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Family Letters - Ferree/Large Cousins

The Ferree family and Large family were joined when Jane Davis Ferree married Henry Large. Their children and the children of Jane's brother, Harvey (Harry) Ferree, corresponded keeping the families in touch. The Large family lived in the area of what is now Coraopolis, PA, and the Harvey Ferree family lived in the area of Stubenville, Ohio. These letters written by the cousins give a brief glimpse into their lives at that time. One of the cousins, Newton Ferree, whose letters are below, serving in the War Department's Paymaster General's Office describes in detail some of the activities in that city following the war and Lincoln's assassination.

Note: Copies of the original letters are not available at this time.


Oct 12 1862

Brother Joel,

I seat myself to reply to your letter received sometime since henry received one from you yesterday we were glad to hear from you again you are under a wrong idea concerning Henry he was not out in the crazy militia but has been at home all the time & also about our not riteing to you Henry & Father have written you every week as for myself I have had such a sore hand that I could not write but it is better now john was at home one week & is now at Alexandria Annapolis for exchange his address is Annapolis Maryland he says he has not written to you becaus he did not know where to direct his letters to but would like to know for he is anxious to hear from the boys therefore employ your first spare moment in addressing him direct to Capt John Large 102 reg Pa Vol Annapolis Maryland

Cousin Matt Ferree is here we have called twice to see Lydia she says to tell will they wer all well three weeks ago when she left home for this place the boats have stopt runing & she cannot get home john thinks if he is not exchanged soon he will try & get home again but we do not look for him & now I want you to write to john first & then to me & I hope this may find you enjoying health my hand hurts so I can rite no more but remain your loveing Sister

Lizzie P. Large



March 27 1865

Cousin Lizzie youre welcom letter was received the 26th of this Month & we were glad to hear From you the reason why I Did not write sooner was because I have been sick my health Is verry poor & I dont know Whether it will ever be any better But I hope when I get out to Visit that it may improve Pap is going to break up housekeeping in april & then I intend Visiting you all all three of my Brothers have gon west this spring & if my health permits me to Do so I will start in may So As to get to see a lady friend Of mine who is teaching in The female College in Pittsburgh Prehaps you might learn something of her name is Clare Woods you was speaking of the widower They might suit some but as For me I dont want any Body perhaps you can find one among them that you Could love & obey but & as I am hardly able to write you must expect a short & Nonsensicle letter I hope you will Pardon me for not writing sooner you said in your letter that I might have found a more desirable Corispondent in some of my Cousins But I can asshure you thaire Is none of my Cousins Who I would rather Corisponde With than you Cousin you have Promised to make my trip a Pleasent one I hope it may be For you know as I have not Saw any of you that it will be Like going among strangers & I shall feel very lonely as I have Never been from home any of any Account tell Cousin Malinda if She wants one of her best Cousins at her wedding She had better wait untill I come but I must Close for this time give my love To all my relatives and all Write soon pa is not verry well But nothing serious I guess Excuse all mistakes & So on N.B. Lizzie I am Sorry you have gon to gambling to such an extent that you Will put up youre photos & After promising it to me

Good by for a While to Lizzie Large

Sadie Ferree




Jan 7 1866

Dear cousin Lizzie I seat myself for the perpos of writing to you that which I should have Done long ago but have been buisy Allmost every since I came home I Will not promis you what kinde of A letter I will write as I was Sitting up with the sick last night & dont Feel like writing but I will do the Best I can in the first place we Are all in good health & I am keeping Olde maids distress all alone papa is Still at the oil reging but perhaps Will be home next week & if so he Taks of going to see you all as he has Business in Pittsburgh I cant say whether we will remain here longer than Spring or not for papa talks of going to Kentuckey in the Spring & if he goes & we dont keep house I May pay A visit to yoou all next summer when I come home I Was at uncle Harveys one night & they tolde me when I wrote to you Folks to tel you to write to them & Then some of them would go & see you Cousin Lauren had been their some five weeks before I came but Had gon before I got to see her & The boys had been home from washin City & I mised seeing them too Sarah's Health is pretty poor Joel & his wife Are boarding & havae had A young dish Washer since I first went through by Their Joel has such A nice wife How did you Spend Christmas & New years I Spent mine in town Took dinner out from hom & had A Splendid time their was A ball At the globe House that night But I did not attend we Have oyster Suppers evry other night & good music which maks all Gay but I must close as it Is dinner tim & I am going to Take dinner with Charlie Woods A Sabath School mate of mine So I will look for an answer soon Give my love to all the rest and excuse all Scribbling & mistakes

