Friday, May 20, 2016

The Second James L. Ferguson

The sixth child of James L. Ferguson and Eliza Callin was a boy named after his father. He was their second son, born in Ohio, and at about 8 years of age, his parents moved the family to Indiana.

James L. Ferguson (1841–1907) married Margaret Walters (1845–1926) on 9 April 1865 - the same day that Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court house, signaling the end of the Civil War. James served in the war, having enlisted in Company B, Ohio 11th Infantry Regiment on 20 June 1861. He mustered out on 21 June 1864.

I imagine that the joy of the wedding and the end of the war was dampened by the death of James's older brother, George, in February 1865. The Callin Family History says that George was killed in battle on the Potomac, but I believe George was serving in the Indiana 13th Infantry Regiment, which was in North Carolina in February. Whatever the details were, the loss could not have been easy to bear.

James and Margaret began their family on a farm near his parent's farm in Jackson Township, DeKalb county, Indiana. They had six children over the following 15 years, four of whom survived to adulthood. Some time during the 1870s they relocated to a farm in Union township, and in March 1906, a downturn in his health forced James to move into Auburn, where he died of heart disease in June 1907. She was sick for a long time with Bright's disease and neuritis and was bedridden for two years before she died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Jennie Kosht of East Seventh street, Auburn.

      I. Sarah M. Ferguson (1867–1881) died at age 13, of unknown causes.

      II. Mary Jane 'Jennie' Ferguson (1869–1963) married Emmett Kosht (1869–1920) in 1892. They had a baby that year which died in infancy. Emmett died in 1920, leaving his estate to Jennie and their son, Walter. Jennie's mother, Margaret Ferguson, likely moved into their home around 1924.

      a. Walter Markley Kosht (1904–1925) graduated from Auburn high school with the class of 1924, but was taken to the Irene Byron sanatorium for treatment for tuberculosis in February 1925 and died on 31 July 1925.

After losing Emmett, Walter, and her mother in just a few short years, Jennie remarried John H. Flemming (1867-1944); as of 1930, they were living in Jennie's home. That is where Jennie remained after John's death in 1944, until about 1962, when her health deteriorated to the point where she needed to move in with the Ruchel family in Jackson. She died there on 3 April 1963.

      III. Rev. Joseph W Ferguson (1871–1963) married the younger sister of Emmett Kosht, Cora I Kosht (1871–1927), early in 1891. "In his early days" he served as a deputy sheriff in De Kalb county. In 1892, he entered the ministry of the United Brethren church, and he was sent to minister in the Hicksville, Ohio, area. He took his young family to Ohio, about twenty miles from Auburn, where they remained until Cora's health began to deteriorate in the 1920s.

Joseph resigned his ministry so he could stay in Auburn and tend to Cora. In February 1927, she died in their home "from a stroke of apoplexy."

After Cora died, Joseph remarried Delia Hassig (1893–1977) in November 1927, in Coldwater, Michigan, and returned to his ministry. Over the course of his career, he estimated that he officiated at 3,400 funerals; when searching through the database for his obituary, there were many other obituaries listing him as the officiating minister, right up through the last months of his life. In 1962, his health began to fail, and he died in November 1963 at the age of 92.

      a. Justus A Ferguson (1891–1910) was born in September 1891, in De Kalb county, Indian, and grew up in Ohio, where his father's ministry had taken the family. He died 24 April 1910 in North Baltimore, Wood county, Ohio, at the age of 18, and was buried in Woodlawn cemetery, Auburn, Indiana.

      b. Ford M Ferguson (1904–1978) married Florence Ferne Hook (1906–2000) in April 1927, just two months after his mother died. Ferne was born in Hicksville, and that is where they were married, but they settled in Auburn, where they raised their daughter, who is still living. Ferne worked as a bookkeeper for Messenger Corp. for 19 years, and served as a deputy auditor for De Kalb county for 9 years. She retired as secretary of the Auburn Street Department in 1985.

