Friday, February 5, 2016

The Rise of the Fergusons

Welcome back to Milton township, Ohio. 

The year is 1835, and the younger of the Brothers Callin of Ohio, John Callin, has just died of tuberculosis. While the farm where John's children and nephews grew up must have begun to feel crowded by the end of the 1820s, during the 1830s and 1840s these children began to grow up and set off on their own. 

Indeed, at least the older of John's children would have been married by the time of his death. His son, George Callin, was married though he may not have moved out to Huron county, yet. His daughter, Ann Callin Campbell, had certainly struck out on her own with Henry Campbell. And we have discussed how his nephew Alec Callin will soon embark on his journey to Iowa, taking wife and children with him, as well as his widowed mother (John's sister-in-law).

The Callin Family History (or CFH) is not very elaborate when it comes to conveying all of this activity and motion. It tends to compact a great deal of an individual's history into very little text. For example, the book has two lines about John's next two eldest daughters which seem to say very similar things, but which have very different stories to tell:

Sarah, born 1808, married John Scott, moved to Ills. About 1840.
Eliza, born 1811, married Jas. Ferguson, moved to Ind. 1851.

This doesn't specify when Sarah and John were married, though it might be safe to guess that it was probably within a year or two of 1830; Sarah would have been in her early twenties, then. But the real tragedy is that we know nothing else about this couple - because none of their children are named in the CFH, and we have no idea where in Illinois they might have gone. There is a couple named Scott, John and Sarah, listed in the 1860 Census living in Mission, LaSalle county, Illinois, but if this is our couple, their children have clearly grown and left home, so there is no other lead information to work with. (My hunch is that this is most likely our John and Sarah Scott; Sarah's age is right, and her birthplace is listed as Ohio, while Sarah Callin was actually born in Pennsylvania, but I could chalk that up to a mistake on the enumerator's part.)

Perhaps someday, we'll learn enough about the Scott family to say more than that, in contrast, we have a great deal more information about Eliza (1811-1870) and her husband, James L. Ferguson (1810-1886).

It does help considerably that the CFH recorded many of their descendants. We know, thanks to their appearance in Jackson township, De Kalb county, Indiana, in 1850 that the CFH is slightly off about when they made their move; but we also know that it correctly records the ten children they had in Ohio prior to their big move. After they settled in Jackson township, they had one more daughter to make a nice, round eleven children:

  1. Mary Ferguson (1833–1895)
  2. Elizabeth Ferguson (1835–1898)
  3. Mildred Ferguson (1837–1910)
  4. George T Ferguson (1838–1865)
  5. Margaret Jane Ferguson (1839–1901)
  6. James L. Ferguson (1841–1907)
  7. Nicholas P. Ferguson (1843–1912)
  8. Sarah Ferguson (1846–1934)
  9. Eliza Ferguson (1847–1920)
  10. John D Ferguson (1848–1922)
  11. Minerva J Ferguson (1854–1881)
James Ferguson was a farmer, as you might have come to expect of the men of this generation. Since we don't know where they were living while they were still in Ohio, it may or may not be safe to assume that they were near the rest of the Callin family farms. There is a James Ferguson listed in 1840 living in Brown township, Delaware county, 133 miles to the west of Milton township; this James Ferguson had children of ages that match our James Ferguson. The important thing for us is that we have them placed in Indiana in 1850.

By 1860, Eliza's mother, Elizabeth Simon Callin, was living in the Ferguson household on James's forty acre farm near Auburn in De Kalb county. I don't have a lot of documentation on her story, but she does appear on the 1860 Census, and the CFH says that she died in November 1864 and was buried in Auburn. It could be that she moved to Indiana with James and Eliza, or she followed along during the 1850s. She certainly got to spend her last few years with her smaller grandchildren.

Of the eleven Ferguson children, only George died without leaving behind a family of his own. According to the CFH, he was twenty-seven years old when he was "Killed in battle on the Potomac, Feb., 1865." If our George is the George Ferguson who enlisted in the 13th Regiment of the Indiana Infantry, they would have been some 380 miles south of the Potomac in February 1865, engaged in operations around Wilmington, North Carolina. George may well have enlisted in another state, though, as many young men did if they could not find a regiment in their home state. If that was the case, he might well have been killed on the Potomac.

Eliza Callin Ferguson followed a few years after George on 17 November 1870, and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Auburn. If I'm interpreting the evidence right, it would seem that James stayed in the house with their youngest son, John D. Ferguson, and soon, with John's family.

John married his wife, Lovina Reed (1853-1925) on 9 November 1871, and he brought his young wife home to live with him and his father. The young couple dealt with a tragedy that first year, when they had twins that died in February 1872, Albert Allen and Alberta Alice Ferguson. The following year, they had their daughter, Dora E. Ferguson (1873–1908), and a few years later, Mary Jane Ferguson (1876–1879), who only survived three years.

