John Ferguson was born in 1829, presumably in Perry County, OH, the son of John H. and Sarah (Miner) Ferguson.
When John was a boy or teenager, sometime before 1850, he and his parents and siblings migrated to Michigan. They settled in Constantine, Saint Joseph County, MI, where they spent many years. He and his father labored as a teamsters.
We are exploring the possibility of whether John served during the Civil War as a member of the 168th Ohio Infantry, Company K.
He married Martha Jane Churchill (1831- ? ). She was a native of New York.
The federal census of 1850 shows John and Martha residing just three homes away from his parents in Constantine. At that time, they had no children.
The Fergusons lived in Constantine in 1856, where one of their daughters were born. The Fergusons had six children -- Frances Ellen "Ella" Bristol, Samuel (or "Lemuel") Ferguson, Hugh Ferguson, Colonel Ellsworth Ferguson, Carrie (or "Callie") Arnold and Alice Grinder. Their son Colonel apparently was named after the first Union Army officer to lose his life at the start of the Civil War.
John and his brother in law, Lemon W. Bristol, were "pioneer" lumber operators who worked together and ran a sawmill on the banks of Little Fish Lake in Ropertown, Cass County, MI. (Ropertown has long since disappeared.)
When the federal census was taken in 1860, the Fergusons resided in nearby Porter, Cass County, with their children Lemuel (age 9), Alice (6), Ellen (5) and Hugh (1). That year, John labored as a farmer.
Sometime during the decade of the 1860s, John migrated westward with his wife and children, with Nebraska as their destination. By the time the federal census was taken in 1870, they made their home on a farm in Town 9, Range 9 of Pawnee County, NE. Their post office was Tipps Branch. (Today Tipps Branch no longer exists, and is considered a "ghost town." The 1942 booklet, History of Plumb Creek, states that it was named after the tributary of Plum Creek, and was started in 1870 about 2½ miles south and two miles west of Burchard.)
It's thought that John died in about 1895, when Margaret began receiving his monthly Civil War pension payments as his widow.
~ Son Lemuel Ferguson ~
Son Lemuel Ferguson (1850- ? ) was born in 1850. He learned the trade of house painting.
He married Ella (?) (1858- ? ), and they had at least three sons, Oscar Ferguson, Elmer Ferguson and Walter Ferguson.
In 1874, the Fergusons lived in Nebraska, where their elder son was born. By 1878, they had migrated to Iowa and resided in Hastings, Mills County, where Lemuel was a painter. That year, his brother Hugh, also a painter, lived under their roof. Lemuel and Ella must have enjoyed life in Hastings, as he obtained employment in a merchant grocery.
By 1920, they had moved again to Glenwood, Mills County, IA, where Lemuel continued his work as a house painter. Relocating again during the 1920s, they made their home in Whittier, Los Angeles County, CA in 1929 and 1930.
Son Elmer Ferguson (1878- ? ) was born in 1878. He was a locomotive fireman, living in Hastings, Mills County, IA, in 1900.
Son Walter Ferguson (1898- ? ) was born in 1898. He married Grace J. (?) (1897- ? ) in about 1918, when he was age 20 and she 21. Walter was an automobile salesman. They lived with Walter's parents in Whittier, Los Angeles County, when the census was taken in 1930.
~ Daughter Alice (Ferguson) Grinder ~
Daughter Alice Ferguson (1854- ? ) was born in 1854.
She married (?) Grinder. They had one known daughter, Alice Perdue.
Circa 1929, Alice lived in Omaha, Douglas County, NE. The following year, she made her home in 1930 with her 44-year-old divorced daughter Alice (Grinder) Perdue (1886- ? ), who was employed as a life insurance agent.
~ Daughter Ella (Ferguson) Bristol ~
Daughter Ella Ferguson (1856-1929) married her first cousin, Harvey S. Bristol. Click for more.
~ Son Hugh Ferguson ~
Son Hugh Ferguson (1859- ? ) was born in 1859. He also resided in Whittier, Los Angeles County, CA in 1929.
