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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


David P. Ferris





       DAVID P. FERRIS. In Hamilton county, Ohio, near the corporate limits of the city of Cincinnati, on a farm, which then belonged to Gen. William Henry Harrison, David P. Ferris, the subject of this brief biographical notice was born on the eighth day of January, 1816. His parents, Isaiah and Lucinda (Crouch) Ferris, who were natives of Chautauqua county, N. Y., moved to Ohio about 1815, and settled on the farm above mentioned, where they resided a short time, during which time their son, David P., was born.


      They subsequently moved to Dearborn county, Ind., where they lived for twenty-one years, moving thence to St. Joseph county, that state, and settling near the town of Mishawaukee, where they spent the remainder of their lives. They belonged to the pioneer class of American citizens, the father being a carpenter and farmer, and passing his life in the industrious pursuit of these two callings. He served in the War of 1812, and afterwards moved into the country and helped to rescue from the wilderness of nature, the soil which he had helped to win from the savages and enemies of his country. He and his wife were for many years members of the Baptist church, and brought up their children in the path of honesty, sobriety and moral rectitude. They had twelve children, two of whom died in infancy, the remainder reaching maturity; most of them marrying and having families. These were Belinda, Parmelia, Zubie, David P., Betsie, Lucinda, Roxie, Melina, Louis and Isaiah.

       David P. Ferris was reared on a farm in Dearborn county, Ind. He received a limited common school education, most of his boyhood and youth being spent in the labors of the farm, his school days being restricted to a few months daring winter. But he grew up a good, strong, healthy boy, and if his mental equipment was not the best, he was taught habits of industry which went far towards compensating for his other disadvantages. He married just before he attained his twentieth year, and began life for himself. He settled on a farm in St. Joseph county, Ind., where he continued in agricultural pursuits for nearly twenty years, his first move being in 1856, when he came to Iowa and settled where he now lives in Delaware county. On coming to Delaware county Mr. Ferris bought eighty acres of land in section 15, Delaware township, on which he located and on which he has since resided. He has added to this, however, by other purchases, until he now owns three hundred and twenty acres lying in one body, most of which is under cultivation and otherwise well improved. The improvements represent his own labor, as he took his land when it was all raw prairie. His first dwelling was a small frame, 16x18, and his first stable was the cheap ship delap affair common in those days. In 1876 he built his present residence, which is a handsome structure, having all conveniences necessary for use and enjoyment. In 1875 he erected part of his present barn, adding to it in 1887, now having a building sufficient to house his stock and farm products. He has nice groves of trees and shrubbery, which are the result of his own industry and skill, he having set out every sprig now growing on his place. While thus looking after his own interest, he has kept pace with the progress of affairs in his township and has lent a helping hand to every worthy enterprise and purpose which have sought aid at his hands.

      On August 12,1834, Mr. Ferris married, his choice for a life companion falling on a young lady whom he had known from girlhood up, Miss Hannah A. Cook, of Dearborn county, Ind., she having been born in that county, and being a daughter of Elisha and Wealthy Cook, who wore among the early settlers of that locality. By this marriage Mr. Ferris had four children, all girls, as follows: Nancy, Rosetta; and Wealthy and Lucinda, twins. August 12, 1838, Mrs. Ferris died, and May 12, 1840, Mr. Ferris married again, taking as his second wife Miss Lucy Vaughn, of St. Joseph county, Ind., she being a native, however, of Dearborn county, that state, born in 1818, and a daughter of Jesse and Barbara Vaughn. Mr. Ferris had the misfortune to lose his second wife November 8, 1883, she having been the mother of seven children, all but one of whom survive her.  These are Mary, Rebecca E., Daniel, Gilbert, Charles, Almira (deceased) and Jay V.

      Mr. Ferris has never been a politician, but he has taken some interest in public matters.  He cast his first presidential vote for Gen. William Henry Harrison during his second candidacy.  He voted with the Whigs as long as that party maintained its organization.  On its dissolution and the formation of the republican party, he joined that organization, and has voted the republican ticket since.

      Delaware county has not within its borders a more industrious, upright, kinder hearted citizen than David P. Ferris.


~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 573-575; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson