DAVID FERGUSON, a retired farmer residing in Staunton, was born in County Derry, Ireland, October 31, 1837, and is a son of Henry J. Ferguson. The father was also born in the same county of Scotch-Irish parentage, his ancestors having emigrated from Scotland to Ireland during the religious persecution. He was reared in his native county, serving as a farmer and clerk and there married Miss Sarah Swan, who, likewise, was born in that locality. After three children, David, Hugh and Sarah, were born of their union, Henry J. Ferguson emigrated with his family to the United States, sailing from Liverpool in the latter part of the summer of 1839. In September he reached Philadelphia, Pa., whence he came to Alton by way of cincinnati and the Ohio River, and continued across the country to Staunton which was then a small hamlet.
The father purchased a partially improved farm of forty acres, afterwards entered a one hundred and twenty-acre tract and by purchase kept adding to his possessions until his farm comprised four hundred and thirty acres. He developed the land from its primitive condition, transforming it into rich and fertile fields. It was quite low and somewhat swampy and by his neighbors had been discarded as worthless, but he introduced the draining process and soon had one of the finest farms in the county. He was everywhere known as an honest and upright man, and had a host of warm friends who esteemed him highly for his many excellencies of character. A man of strong convictions, when he believed himself to be right, nothing could swerve him from his purpose. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church and in politics he was a Democrat until the war, when he became a supporter of the Republican party. His death occurred at his home in Staunton Township, January 13, 1883, when nearly eighty years of age. His wife still survives him and is living with her daughter, Mrs. Capt. Burns, in Staunton Township, at the age of eighty-six. She, too, is a Presbyterian in religious faith.
With his parents, David Ferguson came to this country, and upon his father's farm he resided until he had arrived at man's estate. In Hilyard Township in 1875, he wedded Mary J. Dey, who was born in Jerseyville, Ill., September 23, 1845. A lady of many excellencies of character, she is highly esteemed for her many acts of kindness and deeds of charity. Both Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson are members of the Presbyterian Church with which they have long been identified, and in politics he is a Prohibitionist. For many years he has been a stanch advocate of temperance principles and believing that question to be of more importance than any other issue up before the people, he affiliates with that party which has taken a firm stand in opposition to the liquor traffic.
Throughout his business life, Mr. Ferguson followed farming and succeeded in making one of the finest farms in this community. His place had always a neat and thrifty appearance, was well stocked and supplied with good buildings. He made his home there for many years but at length wishing to live a retired life, he came to Staunton, in 1884, and has since made his home in this place. Occasionally he engages in selling religious books by standard authors, but has practically laid aside business cares, having accumulated a sufficient competency to keep him through his remaining years. For more than half a century, he has resided in this community, and is numbered among its honored pioneers.