- H. Larry Ingle
Ferris, Benjamin (07 August 1780–09 November 1867), surveyor and Quaker leader, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Ziba Ferris, a cabinetmaker, and Edith Sharpless. Part of an active and influential Quaker family, Ferris was mostly self-taught. After being apprenticed to a clock maker in Philadelphia, he opened a business there in 1801 and prospered enough to wed Wilmingtonian Fanny Canby three years later and to invest $7,500 in a large lot in 1806. Of the couple’s ten children, three died in childhood. In the City of Brotherly Love, Ferris learned French, read widely—at one time his library housed more than eighty religious books by non-Quaker authors—cultivated cosmopolitan tastes, and made numerous contacts among fellow believers before returning in 1813 to Wilmington, his home for the rest of his life....