Sunday, April 1, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - The Old Homestead

Thinking about this topic, I considered all my ancestors and the length of time they lived in any one location.

My German ancestors immigrated in the 1850s to settle in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While they remained in Milwaukee until my grandmother married and moved to Chicago in 1907, they lived at several different addresses mostly on Walnut Ave.[i]

My Irish ancestors came to the United States in the 1880s/1890s and made their home in Chicago for the rest of their lives. About 1905 they built a large home on Washington Boulevard where they remained until my grandfather’s death in 1953. [ii]

When my Norwegian grandfather immigrated in 1894, he first lived in Chicago with a maternal aunt and her family since he was only 12 years at the time. After his marriage to my grandmother, the couple traveled for some time before settling in Oak Park, Illinois.

While none of these people could be considered nomadic by any means, I don’t feel that any of their residences could be considered “the old Homestead” for that I will defer to my husband’s Ferguson ancestors.

Figure 1John Ferguson Indiana Land Purchase 10 August 1837[iii]

Our Ferguson branch first settled in Virginia in 1640. Just before the Revolutionary War, they migrated to North Carolina.  My husband’s fifth great-grandfather, John Ferguson (1754-1842) was a Revolutionary War soldier and as such received a land grant in 1795 for a parcel in Robson County, North Carolina.[iv]

As time marched on, so did John and his family, moving from North Carolina, to Kentucky, Indiana, and finally to Jasper County, Illinois.  Land records in Indiana and Illinois show the migration pattern. Most likely the family improved the land they purchased and used the profits from the sale to buy land in the next location.

John remained in Indiana, where he died in Boone County in 1842 leaving his second wife and two children. His son Benjamin, according to the 1850 census. remained in Indiana and his son, Jeremiah  moved on to Jasper County, Illinois where he appears in the 1850 census. Jeremiah has 280 acres of which 60 are classed as improved and 220 unimproved with the cash value estimated to be $1000.00[v]

In 1860 the census shows that Jeremiah’s 240 acres had increased In value to $5000.00.[vi]

Upon Jeremiah’s death in 1882, his youngest son David took over the stewardship of the farm which remained in the family until sometime in the 1940s. Gradually family members left the farm for work in the city but there are still Fergusons in the area.

[i]  Milwaukee City Directories, 1860-1896
[ii] Chicago City Directories, 1910-1923
[iii] ttps://
[iv] North Carolina, Land Grant Files, 1693-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.
[v] Census Year: 1850; Census Place: Newton District 18, Jasper, Illinois; Archive Collection Number: T1133; Roll: 2; PCensus Year: 1860; Census Place: Willow Hill, Jasper, Illinois; Archive Collection Number: T1133; Roll: 7; Page: 61; Line: 24; Schedule Type: Agricultureage: 529; Line: 37; Schedule Type: Agriculture