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FERGUSON, Henry K. (1833-1930)


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 9/2/2020 at 15:15:54

Henry Keagy Ferguson
(April 21, 1833 – April 11, 1930)

Ida County Pioneer Record, Ida Grove, Iowa, Thurs., Apr 17, 1930, p.1
He Resided In County 56 Years
Death Claims H. K. Ferguson in his 92nd Year. Last Sickness 2 Days.
Like a weary child at the close of the day softly slipping off into slumber, the spirit of H. K. Ferguson passed peacefully Friday into eternal life after a brief illness that indicated a sudden slowing up of the sturdy physical machine that had spanned more than nine decades. Active until the last, Mr. Ferguson had occupied his customary place in the Methodist Church service only the preceding Sunday. On Tuesday, he walked downtown, attending to various matters, one of them being the payment of his church dues. That evening, he showed signs of weariness and loss of appetite. When these symptoms persisted the next day, he was asked whether the doctor should not see him, but he insisted that he had no pain or distress anywhere. The following day, memory and some of his faculties were impaired and the gradual weakening continued until death came Thursday morning.
Henry Keagy Ferguson was born April 21, 1833 in Blair County, Pennsylvania, and would have reached his 92nd birthday in ten more days of life. His grandparents came from Scotland. Later he lived in Somerset County, Pa. three miles from Johnstown. From there he moved in 1852 to Cedar County, Iowa and lived in Iowa for more than three quarters of a century. In 1873 Mr. Ferguson purchased some land in Silver Creek Township, this county, several years before the railway was built. He bought railway lands at $6 per acre at a time when it was customary to pay 16 2-3 per cent interest on land payments. He arrived in Ida County in the spring of 1874 and at that time there was no doctor and no bank in the little village of Ida. Before the advent of the railway, Mr. Ferguson did his trading at the nearest railroad points, Storm Lake and Denison. He hauled the lumber from Storm Lake to build his little four room house on the prairie. There were no roads, each man making his own tracks around the unfenced wastes. Travel was by lumber wagon and grain had to be taken to Durst’s mill, down on the Maple near the present town of Battle Creek, to have flour ground. In 1876 Mr. Ferguson had a memorable experience with the scourge of grasshoppers that swept down through the Maple Valley, stripping the corn of leaves and silk, leaving it to shrivel and dry up. Many persons became disheartened, fearing starvation and went back to their old homes. Mr. Ferguson was of sterner, more heroic mould and stayed on. The next spring the grasshoppers were again feared, but they suddenly took wing and flew to distant regions.
Mr. Ferguson was married in 1856 to Eliza Jane Anspach, who died in 1900. They had twelve children of whom eight survive. He married Mrs. Mamie Tubbs in 1903 and ten years later they retired from the toil of the farm and moved to Ida Grove, where Mrs. Ferguson died in 1919. Mr. Ferguson has eight surviving children: Mrs. Sandford McIntyre, Samuel Ferguson, Mrs. William Devine, Mrs. Frank Miller, Mrs. Ada Miller, all of this vicinity, George E. Ferguson of Ft. Pierre, S. D., Claude E. Ferguson in the West and Mrs. Thos. E. Clark of Schaller. Mr. Ferguson had a sister who was last heard of in Wyoming. There are 26 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren. Mr. Ferguson had been a member of the Methodist church for a great many years and had always taken pleasure in attending the services and rendering whatever assistance he could. His benefactions also extended to assisting worthy young people and toward the support of the best things in the community. His personal vigor was equaled by the intensity of his religious convictions. He believed in work and thrift and sometimes attributed his long life to his refusal to worry or to look on the dark side of things. It is believed that Mr. Ferguson was a reader of this paper longer than any other one to two exceptions. Since late in 1873, the year after the Pioneer was founded, the paper was in his family up to the time of his death. In recent years, he has made his home with his daughter, Mrs. William Devine. The funeral was held Sunday afternoon at the Methodist Church. In charge of Rev. George W. Dunn and burial was made in the Ida Grove Cemetery. Six grandsons of Mr. Ferguson acted as his pall bearers: George, Lloyd, Otto and Donald Ferguson, Paul and David Miller.


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