The Ferree family is descended from an old and noble family of Normandy, France. Daniel Ferree, reviewed below, was a descendant of Jean (Fuehre) LaVerree.
At the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, October 1685, which took away the Huguenots (Protestant Reformed Church of France, historically known as the French Calvinists) right to worship without interference from the government, Daniel Ferree, one of the best representatives of the family, was a silk manufacturer of wealth and influential position. Owing to his prominence and the staunchness he had displayed in clinging to his faith, he was marked by the dragoons for persecution. To save his wife, Mary Warrenbaeur Ferree, and his 6 children from the abuse and insults of the troopers, he managed to get them secretly to Strasbourg, Germany, where they were in comparative safety. After remaining in Strasbourg for some time, the Ferrees moved to Bittingheim in the Palatinate, where Daniel Ferree died in exile, before 1708.
The leadership now developed around Mary Ferree, Daniel's widow. In exile from her native land, living among strange people, with no means to provide for her family, she did manage to keep her family together. As time passed and her children grew to maturity, she developed a plan for seeking out a home in the new world. Germany was already overcrowed with refugees and was far from secure from the Papal troops. She visited William Penn personally, and, after hearing her story of misfortunes, he covenanted with her for a 2,000 acre grant of land in Pennsylvania for £150 and took her to see Queen Anne. She traveled from Lindau, Bavaria to England and obtained letters of patent for citizenship under the privy seal of Queen Anne, 30 August, 1708. After a 6 month stay in London, she arrived in New York on 31 December, 1708 with her six children, Daniel, John, Philip, Catherine, Mary and Jane. Also with them were eldest son Daniel's wife and eldest daughter Catherine's husband - a young refugee named Isaac LeFevre. They were members of a party of French and Palatine refugees headed by Rev. Joshua Kocherthal from Lindau. They traveled from Esopus, on the Hudson River, where their relatives Michail ferree and Andreas LeFevre had already settled. They remained there 4 years until, in 1712, it became feasible to move to Pennsylvania and settle upon the lands which had been granted to them to found a Huguenot Colony in the Pequea Valley, Lancaster County, PA.
The agent of William Penn had advised her to seek the King of the Pequea Indians. On the evening of a summer day, the Huguenot band reached a hill commanding a wonderful view of the valley which was studded with the wigwams of the Indians. After some minutes, a party of Indians approached and, in broken English the leader said to Madame ferree, "Indian no harm White, because White good to Indian. Go to Beaver, our chief". In 1716, after years of struggles in France and Germany, Madame Ferree died peacefully in the home that she had established for her family.
Madame Ferree's descendants today are numbered in the thousands. In the Revolutionary War, the family took an important part. In addition to a significant number of privates and non-commissioned officers, the Ferrees gave to the cause Col. John Ferree of the 10th Pennsylvania Rifles, Col. Joel Ferree, Maj. Michael Ferree, and Maj. Daniel Lefevre - son of Catherine Ferree Lefevre. In the Civil War, the most distinguished representative of the family was Major General John F. Reynolds. His grandmother on his paternal side was Catherine Ferree Lefevre. General Reynolds was Commander of the 1st Army Corps and died at the Battle of Gettysburg. His brother, Will Reynolds, died a Rear Admiral in the US Navy. Admiral Winfield Scott Schley was descended from Mary Schreiver, daughter of David and Rebecca Ferree Schriver, who married the Admiral's grandfather.
Sarah Ferree is the great-grandmother of James Harvey Carothers, b. 1825.