David Ferguson, who is living at ease at Staunton, in the enjoyment of a comfortable home, can look back upon a long and active life during which he contributed his share toward the development of the agricultural resources of Macoupin county. As a member of a pioneer family he passed through experiences in his early life of which the farm boy of today has little conception, and he has lived to witness the great improvements by which the entire appearance of the country has been changed and the wild prairie has been reduced to the uses of man.
He is a native of Ireland and was born in County Derry, October 31, 1837, a son of Henry J. and Sarah (Swan) Ferguson, both of whom were born in County Derry. The father emigrated to America with his family in 1839 and located a half-mile east of Staunton, Macoupin county, Illinois, where he purchased a tract of partially improved land and also preempted land from the government. He applied himself during the remainder of his life to farming and died in 1883, at the age of eighty years. He was a stanch Presbyterian in religious belief and assisted in building the first church of Staunton. He had two brothers: Robert, who engaged in farming in Ireland; and David, who was educated as a physician at Glasgow, Scotland, and devoted his life with marked success to the healing art. The mother of our subject had three brothers, Henry, Thomas and Hugh, the latter of whom went to Australia and became a member of the parliament of that country. There were seven children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson: Hugh and Isaac, both of whom are deceased; Henry, a resident of Staunton; David; Sarah Jane, deceased; Susan, the widow of Captain Archibald Burns; and Martha, deceased.
After receiving his preliminary education in the common schools David Ferguson devoted his attention to the home farm and continued with his parents until twenty-eight years of age. He then purchased an adjoining farm and made his home there until 1884 when he moved to Staunton, being still actively identified with farming and live-stock interests. About 1895 he went to Benton, Illinois, where he purchased a farm but returned to Staunton in 1902 and has since made his home among old friends and amidst familiar scenes.
In 1875 Mr. Ferguson was married to Miss Mary J. Dey, a native of Jersey county, Illinois, who has been to him a true and helpful companion. He cast his first vote for Stephen A. Douglas but soon afterwards transferred his allegiance to the republican party which he supported until a few years ago when he became a prohibitionist. He was at one time a member of the Good Templars and is actively identified with the Presbyterian church of which he is a liberal supporter and an elder in the same for forty years. His entire life has been devoted to farming, and through energy, application and sound judgement he has acquired a competency. Always thoroughly upright in his dealings, he commands the esteem and confidence of his associates and acquaintances and is in every respect a worthy representative of the best citizenship.