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Weston Wagons West - Episode F8 - Ferrell Weston Family Grew Again

Updated on July 21, 2019
DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

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

He got to choose the two horses to start his herd

Two horses
Two horses

Ferrell Worked With Son Joe and Welcomed a New Son

Not long after their son Joe, at age 12, had entered his farrier apprenticeship, Ferrell and Julia were invited to the wedding of Betsy Dolan in June of 1816. Betsy was the oldest daughter of their neighbor and friends, William and Catherine Dolan. Their family now included, in addition to Betsy, John, 16, Mary, 14, James, 10, Catherine, 8, and William, 5. Betsy was married to George Willis at her parent’s home. George was the son of another nearby farmer and after their marriage they planned to live on his parent’s farm where he would continue to work.

As Joe completed his farrier apprenticeship with his father, Ferrell, in March of 1818, as was the family tradition, Joe received two horses of his own from his father’s herd. Joe had looked forward to this reward for his hard work and, with some guidance from this father, chose two mares he had been working with and had grown quite close to. At the same time, Joe had chosen to begin his apprenticeship as a blacksmith with his father as he became more involved with his father’s farrier business.

As Joe was making these decisions in his life, he was also joined by a baby brother in April. Ferrell and Julia named their new son Floyd. The two sisters, Vesta, now 6, and Wanda, now 4, doted on the baby as if he were their favorite dolly. The family was very happy. Meanwhile, Catherine Dolan also gave birth to a son a month later. They named him Thomas. Catherine assured Julia that he would be her last child. Julia smiled, and added, “Perhaps.”

They attended a wedding in the Dolan family

An early wedding photo image
An early wedding photo image

Ferrell and Julia Interacted with the Dolan Family

In September of 1819, Ferrell and Julia were invited to the wedding of John Dolan and Sarah Morris. Sarah was from a farming family that lived a few miles to the west and north, still south of the river. John had been able to purchase a small piece of land near her family where they would live after their marriage. The wedding was at the Morris farm home, so it was quite a trip over there, but Ferrell and Julia continued to enjoy being a part of their friend’s family activities and generally enjoyed the visit there.

In March of 1820, Joe completed his blacksmith apprenticeship. Although he was very good at this work, Joe told his parents he really enjoyed the farrier work with the horses more. Of course, according to family tradition, Joe earned his 3rd and 4th horse from his father’s herd at this time, as well. Again, he chose two mares that he would use to continue to grow his own herd. As each mare gave birth to their foals, Joe would have the option, sometimes depending on gender of the foal, to keep it or to sell the young offspring. He was learning from his father how to make these decision, too, of course.

All along, of course, Joe had continued to do some farm work with his father and was learning those skills along the way. He now had his education, was a farrier, a blacksmith and a farmer, with still much to learn at age 16. However, with the skills he had worked hard to attain, he could look forward to further major decisions as he continued to mature. Ferrell appreciated that those skills Joe had developed were now being applied to his farm and business, but realized in the years to come, Joe likely would be going out on his own, as the opportunity and Joe’s interests dictated.

They had another son; they named him Jake

A baby boy
A baby boy

Ferrell and Julia Watched Ferris Mature and Gave Him a Brother

Meanwhile, younger brother Ferris was not sitting idly by. He had been working hard on his education but also was watching, learning, and even helping out where he could as Joe went through his apprenticeships. In March of 1821, Ferris was fully prepared to enter his own farrier apprenticeship, as he reached his 12th birthday. Whereas some second sons might feel they were overshadowed by their older brother’s accomplishments, this position seemed to provide Ferris with additional incentive to achieve and even exceed his brother Joe's work. It was not really a competition, but Ferrell and Julia were very pleased to see that Ferris had well used his observational skills watching Joe through his apprenticeships.

Julia had more or less assumed, that along with Catherine, that Floyd, born in 1818 would also be her last child. However, the fall of 1821 arrived and was accompanied by another pregnancy. A fourth son, Jake, was born in March of 1822. Catherine had not had another child, but Julia had. She was now the one to suggest that this would be her last child. Catherine was now the one to say, “Perhaps.”

Ferris successfully completed his farrier apprenticeship in March of 1823, as all had expected and received his first two horses. Ferrell and Julia could hardly believe he was now old enough for this, but at age 14, he was right on schedule, of course. As had Joe, Ferris was anxious to begin his blacksmith apprenticeship. Ferrell and Julia had some concerns, because Ferris did not have the physical attributes that Joe had as he entered his blacksmith apprenticeship. However, Ferris seemed to more than make up for it in determination and a ‘can do’ attitude. So, they moved ahead with Ferris on his program, and hoped for the best. He had continued to do very well in his educational pursuits and worked tirelessly, as needed on the farm. Now it was Floyd who was benefiting from seeing an older brother work hard and overcome obstacles. They were very pleased with how their boys were growing up. Also, of course, the two girls, now 11 and 9, were doing well in learning their roles in the family.

That fall of 1823, young Joe Weston, now 19, got the break he had been hoping for. A small farm in a newly settled neighborhood, about 4 miles to the northwest along the south bank of the Muskingum River became available and he was able to purchase it. He was able to help harvest the current year’s crop and get a head start on the fields for 1824. It was an opportunity he could not pass up. Ferrell and Julia were happy for their oldest son. They knew he was courting a young lady by the name of Mary. They had a pretty good idea of what came next.

Note by the author

The Fx and Hx series of historical fiction family saga stories consist primarily of characters that are fictional. Any real persons, Dolan, Barker, Cutler, Hildreth, and Putnam, for example, are used here fictitiously. The Dolan family in Marietta were actual direct ancestors of the author’s wife. Two of the Dolan sons, John and James, were her third great-grandfathers. She and I have visited the area doing family history research. Activities and events are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. Cousins of these Weston 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 had not been published prior to this hub series).

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 weeks ago from Hollister, MO

      Never expected that reaction to one of my post, for sure. Hope you are ok, both from bite and shock of the image!!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      The first picture was a nightmare revisited for me. A horse bit me on the breast yesterday at the farm...still hurts like the dickens. :)

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