Thomas Bunn Ferguson…Orphan

Ferguson, Thomas Bunn Children #2

Thomas Bunn’s wife Mollie (left) and children Thomas Carrol, Rebecca Adeline, and Sophia Ferguson.

There were three orphans…so goes the Ferguson family lore. The Fergusons came from North Carolina. The story between North Carolina and Missouri was lost. When family members became interested in the genealogy of the family, Grandma Ferguson, Lola, was in her eighties. She knew that Thomas Bunn Ferguson was one of the three orphaned children and their parents had come from North Carolina. Thomas Bunn was the father of her husband, Thomas Carrol Ferguson. It was assumed that the family lived in Fort Scott, Kansas but that led to a dead end.

Fast forward to today and we know that Thomas Bunn Ferguson was born on 28 February 1844 in Cass County, Missouri to Russel Ferguson and Sarah [Miller] Ferguson. Thomas was one of four children. Jackson (Jack) was born in 1842, Martha was born in 1847, and James C. was born in 1851. The family lived in Cass County, close to other Ferguson relatives who lived in Johnson County. The Ferguson clan had migrated from Tennessee to that area as early as 1821.

After the death of their parents in 1854, the three orphans were scattered among their Miller relatives in Vernon County about eighty miles south of Cass County. It’s interesting that none of them went to live with their Ferguson relatives that were close by. They lived with their Uncle Jacob Miller for a year as evidenced by a receipt turned in to the probate court for their upkeep. After that James went to live with his aunt, Margaret and uncle, William Miller. Martha went to live with her aunt, Elizabeth [Miller], and uncle, Jackson Beard. Thomas went to live with his uncle, Jacob Miller who was also the executor of Russel’s estate.

James and Martha were still living with their aunts and uncles when the 1860 census was taken, but Thomas was nowhere to be found. Then, in 1870, he is found living in Richland Township, Vernon County, Missouri with the Shackelford family. Rebecca was the widow of Augustus Baker and had married Samuel Shackelford after Augustus was killed by Bushwackers in 1863. Rebecca was the mother of Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Baker.  Thomas was working as a farm hand for the Shackelfords. In the fall of that year, Mollie became the wife of Thomas on 23 October 1870. He was twenty-six and she was sixteen.

When Rebecca’s daughters married she deeded to them a part of the land homesteaded by their father, Augustus Baker. Thomas and Mollie lived in a log house on her portion of the land. This is in section thirty-one in Richland Township in Missouri. The land abutted the border between Missouri and Kansas. Mollie owned this land well into the 1900s. Many in Vernon County knew this land as the “Old Ferguson Farm.” According to Grandma Ferguson, it is on this land where the family lived the entire time the children were growing up.

Platbook Vernon County, 1903

From the State Historical Society of Missouri, Vernon County Plat Map, Page 26

However, the Ferguson’s also owned one-hundred and sixty acres in section fourteen located in Scott Township, Bourbon County, Kansas across the state line. Records show that the Fergusons sold a portion of their land in Missouri to J. H. Densmore on 28 March 1874. According to census record of 1875 and thereafter, the family lived in Scott Township in Kansas.

Within ten years, three lively children were born. Their first child, Rebecca Adeline was born in 1872. Walter Augustus followed in 1875, and Sophia in 1877. At the time of the 1880 census, taken on 3 June 1880, Thomas was listed as having the mumps. Hopefully he was over the mumps as a little more than one month later Thomas Carrol was born. The final child, Samuel Bunn, was born in 1883.

The family has often wondered where the middle name Bunn came from. There were no Bunn’s enumerated in any of the census records for Vernon County in Missouri or Bourbon County in Kansas. There was, however, a Bunn family who lived close to the Ferguson family in Cass County where Thomas’ mother and father lived. Perhaps this Bunn family was somehow related to Sarah’s Miller family. Perhaps more research can help to identify the connection between the Bunn’s and Ferguson’s.

