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George W. Ferree

"A heavy task was before us; we were equal to it, and shall all remember with pride that at Gettysburg we did our country much service." - Union Brig. General John Buford

Quick Facts
  • Born: May 26, 1843
  • Chester County, Pennsylvania
  • Parents: David & Elizabeth Ferree
  • Home: Sadsbury, Chester County
  • Occupation: Farmer
  • Married: Medora Kinzer
  • As a veteran of the Union Army's 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry, attired in his original uniform, George White Ferree was the model for the regiment's Gettysburg Battlefield Monument.

George White Ferree was born May 26, 1843, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of David Ferree (1815) and Elizabeth Ann White Ferree (1820). He was the second oldest of eleven children and seventh generation Ferree descendant on the Daniel and Anna Maria Leininger line and also on the Isaac and Catherine Ferree Lefevre line.

Lineage #1
Lineage #2
Daniel Ferree & Marie Warenbauer
Daniel Ferree & Marie Warenbauer
Daniel Ferree & Anna Maria Leininger
Isaac Lefevre & Katherine Ferree
Andrew C. & Mary Reed
Daniel Lefevre & Mary Catherine Herr
David G. Ferree & Mary Lefevre
Mary Lefevre & David G. Ferree
David Ferree & Mary Baker
David Ferree & Mary Baker
David Ferree & Elizabeth Ann White
David Ferree & Elizabeth Ann White
George W. Ferree & Medora Kinzer
George W. Ferree & Medora Kinzer

At the start of the Civil War, President Lincoln called for three cavalry regiments from Pennsylvania. One of those formed mostly from Lebanon, Montgomery, and Chester Counties was the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry. On September 25, 1862, in Harrisburg, George W. Ferree, age 19, enlisted in the Army of the Potomac and became a member of the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Company L. The regiment fought in numerous skirmishes and participated in many major battles of the war including Gettysburg. On the morning of July 1, 1863, they stood watch over the Mummasburg Road and it is thought they were one of the units to fire the first shots of the battle. They fought that day and the next morning before being ordered off the battlefield to guard the army's wagon trains advancing from the south.

George W. Ferree enlisted as a Private in 1862, promoted to Corporal (date unknown), and promoted to Sergeant on May 15, 1865. After mustering out in Washington, D. C. on June 16, 1865, he returned to his father's home in Sadsbury, Chester County, and resumed farming. On May 12, 1873, he married Medora Kinzer. The 1900 Census schedules show them living in Parkesburg, Chester County, and had a daughter named Louisa born in March 1879. Medora was born January 30, 1854, in White Haven, Pennsylvania. On the 1910 Census she is widowed and living in Lancaster. George died about 1906 in Parksburg.

In 1886 veterans of the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry met to begin planning for a regiment monument to be placed at Gettysburg. Wanting to use an actual veteran of the 17th, George W. Ferree became the model attired in his original uniform and accoutrements, astride his horse, with gun slightly raised as if to fire a warning shot. The monument is located on the corner of Buford Avenue and Mummasburg Road where the regiment held their position on July 1, 1863.

To learn more about the monument visit our Ferree website page "The 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry Gettysburg Monument".

Sources: Online data "U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865"; "Pennsylvania State Archives"; "pa-roots.com"; "U.S. Census Schedules" 1840-1920; "U.S. Veterans Schedule 1890";"geocities.com, The 17th PA. Monument at Gettysburg; "History of the Seventeenth Regiment, PA Volunteer Cavalry" by H.P. Moyer; "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-1865" by Samuel P. Bates; "Hoofbeets & Cold Steel" by J. Daniel Petruzzi. Photo courtesy of Linda Worstell.