HENRY FERGUSON, one of the highly respected and progressive farmers of Staunton Township, living on section 20, has the honor of being a native-born citizen of Macoupin County. He was born on the old Ferguson homestead in the township where he yet lives, April 25, 1841, and is a son of J. H. Ferguson, who was a native of Ireland and of Scotch-Irish descent. Upon the Emerald Isle he grew to manhood and married Miss Sarah Swan, who like her husband came of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Accompanied by three children they came to the United States, landing in New York City and thence made their way by canal and river to Alton, where Mr. Ferguson left his family while he walked across the prairies to Staunton Township, where he secured a wild and unbroken farm on what was commonly known as the Prairie Swamp. However he drained his land and where once was a wild waste, waving fields of grain soon delighted the eye of the passer-by. Upon the excellent farm which he there developed, Mr. Ferguson and his wife resided until his death. He passed away February 16, 1883, at the age of eighty years. He was a man possessed of remarkable energy and force of character, was honest in the extreme and won the confidence of the entire community. Prior to the war he supported the Democratic party but when Ft. Sumpter was fired upon his political views changed and he became a Republican. His wife is yet living at the advanced age of eighty-six years, making her home with their daughter in Staunton Township. Like her husband she has been a life-long member of the Scotch Presbyterian Church.
The entire life of Henry Ferguson has been passed in this county. His early days were spent amid its pioneer scenes and when he had attained to mature years he chose his native county as the stage of his future actions. He has inherited the good qualities of his Scotch-Irish ancestry and has become a valued and prominent citizen of the community. He was united in marriage in Tower Hill, Shelby County, Ill., with Miss Margaret McKittrick, a native of County Down, Ireland, born in 1841. Her parents, William and Margaret (Quarrel) McKittrick, were also born in the same county and three children there came to bless their home. In 1859 Mr. McKittrick and his family sailed for the United States, stopping not in their journey until they had reached Edwardsville, Madison County, Ill., where they made their home for seven years, removing thence to Shelby County where the wife and mother died at the age of sixty-four. Mr. McKittrick died some years later at the home of his daughter in Moultrie County, and his remains were taken back to Shelby County and laid by the side of his wife. He was then seventy-six years of age. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church.
Mrs. Ferguson was the third in their family of ten children, and by her parents she was carefully reared, remaining at home until her marriage. She is a lady possessed of energy, industry and good management and the assistance which she has given her husband has been no unimportant factor in his success. By their union ten children have been born: Martha J., wife of Richard Lippoldt, a farmer of Jersey County; Margaret, Julia M., Francis F., William H., Mary L. and Samuel F. at home; and Sarah A., Susan F., and John H., who died in childhood.
Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson are faithful members of the Presbyterian Church, give liberally to its support and are active workers in its interests. He is a supporter of Republican principles and has held a number of local offices, being now Commissioner of Highways. The duties of these positions have been ever ably discharged, winning credit to himself and his constituents. He is owner of one of the best farms in Staunton Township, a one hundred and fifty acre tract, upon which he has resided for a quarter of a century. He has made it what it is, having developed it from a wild waste into rich and fertile fields and placed all the improvements thereon. It is well stocked with good grades of horses, cattle, sheep and hogs and the barns and outbuildings furnish ample shelter for them. In addition to the home place Mr. Ferguson owns forty acres near Mt. Olive and a two-thirds interest in a farm of one hundred and twenty acres on Silver Creek, this county.