Willsey, Abraham Ferris

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Abraham Ferris Willsey was born December 11, 1845 in Berne, Albany Co, NY to Andrew Willsey (B. Oct 26, 1807, D. Oct 24, 1899) and Irene Doty (B. Jan 13, 1813, D. Oct 6, 1856).[1][2] Abraham was one of the younger children in a family of ten children.[1][2] His mother died in 1856 when he was just 11 yrs of age and his father remarried Almira A. Nelson (B. abt Nov 27, 1823, D. Mar 20, 1923), by whom he had a half brother.[1][3]

Marriage & Children

On June 28, 1873, he married Mary A. Nelson (B. March 1849[4], D. unk) at Providence Street in Albany. They were married by John Low Jr. and their witness was Mrs. Rev. G. T. Dowling.[5] Her parents are unknown. Abraham and Mary had no children of their own however Mary brought her daughter into the marriage:

  • Mary Ette Willsey[6] (B. Oct 1867,[4] D. abt 1941).[5] About 1892[7] she married Edward Gingrass[5] (ca. 1869[7]-1946[8])


Abraham began his career working as a farmer like his father Andrew Willsey.[9] After he served in the Civil War, he worked as a gunsmith with his brother Stephen Holmes Willsey.[10] In 1870 Abram Wilsie age 24 was in Salina, Onondaga Co. He was a carpenter and joiner, presumably single, in the home of J. P. Doud who was also a carpenter and joiner.[11] By 1880 he was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and step daughter in Berne.[6] They lived in Albany in 1881 at 84 Lark St. In 1886 Mary and Ette were still in Albany but Abram was in N.Y. at 421 West 28th St. In a letter home, (now in the possession of Whilma Willsie), he talks about the opening of the "Big Iron Bridge" in "Brooklin".[5]

Military Service

Name: Abraham Willsey
Residence at Enlistment: Berne[9]
Names of Parents: Andrew (Willsey) and Irena Doty[9]
Marital Status: Single[9]
Occupation: Farmer[9]
Term of Enlistment: 1 year[9]
Enlistment Date: 25 Aug 1864[12] or Sept 5, 1864[10]
Enlistment Place: Albany, New York
Enlistment Rank: Private
State Served: New York
Regiment: 3rd Cavalry[10][12]
Company: Company L[12]
Muster Out Date: 7 Jun 1865 or June 10, 1865[12]
Muster Out Place: Norfolk, VA
Additional Remarks: "Discharged June 5 1865 P.O. Address Bern Albany Co N.Y."[9] Enlisted at the age of 18. Discharged in good health without wounds.[10]
Sources Used: Ancestry.com, American Civil War Soldiers; 1865 census Berne, Albany Co., NY; Town and City Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War; 1890 US Veterans Census Albany, NY;


Abraham was born in 1845 in Berne. In 1850 he was living in Berne with his parents and large family, where his father and older brother Elias Willsey were working as farmers on the farm they owned.[2] The 1855 Census recorded that the family lived in a framed house valued at $200. and confirms that both of his parents had been born in Berne.[13] The family continued to live in Berne in 1860 and the Census recorded that his father had remarried.[3] The 1865 NY State Census recorded that Abraham had served in the Civil War and that with his brother Stephen he was working as a gunsmith.[10] In 1880 Abraham his wife Mary and step daughter Mary Ette were living in Berne next to his father Andrew Willsey and stepmother Almira.[6] By 1890 Abraham was living at 309 First Street in the city of Albany and was still in good health.[12] In 1900 he and his wife Mary were still living on First Street in the City of Albany, and Abraham was still working as a carpenter.[4] They owned their home at 323 First Street.[4] Living next store was their daughter Mary Ette Willsey and her husband Ed Gringras.[4]


Abraham died on March 11, 1919.[1]


Additional Research Notes

Additional Media

===Town and City Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War|Town and City Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Bernehistory.org
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 1850 US Census, Berne, Albany Co, NY
  3. 3.0 3.1 1860 US Census, Westerlo, Albany Co, NY
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 1900 US Census, Westerlo, Albany Co, NY Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "1900Census" defined multiple times with different content
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Whilma Willsey
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 1880 US Census, Berne, Albany Co, NY
  7. 7.0 7.1 1930 US Census, Albany, Albany Co, NY
  8. Obituary of Edward Gingrass
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Town and City Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 1865 NY State Census, Berne, Albany Co, NY
  11. 1870 US Census, Salina, Onondaga, NY
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 1890 US Veterans Census, Albany, Albany Co, NY
  13. 1855 NY State Census, Berne, Albany Co, NY