From your Cousin

Sade Ferree

Lizzie P. Large



War Department,

Paymaster General's Office,

Washington, April 16th, 1866

Cousin Lizzie,

Your very kind and interesting letter was received about ten days ago but uncontrollable circumstances prevented me from answering sooner. Your letter I must acknowledge took me completely by surprise and I may also add that it was the most agreeable surprise too that I have received for some time. I feel highly honored and flattered to think that a lady relative, (and a loyal one too) whom I have never had the pleasure of seeing, had condescended to write such an unworthy person as myself such a commendable letter. You may think that I am endeavoring to flatter when I speak of your letter as being a commendable one, but I assure you I am not, and I regret very much that I do not possess the ability to reciprocate in a manner as is deserving. I am free to confess that I am a very inferior letter writer and from what I have already written you will easily perceive that letter writing is not my "forte", therefore I would respectfully ask of you not to scan this production too closely nor criticize it too severely. It is with the greatest diffidence that I enter upon the task of writing even to an entire stranger, and I am confident that I shall be unequal to the task of writing a letter which will, in any manner interest you.

You say that you were rejoiced to learn that your Ohio friends were loyal people; I am also rejoiced to think that we, as well as all of our Ohio relations without any exception remained firm and loyal during the four years of war, but I am doubly rejoiced to learn that a few if not all of our Penn'a relatives and friends remained inflexible in their devotion to the old flag when it was threatened with destruction. Within the last few months a great many persons have been duped by the cunning traitors, and have been led astray from the path of loyalty which they had trodden for years; this has often caused me to wonder if any of my Ohio relatives had been led astray, but I presume they have not or I should have heard of it. I hope that they, as well as my Penn'a relatives, will remain firm and loyal to the last. As there are two or three parties and all of whom claim to be loyal parties, I suppose you would like me to state what I consider the loyal party. Well, I do not consider the Copperhead party, loyal, neither do I consider the party which terms its self the Andrew Johnson party, loyal, but the party that I do consider loyal is the party that stood by the Government in the hour of trial and went forth and fought her battles for her and saved her from destruction, this party has been called the Republican or Union party, but of late it has been termed the Radical party. Well I discover I have dwelled entirely too long on politics and much longer than I intended therefore I will drop the subject for the present. I received a letter from home two or three days since which states that our folks were all in the enjoyment of good health. My sister (Sarah McFeely) and her husband contemplate paying us a visit next month.

I and my brother (Jonathan) who is also clerking here, have not been home since last October but we expect to take a trip home in September if Providence permits. I would like to go home often but is an impossibility as we are only allowed one leave of absence during the year. Washington in my opinion is very pleasant place to live and the longer I live here the better I like it, but I am afraid I could not be content to make this my permanent home without I could persuade my folks to move here. Washington is very gay and lovely city during the winter and spring, but during the summer (that is during July and Aug) it is what I would term dead. We have been having some beautiful weather here for the past three weeks, and every one seems to be trying to get the benefit of it for the streets are constantly thronged with pedestrians.

Last saturday (Apr 14th) was the anniversary of the assassination of the lamented Abraham Lincoln. The anniversary of this sad event was in this city marked by no general demonstration of mourning. But although there was little public display, I can safely say that in every loyal heart the sad memories of a year were awakened, and the feelings of profound sorrow which then oppressed the nation were recalled with painful distinctness of memory. This, indeed, is saying but little, for such emotions as were caused by that event I can scarcely name without a tear, and can never be forgotten until the present generation of Americans have passed away. The several departments of the Government were closed, and over the public buildings the flag floated at half mast, and many prominent business men closed their stores. Last monday being the anniversary of emancipation in the District of Columbia the colored citizens of the district intended having a grand celebration on that day but owing to the disagreeable and unpromising state of the weather, it was postponed until Thursday next. As there are a great many negroes in this section of the country it is expected to be a grand affair. It will doubtless be the largest assemblage of colored citizens ever convened here or elsewhere and will indeed be one of the most imposing demonstrations that the Capital has every witnessed, if I except obsequies of our late lamented President, and the grand view of the combined armies in May last. Well as it is growing late I will have to bring my scribbling to a close. If you think that this missive is worthy a reply I would be very happy to have you reciprocate. Jonathan writes with me in sending his complements to you and all your family. Now in closing allow me to return you my thanks for your very kind letter. If you conclude to answer this nonsensical letter I hope that you will not seek retaliation by procrastination, but that better nature will prevail in favor of

