My 3rd great-grandfather Isaac Ferriss UE served in 3 battles during the War of 1812-14. He served at the Battle of Detroit, the Battle of the Maumee and the Battle of Raisin River — all in the Michigan and Ohio areas.
His father, Joseph Ferriss UEL is my 4th great-grandfather and the United Empire Loyalist who left his life behind in the Pennsylvania area, earlier having left Maryland, to become a first refugee, in the New Settlement (north shore Lake Erie).
Joseph’s wife, Catharine and her sister, Christina were part of a group of women and children who were taken captive by about 800 Natives at Ruddles Station, Kentucky, in 1780. Joseph Ferriss and the rest of the men made their way to Michigan and became tenant farmers on Grosse Ile for the Macomb brothers, until negotiations were established to get the women back.
Catharine and Christina were held captive for six years. By 1792 it was known that the American troops were about to advance and take possession of Grosse Ile as part of the new United States of America. Jays Treaty had drawn the line between the two countries in 1791. Joseph was granted Lot 22, Conc 2 Colchester, in the Loyalist area named the New Settlement, in 1792.
Joseph’s son, Isaac was in the 1st Regiment Essex Militia and he was given an MGS (Military General Service) medal for his service at the Battle of Detroit that took place 16 August 1812. The British War Office awarded medals for three actions only: Battle of Detroit, Battle of Chatteauguay and Battle at Chrysler’s Farm in 1848. The MGS Medal was authorized by General Order June 1, 1847 and was issued in 1848, 32 years after the event, to each surviving officer and soldier present in any battle commemorated. Later, in 1875 he received his war pension of £20 sterling at the age of 80.
Isaac Ferris was in the 1st Regiment Essex Militia, part of Colonel Matthew Elliott’s battalion, Captain William Caldwell’s Company and also under Major Ebenezer Reynolds. Isaac took part in the Battle of Detroit and in espionage leading up to the battle. It is written in the local newspaper, The Amherstburg Echo, in 1934 that Isaac was one of two young 17 year old men who volunteered to swim across the Detroit River and spy on actions taking place at Bois Blanc Island (known at Bob-lo Island today) in preparation for the Battle of Fort Detroit commanded by American General William Hull.
This was the battle where the great Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh along with about 25 Menominee Indians, 46 Mohawk and the majority were Wyandottes to make a total of 600 Natives at the Battle of Detroit. These Natives, along with 300 regulars and 400 militia achieved the bloodless surrender of Detroit. This was a great win for Major General Sir Isaac Brock, the Loyalists and for the British side.
My family from Harrow, Amherstburg and Waterdown, Ontario plus Lethbridge, Alberta is very proud of our heritage to the United Empire Loyalists and to the War of 1812. Ten family members, from three generations, received their BiCentennial 1812 certificates through their common ancestor, Isaac Ferriss UE, at the Roots to Boots Ceremony, held in Amherstburg, in August of 2012. This process was through the Essex County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.
We also have a photograph of Isaac’s MGS medal and the photograph was enlarged and put on display at this event. The name Ferris(s) is inscribed on the edge. The medal is kept by another branch of the family, in a bank safety deposit box, in Amherstburg.
Veteran SummaryIsaac Ferriss
Private, Flank Company 1st Regiment Essex Militia
Place of Birth
Bois Blanc Island, ON, CAN
Place of Death
Colchester, ON, CAN
Died on: 29 JUL 1881
Reason: Likely Old Age
Location of Grave
Old Methodist behind St. Andrew's Anglican, King St.
Harrow, ON, CAN
Latitude: 42.03562N Longitude: -82.913038