Monday, May 15, 2017
1898 D. M. Ferry & Co Autumn Catalog from Detroit, Michigan
Dexter Mason Ferry was born in Lowville, New York, on August 8, 1833, but after his father's passing when Dexter was 3 years old, he & his mother moved to Penfield, New York. Dexter went attended school there & at age of 16 began working on a farm. In 1851, when Ferry reached 18, he began working for Ezra M. Parsons of Rochester, New York. In a short time, in 1852, Parsons helped Dexter get a job as an errand boy for S .D. Elwood & Company, a stationery firm in Detroit, Michigan. There he was soon promoted salesman, & later bookkeeper. With a formal education, experience as a laborer, & various aspects of business under his belt, Mr. Ferry, along with 2 partners, Milo T. Gardner & Eber F. Church, founded Gardner, Ferry & Church on April 1, 1856, when Dexter was not quite 23. In 1865, Ferry bought out Gardner & the company name was shortened to Ferry, Church & Company. Church retired 2 years later, & Dexter dropped his ex-partner's name. Ferry focused on quality & gained a reputation for selling superior seeds. He chose to only sell fresh seed with tested high germination rates. In 1879, Mr. Ferry absorbed the Detroit Seed Company & incorporated as D. M. Ferry & Co. The company grew, released new varieties of vegetables, & thrived. On New Years Day in 1886, fire demolished the company's warehouse at with a loss of nearly $1,000,000. Ferry quickly decided to purchase seed stock & 2 smaller seed companies, & were able to fill customer's orders. They constructed a new warehouse, & by 1890 were selling over $1,500,000 annually. By the early 1900s, the company's sales grew to over $2,000,000 yearly through mail-order catalog sales as well as placing seed racks to 160,000 retail outlets. D. M. Ferry died on November 10, 1907. The company merged with the California based seed company, C. C. Morse Company in 1930, to become the Ferry-Morse Seed Company. They relocated to Kentucky in 1959.