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Land Grant

"It was evening of an autumn day when the Huguenots reached the verge of a hill commanding the view of the valley of the Pequea. It was a woodland scene, a forest inhabited by wild beasts, for no indication of civilized life was very near. Scattered along the Pequea among the dark green haze could be discerned the Indian wigwams, the smoke issuing therefrom in its spiral form. No sound was heard but the songs of the birds. In silence they contemplated the beautiful prospect which Nature presented to their view."
Unknown Author

  • News of the New World
    What were our ancestors thinking and feeling as they contemplated that beautiful view?
    Was it joy, having at last reached the end of their long journey; excitement, owning their own land; peace, now being able to worship as they pleased; apprehension, not knowing what lay ahead? Certainly fear as they were greeted by the Indians, which as it turned out , were friendly. William Penn had worked hard to achieve that with his letters of friendship, gifts, payment for the land, and a treaty to assure all settlers would be able to live in peace.

Discontented could be a good way to describe the Huguenots in the Palatinate during the Ferree family's time there. This discontent could be blamed on a number of causes: war devastation, heavy taxation, severe winter weather in 1708, religious quarrels, desire for land on the part of the elderly, and desire for adventure on the part of the young. England was strongly promoting a program of colonial development in the New World. Queen Anne during her reign (1702-1714) issued an invitation to the Protestants of the Palatine to come to England for colonization in America. Considerable money was expended to assist the emigrants willing to come. There was much advertising done by the English proprietors of the colonies. Phamphlets describing the climate and life in America were distributed through all of the Rhine Valley. Pennsylvania was the best advertised and William Penn could be considered the most successful in that respect telling of the land he was selling that would ensure buyers of political asylum and religious freedom. The Ferree family, after hearing of this, likely began thinking about making plans to journey to England and the New World. A young couple they had befriended, Mathias and Catherine Schleiermacher (Slaymaker) would travel with them. It is not certain when they arrived in England or how long they stayed. While there the Ferrees and Schleiermachers joined a colony of other Palatine emigrants. There is a Ferree tradition that sometime after her arrival in London Madame met William Penn who introduced her to Queen Anne. It is not known for certain if such a meeting actually took place. It is possible Madame and others in a group dealt directly with Penn's agents to arrange the purchase of land. Regardless, she was approved for a grant, given permission to colonize, provided farming implements and other necessities, and given passage to America.

  • The Long Wait

Madame's son, Daniel Ferree, and son-in-law, Isaac Lefevre, and their families set sail for America in October 1708. They settled in New Paltz, New York, where Isaac had family, and awaited arrival of Madame and her other children. Church records indicate she was still in London in May of 1709. Ship records have been lost so it is not certain, but thought, she arrived in America sometime during the summer of 1710, and soon after joined Daniel and Isaac in New Paltz. They had been there about two years when word was received their Pequea Valley land had been surveyed. They left New Paltz in the spring of 1712 and traveled to Philadelphia to present their papers to Penn's agents. On September 10, 1712, William Penn's Land Commissioners granted and confirmed 2000 acres of land to Daniel Ferree and Isaac Lefevre for the consideration of 140 pounds plus 10 pounds interest. This was done with the understanding that the land was intended for the whole family and would be divided among members of the family, each paying their proportionate part of the purchase price. On November 7, 1712, Marie Warenbuer paid a year's quitrent on the tract and received a receipt for it in her own name. However, legally, she never owned any ground in Pennsylvania although this land has always been known as the Marie Ferree Tract.