The 1880 Census shows James, John and Lovina, and Dora living in De Kalb county, with James and John listed as farmers. Later that year, Leora B. Ferguson (1880–1899) was born (the CFH calls her "Aola"), followed by Catherine M. "Kate" Ferguson (1882–1951).

Then, in 1885, James seems to have grown ill, and he updated his will accordingly (transcribed by me - consider all of the spelling irregularities to be part of the original):

Know all by these presents that I James L. Fergeson son of Jackson township in DeKalb Couty State of Indiana being of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament, revoking all former wills by me made; that is to say

First--I give and devise unto Six daughters Mary McNabb Elizabeth Reed Mildred Ettinger Margaret J. Gallaher Sarah Myers and Eliza Myers in equal portion all my household goods of every name and character to be by them divided

Second--To my Son John D. Furgeson I devIse the entire use and possession of the forty acres of land I own in said township for the term of two years from my death upon the express condition that he pay or cause to be paid all my debts; expenses of my last illness and funeral and the taxes on said land for the two years

Third--All the balance and residue of my estate real and personal I devise (except as Stated above) unto my three Sons James L Furgeson Jun- Nicholas Perrine Furgeson and John D. Furgeson in equal portions and Shares- provided that they shall and will pay or cause to be paid within three year from my death the sum of Four hundred and twenty (420) dollars - that is to Say - that they Shall pay to each of my above named daughters the Sun of Sixty (60) dollars and to said John D Furgeson who has purchased the interest of Clarissa J Copp daughter of my daughter Minerva Copp deceased in my estate the further Sun of Sixty (60) dollars, Interest is to be charged on said. Four hundred and twenty dollars if not paid within Said three years

Fourth- I name and advise that my Son John D Furgeson act as the Executor of this will.

In witness whereof I hereunto Subscribe my name and affix my seal this 12th day of December 1885
After James died in 1886, John and Lovina had one more child, Oscar Dale Ferguson (1890–1891) who only survived a year. It isn't clear when, but probably after his two year lease on the forty acre farm expired, John seems to have sold the property and moved his family to Milford in Lagrange county. That is where he and Lovina were living with Kate in 1900.

Dora had married Charles Frederick Kinsey (1870–1949) on 13 December 1890, and they lived in Union township in De Kalb county, where Charles was the proprietor of his own shop. They had two children before Dora's untimely death in 1908; Charles then remarried Sophia M Kiner in 1910, and she helped him raise the children.

     1. Gladys F Kinsey (b. 1893) attended Auburn High School, Class of 1913, and from there I have not been able to determine where she went.

     2. Keith Harlan Kinsey (1905–1958) married Thelma M Schlegel (1906–2001) in 1924, and they had a son; but for whatever reason, they did not stay together for long. In 1930, Thelma and her 4-year-old son were living with her parents. She remarried, and presumably raised the boy. Keith married Garnet Geneva (Lewis) Sprowl (1905-1995) about 1939, and while there are places where the records could indicate that they may have separated at times in the next twenty years, they are buried together in the La Fontaine IOOF* Cemetery in Wabash county.

Keith served as a corporal in an Indiana field artillery unit during World War II.

     a. Keith Charles Kinsey (1925–2003) grew up in Indiana and attended Purdue University where he was the President of the Purdue Aero Club in 1948. He accepted a commission in the U.S. Air Force in September 1949, and served in Korea and Vietnam, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He lived in San Diego in the 1990s, died in Kirkland, Washington, in 2003, and he is buried in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.

I have not found any information indicating that he married or had any children.

Leora married George Dancer (b. 1877) in January 1899, but she died by the end of the same year. He remarried in 1902 to Carrie Belle Reed (1879-1924), and they had one son - but it is not clear whether Carrie might have been otherwise related to Leora's mother.

Kate, the last surviving daughter of John and Lovina Ferguson, stayed at home and single until she was 35. She worked as a photographer in a studio in Auburn, and married Ora E. Martz (1881–1944) on Boxing Day, 26 December 1917. In 1920, the couple was living with John and Lovina, and may have stayed with them until John died (in 1922) and Lovina died (in 1925). They had no children of their own.

And with that, we begin the saga of the Ferguson descendants of James Callin. It may take us a couple of months to go through and tell the stories of James and Eliza's other nine children and the dizzying array of surnames we'll be looking at may seem overwhelming.

As always, please let me know if you're related to any of these folks, and especially let me know if I missed anyone or got anything wrong.

* IOOF = Independent Order of Odd Fellows

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