Woodbridge N. Ferris, Class of 1873: From Frontier Dweller to University Founder
If ever there was a young man whose prospects for doing great things with his life were dim, it was Woodbridge Ferris. He was born to Stella and John Ferris Jr. on January 6, 1853, near Spencer, N.Y. In the mid-19th century, Spencer was considered part of the frontier and Ferris was literally born in a log cabin, the first of seven children. His great grandfather, Richard Ferris, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War who lived in Scarsdale, and spent the entire War for Independence as part of the New York militia patrolling Westchester County. Pvt. Ferris saw no action during the war, but as a veteran, he was entitled to land in western New York state as payment for his war-time service.