Ferguson, Thomas B. Headstone

Grave Marker for Thomas B. Ferguson

Thomas Bunn Ferguson died on 30 December 1883 at the age of thirty-nine. Mollie was left a widow with a nine-month old baby and four children ranging in ages from three to eleven years old. My husband’s grandfather, Thomas Carrol, was three at the time. It’s safe to say that he remembered very little of his father. While the children weren’t orphans, they did lose their father at a young age like their father Thomas did.

Mollie continued to live on the farm in Kansas with her growing children. It is here that Thomas Carroll Ferguson and Lola Pope grew up in close proximity of each other which would eventually lead to their marriage. Thomas Bunn Ferguson is buried in the Coleman Cemetery in Richards, Vernon County next to his grandson Glenny, son of Thomas Carrol.

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My husband’s Ferguson line:

Moses Ferguson m. Elizabeth Cox

Russel Ferguson m. Sarah Miller

Thomas Bunn Ferguson m. Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) Baker

Thomas Carrol Ferguson m. Lola Pope

Russel Carrol Ferguson m. Mary Elizabeth Parry

Lost to the Civil War: James Madison Pope and Zachariah Pope

Memorial Day is the day of remembrance. Remembrance of family members lost to war. At the end of 1862, the Pope family of Macon County, Illinois lost two of their beloved sons. The patriarch of the family, Dempsey Pope, died in 1853 and thus was spared the heartache of losing two sons. Left were the widows: Sarah Edwards Pope, the mother of the two boys; Louisa Taylor Pope, the wife of James Madison Pope; and Emily Nisewaner Pope, the wife of Zachariah Pope.

James and Zachariah enlisted in Co. E., 115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Union Army on 13 August 1862. Zachariah was mustered into service as a private on 30 September 1862 at Camp Butler in Springfield, Illinois. James was mustered into service as a sergeant on 13 September 1882.

Pope, Zachariah Picture_2

Zachariah Pope

The first to die was Zachariah Pope. He died on 11 November 1862 of typhoid fever. He died in a hospital in Lexington, Fayette County, Illinois. He was thirty-two years old and the father of five children. He is buried in the Pope Cemetery in Blue Mound, Macon County, Illinois.

Next to die was James Pope. He died on 31 Dec 1862 in a regimental hospital in Danville, Kentucky. Conflicting documents show he died of measles or cardiac obstruction. He was thirty-eight and the father of eight children. He is buried in Halls Cemetery, also known as Waltz Cemetery, in Blue Mound.

Pope, James Madison

Headstone James M. Pope

Neither saw battle instead dying of disease. It is estimated that 620,000 people died in the Civil War. “For every three soldiers killed in battle, five more died of disease.”¹ They missed the carnage of war but sadly gave their lives for a cause for which they never saw the conclusion.

Please take a moment to remember all who gave their lives for our country as we remember my husband’s great-great grandfather, James Madison Pope, and his great-great uncle, Zachariah Pope today, on this day of remembrance.

 

This is my husband’s Pope family line:

James Madison Pope, great-grandfather
William David Pope, great-grandfather
Lola Devin Pope, grandmother
Russell C. Ferguson, father


¹From the Civil War Trust, https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/civil-war-casualties

Remembering Lola and Hattie Pope on Mother’s Day

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Hattie and Lola Pope were sisters who grew up on the edge of the prairie near Fort Scott, Kansas. Born nine years apart, their father and mother were William David Pope and Elizabeth Ellen Smith. Down the road from them lived two brothers, Walter and Thomas Ferguson. Their parents were Thomas Bunn Ferguson and Mary Elizabeth Baker. The two families were destined to be intertwined when Lola married Tom and Hattie married Walter.

Lola, the younger sister, married early at the age of eighteen. Hattie married at the age of thirty-two. They were both tiny women. In a time when babies were born at home, Lola delivered six children; one died in infancy. Hattie delivered three children; all died. We don’t know if the children died at birth or in infancy, but how sad for Hattie. And while her children thrived, it must have been sad for Lola to see her sister lose one child after another.

Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914 and by the mid-1920s people were wearing red or white carnations to honor or remember their mothers. On Mother’s Day, Lola’s children wore a red carnation to church to honor her and a white one to remember her in later years after she was gone. While Hattie was loved by her husband and extended family, no children would wear a red or white flower for her. Was Hattie sad to know there would be no child to remember her when she was gone? Perhaps she was, or perhaps she accepted what life gave her.

Today people are more likely to send their mothers flowers for Mother’s Day or get together as a family to honor Mom. Hattie and Lola are gone, as are my mother Bonnie and my mother-in-law Betty. So Happy Mother’s Day. We love and miss you everyday. And this white rose is a symbol of our remembrance, especially for you Hattie, you are not forgotten.

Dying the Good Death … James Madison Pope

“Do not save your loving speeches for your friends till they are dead. Do not write them on their tombstones. Speak them rather now instead.”    

                                                                                                                                 Anna Cummins

In another post, I provided information about the early life of James Madison Pope. James and his family lived in Blue Mound Township in Macon County, Illinois. James, and his brother Zachariah, gave their lives for their country in a war where brother fought brother.

James’ father Dempsey Pope, and his mother Sarah Edwards Pope had moved to the area in 1827 when James was about three years old. When the family moved there, little did they know that in the future the United States would be torn apart and their family would be changed forever.

Blue Mound is about forty miles from Springfield, the capital of Illinois and fourteen miles from Decatur, the Macon county seat. I can’t help but think that the Pope’s were very aware of the local politics. Abraham Lincoln lived just west of Decatur and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846. Being of voting age, it’s very possible that James may have cast a vote for Lincoln in that election.  Lincoln did not run for a second term but over several years he was very involved in politics eventually running for and winning the presidential election of 1860.’

As James farmed on his quiet acreage in Macon County, Illinois, the union of the United States was slowly falling apart. During the 1860 presidential election, Southern leaders began to lay the framework for secession in the event that a Republican president was elected. After Lincoln was elected, Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861; and thus the Civil War began.

Pope, Zachariah Picture_2

Zachariah Pope, private, 115th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry

The expectation was that the war would end within ninety days with the North being victorious. As the war continued for over a year, in July of 1862, President Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers. The call was quickly followed by another request for 300,000. In his book, History of the 115th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Isaac Henry Clay Royse wrote, “The later calls came to men of homes and families who loved the quiet of their firesides to go forth in defense of home and country ; to men who had much to sacrifice. The answer came quickly and with enthusiasm, and the cry ran through all the North, ‘We are coming, Father Abraham, 600,000 strong.’ Companies and regiments came forth as by magic. In the midst of their harvests farmers stopped their machines and laid down their implements to go to the recruiting rally, and there enlist for three years or the duration of the war.”²  In answer to that call, James joined the 115th Illinois Infantry Regiment, Company E, on the 13th of August as a sergeant. His brother Zachariah answered the call as well and joined the same day as a private. Willis, the brother born between James and Zachariah, stayed home, most likely to continue to farm his land and help his mother and the wives of James and Zachariah.

Orders came for the recruits to report to Camp Butler on the 25th of August. Tears flowed as the recruits boarded a train on the Illinois Central Railroad  that took them on a ten-mile ride to Decatur, Illinois. Another thirty-five mile ride on the Great Western Railroad took them to Camp Butler where the regiment was officially mustered in.

On the 4th of October the regiment was loaded onto trains that eventually took them to Cincinnati, Ohio where they were marched across the Ohio River to Covington, Kentucky. A good portion of their day was spent on company and battalion drills. From the 18th of October to the 23rd the men marched to Falmouth. On the morning of the 24th they continued their march to Lexington, arriving on October 28th. Rain and snow greeted them along the way.

