Friday, February 15, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 15 - Fergusons - Scotland to Illinois

Ferguson Family - Willow Hill circa 1908

Tracing back in time the Fergusons go back to Robert Ferguson who was born in Scotland in 1641.  He was most likely from Edinburgh, Scotland.  In 1662 Robert was living in Charles Parish, York, Virginia.  His profession was that of an attorney.
Robert Ferguson and his wife Mary had four children William, Mary, John, and Rose.  William died at the age of three.  All of the children were born between 1663 and 1677.  Robert died 1 Oct 1681 leaving Mary alone to raise the children.
John (b 1670) remained in Charles Parish and married Elizabeth Davis (b 1662).  They had Davis b 1697, William b 1700, Mary b 1702, and John b 1706.  Davis died in 1700 and little is known of Mary and John.  William married Hope and they had six children William, Elizabeth, John, Robert, John, and Ann.  I would assume that since the name John was used in both 1730 and 1734 that the John b 1730 had died by March of 1734 when the second son named John was born.  At this point the family began to spread out to other areas of Virginia.
William married Elizabeth in York, Virginia and their five children Mary, John, Ann, Edward, and Elizabeth were all born in York but William died in Greenville, Virginia in 1788.
John Ferguson b 15 Jan 1755 in York, Virginia married Hannah Barrow in 1770 in Stokes, North Carolina.  All of their children were born in Stokes, North and here is where John Ferguson became a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  All of John and Hannah’s children were born after the war ended.  Sometime before 1825 the family moved to Wayne, Indiana where Hannah died in 1825.  His service can be attested to be the pension he applied for in 1832, and a widow’s pension applied for by his second wife Bethany Deacons whom he married in 1828 in Union County, Indiana and with whom he had two children, Jonathan and Bethany.[i]
John and Hannah’s son Benjamin b 31 Aug 1709 in Stokes, North Carolina married Nancy Green in May of 1811 in Indiana.  Now there is more moving for better land and better crops.  Their oldest son Jeremiah was born in 1812 in Ohio and their daughter Malinda was born in 1814 in Indiana.
Jeremiah married Harriet Byers on 24 Oct 1830 in Decatur, Indiana. They moved around Indiana for a while until they settled in Decatur around 1822 where they remained farming the land until they moved to Jasper County, Illinois around 1850.  There was a brief trip to Kentucky in  1844 where their son Benjamin was born in 1844, this may have been a visit home since Harriett was born in Kentucky.  David Ferguson was born 29 Mar 1850 in Willow Hill, Jasper, Illinois.
David Ferguson married Mary Steward on 15 May 1873 in Jasper County, Illinois and continued in the farming tradition of his family.  David and Mary had five children before Mary’s death in 1900.  David next  married Sarah and together they had five sons.  In the 1930 census only one of David’s sons was still farming.  The Depression caused many of the Fergusons to leave the farming life for work in the cities.  David’s son John moved to Chicago as did John’s sons Murl and Byrl but Willow Hill still had a strong pull on the family and they returned often.  Murl and Byrl had a sister Edna who married Albert Catt and remained in the area to raise her family so there was always family to visit in Willow Hill.

[i] Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900

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