William Montague Ferry family papers [microfilm]: 1823-1904
Summary Information
Title: William Montague Ferry family papers [microfilm]
Creator: Ferry Family (William Montague Ferry family)
Inclusive dates: 1823-1904
Extent: 2 microfilms (0.8 linear feet and 1 oversize folder)
William Montague Ferry served as missionary to Indians at Michilimackinac, Michigan for the United Foreign Missionary Society, 1822-1834 and as clergyman in Grand Haven, Michigan. William Montague Ferry, Jr. served in the 14th Michigan Infantry in the Civil War, as University of Michigan Regent and later moved to Park City, Utah where he was active in Democratic Party politics. Thomas W. Ferry served as congressman, 1865 to 1871, and as U.S. Senator from 1871 to 1883. Papers include correspondence describing missionary work of William M. Ferry, Sr., civil war letters of William M. Ferry, Jr., some political correspondence of Thomas W. Ferry, and letters of Amanda White Ferry, wife of William Sr.
Call number: 2011009 Aa 2; Ac
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The Civil War correspondence of William M. Ferry, Jr. was donated by Mr. M.A. Anderson (donor no. 3766) in 1961. The remainder of the collection was donated in 1938 and 1939 by Miss Hollister Hancock (donor no. 856), granddaughter of William M. Ferry.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.


Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Alternate Format:

These materials have been digitized and are available online; see Contents List for more information.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no.,Ferry Family Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.


William Montague Ferry was born September 8, 1796 in Granby, Massachusetts. After training and study to become a member of the clergy, Ferry was licensed and ordained by the Presbytery of New York in 1822. He then offered his services to the United Foreign Missionary Society, and was subsequently appointed to explore and preach among the Indian tribes of the northwest. The result of this exploration was the establishment of, and Ferry's appointment to, the Mackinac mission on Michilimackinac. Ferry worked among the Indians for more than a decade, then because of failing health, he moved downstate to Ottawa County, arriving in 1834. For the remainder of this life, he was a clergyman in Grand Haven, also for a time postmaster of the city. In 1823, he had married Amanda White. Ferry died in 1868.

William Montague Ferry, Jr. was born to the Rev. William Montague and Amanda (White) Ferry on July 8, 1824, in Michilimackinac, Michigan. Ten years later his family moved to Grand Haven, Michigan, where Ferry resided for over forty years. His academic training began under his father and continued with one year at Sanderson Academy in Ashfield, Massachusetts, followed by a year at the University of Michigan's Kalamazoo branch. Ferry served as a regent of the University of Michigan from 1858 to 1863. In August of 1861 he enlisted in the 14th Michigan Infantry, being honorably mustered out in April 24, 1865. He ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan in 1870 on the Democratic ticket. He was later appointed by the governor to be a member of a commission to revise the state constitution. He was elected mayor of Grand Rapids in 1876, but then moved to Park City, Utah, in 1878 where he became actively involved in the territory's mining operations. He represented Utah on the National Democratic Committee from 1884 to 1892, and in 1893 was commissioner of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In 1904 he was nominated on the American ticket to be governor of Utah. He was also a member of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee and of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. Ferry married Jeannette Hollister of Grand Rapids, Michigan, on October 29, 1851; they had six children. Ferry died January 2, 1905, at Park City, Utah, and was buried in Grand Haven.