      IV. Elmer Ellsworth Ferguson (b. 1875) died in infancy.

      V. Terry Victor Ferguson (1877–1961) married Grace Beatrice Rush (1882–1975) on 2 June 1900 in Hicksville, Ohio, probably by his older brother, and settled his family on a farm near Auburn, Indiana. This family suffered several severe tragedies, such as the 1935 hunting accident in which Terry was shot in the face by a shotgun, nearly costing him an eye. He was 55 years old at the time. After her retired from farming, Terry enjoyed good health until the late 1950s, when he moved into the Sheehy nursing home, where he died in 1961.

      a. Harold R Ferguson (1902–1995) married Freda M Warfield (1902–1989) on 28 November 1923, and as far as I know, they raised one daughter, who is still living.

      b. Chalmer Ferguson (1908–1970) is someone who will require more research. He was born 24 November 1908 in De Kalb county, Indiana, probably on his father's farm outside Auburn. He had a cousin with the same name (about whom we will learn more next week), and I was not able to easily distinguish between them in the Indiana records databases.

This Chalmer Ferguson was definitely living in Portland, Indiana (Jay county) in 1944, and he was married three years later in Butte, Montana. He married Louise Walter (b. 1917) on 7 March 1947, and the Montana marriage record lists his parents' names. There is also a Chalmer Ferguson listed in the Anaconda, Montana, city directory that year, and since the towns are 24 miles apart, I'll allow that this is our boy.

Less certain are marriage records which only list the bride & groom and the date. A Chalmer Ferguson married Danell Armstrong Sparks (1916-1993) on 3 September 1957 in Nez Perce, Clearwater county, Idaho. According to his father's obituary in December 1961, Chalmer was living in Orofino in Clearwater county, Idaho, so I'm inclined to accept that this is the same Chalmer. Danell Ferguson died in Orofino in 1993, so I presume they were together during his last thirteen years.

If anyone out there is/knows a descendant of this man, I'd love to find out more about him!

      c. Fidelis Lucille Ferguson (1916–1936) died of a heart attack at the age of 21 in the State hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was committed to the state school for the feeble minded at Fort Wayne in August 1934.

      d. Thomas Woodrow Ferguson (1917–1944) went by the name "Joe" growing up in Auburn; probably in honor of his uncle, the Rev. Joseph Ferguson. He attended school at St. John's and East Keyser, and graduated Auburn high school in 1936. He was working in Dayton, Ohio, and married to Mable Campbell when World War II broke out, and he enlisted in the Army August 22, 1942. He received his training at Atlantic City and was sent overseas on January 10, 1943 to be stationed in China for nearly two years.

On his last furlough before deploying, a baby girl was born to the Fergusons. They named her Helene. Sadly, she died that day: October 14, 1942. Mabel went back to Auburn, where she lived with Joe's parents and found work at the Donna beauty shop. He went back to New Jersey, and shipped out for China.

In the summer of 1944, Corporal Ferguson wrote home to let the family know that he had been sick with typhoid in July, but that he was getting better. On 24 August, however, his fever returned, and he died. He was buried in an American Military cemetery at APO 627, which his commander described in the letter to Joe's parents as "nestled in a broad fertile plateau over six thousand feet up in the mountains."

I do not know what became of Mabel, but I hope she lived a long, happier life after these awful years.

      VI. Thomas L Ferguson (1880–1958), the youngest son of James and Margaret Ferguson, married Mary Jones (1881–1960) on 13 April 1901 in Hicksville, Ohio - likely married by his brother. Thomas was a farmer and a railroader, and after he retired from those activities, he and Mary ran an apartment house in Auburn for nearly 30 years, until his death in 1958 from heart disease and complications from diabetes. Mary followed him a couple of years later, after suffering from cancer for two years. They left no children behind.

- -- --- -- -

As I put the finishing touches on this post, I was struck by just how sad the last half of it has been. With the exception of the adventurous Chalmer, who may have left behind a number of children for whom I simply found no records, the Fergusons in this branch of the family seem to have had few or no children, and suffered numerous tragedies. It's easy to forget sometimes how much life can go on between the dates at the beginning and ending of each person's story.

These were people living through the "Turn of the Century" - they saw the 20th Century begin, with all of the wild inventions, booms and busts, history-changing wars, and disease-defeating scientific progress. They traveled, they learned, they loved...and when they lost, they picked up and kept trying.

There were only a couple of daughters mentioned as still living within these paragraphs, but I hope there are more whom I simply didn't find. I hope they find out about this blog. And if they do, I hope they'll tell us a bit more about these people and the lives they led between the tragedies.

And next week, I hope we'll find a few more victories, with fewer of those tragedies to go with them!

No comments:

Post a Comment