~ Son Colonel Ellsworth Ferguson ~
Son Colonel Ellsworth Ferguson (1861-1939) was born on March 3, 1861 in Cass County, MI.
He seems to have been named for Col. Ephraim "Elmer" Ellsworth, who was shot down in cold blood in Winchester, VA, the first Union officer to lose his life during the Civil War, which was national headline news at the time. As the wartime killing of Ellsworth did not occur until May 24, 1861, our Colonel's birthdate is in some question.
At the age of 19, in 1880, Colonel moved to Nebraska, where his parents had migrated after the Civil War. He settled in the town of Tecumseh, Johnson County. Evidence suggests that he was married twice, first at the age of 21 in about 1882. If so, the identify of his first spouse is not yet known.
On Jan. 4, 1899, when he was age 38, Colonel married 24-year-old Grace I. Stetter (1876- ? ). The ceremony took place in Tecumseh. She was a native of Iowa, and her parents were emigrants from Germany. Grace was 14 years younger than her husband.
In all, Colonel and Grace produced six children -- Carl E. Ferguson, J. Robert Ferguson, Frank L. Ferguson, Arthur S. Ferguson, Leah M. Sperber and William H. Ferguson.
After about eight years, the couple relocated to Colorado, putting down roots in Holyoke, Phillips County. "The family resided for a short time with Mrs. Ferguson's parents in a sod house four miles east of Holyoke," reported the Holyoke (CO) Enterprise: "They later lived in Holyoke for some time and then in Sterling for two years before moving to a ranch in the Wages community southwest of Holyoke in 1912." Continued the Enterprise:
The Ferguson family moved to Holyoke in 1907 and Mr. Ferguson engaged in the barber business, later entering the general merchandising trade. He and his family moved to Sterling in 1912 and resided there two years, Mr. Ferguson being engaged in the show business in that town. He severed his business connections in 1914 and located on a farm in the Wages community where he had since resided. He united with the First Methodist church in Holyoke in 1908, and later transferred his membership to the Epworth Methodist church at Wages. He served as a member of the Holyoke band and church choir many years, and was mayor of Tecumseh, Nebraska during his residence there.
During their more than three decades in Colorado, in addition to Phillips County, they also resided for a time in Yuma County. The federal census of 1910 shows the Fergusons in Precinct 2 of Phillips County, with Colonel's employment given as "manager, general store." That year, Walter and Rosa Parries boarded in their home When the federal census was taken in 1920 and 1930, their dwelling place was on a farm in Weld, Yuma County.
Colonel suffered for 15 years with a crippling rheumatism. After a long illness, said the Holyoke Enterprise, he died at home in July 1939. His funeral was held in the Epworth Methodist Church at Wages, CO, with Rev. James H. Burkey preaching. He was laid to rest in the Holyoke Cemetery. Reported the Enterprise, the pallbearers included "six neighbor friends: Charles Sheridan, George Bovee, Theodore O'Neal, Lloyd and Lester McCormick and J.C. Brown." [Find-a-Grave]
Son Carl E. Ferguson (1901-1993) was born on April 12, 1901 in or Tecumseh, Johnson County, NE. When he was age five, he and his parents and siblings migrated to a farm near Holyoke, Phillips County, CO. On March 6, 1929, at Paoli, Phillips County, the 27-year-old Carl was united in marriage with 20-year-old Edna L. Thompson (1909- ? ), daughter of Arthur C. and Nettie M. (Armagost) Thompson. Rev. Charles E. Harris officiated at the ceremony held at the church parsonage. The couple had these children: Grant Ferguson, James Ferguson, Charles Ferguson, Eleanor Hestor and Patricia Tochnauer. Reported the Holyoke Enterprise:
They farmed and ranched southwest of Holyoke from the time of their marriage until 1989. Along with the farming, Carl raised registered and commercial Hereford cattle. During the Depression, Carl also worked for the WPA building roads. After retiring he continued to live on the farm, later moving to Holyoke for a period of time before moving to the Haxtun nursing home. Carl served on the Phillips County School Board for 25 years and also the rural Telephone Board. He was an active member of the Grange. Carl played baseball with the Wages team, and he remained a fan of baseball all his life. He was a faithful member of the Wages Epworth Methodist Church, serving on numerous boards and committees.
