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Weston Wagons West - Episode F2 - Ferrell Weston Family In Marietta, Ohio, Area

Updated on May 28, 2019
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Horses were a key part of the Weston Family Tradition

Farriers Work on the Health of Horses
Farriers Work on the Health of Horses


In Episodes T1 and F1 we shared some of the story of Fred Weston and his son, Ferrell, without filling in a lot of the details of this family. You may recall that Fred (formally Fredrick) was the great-grandson of Thomas Weston who first came to the Virginia colony from England in 1650. In Virginia, Fred was born in 1745 to Reuben and his wife. Fred’s first wife, Lucretia, gave him a son, Ferrell, in 1780. Fred worked as a farrier and blacksmith for a large surveying party in the western part of the state and was only home for short periods. When young Ferrell was only five years old, his mother, Lucretia, died and he was being raised by his grandparents. It was months before Fred even learned of her death. By 1790, when Ferrell was only 10, Fred had acquired a new, young wife, and had moved permanently to the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, leaving Ferrell to be raised by Reuben with his family.

I had left the story of Ferrell for later for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to tell the continuing stories of Fred and his second family, and then, the stories of two of Ferrell’s sons, Joe and Jake, and their families, at the time. I knew I wanted to spend more time with Ferrell and his family in Marietta, Ohio. My wife had ancestors there and we had visited there in our family history research. I just wasn’t ready to write the stories. Now, some time has passed by, and new information has become available to make the story more full. David McCullough recently wrote his book, The Pioneers. This book details the founding of Marietta in one volume featuring founders General Rufus Putnam and Dr. Manasseh Cutler and his son, Ephraim Cutler, along with two others, Joseph Barker and Dr. Samuel Hildreth. The McCullough book was inspired by an earlier historical fiction trilogy by Conrad Richter, The Trees, The Fields, and The Town. (This trilogy was made into a 1978 TV Miniseries, The Awakening Land, which we recently viewed.) McCullough found that each of the five persons mentioned above left a large collection of letter, diaries, and other material that he used for his book. Along with my wife’s family history research of the area I am now ready to tell more of this story.

Ferrell found work as a blacksmith and as a farrier

Horseshoes of the farrier and blacksmithing trade
Horseshoes of the farrier and blacksmithing trade | Source

Ferrell Weston Was Raised In The Weston Family Tradition

His grandparents raised Ferrell in the Weston family traditions with apprenticeships in the farrier trade and as a blacksmith. He also grew a modest herd of horses and kept
them healthy and productive. Ferrell began his apprenticeship, as was the tradition, as a farrier at age 12. He had learned to read, write, and cypher from his grandparents before his apprenticeship began. He continued to learn and grow in those skills as he carried out the responsibilities of his apprenticeship with his grandfather and uncles. At age 14, he was ready to take on ownership of his first two horses, to begin his herd. Also at 14, Ferrell made the decision, in consultation with his grandfather, to take on the two-year apprenticeship as a blacksmith, as well, plus continuing in his role of farrier. Ferrell showed great appreciation for this 3rd and 4th horse, as well, on his 16th birthday.

Ferrell had two uncles who were in line to take over his grandfather’s businesses as Ferrell was completing his apprenticeships, so everyone assumed he would move on when the time was right. Through the 1790s, news of both the Indian Wars in Ohio and the new and growing settlement of Marietta at the confluence of the Ohio and the Muskingum Rivers, not so far to the north and west, was tracked by the family. Marietta was noted as the first American settlement in the newly recognized Northwest Territory of the United States. The 1788 settlement was being led by renowned Revolutionary War General Rufus Putnam out of Massachusetts for the Ohio Company. Dr. Manasseh Cutler, also of Massachusetts, had also been a driving force for the Ohio Company and played a key role in getting the Northwest Ordinances passed that made the settlement possible. His son, Ephraim, was now also actively involved in the settlement as reported in the newspapers available at the time.

Between 1796 and 1800 Ferrell continued to practice and develop his skills and resources. He also met and courted Julia Hoffman of a nearby prominent farm family. She was excited by what Ferrell saw ahead for his life and she wanted to join him in the experience. They were married during the year-end of 1800 holidays at her parents home. He was 20 and she was 18 years old. Both his grandparents and her parents supported their planned move to Marietta in the spring of 1801.

Ferrell looked forward to bringing more of his horses to his new farm

Ferrell was proud of his horse herd
Ferrell was proud of his horse herd

Ferrell And Julia Begin Their New Live In Marietta

Ferrell and Julia arrived with their wagon of supplies and four of his horses by ferry across the Ohio River on March 12, of 1801. In short order, they found a boarding house where they could live and Julia could work part-time which had been her desire. He had no trouble finding employment as a blacksmith in the growing community. His work around the community was lucrative and also brought him into contact with many of the townsfolk of the community.

The year of 1801 went by quickly but not before Ferrell managed to meet Ephraim Cutler who had earlier helped found Marietta and now lived in the community of Ames somewhat up the Muskingum River and southwest of the river from Marietta. By the end of the year, Ferrell had arranged to buy a 110-acre farm from Ephraim on the edge of the Ames community on the south side of the Muskingum River. Mostly wooded, the farm had about twenty acres cleared and a modest log cabin left by a previous occupant who had moved on to a new location. Ferrell and Julia moved into the cabin on March 1, 1802. Ephraim had introduced Ferrell to several of the Ames residents and by the time they moved in, he was already doing contract blacksmith work for some and farrier work with others. He and Julia planted a garden and some crops that spring, and their new life was underway.

Looking at his new farm, Ferrell expected to build a new cabin for his family and convert the old cabin to his blacksmithing and farrier business. As more land was cleared, he would bring more of his horse herd to add them to his business interests and profit potential. By the end of 1803, Julia was pregnant with their first child. Their new life was now truly underway.

Note from the author

The Fx and Hx series of historical fiction family saga stories consist of characters
that are fictional. Any real persons are used here fictitiously. Activities and events
are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. Cousins of
these characters, the Jacob and Levi Weston characters were first created as a
part of “The Homeplace Saga” stories. The first 20+ episodes of this Lx series
filled in the early years of the lives of Levi, Jacob and their family, also
descendants of Thomas and Fred Weston. The author first created the
characters Joe, Jake and Hank Weston in 1998 (they have not been published prior to this hub series).

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer


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