|Autobiography of James E. Fergerson by John L. Fergerson
James E. Fergerson who is one of the leading and wealthy citizens of Mt. Vernon, is called "The Father of the Methodist church," a name which indicates the active part which he takes in church and benevolent work, and also gives some suggestion of his honorable and well spent life.
A native of Tennessee, Mr. Fergerson was born in Sumner County, August 1, 1819. The Grandfather, Edward Fergerson, was a native of Virginia and in that state the father, Nelson Fergerson, was probably born. The latter first came to Southern Illinois in 1819, but in 1822 he returned to Tennessee where he died in 1825. He was a blacksmith by trade and came from a family of Irish origin, yet little is known of his ancestry. He married Roxibode Tyler, a native of Tennessee, and a daughter of John Tyler who was born in the same state, and who came to Illinois in 1818, his death occurring in Jefferson County.
Our subject (James) is the eldest of four brothers and two sisters. He was only six years old when his father died, and at the age of thirteen he was bound out to learn the Blacksmith's trade, but after two years he was crippled. The man with whom he worked offered to pay his doctor bill and give him a suit of clothes. Mr. Fergerson accepted the offer, but supposed he would soon have to seek a home in the poorhouse.
This seemed to be the turning point in his eventful life, for at that time he began to improve in health and commenced to prosper. He followed the Blacksmith trade for some years and after coming to Mt. Vernon in 1836 followed that pursuit for one year. He then returned to Tennessee, where he continued to make his home until 1852, when he again came to Mt. Vernon and established a little store near his Grandfather Tylers place, hauling his goods by team from St. Louis.
In 1859 he came to Mt. Vernon and forming a partnership with Captain Stratton, built the first flouring mill and woolen mill, and for many years were the leading merchants of the city. Their partnership continued until the cyclone of 1888, when their buildings were distroyed and soon afterward the connection was discontinued. Of late years, Mr. Fergerson has largely given the care of his business interests into other hands, but each day pays a visit to his two stores, and to his extensive farm close by.
In 1840 Mr. Fergerson married Miss Sarah S. Venterss and to them were born four children who grew to mature years. James N. who served for four years in the Civil War, now follows farming near Mt. Vernon; Frank L, who was a Captain in the Union Army, resides in this city. John L. who offered his services, but was rejected on acount of his eyesight, now follows farming near this city, and Mary Jane died at the age of nineteen.
The mother of this family passed away in 1850, and in 1852 Mr. Fergerson married Margueritee E. Wescott, who died in 1858. In 1859 he married Sarah F. Allen and to them have been born the following children: Belle, who is the wife of Charles Lindelay of St. Louis; Emma, wife of J. Hill Williams, who is in partnership with Mr. Ferguson in the dry goods business; Leona, Anna, Cora, and Maud, at home and George Edward who was burned to death when eleven years old. His clothes caught fire and death resulted from the injuries sustained.
Mr. Fergerson and all of his family are members of the Methodist church, with which he has been connected for fifty-eight years. His long and faithful service in the cause of the master has been productive of much good and has made his life well worthy of emulation.
Through the legitimate channels of business he has won a handsome property, and is now one of the substantial, as well as, one of the highly respected and prominent citizens of Mt. Vernon.
Regarding Frances E. Ferguson
According to a Mt. Vernon newspaper, Joe B. Deeds and Miss Frances E. Ferguson were married at the residence of the bride's parents, Mr. & Mrs. J. E. Ferguson, 301 West Main Street, at 2:30 o'clock this afternoon.
Glendora I. Brooks was a daughter of James E. Fergerson and was married to A. R. Brooks. They had a daughter, Eula L. Russell who was married to C.E. Russell. I am not sure who the mother of Glendora was but she (Glendora) was deceased before August 1909.
Francis Fergerson was married to Joseph B. Deeds. Frances Fergerson is also listed as Fannie E. Deeds
Carrie Fergerson Scott is also listed as Carrie M. Fergerson.
Maude Fergerson Stuckey is also listed as Maud Allen Fergerson.
submitted by Mary Jane Ohms
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