On the 13th of November the regiment was ordered to Richmond, Kentucky. The march took a heavy toll on the regiment. By the time they arrived in Richmond, one-hundred and fifty were sick. Soldiers sleeping on beds of straw placed on the damp ground contributed to the sickness.  Again, Isaac Royce wrote, “The doleful funeral march was heard almost daily, and many of our most valued men were left in the Danville Cemetery…Measles was the greatest scourge. Great numbers were so afflicted, and many cases turning into pneumonia proving fatal. At one time nearly two-thirds of the regiment were in the hospital or on the sick list in camp.”³

Zachariah Pope was one of the soldiers who died in a hospital in Lexington, dying of measles. James died of measles and cardiac obstruction at a regiment hospital in Danville. So where does dying the good death come in? People of that era expected that if they lived well into their adulthood they would die the good death by dying peacefully at home, among loving family. They would be able to get their affairs in order and, upon death, transition into the hereafter.

The Pope family was lucky. Nearly one-half of the Civil War dead were never identified and many were buried far from home. The bodies of James and Zachariah made it home, most likely by train. James is buried in the Hall Cemetery in Blue Mound. In September of 1938, a military headstone was placed upon his grave. Zachariah is buried in Pope Cemetery in Blue Mound. A military headstone was also placed upon his grave in June of 1938.

Fortunately Dempsey left this earth before he saw fate take two of his sons. But the living were left bereft of their loved ones. Poor Sarah, she lost two sons within a month of each other. Louisa and her six sons, one a baby, were left without their beloved James. Emily, Zachariah’s wife, was left without a father for her children.

I can’t help but wonder would the Pope men have joined the Confederacy had they grown up in North Carolina, the state of their parents birth? Did the fact that they lived so close to the political activity in Macon County have a bearing on their quick response to Abraham Lincoln’s call to defend the Union and their subsequent deaths? We can’t answer those questions, but so we don’t forget, let’s speak of James Madison and Zachariah Pope and all of the others who lost their lives too soon in a war that tore our nation apart.

 


¹Abraham Lincoln. (2016, April 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:49, April 20, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abraham_Lincoln&oldid=714382089

²Isaac Henry Clay Royse, History of the 115th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Regiment, PDF download, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/historyof115three00roys : downloaded 19 Apr 2016), 12.

³Ibid., 46

Elizabeth Ellen Smith Pope

Smith, Elizabeth Ellen Blog

Elizabeth Ellen Smith Pope

Living in an age when women have their own identity it bothers me that so many of our women ancestors have little identity, not like our male ancestors. They may be listed in wills and probate documents and possibly in deeds. You might be able to find out when they were born, married, and died. But many times they and their maiden names are lost to time.                                     

The further back you go there are no photos to capture their essence on a certain day and time in their lives. My husband’s great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Ellen Smith was fortunate to have had her picture taken, albeit later in life when the bloom had faded from her cheeks.                                  E

Elizabeth Ellen Smith was born in Illinois on 5 December 1849. She was born to Eliza Ann (Ellen) Armstrong and Colby/Coalby Smith. The family had moved from Kentucky about 1842 to Chatham, Sangamon County, Illinois where the family was enumerated in the 1850 census. There were five children in the family ranging in ages from ten to under one year. James was the oldest and the only boy. Elizabeth was the youngest of four girls. Her three older sisters were Harriett Isabelle, Martha, and Mary. Another boy, Joseph, was born three years later.

In 1855 the family experienced great loss when their mother Eliza Ann died. Elizabeth was six years old. On 24 September 1866, her father married Melvina Thompson. From this union came five additional children, Noah, Lucy, Clara, Agnes, and Alma.

In the early 1860s, the family lived on a prosperous farm. James most likely helped Colby with the farming and the older girls helped with household chores while attending school.

