few in those days; and much or most of his journey was made by steamboat, canal, or stage. Going to Newburg, he travelled by steamboat to Albany, and thence to Buffalo by way of the Erie Canal. After spending a day or two at Buffalo and Niagara Falls, he went by steamboat on Lake Erie to Cleveland, Ohio, and thence by canal to Columbus, Ohio. Then, after staying a few days with an uncle at Sunbury, he took the stage from Columbus to Dayton, and from there travelled by canal to Cincinnati. From that place he went by steamboat on the Ohio River to Louisville, Ky., where he stopped for a few days, and then went by boat down the Ohio to the Mississippi and up that river to St. Louis, Mo., in which city he remained for two weeks. From St. Louis he went on up the river to Quincy, Ill., and after looking about in that neighborhood for a week or two he took a school in Pike County, which he taught until the following spring. He then returned home by way of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to Pittsburg, and through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, partly by canal and partly by rail, to New York City, and thence to Newburg by boat, arriving home in April, 1841. He then resumed work on his father's farm, following that occupation during the summer and teaching school in the winter in the neighboring school districts. In 1845, when in his twenty-fifth year, he was married to Elizabeth, daughter of John W. and Dorothy Wheeler (Rogers) Vandererf, and settled on a farm of ninety acres, adjoining his father's, which had formerly formed a part of his grandfather's homestead. Here he followed an agricultural life for twenty years. Then, selling out, he removed to Catskill, N. Y., where, in company with his brother Robert, who had preceded him to that place by about five years, he engaged in the manufacture of brick. Shortly afterward they enlarged their sphere of operations by engaging in building in Brooklyn, N. Y., Robert removing to New York to look after their interests there, while Thomas remained at Catskill to superintend the manufacture and shipping of the bricks. After the great financial panic of 1873, which proved very disastrous to their building operations, Robert returned to Catskill in very poor health, and soon afterward died. Thomas, having previously purchased his brother's interest in the brickyard and other property, continued to carry on business alone until 1882, when he took his son-in-law, Percival Golden, into partnership; and the firm has since been conducted under the name of Ferrier & Golden. Mr. Ferrier has been a director of the Catskill National Bank for the last twenty years or more, and is now vice-president of that institution. He is president of the Catskill Building and Loan Association and treasurer of the Catskill Rural Cemetery Association. He is also largely interested in the Catskill Knitting Mill, owning a three-eighths interest, which concern, one of the largest and most important in the town, gives employment to from one hundred and fifty to one hundred and sixty hands.

Mr. Ferrier is a Republican in politics. In 1885 he was elected Supervisor of the town, and, being subsequently re-elected to the same office, served therein for five years. He also was elected County Treasurer, in which office he served three years, declining a renomination on account of advancing age, he being then in his seventy-fifth year. In religion a Presbyterian, he has been for a number of years a trustee and Elder of the church of that denomination in Catskill. His reputation is that of a business man of more than average ability and of the strictest integrity, and also that of a citizen who has rendered useful service to the town and whose aid and influence can always be counted upon in favor of any practical measures for the moral or physical betterment of the community.

Mr. and Mrs. Ferrier have been the parents of three children, namely: Hannah Elizabeth, born in May, 1849, who married in 1872 Hiram W. Lane, and has one child, Herbert A. Lane, born in 1870; Willis Wentworth, born in October, 1850, who died in 1871, as the result of an accident; and Mary Wheeler, born in 1854, who married Percival Golden in 1875, and has had four children — Lizzie F. Golden, born in 1876, who died in 1885, Willis P. Golden, born in 1882, May Marshall and Mabel French Golden, twins, born in 1887.

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