THOMAS J FERGUSON
Deeds of valor have been the theme of song and story from the earliest ages and the record of the wars that have been waged form the most important element in history. No civil strife has ever awakened as great and widespread an interest as that which occurred in this country between the years of 1860 and 1865, for the monarchical countries of Europe regarded it as a test of the republican form of government. The discontented south attempted to overthrow the union of states, but loyal men of the north responded quickly to the call for troops and Mr. Ferguson was among those who "wore the blue" to aid in the preservation of the Union.
He was born in Illinois March 20, 1843, and is a son of Dr. Philip C. Ferguson, who was born in Virginia, A. D. 1814, a representative of one of the old families of the state. He was a physician of considerable renown; was also active in politics and other public affairs and had many tilts with the "Jayhawkers" and thieving bands which infested Kansas during its early history. At the time of his death he held a commission as a captain in the state military troops of Kansas. In her maidenhood the mother of our subject bore the name of Mary Haines and her father was Ezekiel Haines, also a native of Virginia. At a pioneer epoch in the history of Illinois P. C. Ferguson became one of the earliest settlers in Christian county, that state, where he spent twenty-five years of his life and moved to Kansas, where he spent his remaining days, dying at the age of fifty-two years. His wife, surviving him for some time, passed away in 1882, at the age of sixty-eight years. They were both members of the Methodist church and their lives, in harmony with their professions, commended them to the confidence and trust of all with whom they came in contact. They had nine children, five of whom reached years of maturity, namely: Hiram E., who is now in Christian county, Illinois, and who served as a member of the Thirteenth Kansas Volunteers during the civil war; Christopher Columbus, who was a member of the Second Colorado Cavalry and who died in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1896; Elizabeth J. Bryan, who also is living in Omaha, Nebraska; Lucy Eleanor Trent, a successful teacher of Wathena, Kansas, died in 1878, leaving a husband and three children; and Thomas J.
The subject of this review obtained his education in the public schools and in his youth assisted in the work on his father's farm, early becoming familiar with the labors of field and meadow. After the outbreak of the civil war, however, he could not content himself to remain at home, but when eighteen years of age responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting on the 2d of October, 1860, as a member of Company G, Eighth Kansas Infantry, under Captain N. Harrington. This company was first under fire at the skirmish of bushwhackers in Platte county, Missouri, and later Mr. Ferguson took part in the memorable engagements at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge and the campaign of Atlanta, Georgia. He re-enlisted at Strawberry Plains. After a thirty-days furlough, which he spent at home, he rejoined his command, participated in the campaign of Atlanta, under General Sherman, and later the northern troops entered Atlanta; this proved the beginning of the end, for only a few months elapsed until the fall of the Confederacy. Mr. Ferguson was wounded in the hip and in the shoulder, but his injuries were treated in camp and he did not go to the hospital. In November, 1864, in Tennessee, he received an honorable discharge, after which he returned to Kansas. He has since been identified with the farming interests of this state and is one of the enterprising agriculturists and horticulturists of Marion township, Doniphan county.
In 1876 Mr. Ferguson was united in marriage with Miss Mary Jane Miller, of Doniphan county, Kansas, a daughter of Daniel Miller. She died November 8, 1892, a member of the Baptist church and a consistent Christian woman. In 1895, in Wathena, this state, Mr. Ferguson was again married, this time to Mrs. Martha A. Sanborn, nee McCoy. She was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1843, and married first Porter E. Sanborn, in Kansas, in 1869, and later moved to San Francisco, California, where she lived for nineteen years and was a resident there at the time of her marriage to Mr. Ferguson. By her former marriage she was the mother of the following children: Mary J., who died at the age of two months; Elmer E., now of St. Joseph, Missouri; and Charles A. and Margaret J., now residents of Doniphan county. She, too, is a member of the Baptist church and is highly esteemed for her many excellencies of character. Her mother, Mary, nee Wallace, was born in Indiana, in 1813, and united in marriage to James McCoy in 1832, in that state, and their children were: Andrew J., who died at the age of nine years; James William, who died in 1862, a Union soldier; David C., now of Denver, Colorado and John G., now of Savannah, Missouri; both the latter "wore the blue" for the Union and received an honorable discharge; and Martha; the wife of the subject of this sketch. Mr. McCoy died in Missouri in 1847 and later Mrs. McCoy married Samuel Allward, in Andrew county, that state, and moved to Kansas in 1857, where Mr. Allward died in 1868, Mrs. Allward surviving him until 1898, when she passed away at the home of her son, John G., at Savannah, Missouri, in the eighty-fifth year of her age.
Mr. Ferguson casts his ballot in support of the men and measures of the Republican party and gives considerable attention to the study of the political issues of the day. For three years he acceptably served as the clerk of school district No. 5, and for three terms as a justice of the peace, discharging his duties in a prompt and able manner and without prejudice or favor, but at present he holds no public office. Socially he is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, in which he is now an officer. In his general character he has the power of readily winning friends and the rarer faculty of retaining them. He is a gentleman of commanding appearance, being six feet and six inches in height and weighing two hundred and five pounds. Whether on the field of battle, in public office, in social relations or in the quiet walks of business life he is always found true and reliable, his upright course commanding the respect of all with whom he is brought in contact.
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