Edna was a member of the Wages Epworth Methodist Church, United Methodist Women and Epworth Grange. Carl died at the age of 92 on June 17, 1993 in a nursing home in Haxtun, Phillips County, CO. His remains were interred in Holyoke Memorial Park following a funeral led by Rev. Jack Pedotto of the Wages Methodist Church. An obituary in the Enterprise noted that he was survived by 20 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Edna outlived him by only less than a month. She passed into eternity on July 14, 1993, also in Huxton.
Son John "Robert" Ferguson (1906-1974) was born on July 7, 1906 in or around Tecumseh, Johnson County, NE. He moved as a toddler with his parents to Colorado, settling for a short time in a sod house east of Holyoke, Phillips County. "They later lived in Holyoke for some time and then in Sterling for two years before moving to a ranch in the Wages community southwest of Holyoke in 1912," reported the Holyoke (CO) Enterprise. "He grew to manhood in that community and resided there the rest of his life. He raised Hereford cattle for many years and derived much satisfaction from working with cattle and horses as well as from his substantial farming operation. He played baseball for a number of years, pitching for the Wages team, and was an avid ball fan throughout his life. He had a friendly, quiet disposition, enjoyed a special rapport with children, and had many friends of all ages." At the age of 23, in 1930, he was unmarried, lived at home and helped his father with farm chores. On June 7, 1936, when he was age 29, Robert married Bernice Pauline Heimer (1910-2001), daughter of Walter F. and Blanche E. (Roos) Heimer. The ceremony was held in Holyoke, with Rev. N.F. Horn presiding. They had two daughters, Nancy Coleman and Lois Dillon. Prior to marriage, Bernice received secondary education at Colorado State Teaching College, receiving a teaching certificate. She then taught for eight years in a number of country schools of Phillips County, among them Prairie Gem, Pleasant Valley, Pleasant Prairie and Liberty School, receiving a salary of $85 per month. After leaving teaching, she helped her husband manage an expanding cattle and farming business. In 1945, when she was 35 years of age, Bernice suffered third degree burns while at home and ended up spending three months convalescing in the local hospital. Said the Enterprise, Robert "was a faithful member of the Holyoke Christian church and had served as a deacon for a number of years. He was a member of Holyoke Lodge No. 81, A.F. & A.M., and held the office of Junior Warden at the time of his death. He was insurance agent for the Wages Epworth Grange, was a member of the Colorado Cattlemen's association, and served on the local hospital board for several years." Robert endured a heart attack in about 1963 but survived and lived for another 15 years. But he was stricken again at the age of 68, on Sept. 14, 1974, after planting wheat and while preparing to return home for lunch, and died instantly. His funeral was held at Holyoke Christian Church, presided over by Rev. Dale Arnold, with burial in Holyoke Memorial Park. An obituary was published in the Enterprise. As a widow, Bernice survived her husband by more than a quarter of a century. She died in Holyoke on Oct. 16, 2001.
Son Frank L. Ferguson (1908-1983) was born on May 4, 1908 in Holyoke, Phillips County, CO. As a child, he lived in Phillips and Yuma Counties as his parents moved from time to time. When he was age 28, on March 27, 1936, he wed Helen May Sheridan (1911-1970). They had no natural born children of their own and adopted a girl and a boy, Ruth Ann Ray and Bill Ray. Of Frank, reported the Holyoke Enterprise, "He farmed and ranched all of his life in the Holyoke area. Frank enjoyed his cattle and horses. When he was younger he did some rodeoing and breaking of horses. In fact, he broke a horse just about three years ago [in 1980]." They were members of the Epworth Grange, American Hereford Association and Wages United Methodist Church. Sadly, Helen passed away in 1970 at the age of 59. Frank married again, to Doris Lee (Hagerman) Struckmeyer (1918-2005), widow of Everett H. Struckmeyer. Frank died on Sept. 13, 1983, at the age of 75. He was laid to rest in Holyoke Memorial Park following funeral services in Wages United Methodist Church officiated by Rev.'s Al Woolman and Don Sperber. In an obituary, the Enterprise reported that he was survived by three grandchildren, 12 step-grandchildren, two step-great grandchildren "and many relatives and a host of friends." Doris lived for another 22 years. She passed in Holyoke on July 25, 2005, with burial beside her first husband in Holyoke Memorial Park.
