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October 1, 2012

Glens Falls’ Politician for all Seasons

Orange Ferris

Orange Ferris was born in Glens Falls on November 26, 1814, the son of John A. and Hannah Ferris. Orange attended the academy on Ridge Street and went to the University of Vermont, which in 1868 granted him an honorary degree. He studied law with the Honorable William Hay of Glens Falls and admitted to the bar in 1840. Also in 1840, he began his public life by being appointed Surrogate of Warren County by Governor Seward, a position in which he served for four years. Elected County Judge and Surrogate in 1851, he was the only Whig to win office in Warren County in this election. He was re-elected for two more terms.

He married twice, first to Amelia Martin by whom he had a daughter Millie, and after her death, to Cornelia Wing Carpenter, with whom he had a son, Louis.

Orange Ferris home on Glen Street in Glens Falls


Orange was elected to the U. S. Congress in 1856 where he served for two terms during which he opposed the Alaskan Purchase and favored the impeachment of President Johnson. In 1871, President Ulysses Grant appointed Orange a Commissioner of Claims to settle claims of loyal southerners for losses during the Civil War. He was re-appointed in 1873. In 1880, President Hayes appointed him as auditor of the U. S. Treasury, and he continued to serve in that position under Presidents Garfield and Arthur.

Locally, he was a founder and promoter of the Glens Falls Thespian Association in 1834. He was a long time member, along with many other prominent citizens, of the Cold Water Club on Lake George. He was an original vestryman at the Church of the Messiah and a member of the Lyceum, a discussion group, presenting papers before it. The community held Orange in very high esteem.

Judge Orange Ferris, second from left, in front of the Cold Water Club cabin on Uncas Island in Lake George. At left is the Honorable Jerome Lapham, third from left is Benjamin F. Lapham and at right is A. Newton Locke.


© September 27 2012, Warren County Historical Society.

Article prepared by Bob Bayle for the Warren County Historical Society.

Photos courtesy of the Chapman Historical Museum




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