ELISHA PEYRE FERRY was born in Monroe, Michigan. After being admitted to the Illinois Bar, he practiced law in Waukegan and became the city’s first Mayor. He was a member of the Illinois Constitutional Convention in 1861. From 1861 to 1863, he served in the Civil War while also holding the position of Illinois State Bank Commissioner. In 1869 he was appointed Surveyor-General of Washington Territory by President Ulysses Grant and was promoted to Territorial Governor in 1872. As territorial governor, he oversaw the removal of the British to restore San Juan Islands to the United States. He also played a key role in Washington’s movement for statehood. He went on to practice law and became vice president of the Puget Sound National Bank in Seattle before winning the governorship when Washington achieved statehood in 1889. Ill during part of his term, he retired rather than seek reelection. He died of heart failure and was buried in Seattle.
Official Records at Washington State Archives, 1890-93, 4 cubic feet.
List of finding aids available at the Division of Archives and Records Management, Office of the Secretary of State. Available in hard copy: Guide to the Papers of the Governors of Washington, Volume 2: 1889-1919—Governor Ferry through Governor Lister.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 1. New York: James T. White & Company.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Washington State Library: Governors of Washington State