 At the age of sixteen, Elizabeth left home marrying William David Pope on 24 September 1866. They were so young and, like most youngsters, filled with hope for the future. The future looked bright when Minnie Alice, their first daughter, was born on 13 December 1868 when Elizabeth was eighteen. Heart-break would descend upon the family when one month-old Minnie died on 19 January 1869, followed by the death of Elizabeth’s sister Mary on 1 July. Like her husband William, she would know loss several times during her lifetime.

Perhaps because of the loss of their child, or perhaps because her father and step-mother were going to Kansas to start a new life, Elizabeth and William packed up their belongings sometime in 1869 and headed to Kansas where they settled in Franklin, Bourbon County, Kansas.

Mary Louisa, Elizabeth’s second child, was born in Kansas on 28 April 1870 followed by Annettie Bell in 1872, and Hattie Lu Ella in 1874. On 20 March 1877, Walter Colby, her first son, was born. Elizabeth would know sorrow again when Walter died on 20 February 1879. She was twenty-nine and had lost her mother, her sister, and two babies.

For reasons unknown, the family was back in Blue Mound in 1880. The farm was profitable based upon the 1880 agricultural census. The accounting of the usual farm animals, cows, horses, pigs, and chickens appeared on the census. However there were one hundred and fifty chickens producing approximately three hundred dozen eggs per year. That’s a lot of chickens and eggs. Besides the household chores of cooking, washing, tending to the children and the family garden, most likely Elizabeth was responsible for the chickens as well. Perhaps the older children helped. With that many chickens they would have had a huge egg hunt every day. And Elizabeth was pregnant, delivering Arthur Lee on 14 August.

Again the family was on the move sometime after Arthur’s birth. This move landed the Pope’s in the Fort Scott area of Bourbon County, Kansas where they stayed. Their last daughter Lola Devin, my husband’s grandmother, was born 5 April 1883.

The area where they lived was close to the Missouri-Kansas border. Elizabeth made sure the children attended school, sending them to Clarksburg School. Both Arthur and Lola graduated from this school.

Pope, Lola Birth Place Ft. Scott KS

A picture of the family homestead many years after the farm was sold.

In 1900, Hattie, Arthur, and Lola were still living at home. By 1910 all the Pope children had fled the nest but living with William and Elizabeth was a ward named Silas Hoffman. On 13 April 1911, Elizabeth’s married life came to an end when William, her partner for forty-four years, died. His confidence in her showed when he appointed her executrix for the estate.

We don’t know how long Elizabeth lived on the farm. A search of deeds would probably tell us. But like most widows at that time they went to live with their children, sometimes staying with one, and sometimes moving between children. In 1920 Elizabeth was living with her daughter Hattie in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. Hattie had married Walter Ferguson. Lola, her sister, had married Walter’s brother Thomas.

On 2 December 1929, Elizabeth Ellen Armstrong Pope died at the age of seventy-nine at the home of her daughter Lola and son-in-law Tom Ferguson. They lived at 679 Clark Avenue in Webster Groves, Missouri. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage with contributing factors of high blood pressure and old age.

Tom Ferguson worked for the railroad and most likely was responsible for shipping Elizabeth’s body back to Kansas where she is buried with her husband, the man she shared both good times and bad, in Maple Grove Cemetery in Fort Scott, Kansas.

From Blue Mound to Fort Scott Kansas…the Life of William David Pope

Pope, William D Picture

William David Pope

William David Pope, my husband David’s great-grandfather, was born to a family of early pioneers who settled in the Blue Mound area of Macon County, Illinois about 1827. He was born on 8 October 1848 to James Madison Pope and Louisa Hanna Taylor Pope. William was the oldest of six boys: Thomas John, Charles Willis, Millard Fillmore, James Franklin, and Zachariah Taylor. A sister, Sarah, died in infancy. He, like his ancestors, was a farmer all of his life.

