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Biography of Franklin Samuel Ferris



Biography of Franklin Samuel Ferris

Franklin Samuel Ferris 1835-1916 Franklin Samuel Ferris was born 12 January 1835, Washtenaw County Michigan, son of Samuel and Sally Spears Newell Ferris. The Ferrises come from a long list of Baptist Ministers, Quakers and Friends. Samuel Ferris was born in 1800 and established the Baptist Church in what is now Eaton Rapids, Eaton County Michigan. There is a stained glass window in this church in honor of him. He had two wives. The first was Anna Betsey Crissey, but the second wife, Sally Spears Newell, was the mother of Franklin. Sally’s first husband, Nathan Newell Sr., was killed when a tree he was cutting to clear a place for their little home, fell on him. Their first child, Nathan Newell Jr. was born three months later, a half-brother to Franklin. Nathan married Cornelia Gilbert and was active in the church mentioned above. Their descendants still are. Franklin, when he was 21, responded to the saying that was echoed at that time, “Go west, young man, go west.” He and two of his brothers, Alvirus and Cyrus went to California in the gold rush era, arriving in 1855. After a short scouting trip and some placer digging, they returned to New York, where they obtained machinery and tools to start a lumber and mining business. They invested $60.000 and had the materials shipped from New York around the Cape Horn, over the Isthmus of Panama and then freighted in small pieces via pack mules for 80 miles to Eureka, California, on the banks of the Klamath River. It took the brothers nearly a year to construct the lumber mill. In 1856 they moved operations to the Orleans Bar on the Klamath Ricer, then tragedy struck in 1862. There was a hurricane and flood, sweeping everything in its path into the ocean. It changed the course of the river and even the mining bar was lost, along with the homes, buildings and all machinery. This disaster caused Franklin to seek work in the mines again, ending up in Utah and Wyoming. He had another brother that had settled in Wyoming. He had a mine and sheep ranch, but shortly Franklin settled in Ophir, Utah, where he met his wife. His brother Cyrus was killed by a falling tree and Alvirus married and Indian Maid, Mary, who had a daughter and they called her Caroline Ferris. Very recently the relatives of these people have been located. Franklin married Celestia Dockstader, daughter of George and Lovira Myrl Dayton Dockstader, who had also crossed the plains. She was born 8 May 1858, in American Fork, Utah. They were married at the St. Marks Cathedral, 11 May 1874, Salt Lake, when she was just sixteen, and after the marriage, Celestia was forbidden to associate with her people because they were Mormons and Franklin disliked Mormons very much. William Sherman, one of Celestia and Franklin’s sons, joined the church in order to marry Leola Grace Scott, daughter of Josephine Streeper Grow Scott and George Larson Scott, who were all staunch Mormons, and he was disowned. While researching for this family in recent years, the writer, Josephine Leola Ferris, who is the oldest child of William Sherman and Leola Grace Ferris, located two cousins of the family, Lovira Huggart and Velda Roberts. They were the daughters of Estella, a sister of Celestia. They told her how their mother had been allowed to go take care of Celestia when one of her last babies was born and what a hard time she had. Celestia was a very frail little lady, and although she had eight children, she never carried any of them the full nine months and only three lived to maturity. Berta Sevira, born 31 January 1875, Cedar Fort, Utah, died 15 Aug 1879. George Franklin, born 30 January 1880, Utah Territory, died 18 May 1898. Cyrus, born 29 December 1881, died the same day. Herbert and Hubert, twin sons were born 23 September 1883. Herbert died the same day and Hubert lived until 20 October 1883. Emil Winfield was born 23 May 1887. He didn’t die until 29 September 1933. William Sherman was born 4 January 1885, and died 4 Feb 1973. He joined the church and had six children born in the covenant. Emil finally joined the church and was taken to the temple to do his temple work on a stretcher just a few days before he died. He had no children. Ella Charlotte, the last child, was born in 1893. She remained a Catholic and had four children, making a total of 10 grandchildren for Franklin and Celestia. Celestia had what they called “milk leg” and it never healed. She died 28 April 1904, when she was just 46. Pneumonia and exposure to weather caused her death. She was buried in the Ferris plot at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake. A few years before Franklin died, his son William Sherman couldn’t find work in Salt Lake, so he went to Idaho and found work there, but he became very ill and came home. Three days later he broke out with Small-Pox. His wife had just had her fourth baby, George Charles, and still weak, but had to have the vaccination. She also was quite ill. Franklin must have heard about the situation, because one day, the three children, Josephine Leola, Grace Lydia, and William Sherman 11, were outside playing when an old man, Franklin, put milk, butter and eggs inside the gate and said to me, Josephine, “Tell your mother to come out and get these.” I wanted to know who it was and I was told it was the grandpa, but I didn’t know what a grandpa was. The baby then contacted the disease and so the quarantine sign was up some time, but when it finally came down, the family made preparations to move to Idaho. I was still thinking about the grandpa, and I asked to go say good-bye. They tried to talk me out of the idea, but I was insistent, so I was finally put on the street-car and the conductor was told to let me off at the grandpa’s house. He was working in his yard and I pleaded with him to talk to me. I told him we were going to move away and to please say good-bye, but he wouldn’t, so I caught the next street-car and went back to the family. Two years before this incident, about the summer of 1910, William and Grace had to go away on business. The grandpa was away at the time and his daughter Ella was at home. We drove up to the house in the horse and buggy, and Ella hurried us into her bedroom and told us to be very quiet, because the grandpa would soon be home, and he must not know we were there. When we got hungry, she brought us great slices of bread and butter and jam with some milk. The jam got into Grace’s hair, and Ella worked until we fell asleep trying to get it all out. The folks picked us up next morning and the grandpa never saw. My sister Grace was named after mother. While the family was still living in Idaho, Franklin passed away with a heart attack. That was on the 21st of January 1916. William Sherman was working on some telephone lines when the message to contact him came over the line. He left immediately for Salt Lake without even telling his family he was going. So he was there to help bury his father in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery next to his mother, Celestia. William Sherman also died from a heart attack. His sister Ella Charlotte did too. Little Bertha died from typhoid fever, George Franklin from ruptured appendix, and Emil from cancer. Two of William Sherman’s children died from cancer, Sherman and Grace.  Franklin Ferris’s sister, Harriet Ferris Abel, who is buried in the Ferris plot, came to visit Franklin while he was living in his home about 2750 Highland Drive, the south end of the Jensen property. Her death date was finally found after much research and has been given to her descendents, who were very happy to get it. She had three children; Carrie M., who married and had 1 female child. She always lived in Michigan and died and is buried there. Frank S. also lived, died and is buried in Michigan. It was Carrie and Frank who I corresponded with. Clarence J. Abel went to live with an Uncle George and his wife Julia. He died and is buried in Rawlings, Wyoming. Bertha Ferris, 1st child of Franklin, who died when she was 4 years old, is buried in the City Cemetery. Emil is also buried in the City Cemetery. Ella is buried in California; William Sherman is buried in the Bountiful Cemetery. Written by Josephine Leola Ferris


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