Son Arthur S. Ferguson (1910- ? ) was born on April 18, in Holyoke, Phillips County, CO. In early childhood, he relocated with his parents to Sterling, CO and then came to the community of Wages, 17 miles southwest of Holyoke, when he was age two. Said the Holyoke Enterprise, "He spent the rest of his life on the same ranch." When he was age 22, Arthur married Alice Austin ( ? - ? ) on Oct. 4, 1942. They had a family of two sons, Lee Ferguson and Glen Ferguson. Arthur was considered an "outstanding rancher and farmer and raised fine cattle on his ranch." In middle age, he contracted diabetes but continued to expend long hours laboring on the farm. Trouble came for the family in the summer of 1962. On the fateful day of July 27, their machine shed caught fire and burned to the ground, consuming all of Arthur's shop tools, a truck and two tractors. Just a few days later, on or about Aug. 1, 1962, Arthur suffered a heart attack and was taken to East Phillips County Hospital, where he died. Burial was in Holyoke Memorial Park, following funeral services at the Wages Methodist church officiated by Rev. Stanley Watson.
Daughter Leah Margaret Ferguson (1912- ? ) was born on Feb. 21, 1912 in Sterling, Logan County, CO. She appears to have received her middle name in memory of her maternal grandmother. She and her parents moved back to Wages, a community southwest of Holyoke, Phillips County, CO. On Feb. 23, 1936, when she was age 24, Leah married Clyde E. Sperber ( ? -1994). Rev. Claude R. Kinsley led the nuptials, which took place in Paoli, Phillips County. The couple produced three sons -- Don Sperber, Gary Sperber and Ray Sperber. They lived on a farm for many years southwest of Holyoke. Said the Holyoke Enterprise, Leah was:
...an active member of the Wages United Methodist Church until it closed. Following its closure, she became an active member of the Holyoke United Methodist Church. She was particularly active with the United Methodist Women of the church. She moved to Holyoke following her husband's death. Throughout her life she loved to bake and prepare meals for others. All who knew her loved her pies, her cinnamon rolls and her baked goods of any kind. She enjoyed having people to dinner. She was very hospitable and found delight in sharing with others. Her faith in God and her family were her greatest joy.
Sadly, Clyde died in 1994. Leah followed him to the grave a decade later on May 16, 2004, at the age of 92. Interment was in Holyoke Memorial Park. Eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren were counted among her survivors, reported the Enterprise.
Son William Henry "Bud" Ferguson (1914-1975) was born on Aug. 18, 1914 in Phillips County, CO. Hew grew up in Phillips and Yuma Counties. At the age of 29, on Aug. 18, 1943, Bud wed Gertrude Eleanor Price (1910-1993), daughter of James R. and Elizabeth N. (Packard) Price of Cortland, Gage county, NE. The ceremony was held in Gertrude's hometown of Cortland. The Fergusons produced four daughters: Grace Elizabeth Ferguson, Mary Helen Carr, Shirley Jean Petry Crom and Margaret Ann Cingoranelli. Said the Holyoke Enterprise, "He was a farmer and rancher all of his life with a special love for horses and cattle. He worked part time at Great Western Sugar factory in Sterling." Gertrude, born a twin with her brother George, and together they attended Doane College in Nebraska and received their degrees in 1931. Noted the Enterprise:
They worked while attending college: George rang the bells for his room in Merrill Hall and Gertrude did babysitting, ironing and washed dishes. She taught country schools in Phillips and Yuma counties. Her interest in teaching school came from her grandfather who was the first school teacher at Cortland, Nebraska.... Gertrude helped with Sunday School all her life. She was president of Wages United Methodist Women's Society for several years. She worked at Sheridan Manor when her daughters were in high school.... She was a member of the hospital auxiliary after moving to Haxtun.
