THE GREEN BOOK
NARRATIVES AND RECORDS TO THE PRESENT TIME. 1888.
(page numbers in 1888 Green book in [square brackets])
EARLY SETTLEMENT OF THE FERREES (LE FIERES)
IN PEQUA (PIQUAW) VALLEY, PA.
-- GENEALOGICAL RECORDS, ETC.
The following additional information of the Ferree family branch is derived from an address, with appendix, by Redmond Conyngham, delivered at Paradise, Pa., 1842; and from data furnished by Samuel P. Ferree, Philadelphia, a descendant of the Piques family.
Extracts, etc. -- "The celebrated Edict of Nantes
granted to Protestants security for their rights, but it was revoked by
Louis XIV. on the 23d day of October, 1685. * *
In 1686 the Huguenots landed at New York. Some went to Esopus, on
the North river, others to New Rochelle, and some to Philadelphia.
“Among the sufferers in France at that eventful period was the
family of Le Fiere, or Ferree. John Le Fiere had married a woman of rare
endowments, Mary Warrimbere. Their children were Daniel, Philip, John,
Catharine, Mary, Jane. On the destruction of the Protestant
Establishments, the family removed to Strasburg, on the Rhine, then, for
greater security, to Lindau, a walled town in lake Constance, on the
borders of Switzerland. Here they remained two years, but on the death
of her husband Mary went to Holland. The character of this lady was
tinctured with uncommon resolution and intrepidity. She had left the
land of her nativity forever; the tie of love of country had been rudely
broken, and she resolved to seek the benevolent founder of Pennsylvania.
With this view, accompanied by her children, she went to London in the
year 1704; from thence she visited William Penn at his residence in
Kensington, where he resided to be near Queen Anne, of whom he was a
“William Penn became interested for the unfortunate Mary Le
Fiere, moved by the sad tale of her sufferings and the vicissitudes she
had undergone. He received her into his house, introduced her
 to the Queen, who, commiserating her condition,
promised her aid on emigrating to the `Land of Penn.' William Penn
procured lodgings for her in the vicinity, where she remained until the
`vessel bound to the North river' was ready to sail with emigrants. The
Queen provided her with ploughs, harrows, axes, hatchets, saws,
hand-mill for grinding corn, etc. Mary Le Fiere arrived at New York
about eight months afterwards, and first visited Esopus, then went to
Philadelphia, taking with her letters to Penn's agent, with a grant for
two thousand acres of land. She found the Huguenots dissatisfied with
their situation, the vineyards* not proving profitable, which they
resolved to abandon and join Madame Le Fiere in the proposed settlement
among the Piquaws, whose king had been a favorite of Penn's, and the
location was strenuously recommended to Madame Le Fiere by the kind
agent. The little band of emigrants reached the valley of the Piquaws.
The foliage of the forests was rich and diversified. There was something
singularly beautiful and picturesque in the disposition of the Indian
cottages amidst coppices of luxuriant hazel extending far and wide. The
great flats of Pequea, on which king Tanawa resided, presented the
appearance of a cultivated meadow surrounding the several Indian cabins.
All was stillness; not a sound to disturb the general tranquility.
Suddenly a group of Indians stood before them. The fears of the
emigrants were soon dispelled, for, in broken English, they bid them
welcome. The Piquaws supplied the infant settlement with provisions.
King Tanawa gave them a kind reception. The great flats of Pequea were
natural meadows on which grass grew luxuriantly, which proved a great
source of comfort to the new settlers. The Indians were scattered along
the banks of the Pequea, every wigwam being governed by a chief who was
subject to Tanawa. Tanawa had known William Penn, and called him the
`Indians' friend.' He frequently reminded the settlers of the promise
made by Penn, the great father from the wide waters, when they intruded
upon his rights."
*Some of the Huguenots settled on the Schuylkill, near Philadelphia, where they had a vineyard. Not far distant another attempt to cultivate the grape was made by De La None, Le Fevre, Dubois, Boileau, Larroux, etc.
Isaac Le Fevre, whose life and history has been prominently
with that of the Ferrees, it is stated, was born in 1669, and in
1709 came to Philadelphia from Esopus, having married Catharine Ferree
soon after their arrival in this country. Mr. Conyngham, in his address,
refers to him as follows: “And now let me turn. your attention to a
youth of fourteen; his parents had perished in the religious wars which
had, desolated France -- an orphan -- friendless -- travelled through
Holland -- went to London where he Made his intentions known to William
Penn. Alone? Oh! no; he had one companion -- his consolator in Europe --
in Pennsylvania -- his Bible. That young lad was Isaac Le Fevre. That
Bible is still preserved by the family of Le Fevre as a most precious
In reference to the early settlement at Pequea it is stated that
Tanawa, the king of the Piquaws, had sold the land under his
jurisdiction to Penn, and, therefore, threw no impediment in the way of
its settlement. At the time of the Ferree settlement in his dominion
Mary Le Fiere took a present from Penn's agent to. Tanawa, and thus
secured his friendship.