  • Purchase Records

The minutes of the Land Commissioners of the Province of Pennsylvania state that the late Commissioners, having granted ten thousand acres of land to the Palatines by their warrant dated 8 October, 1710, in pursuance thereof, there was laid out to Martin Kendig (besides the 2,000 acres already confirmed to him and paid for) the like quantity of 2,000 acres towards Susquehannah, of which Surveyor General has made a return. The said Martin, now appearing, desires the said land to be granted to Maria Warenbuer, widow, for whom the same was taken up or intended, and is to pay the consideration for it. All the parties must have been present at Philadelphia before the Land Commissioners at this time - that is, Martin Kendig, Mary Fiere, Daniel Ferree, her son, and Isaac LeFever, her son-in-law, for the record continues: "But, upon further consideration of the matter, it is agreed among themselves that the said land shall be confirmed to Daniel Ferree and Isaac LeFever, two of the said widow's sons, and the consideration money, viz: L140, at L7 P.hund'd, by agreement, having been for some time due, but is now paid down in one sum 'tis agreed they shall pay only ten pounds for interest, that is L150 in the whole." These entries were made on September 10, 1712. The records, however, now in the office of the Secretary of Internal Affairs, show the following to be the exact situation:

"On October 10, 1710, John Rudolph Bundley, Martin Kindig, and other Germans made application for 10,000 acres to be laid out to them twenty miles easterly of Conestogoe, near the head of Pequea creek. On the same day a warrant was secured by Martin Kendig (Kindig) for 2,000 acres and six per cent for roads and roadways." This was the tract he transferred to Daniel Ferree and Isaac LeFever, and for which a patent was issued to them on September 10, 1712. It is filed in Patent Book A, volume 4, page 303, and in part reads:

Whereas my late Commissioners of Property, by their warrant bearing date ye Tenth day of ye Eighth Month in ye year One thousand Seven Hundred and Tenn, granted unto John Rudolph Bundley and Martin Kindig & divers other Germans, late inhabitants in or near ye Palatinate of ye Rhine, Tenn thousand acres of land to be laid out to them on ye north side of a hill about twenty miles easterly of Conestogoe, near ye head of Peque Creek, in this Province, by virtue of which warrant there was survey'd & subdivided at ye instance of ye sd Martin Kindig for ye use of Daniel Ferree & Isaac LeFevre, late of Steinweilter, in ye Palatinate of ye Rhine, a certain tract, situate and bounded as follows, viz: Beginning at the corner tree of another tract belonging to ye same grant, running by ye same south by east eight hundred and twenty perches to a corner markt tree, thence east by a line of markt trees four hundred & twenty-two perches to a corner tree in a certain tract of land, surveyed by Thomas Story, thence by ye sd Story's land and vacant land north by west eight hundred and twenty perches to a post, thence west by a line of markt trees four hundred & twenty perches to ye beginning, containing two thousand acres with allowance made for Roads & Highways, which ye sd Daniel Fierre & Isaac LeFevre requesting me to confirm to them by Patent. Know ye, that for and in consideration of, and so forth.

From a paper written by Judge Charles Landis entitled "Madame Mary Ferree and the Huguenots of Lancaster County" published in 1917.

  • Division of Land

It was never intended that Daniel Ferree and Isaac Lefevre would keep the land themselves. It was to be divided among the family. The north and south boundaries of the tract ran approximately 1 1/3 miles across. The southern boundary was about what is now Route 741. The east and west boundaries were approximately 2 2/3 miles along what is now Cherry Hill Road on the west and Belmont Road on the east.

In dividing and resurveying the land it was discovered the Ferree grant actually contained 2300 acres. This was taken up with the proper authorities and it was agreed the Ferrees could keep it for an additional 21 pounds. This was paid and on October 29, 1734, the original patent was surrendered and a new one issued for 2300 acres, with allowances for roadways.

Individual members of the family also took up more land and in all they acquired about 5000 acres. Over the years parts of these lands were and have been deeded to family and to others.

Resources: "Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration" by Walter Allen Knittle, "The Story of the Ferree Family" by Emory Schuyler Ferree, "History of Lancaster County" by Frederick Klein, "The Pennsylvania LeFevres" compiled by George Newton LeFevre & Franklin D. LeFevre, "The American Descendants of Chretien DuBois of Wicres, France" compiled by William Heidgerd for the DuBois Family Association, "The History of Lancaster County" by I. Daniel Rupp, "Memorials of the Huguenots in America" by A. Stapleton.

Note: Because of lost records or in some instances where none would have existed, some events in the early history of the Ferree family cannot be documented. Attempt has been made to present as true an accounting as possible with information that is available. Accuracy of all information is not guaranteed.