FERRIS FAMILY BURIAL PLOT

Commerce Avenue
In use: 1700s - 1914

John Ferris, one of the five original recipients of the 1667 patent for the Township of Westchester, included provisions for a family burial ground in his 1717 will. The Ferris family used and maintained the cemetery for almost another two centuries until Charles Ferris passed away in 1908, leaving two vaults and around thirty gravestones to decay in an increasingly industrial setting. In 1928, the Benjamin Ferris family vault was vandalized and desecrated, prompting reinterment of almost half the bodies to Kenisco Cemetery. Through the ensuing decades, the cemetery has seen both periodic neglect and restoration, including the installation of a new fence in the early 2000’s. Notable members of the Ferris family include James Ferris, who survived a stay on a British prison ship during the Revolutionary War and his wife, Charity Ferris, who purportedly housed British Admiral Richard Howe and transmitted strategically significant conversations to General George Washington. Whereas much of the Westchester Square was once farmlands of the Ferris family, nearby Ferris Place is the only surviving reminder in The Bronx of one of the borough’s earliest settlers.

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