Your humble servant

Newton Ferree



War Department,

Paymaster General's Office,

Washington, Sunday June 3d, 1866

Cousin Lizzie,

For not answering your letter ere this I have an apology to offer which I hope you will deem satisfactory. Last monday or tuesday I happened to open one of the drawers of my desk which I seldom use, and there I discovered two letters, one of which was written by you about the first of May, and the other was from a young man (a very intimate friend of mine) who is clerking for a Paymaster out in Colorado Ty. I saw in an instant that the letters had been in the drawer for some time as they were already covered with the dust of ages. I brought the messenger who takes charge of my letters when I am not at the office to task about it and he stated that he received the letters one day when I was unwell and not at the office and that he put them in my drawer for fear of losing them and intended to tell me of next morning but had forgotten it, not considering his ap explanation a sufficient excuse I became very wrathful and gave vent to some very emphatic words of disapproval and threatened him with all kinds of death if there should ever be a repetition of that negligence.

I would have written you this last week but I have not had one moment of spare time, every spare moment that I had, I devoted to working for a grand fair which is to open here this week and with the object of which is to establish near this city a home for our brave soldiers and sailors orphans who are not otherwise provided for. Last tuesday I received a note from the Secretary of Soldiers & Sailors Orphans Home Association asking my assistance and since that time I have worked zealously for their cause. Last friday (june 1st) all of the departments were closed, and throughout the city business was generally suspended in token of respect to the memory of the late General Winfield Scott. I devoted the whole of friday in working for the Orphans Fair. I also worked from yesterday at two oclock till last night at eleven oclock in making wreathes &c to ornament their building and I find my hands this morning sore and stiff that I can scarcely write. The Orphans Home Association is composed of patriotic ladies of (what is generally termed) the first rank of Society, that is, they are the wives and daughters of men high in rank such as Senators, Congressmen, Generals &c &c. The building which was erected for to hold the fair in, is quite a large one being 152 feet in length, 72 feet in width 30 feet in height, and is well adapted for the purpose which it was built. The fair is to be opened tuesday and will continue about three weeks, and during that time I expect to have but few leisure hours.

In speaking of Washington you say that from reports you received you had formed an opinion that it was a city of crimes. All cities both large and small have more or less than their share of criminals and at the present time I do not believe that W-n has more than its proportion and I believe I will be safe in predicting that in six months from now there will not be a city in the U.S. of the same population that will be as free from crime as W-n will be. I have seen the time that when there was more crimes committed in W-n in one day than there would be committed in any other city in three, but those were the days that large armies were encamped near the city. Now do understand me to mean that the soldiers committed all of those crimes, but, they were the cause of criminals flocking here from every city in the Union; the city at that time was so densely populated and had such a small police force that crimes of all kind were committed with impunity but I am happy to say that crime and wickedness is rapidly on the decrease. There is one thing I can say for this city and I think it deserves great credit for it, and, that is for the great numbers of her churches. I do not know how it compares with other cities in this respect but I confidently believe that it can only be surpassed by one other city in the United States in number of churches according to population. This city contains I believe a little over sixty thousand of a population, and contains over eighty churches which are always well attended.

You wish to know if the fair ladies of W dont have something to do with making this an attractive city, well I must confess that does in a manner tend to make it attractive but as far as that attraction alone is concerned, I believe or if that was the only attraction I believe I would prefer living in some other city than this, for I do not believe that Washington has been favored in that respect. What few handsome young ladies are here, are only residing here temporarily. Last night while I was assisting a young lady (a Washingtonian) to make a wreath, another very handsome young lady came up and spoke to her, after she went away I remarked that that was a very handsome young lady, and asked her who she was; she told me her name, and when I asked her if she was a Washingtonian she looked at me in surprise and asked me if I had ever seen a handsome Washingtonian. I did not say anything but I was inclined to believe her assertion. She also stated that what few handsome ladies were here, were from northern and western states.

For your very kind invitation to call to see you when I am on my way home you will please accept my sincere thanks. Jonathan also returns you his thanks for the polite invitation. We will endeavor to take advantage of your invitation and give you a short call if it is possible. I have no doubt you will be as good as your word and introduce me to some very handsome young ladies if I should call and I am afraid that I would be detained longer than I intended if I would comply with your invitation. You assert that you are very homely. I suppose you will at least allow me the privilege of believing as much of it as I have wish. If it would not be asking too much I would be very happy to exchange photographs with me, for if the corn fields are frequented by crows and you wish to scare them away all you will have to do is just to hang my photo out in the field as a scarecrow and it will have the desired effect, if they once see it they will never trouble you again. I believe I have nothing more to write about therefore will close. Please excuse poor writing as my hand is in a crippled condition. Hoping that my excuse for delinquency will be acceptable and that I will soon receive a reply to this scribbling.

