Wednesday, January 18, 2012

James A. Ferrel-Soldier, Reverend, Farmer, Husband, Father


I chose James Ferrel as my first of the year history for two reasons. One is that his picture is probably the oldest picture that I have of any of my ancestors.  And second, I am fascinated by the obituary that has been passed down through the family.  No one knows where it came from , but my guess is that it was written and published through the Methodist church.  Perhaps they had a publication that it was published in.  Since he died in 1864, it would have been a very old publication. 

James A. Ferrel was born 4 April 1795 in Lexington Kentucky to James and Hannah Kinnison Ferrel.  It appears that he was the youngest of their four children.  His father later married Rosanna Ray and they had seven children.  James A. Ferrel served in the War of 1812.  He enlisted in Butler County, Ohio in December of 1813 and was discharged 1 February 1814 as a teamster under Jenkins in either the Kentucky or Ohio Militia. Later that year, in Butler County Ohio on the 15th of August in 1814, James married Martha “Patsy” Dickerson, daughter of Walter and Penelope Heaton Dickerson.

The first three of James and Martha’s children were born in Ohio.  Eleanor was born in 1815, Mary was born in 1817 and Elizabeth was born in 1818, all in Butler County, Ohio.  Before 1820, the family, along with James’ father and siblings, had moved to Vigo County, Indiana.  The fourth child, James, was born in 1820 in Vigo County, Indiana.  The family of James Ferrel is listed in the 1820 Vigo County Indiana census, showing one son under age ten and three daughters under age ten.

The next two children of James and Martha are recorded as having been born in Butler County, Ohio, indicating that the family had moved back there after 1820.  Martha Ann was born in 1822 and Walter Dickerson Ferrel was born in 1824, both in Butler County, Ohio.  The History of Vigo County states that “Walter was born in Ohio where his parents resided until 1825, when they returned to Vigo county”.

Upon the family’s return to Vigo County, Indiana, daughter Nancy was born in 1826, and daughter Sarah Ann “Polly” was born in 1828. 
A piece from "When Terre Haute Was Young"-a series of articles from the Terre Haute Tribune by A.R. Markle, Volume I about taxes showed that "James Ferrill, Jr. had 127 acres just east of Riley and a horse;" (1828). 

According to family tradition passed down, James was a Methodist preacher who traveled around on horseback.  From Methodist records found, this seems to be accurate.  James Ferrel Jr. is listed as attending the 2nd Quarterly Meeting Conference for Carlisle Circuit held at the house of John Jackson on the 31st day of January 1829. 

James was listed in the 1830 Vigo County Indiana Census with two sons and six daughters.  James’ brothers, William and George are listed as living close by the family.

The next ten years brought more children: Cynthia Ann was born in 1830, but sadly she died in 1833, the same year that Rose Ann was born. Daniel Dickerson was born in 1836, and Lurina “Lou” was born in 1839.

James was listed as present at the Terre Haute Circuit held at Pleasant Hill Schoolhouse April 22nd 1837 and at the Terre Haute Circuit held at Herringtons neighborhood, September 16th, 1837.

James is listed as present at the Terre Haute Circuit held at Pleasant Hill Schoolhouse in February 1838 and at the Camp Ground on the 28th of July 1838.  He was listed as present for Terre Haute Circuit on the 6th day of October 1838.  James’ son Daniel died in October of 1838.

In the Minutes of the fourth quarterly Conference of Terre Haute Circuit held at Mount Pleasant Meetinghouse on the 28th of September 1839 James Ferrel was “severally examined, approved and their license renewed except George W. Creel his license were not renewed.....except H. D. Lee who was released by his Consent. JAMES FERREL was appointed Circuit Steward in place of H.D. Lee........Infants Baptised: Lovina Ferrel...”

The 1840 Vigo County Indiana Census shows two sons and five daughters with the family.  In 1843 William Henry Harrison Clay Ferrel (my great-great grandfather) was born, the last child of James and Martha Ferrel.

James was listed as present at the Terre Haute Circuit held in the house of Samuel Hull on the 26th day of June 1841 and at the
quarterly meeting conference for Terre Haute circuit Indiana conference held in the Union meetinghouse Otter Creek on the 4th of September 1841. Minutes of the first quarterly meeting conference held at Bethel meetinghouse December 28th, 1841 state that James Ferrel’s license was approved and renewed, and James Ferrel was released from his Stewardship.

The 1850 Riley Township, Vigo County Indiana Census shows James and Martha (listed with the surname “Feurl”) with children Rose Ann, Lurina and William.  James is listed as a farmer.  In 1851, daughters Nancy and Elizabeth died, daughter Martha Ann died in 1857, and then in 1859, daughter Eleanor died.  All four daughters were married when they died.  Three of the daughters left young children.

In 1860, James and Martha are still listed in Riley Township and James is listed as a farmer.  Lurina (listed as “Norma”) and William are living with them, as is granddaughter Martha Sanders.

Estelle “Bess” Elizabeth Ferrel, granddaughter to James and Martha, wrote in a letter that James Ferrel “...died Jan. 10, 1864.  The war was on at this time and he wanted to see father, so he went down South and they had a visit together and that was the last, for he died soon after." ["father" is William HH Ferrel, who was serving in the Civil War at the time].

James was sixty-nine when he died.

From an obituary handed down (source unknown):

FERRIL-James Ferrel was born April 4, 1795 near Lexington, KY.

At the age of two years his parents removed to Warren co., O. where he was married by Rev. J.  Sirange to Miss Martha Dickerson, Aug. 16, 1814, and where he resided till 1820.  The same year he removed to Vigo co., Ia, and was instrumental in causing to be held the first religious meeting in the county.  He was a classleader six years, and was then licensed to exhort, and continued to act as a faithful Christian in both these capacities till his death, Jan. 10, 1864.  During his sickness he was heard to say that he never expected to die, but that he expected the breath would leave his body and he would exchange worlds; that he was at peace with his God and that his only desire to live was to see how this rebellion terminated, and to see his two sons who are in the army.  He had great confidence that the Lord was with him and that he would die in grace, for which he had so long prayed.  His loss is not only felt as a parent and citizen, but as a Christian and patriot, and will long be remembered and revered as such.
                                              JNO. CASMEL"(name unclear)

James and Martha are buried at Dickerson Cemetery, Terre Haute, Indiana.  James and Martha had thirteen children, but six of the children had died before James.  Martha died in 1877, at age seventy-nine. 



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