Could this be the oldest tombstone in Lancaster County? If it is, in fact, the original stone, it would be 16 years older than Elizabeth King’s 1732 Chestnut Level Cemetery tombstone.
It belongs to Marie (Warenbuer) Ferree, born in 1653 in Picardie, France. She came to America via Nutten Island (today Governor’s Island) between June 13 and August 2, 1710. She then made her way to present-day Lancaster County.
At the time of her death on January 1, 1716, this area was inside of Conestoga Township of Chester County. Lancaster County was not laid out until 1729. After the county’s formation, it became part of Strasburg Township. Then in 1843, it became Paradise Township.
When Ferree died, she was interred at Ferree Cemetery, now known as Carpenter Cemetery, located on Black Horse Road next to the Strasburg railroad track.
The cemetery is in the middle of the 2200 acres that were deeded to her son Peter and son-in-law Isaac Lefever. Legend has it that when she arrived at her new home, she exclaimed, “This is paradise!” Hence the name of the nearby town and eventual township.
You can find Ferree’s grave in the back right-hand corner of the cemetery. Here are the GPS coordinates: 39.994849, -76.119879.
Interesting side note. All of the records from Steinweiler, Germany, until her arrival in Pennsylvania, give her name as Marie Warenbuer, using her maiden name as was the custom of the time in Europe. She was not known as Marie Ferree until after her death.
What do you think? Could this the Ferree’s original tombstone?