I remain Respectfully

Newton Ferree

Jonathan writes with me in offering you and all your folks my compliments and best wishes.



Stubenville Dec 20th 1866

Dear Cousin

Pardon me for not writing sooner to you but hope the excuse which I will endeavor to offer for my negligence may prove entirely satisfactory to you. I have been absent from home much of the time since my return home from my visit to Pennsylvania but if I were to stop here that would in my estimation prove to be a very poor excuse indeed but this shall not be my stopping point. It has almost become a settled fact with me that Letter writing is not my fort- and I never pretend to write a letter if I can in any manner avoid it. While in Washington as you are aware of universally left that task for Newton to perform. I depended mainly on Joel to write to you and was not aware that he had not done so until yesterday evening when he told me he was - depending entirely on me, and depending upon one another the result of which is that we have in our promises to you. I intend telling Joel: that in my letter to you. I informed you that the fault in not writing lay entirely in him which no doubt will call forth a letter from him to exonerate him. I am not certain whether I would attempted this letter should I not have promised Cousin Lizzie my Photograph, and could not send it in any other way than by sealing it in an envelop which I did not like to do unless writing a few lines so that she might not be mistaken, as to the identity of the person Enclosed you will find my Photo providing he has not the spirit of the original within him and gone through this letter. please hand it to Lizzie, tell her there he is - perfectly harmless and warranted to neither kick scratch nor bite. I hope that the excuse which I offer will prove sufficient for my not writing sooner and that you will not imitate a bad example.

After leaving parting with Cousin Henry who started for home but I have never heard whether he arrived there or not, but I presume he did as I never noticed any account of his loss in any of the Pittsburgh Papers and he was getting along as well as could be expected under the circumstances we concluded to stay in Pittsburgh until next morning take a boat and visit Bell Vernon. We took a boat next morning and arrived there late in the afternoon, we only remained there a very short time as we were compelled to start return the same evening in order to be a home by saturday. We arrived home Saturday evening well pleased with our trip to our native State.

We have been having very fine sleighing here during the past week and it seems as though all are improving the opportunity and taking a sleigh ride, more specially the young folks who seem to enjoy it hugely. The old folks must remain at home and think of days gone by at least those who are too old to take sport in sleigh riding. Mother often reproves me for running around so much, but I generally refer to her to the past, when she was young and to the many happy long evenings she must of passed in old Pennsylvania. I am aware that it is wrong to disobey my Parients but I do not feel disposed to be euchred out of my youthful enjoyments. Thats whats the matter John McFeely and Uncle S. Lowe took a trip to Washington City this day one week ago and have not returned. we are expecting Newton to accompany them on their return for the purpose of spending the Holidays at home.

Tell Cousin Henry not to forget his promise to pay us that visit before long also any of you who may feel disposed to come not forgetting Uncle Henry and Aunt Jane. Well Cousin as it is growing late I will bring these few lines to a close hoping they may find you all well as they leave us all enjoying tip top health.

Sophia joins in sending her love to all and requests you to write to her soon. Do not forget to answer this very soon. tell Cousin Lizzie to also write.

From your Cousin

Jonas L. Ferree

P.S. Since concluding my letter Father came in told me that he had promised you his Photograph and requested me to enclose it to you.


This was addressed to Miss Nancy J. Large, Lebanon Church, Allegheny County, Penna. and postmarked Stubenville, Dec. 21 1866.



Daniel Ferree (1646-?)) m: Maria Warenbaur (1653-1716))
Philip Ferree (1686-1753) m: Leah Dubois (1687-1758)
Isaac Ferree (1725-1782)) m: Elizabeth Lefevre (1728-1804)
Jacob Ferree (1750-1807) m: Rachael Ferree (1755-1783)
Joel Ferree (1771-1813) m: Christiana Kuykendall (1773-1830)
JaneFerree(1804-1885)m:HenryLarge (1798-1890)
John Large (1826-1863)
Sarah Ferree (abt: 1830)
Christian Large (1828-1895)
Sophia Ferree (abt. 1832)
Joel Ferree Large ( 183O-1918)
Isaac Ferree (abt. 1834)

Amanda Large (1834-abt. 1900)

Calvin Ferree (abt. 1839)
Nancy Large (abt.1835)
Joel Ferree (abt. 1840)
Henry L. Large (abat. 1838-1905)
Jonathan Ferree (abt. 1842)
Elizabeth P. Large (1843-1904)) (Lizzie)
Newton Ferree (1844-1928)
Note: Dates are believed to be correct, however, accuracy of all dates cannot be guaranteed.