Thomas W. Ferry, the younger brother of William Montague Ferry, Jr., was born June 1, 1827, in Michilimackinac, Michigan. Educated in the public schools, Thomas Ferry served as a representative to the state legislature from Kent and Ottawa counties in 1851. He was also a senator from the thirty-first district during the 1887/88 year, a member of Congress from 1865 to 1871, and a U.S. Senator from 1871 to 1883. While in the House, Ferry was chairman of the sub-committee on the New York Post Office building. While in the Senate, he was elected president pro tem and became acting vice-president upon the death of Vice-President Wilson, a position he held until March 4, 1877. As a senator Ferry was chairman of the committees on rules, post offices, and post-roads, and a member of the committee on finance. He presided over the impeachment trial of Secretary of War Belknap and at the joint convention of the 1877 electoral count. Although a leading candidate for re-election in 1883, his name was withdrawn from the candidacy after a long and heated contest. Thomas W. Ferry died in October of 1896 in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Ferry family collection consists of letters and typescripts of letters from William Montague Ferry and his wife Amanda White Ferry describing their trip from Ashfield, Massachusetts, to Mackinac Island and their missionary work among the Indians; letters, 1862-1901, of Colonel William M. Ferry, University of Michigan regent, particularly to his wife and other relatives while serving in the Fourteenth Michigan Infantry during the Civil War; speeches and letters from contemporary politicians to Thomas White Ferry, lumberman and U.S. Senator; and two scrapbooks of newspaper clippings on the Ferry family. Correspondents in the collection include: Susan B. Anthony, Henry P. Baldwin, Zachariah Chandler, Schuyler Colfax, William M. Evarts, Hamilton Fish, Rutherford B. Haye, Whitelaw Reid, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Indians of North America -- Missions -- Michigan.
  • Indians of North America -- Michigan.
  • Missionaries -- Michigan -- Mackinac Island.
  • Women travelers -- Suffrage -- Michigan.
  • Women's rights -- Michigan.
  • Women in missionary work -- Michigan -- Mackinac Island.
  • Ashfield (Mass.)
  • Grand Haven (Mich.)
  • Mackinac Island (Mich.)
  • Michigan -- Description and travel.
  • Sermons.
  • Sermons.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Ferry family.
  • United States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 14th (1862-1865)
  • Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906.
  • Baldwin, Henry P. (Henry Porter), 1814-1892.
  • Chandler, Zachariah, 1813-1879.
  • Colfax, Schuyler, 1823-1885.
  • Evarts, William Maxwell, 1818-1901.
  • Ferry, Amanda White.
  • Ferry, Thomas White, 1827-1896.
  • Ferry, William Montague, 1796-1867.
  • Ferry, William Montague, 1824-1905.
  • Fish, Hamilton, 1888-1991.
  • Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, 1822-1893.
  • Reid, Whitelaw, 1837-1912.
  • Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 1815-1902.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Family papers [series]
Roll   1  
William and Amanda Ferry: Typed excerpts from selected letters written from Mackinac Is 1823-1834 [access item]
Roll   1  
Amanda White Ferry letters 1823-1838 [access item]
William M. Ferry
Roll   1  
Letters 1860, 1865 [access item]
Roll   1  
Last will and testament 1867 [access item]
Roll   1  
Estate papers: probate file 1868 [access item]
Roll   1  
In Memoriam....William M. Ferry 1869 [access item]
William Montague Ferry, Jr.
Civil War letters
Roll   1  
1861-1862 [access item]
Roll   1  
January-March 1863 [access item]
Roll   1  
April-July 1863 [access item]
Roll   1  
August 1863-February 1864 [access item]
Roll   1  
March-May 1864 [access item]
Roll   1  
June-August 1864 [access item]
Roll   1  
September 1864, December 1864, February 1865 [access item]
Other correspondence and papers
Roll   1  
1861, 1873

(in oversize folder)

[access item]
Roll   1  
1872-1895 [access item]
Roll   1  
1896-1899 [access item]
Roll   1  
1900-1904 [access item]
Roll   1  
Biographical and historical information, including speech given before Old Settler's banquet 1897 [access item]
Thomas White Ferry:
Roll   1  
Correspondence 1869-1881, undated [access item]
Roll   1  
Miscellaneous invitations, etc. 1865-1883 [access item]
General Ferry family papers (various members)
Roll   1  
Miscellaneous 1849-1893, undated (scattered)

(includes copy of letter from Abraham Lincoln to Amanda Hale, 1865)

[access item]
Scrapbook containing news clippings of obituaries, local history clippings, etc. mid to late 19th century (2 volumes)
Roll   2  
Volume 1 (of 2) [access item]
Roll   2  
Volume 2 (of 2) [access item]
Roll   2  
Loose clippings from scrapbook [access item]