They ranched and farmed and were longtime members of the Epworth Grange. Bud died on July 14, 1975, at the age of 61. Rev. Richard Van Winkle preached the funeral sermon, at the Wages Methodist Church, followed by burial in Holyoke Memorial Park. Gertrude lived for another 18 years after her husband's death, remaining on their farm until moving to a new home in Haxtun. She succumbed in Denver on July 3, 1993. Her remains were returned to Holyoke to rest with her spouse in the local memorial park.
~ Daughter Carrie (Ferguson) Arnold ~
Daughter Carrie Ferguson (1863-1948) was born on Nov. 9, 1863 in Constantine, St. Joseph County.
On Sept. 8, 1879, when she was age 16, and he 22, Carrie married William Spencer Arnold (1858- ? ), an Ohio native. The wedding took place in Three Rivers, St. Joseph County, MI.
They lived in Nebraska circa 1880-1892; in Colorado circa 1895; in Colfax Township, Wexford County, MI in 1900; and later in Los Angeles in the 1920s.
They had at least eight children, all born in Nebraska except for the youngest two -- George Irone Arnold, Lulu M. Boyd Owens Bristol Vananburg, Blanche Leone Vandercook, Ralph Colonel Arnold, John Ninnon Arnold, Hazel Foxworthy Caplinger Jones, Paul Arthur Arnold and one who died young between 1900 and 1910.
When the federal census was taken in 1900, William boarded with Frederick House in Colfax Township, where he was a day laborer. Carrie and the seven children resided in another location that year within the same township.
In 1910, William and Carrie were under the same roof, with son Paul and granddaughter Florence H. Boyd in the household. That year, William was listed as performing general farm work. By 1920, they had moved to Detroit, Wayne County, MI, where William was employed as a watchman in an auto parts factory.
Between 1920 and 1930, they moved again, to Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, and when the 1930 census was taken, during their 50th year of marriage, the 72-year-old William was a janitor in an auto factory, and the 65-year-old Carrie a seamstress.
William passed away on Dec. 17, 1941 -- just 10 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor -- in or near Otisville, Forest Township, MI.
Carrie survived by seven years and died in Forest Township, Otisville, Genesee County on Aug. 5, 1948.
Son George Irone Arnold (1880-1963) was born on Dec. 4, 1880 in Verona Township, Adams County, NE. He married Nora L. Taylor (1881-1953). They only had one son, Orville Irone Arnold. George earned a living over the years as an interior decorator. Nora passed into eternity in Flint on Dec. 17, 1953. George lived for another decade. He died on April 1, 1963 in Flint.
Daughter Lulu Arnold (1885- ? ) on Feb. 20, 1885 in Verona Township, Adams County, NE. She was married thrice. Her first husband was shingle maker Arthur J. Boyd (1878- ? ), the son of James and Mary (Davis) Boyd. The wedding took place on Aug. 9, 1900, when Lula was age 16, and Arthur age 22. The clergyman who married them was Rev. Howard Moore, pastor of the Friends Church. Witnesses to the marriage were William and Mary Arnold. Their only daughter was Florence Hazel McClenahen. Nine years later, Lula married her second husband, Frank L. Vanamburg (1880- ? ), the son of Matthew and Betsy (Campbell) Vanamburg, on Nov. 2, 1909. The wedding was performed by Rev. William Murphy, the superintendent of the City Mission, and was witnessed by Chester and Lettie Thayer. Frank was a butcher. Lulu wed her second husband (?) Owens in about 1920 in Detroit. Her third marriage was to Frank Bristol (1880- ? ) in about 1930.