“She had a grant of 2,000 acres. Daniel Ferree had a promisory
grant of 2,000 acres."
“Philip Ferree married Leah, the daughter of Abraham Dubois,
and was presented with the grant held by Dubois for 2,000, acres."
“Isaac Le Fevre held a grant for 2,000 acres, and also obtained
an additional grant by his marriage with Catharine Ferree. Their son was
the first white child born in the valley of the Pequea."
“Mary Le Fiere, or Ferree, vested in trustees a piece of land
near Paradise as a burial place for the use of the settlement. It is
neatly walled, and kept in good condition by the neighbors whose
ancestors repose within its limits,"
“The name of Mary Ferree will long be held in grateful
remembrance by her numerous and warm-hearted progeny."
It is further stated, that “a number of Irish emigrants settled
early on the hazel land, made ditches, and planted hedges of privet for
fences from the want of trees. They mostly removed to the southern part
of the county (Lancaster) where they formed what was called the
`Scotch-Irish Settlement,' having disposed of their improvements on the
Pequea to the Germans."
The following is an extract from a letter of Governor Pownall
descriptive of Pequea Valley in 1754: “I passed through the hills over
a rough road, six miles and a-half to the widow Caldwell's at the `Hat,'
and then entered the beautiful valley of Pequea. The vale is formed by
the Valley Hill on the south and the Welsh Mountain on the north. My
next stage was six miles and a half to the `Red Lion,' then to
Conestoga, a large stream, four miles, thence to Lancaster, two miles.
Lancaster is a wealthy and thriving town, about five hundred
inhabitants, manufacturing saddle, pack-saddles, guns -- Indian traders,
“Pequa affords a pleasant prospect -- a rich landscape --
farmhouses surrounded with apple and peach trees. The farmers,
proprietors, not tenants. On every farm a lime-kiln, and the land
adapted for the best of wheat. On inquiry, the finest farms are all
owned by Switzers. Land of farms sells readily at three pounds an acre.
On the east side of the hills at five pounds per acre."
The town of Lancaster, thus described, was situated between the
Conewago and Pequea settlements, and the custom then prevailing of
holding fairs, for the diversion of the people, brought these early
settlers together at Lancaster. It was at one of these fairs that the
young German yeoman, David Shriver, first met Rebecca Ferree, who was
receiving instruction at a school in Lancaster, and their subsequent
marriage joined in goodly fellowship these vigorous representative
families of their respective settlements and nationalities.
Samuel P. Ferree, of Philadelphia, has kindly furnished the
records of several branches of the Ferree family, which are annexed to
this narrative, and which evidence its present numerical importance and
respectability. It is a matter of interest, in this connection, to note
the similarity of the growth and extension of the family throughout the
state and country with that of the Shriver family.
It would be interesting to follow these records throughout all
the branches, showing in what manner the descendants have formed
alliances, and widened their connections and influence East
West. It is a praiseworthy fact that the family has a member in Mr.
Ferree loyal to its history and traditions.
Among matters of interest in his possession is a carefully
prepared plot of the original Ferree estate in Pequea valley, indicating
its subsequent apportionment among the members. And also a marriage
license bond in the interest of the union of Andrew Ferree and Mary
Ferree which reads as follows: “Know all men by these presents, that
Andrew Ferree and Abraham Le Fevre, both of Lancaster county, yeomen,
are held firmly bound unto Joseph Reed, Esquire, President of the
Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Captain
General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the same, in the sum of
four thousand pounds, to be paid to the said Joseph Reed, Esq., his
certain Attorney, etc., etc. -- Dated the 8th of July, 1780. The conditions
of this obligation are such that if there shall not hereafter appear any
lawful let or impediment by reason of any pre-contract consanguinity,
affinity, or any other just cause whatsoever, but that the above
mentioned Andrew Ferree and Mary Ferree may lawfully marry," etc.
These old-time marriage safeguards are worthy of consideration in these
The Ferree family, according to the above data, must have reached this country in 1704 or 1705. Allowing for the visit to Esophus, North river, New York, the settlement at Pequea was made a year or two later. Mary Ferree, as stated, died in 1716. Her descendants have been connected, by marriage, with a number of the well-known families of the State, some of whose ancestors identified with the Pequa settlement dating from 1718 onward.
RETURN TO GREEN BOOK TABLE OF CONTENTS
RETURN TO UNION MILLS HOMESTEAD HOME PAGE
PAGE MAINTAINED BY J. D. KLEIN. LAST MODIFIED 03/24/02 .