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Biography of James A. Ferguson

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JAMES A. FERGUSON. This prominent citizen, who is a member of the firm of Ferguson, Lucas & Kennedy, of Willow Springs, and president of the Willow Springs Bank, has been a resident of this city and vicinity since 1871.

He was born in Greene County, Tennessee, May 9, 1851, and is a son of William M. and Elizabeth (Hogan) Ferguson, both natives of Tennessee. The grandfather, Alexander Ferguson, was a native of Virginia, but at an early date came to Tennessee. Some of the early members of this family served in the Revolutionary War. The father of our subject came to Howell County, Missouri, in 1871, and located a quarter of a mile from Willow Springs. There his death occurred in 1888. He was a blacksmith and farmer, and a man well and favorably known throughout the county, being one of the early settlers of his section. In politics he was a Republican. While a resident of Tennessee he held the office of justice of the peace, and was elected to the same office in this neighborhood but did not serve. For many years he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held the office of steward in the same, and was an excellent citizen. The old home place is only a quarter of a mile from Willow Springs, and part of the town is built on it. Mrs. Ferguson died in 1892. She was a sister of Squire James H. Hogan, of Willow Springs, and a lifelong member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They were the parents of ten children, eight of whom grew to mature years, and six are now living: Thomas J., married, resides five miles west of the city on a farm; James A., subject; David, married and resides on a farm three miles west of the town; Emanuel C., married and resides on the old homestead; Susan E., wife of Marshall M. Harris, a farmer of Willow Springs; Sarah E., wife of S. T. Byars, a carpenter of this city; John A., and Mary J., who died young. The children living are all residents of Howell County, and most worthy people.

When a boy our subject attended the common schools of Tennessee, and after twenty months’ schooling, and when but sixteen years of age, he became a teacher in a private school. Later he taught in the public school a short time and then assisted his father in the blacksmith shop, becoming a good workman. When nineteen years of age he came to this county and followed teaching up to 1877, after which he branched out as a farmer, tilling the soil on a farm two miles east of Willow Springs until 1883. He then moved to Willow Springs, clerked in a general store up to 1887, when he branched out in business for himself in partnership with W. H. Fetherengill, with whom he continued until July, 1888. Mr. Ferguson then bought out the business, and formed a partnership with Chase & Kennedy, with whom he continued until 1889. Then Mr. Chase retired and the firm then became Ferguson, Lucas & Kennedy. This company owns the building located on the corner of Harris and Second Street, carries a stock valued at $6,000, and does an annual business of $30,000. Mr. Ferguson is president of the Willow Springs Bank, and is one of the leading men of the city. He is a Republican in politics and takes a deep interest in all good work. He has held the office of city collector two terms and other positions of importance. He is a Mason, a member of Willow Springs Lodge, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, being trustee in the same. Mr. Ferguson was married in this county to Miss Arenia P. Feathergill, daughter of William and Mary Feathergill, of Evansville, Indiana Five children have been born to them: James B., Mary E., Homer, Myrtle and Sybel. The three eldest are in school.

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