Daughter Blanche Leone Arnold (1887- ? ) was born on June 2, 1886 in Schuyler, Colfax County, NE. At the age of 18, she married 20-year-old Clarence Vandercook (1885- ) on April 4, 1905, at Cadillac, MI. Clarence was the son of Winthrop and Marian (Burgess) Vandercook. At the time, Clarence lived in Manton, Wexford County, and was a clerk. The wedding was performed by Rev. Thomas H.M. Coghlan, and was witnessed by Gertrude Hafer and Claud Moore. The couple did not reproduce. Blanche passed away in Manton on Jan. 7, 1940. Clarence survived her by more than two decades. He joined her in death on June 27, 1961 in Manton
Son Ralph Colonel Arnold (1889-1963) was born on Feb. 5, 1889 in Schuyler, Colfax County, NE. He served in the U.S. military during World War I, and afterward lived in Detroit, where he was a painter. At the age of 29, in 1918, he married his first bride 22-year-old Ella Myrtle Rhodes (1896-1920), a native of Salina, NY. The couple resided in Flint, MI and produced one son, Richard Ellsworth Arnold, born in 1919. Tragically, Ella Myrtle died on Valentine's Day 1920 in Detroit. After five years as a widower, Ralph married Wilhelmine Becker (1893- ? ), the daughter of Thomas and Maude (Arnout) Becker, on June 18, 1921, in Detroit. At the time, Wilhelmine was a resident of Los Angeles. The wedding was officiated by Rev. Cassius E. Wakefield, and was witnessed by Paul A. Arnold and his wife. They migrated to Southern California where, in 1924, they had a child of their own, Mary Jane Mead. Ralph died in Maywood, Los Angeles County, CA on Aug. 6, 1963.
Son John Ninnon Arnold (1890-1965) was born on Sept. 10, 1890 in Schuyler, Colfax County, NE. At the age of 24, on June 25, 1915, John was united in holy matrimony with 19-year-old Sibyl M. McIntyre (1896-1978), daugher of Silas and Anna A. (Baldwin) McIntyre of Richfield Center, Lapeer County, MI. The nuptials took place in Flint, Genesee County. They went on to produce five children -- Clifford Ninnon Arnold, Jack Erwin Arnold, Betty Rae Miller, Sibyl Ann Adelle Heavner and Hazel Caroline Jamison. Sadly, John died in Flint on Jan. 5, 1965. Sibyl lived as a widow for 13 years until her passing in Flint on Jan. 18, 1978. Their granddaughter Dawn (Heavner) Grabowski graciously has shared her genealogy research for this biography.
Daughter Hazel R. Arnold (1892-1967) was born on July 23, 1892 in Schuyler, Colfax County, NE. She moved back to Michigan as a girl with her parents and siblings. When she was age 18 and he 28, Hazel married her first husband, railroad fireman Clyde E. Foxworthy (1882- ? ), the son of H.R. and Z.E. (Laforce) Foxworthy. The wedding took place in Wexford County on Oct. 13, 1910, by the hand of minister William H. Gray, with Elide Lund and Martha Gray serving as witnesses. A full decade separated the newlyweds in age. The couple produced two children -- Duane Earl Foxworthy and Paul Dallas Foxworthy. She married her second husband, William Caplinger ( ? - ? ), in about 1925. Her third spouse, wedded in 1930, was Warren Jones. Hazel died in Flint on Aug. 12, 1967.
Son Paul Arthur Arnold (1895-1982) was born in 1895. He also served in the military during World War I, having enlisted in Genesee County, MI. After the war, he resided in Flint, Genesee County, where he was a rivet-heater. On Nov. 4, 1919, at Flint, he married 18-year-old Mabel M. Newberry (1901- ? ), the daughter of H.G. and Cora (Chapman) Newberry. The wedding was performed by Rev. George M. Vercoe, and was witnessed by the pastor's wife. The couple went on to have three children, Evelyn Arnold, Arthur Arnold and Earl Arnold. Paul passed away in Escondido, a San Diego suburb, on Nov. 21, 1982.
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2015-2017 Mark A. Miner