The family land was flat with the exception of a cone-shaped hill in the distance that took on a blue hue. The area was called Blue Mound. Mosquito Creek, a narrow rivulet of water, ran through the farm. At one time the family farm had forests but, whether as a means to stay warm or a way of making extra money, a great deal of the forest slowly faded into memory. The land was rich and productive. And his father James was a successful farmer and a good role model for his children.

No doubt William had a normal childhood. He attended school and most likely helped his father with the farm. All of that ended at the age of fourteen when his father and uncle Zachariah left home in August 1862 to serve in the Civil War. Four months later in December his father was dead, dying of measles and cardiac obstruction at Camp Butler in Sangamon County, Illinois. About the same time his uncle, Zachariah, died in the same camp. Two lives wasted to disease, neither one able to serve their cause. Being the oldest boy a good deal of the burden of running the farm fell to him and his mother. Fortunately he had a large extended family to help out, but the shadow of the deaths of his father and uncle settled over the family during this time.

William’s life would change again 24 September 1866 when he married Elizabeth Ellen Smith. He was seventeen and she was sixteen. They were two youngsters, no doubt eager to make their way in the world. Two years later this young couple would experience loss when their one month-old daughter Minnie Alice died on 19 January 1869. She is buried in Pope Cemetery in Blue Mound.

This young couple must have been fearless as they set out for Kansas in 1869 where they settled in Franklin, Bourbon County. There is evidence that Elizabeth’s father and step-mother left Illinois about the same time and settled in the same area as the young couple. Perhaps they traveled together. No matter the circumstances it took a lot of gumption to leave the known behind.

Their second child Mary Louisa was born in Kansas on 28 April 1870 followed by Annettie Bell in 1872, and Hattie Lu Ella in 1874. On 20 March 1877, Walter Colby, their first son, was born. Again sorrow filled the family home when Walter died on 20 February 1879. At the young age of thirty, William knew heart-ache. He had lost his father, his uncle, his little sister, and two children.

Sometime between 1874 and 1880, William and Elizabeth were back in Blue Mound, Illinois with their three girls. William, like his father, was a prosperous farmer. His farm included sixty-three acres of land that was tilled or fallow and three acres of land in permanent pasture. The value of land, equipment, and livestock was close to $3,000, a goodly sum for that time period. He had two horses, two milk cows, one cow, two calves, fifteen swine, and one-hundred fifty poultry. The farm produced eggs, sixteen hundred bushels of Indian corn, one-hundred twenty-five bushels of oats, four-hundred seventy-four bushels of wheat, and forty gallons of molasses. It appears that he did this with the sweat of his own brow and the help of one hired hand. William was thirty-one. And of course Elizabeth helped when not tending the family garden and seeing to the children.

During 1880, Arthur Lee, their only surviving son was born on 14 August. Sometime after Arthur’s birth, probably early the next year, the family was on the move again. Who knows why the Pope’s decided to move away from their established farm and extended family. Perhaps the fertility of the land in Illinois was failing or the wide-open spaces were calling. Whatever it was, the Pope’s landed in the Fort-Scott area of Kansas and stayed. Their last daughter Lola Devin, my husband David’s grandmother, was born 5 April 1883.

As train transportation continued to expand at the end of the century, the Pope’s traveled back and forth to Macon County. They attended the funeral of William’s mother, Louisa, in 1896 and traveled to a family reunion in September of 1897. The reunion was covered by The Daily Republic Newspaper in their 20 September 1897 edition and read:

“Pope Family Reunion

Pleasant Gathering Sunday at House of Z. T. Pope on West Main Street

On Sunday there was a pleasant family reunion at the home of Zach T. Pope, district manager of Singer Sewing Machine Company, 1765 North Main Street. There are six brothers in the family, and all were present except Charles Pope, of Morrisonville, whose absence was greatly regretted. Those present were William D. Pope and wife, of Ft. Scott, Kan.; J. F. Pope and family of Morrisonville; Thomas J. Pope and wife, of Blue Mound; Zach T. Pope, of Decatur and family; and Uncle Willis Pope, of Lincolnville, Kan., the total number present being 21. A splendid dinner was served and all day the families were at the home engaging in social converse, and listening to stories of the early days in Macon county and life in Kansas, related by Uncle Willis.  The Pope brothers will probably visit the state fair at Springfield next week. It was the first time the brothers had met at one place since the death of their mother a few years ago. All of the brothers except Zach are farmers and are doing well.”

