I remember Grandma Ferguson as a tiny, spunky woman. I met her when she was eighty-two, well on in her years. I met her for the first time sometime after I started dating her grandson, my future husband, David. She was still living in her family home with her daughter Dorothy. They both gave me a warm welcome. Sometime later she and Dorothy moved to an apartment in Webster Groves. I remember that apartment more than any other place she lived. While small it was cheerful and bright and well-kept. Grandma and Aunt Dorothy were always happy to see us when we went to visit them.
Grandma Ferguson was a tiny woman. The last of seven children, she was born April 5, 1883 in Bourbon County, Kansas to William David Pope and Elizabeth Ellen Smith Pope. The 1880 census showed that the family was living in Blue Mound, Macon County, Illinois. By 1883, when Lola was born, the family was in Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas. The picture is of Lola and her brother Arthur.
Born Lola Amanda Pope her name changed to Lola Devin Pope by the time she was eleven years old. I know that she had a grand-aunt by the name of Amanda who was the sister of Lola’s great-grandfather David Taylor. Amanda later married Michael Devin. There is a connection, but who knows what.
Lola attended the Clarksburg School located close to the Missouri-Kansas border. From the eulogy given at her funeral “It was told that she rode a horse to school every day. She would mount up and ride from the house. Upon arrival at the school yard she would dismount and send the horse home.”
Lola graduated on May 24, 1899 at the age of sixteen. Her class of nine girls each gave presentations. Lola’s presentation was on the Philippine Islands. The Philippine-American War broke out in February, 1899 making this a current topic for the time. It’s interesting that her daughter Mildred was stationed in the Philippine’s during World War II when she served as a WAC.
Where personal information was lacking, census records really helped to fill in the details of Lola’s early life. It’s very clear from the 1895 Kansas Census and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census that Lola and her future husband, Thomas Carrol Ferguson, were neighbors and knew each other. On the 18th day of August, 1901 a marriage license was issued to Thomas Ferguson and Lola Pope. He was twenty-one and she was eighteen. The marriage license doesn’t indicate the date that the marriage took place or who solemnized the marriage. This fifty-six year marriage would produce seven children, six of whom would live to adulthood.