William died on 13 April 1911 at the age of 62 and is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Fort Scott. He and Elizabeth were married forty-four years. As a testament to her, he appointed her as the executrix for his estate. He left each of his children $500 with the remainder of the personal property to Elizabeth and at her death the land was sold and proceeds divided among their children.

Pope, William D - 1900 United States Federal Census

William was an enumerator for the 1900 US Federal Census for Scott Township. His handwriting was neat and readable.

Not only was he a successful farmer, but during his lifetime William was a member of the Mason’s Rising Sun Lodge No. 8 in Bourbon County. Was he a pillar of the community? No one knows, but given how well he managed his farm and took care of his children and his wife, he would have been judged to be a success.

 

Starting a New Life Together…the First Years of Tom and Lola’s Marriage

Tom and Lola Ferguson

Tom and Lola Ferguson

In the early years of the twentieth century, the Ferguson’s started their new life together in Kansas. Automobiles were not being produced for the general public so the main mode of transportation was via horse, wagon, or train.

 Family stories show that sometime after their marriage the couple went to Colorado where Tom became a hired hand on a ranch. Because Kansas was the crossroads for several train lines Tom and Lola most likely traveled by train. Tom grew up on a farm so he was probably used to the hard work, but we are not sure just what he did on the ranch. And no one knows the circumstances, but Lola wound up cooking for the ranch hands.

 According to my husband Dave, his Grandmother’s cooking was plain but good. She made great fried chicken and saved the hearts and livers for him. We make meatloaf using her recipe and Dave has fond memories of her Buckwheat pancakes. This has carried over into our life as Dave makes Buckwheat waffles for our grandchildren when they spend the night.

Ferguson, Glennie Button

A button from an article of Glennie Ferguson’s clothes

 How long the job on the ranch lasted can’t be determined. The Ferguson’s most likely returned to Kansas prior to the birth of their first child Glennie who was born on November 3, 1903. I can’t imagine losing a child, especially a young child, but Glennie died on August 15, 1905. How heartbreaking. Glennie was one year and nine months old when he died; Tom was twenty-five and Lola was twenty-two. How poignant is the button, taken from a piece of Glennie’s clothes, one of the few remembrances of that short life that remains one hundred and four years later. And as Glennie’s life ended, the life of a new child was forming within Lola, probably unbeknownst to the young couple at the time.

Lola Pope Ferguson

Pope, Lola and Arthur_Fixed

Arthur Pope and Lola Ferguson

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.

Ferguson_Pope Marriage License

Tom and Lola applied for a marriage license on August 18, 1901.

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.

The Genealogy Bug

The Genealogy Bug

I really can’t remember what started me on my search for my ancestors and those of my husband. Retired, I have several hobbies that I enjoy. Perhaps I became bored with those hobbies; all I know is that I am now addicted to genealogy and the intimate details of the lives of my ancestors.

I have to thank my sister-in-law Judy for her help in getting me started. She has been searching for information about the Ferguson and Pope families for many years and gladly shared what she had with me. Judy was fortunate to have been stricken with the bug while my husband’s grandmother, Lola Pope Ferguson, was alive. Although grandma Ferguson was late in her years she furnished Judy with information to get her started. Through time Judy collected information the old-fashioned way via snail mail and eventually with a subscription to Ancestry.com.

And to my benefit, Judy shared her data and pictures with me and sent me on my own journey into Ferguson land. For the next year I gathered information, followed blogs, attended genealogy seminars, and honed my skills. That work on all fronts continues today.