Hiram Brewer "Tim" Ferguson

Excepted with permission from the Sumner Co., Kansas US GenWeb site

Contributed by Ken Seaman


Tim, the son of William and Catherine FERGUSON, was born in Richland County, Ohio, on February 22, 1836. In the 1840's William Ferguson moved his family to Concord Township in Fayette County, Ohio, where Hiram was principally reared and educated. It was also near here that Hiram began his lifelong occupation of farming (in Cambridge Township in Fayette County, Ohio).

When the Civil War broke out, Hiram answered Lincoln's call and joined Company A of the 48th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry (at Dennison, Ohio on September 9, 1861). On September 9, 1862, he was discharged from a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, due to a spinal irritation which had rendered him unfit for any duty for one hundred and fifty days. This disability was caused by a wound received at the Battle of Shiloh (in western Tennessee in the first week of April, 1862).

Upon discharge Hiram returned to Fayette County, Ohio, and resumed farming while recovering from his disability. In July, 1863, he rendered his services to the Fayette County Minutemen and for sixteen days pursued the infamous Rebel raider, John Morgan. Morgan had led 2500 infantrymen into Indiana and Ohio in what became known as Morgan's Raid.

On February 3, 1864, Hiram re-enlisted at Bloomington, Ohio, in Company A of the 1st Regiment of Ohio Cavalry. On January 20, 1865, he was appointed farrier (in charge of the horses). And on June 14, 1865, he was promoted to Corporal. He was mustered out with his company at Hilton Head, South Carolina, on September 13, 1865.

During his re-enlistment he participated in Kilpatric, a cavalry raid around Atlanta; the battles of Lovejoy Station and Kennesaw Mountain (in Sherman's march on Atlanta, Georgia, in June, 1864); fighting at Ebenezer's Church and Planter's Station (Selma, Alabama); and finally, the capture of Montgomery, Alabama, on the day before Lincoln was shot, April 13, 1865.

After his discharge, Hiram returned to Fayette County, Ohio, and resumed farming until the following year (1866) when he moved to McLean County, Illinois to join his parents.

On September 20, 1867, Hiram married Sarah Ellen RANKIN in Saybrook, McLean County, Illinois. Sarah was the daughter of Harrison M. and Adeline RANKIN of Cheney's Grove Township in McLean County, Illinois (they were formerly of Sangamon County in Illinois).

Hiram and Sarah's first child, "Harry" William Harrison, was born July 23, 1868, in Saybrook, Illinois.

Sarah's sister, Mrs. Stansbury, who had moved to Kansas in 1871, wrote to Sarah about Kansas and described a parcel of land near them with "good prairie grass and a never-failing spring". On this information, Hiram and Sarah sold out in Illinois and came by train to Florence, Kansas, the end of the railroad line at that time. This was in February, 1872. There they bought a yoke of oxen, wagon, equipment, and provisions. They then traversed South-Central Kansas for seventy miles to the southwest corner of Butler County, Kansas. They came through El Dorado and Augusta where they filed on their homestead at the Federal Land Office. Their homestead, which they had not yet seen, was the northeast quarter of Section 31 of Township 29 of Range 3E with Maple Creek running through it.

Their first living quarters was a sod and log house. Since the prairie around the homestead was treeless, they hauled lumber from Florence to build the farmhouse, a task that took several trips over a six-week period. Unfortunately, after all this effort, this dwelling was lost to fire a few years later, necessitating the building of a new farmhouse. The prairie was plentiful with pheasant, quail and prairie chicken ... and even an occasional buffalo still to be seen.

The freshly plowed virgin prairie was "harrowed" with tree branches tied into a bunch and pulled behind a team. And the first plantings were made "with a sharp stick struck into the ground and covered over with a little dirt and a stomp of the boot".

In the spring and summer of 1872 several other families took claims near Hiram and Sarah: "Doc" Berger, Jim Walton, R.M. Himbaugh, Fred Feller, Fred Schaper, Ed Smith, John Keller, among others.

On January 19, 1873, Levi Elmer was born on the homestead. During this year Hiram was instrumental in the formation of Maple Creek School where his children eventually went to school. He was also involved in the organization of Richland Township, the naming of which he is credited with (which he suggested after the county of his birth in Ohio).

Hiram and Sarah attended Pleasant Hill Church, five miles to the northeast, of which they were Charter Members and where Hiram was superintendent of the Sunday School for many years.

The grasshoppers came in 1874. The swarms were so great that the "hoppers in the sky made it so dark the chickens went to roost". Hiram would later recount to his grandchildren that he only had fifty cents which he buried so the "hoppers would not eat it". Needless to say, the times were not easy.

On January 5, 1874, Hiram was officially granted ownership of his homestead consisting of the 160 acres of the NE Quarter of Section 31 of the Osage Trust Lands by the Acts of Congress of April 24, 1820 and July 15, 1870, by the Land Office in Wichita, Kansas (Certificate No. 4973).

On January 4, 1875, Oscar Anderson was born to Hiram and Sarah.

On February 2, 1877, Hiram paid James R. Coffman (of Clinton County, Missouri) $200 for the west half of the homestead. (It would appear that either Hiram mortgaged, lost and had to repurchase, or he was obligated to pay this sum to get clear title.)

Arthur Edwin was born on May 30, 1881, and John Lee on May 12, 1884. Five years lapsed before Clarence Raymond was born (May 11, 1889), followed by the birth of their only daughter, Mary Leota (April 11, 1891)

On June 16, 1890, Hiram was granted a military pension on Certificate No. 418852 at $8/month.

On November 7, 1904, Hiram bought Lots 21 and 22 in Block 2 of Hills and Ruckers Addition in the City of Mulvane in Sumner County for $150 from James F. and Rosa A. Siegfried.

In 1906 Hiram retired from the farm and moved to Mulvane. He sold at public auction 8 head of horses, 24 head of cattle, 40 acres of corn in the field, his farm implements and household goods. He rented out the homestead until January, 1910 when his oldest son, Harry, returned from Oklahoma to farm the homestead.

On March 2, 1911, Hiram applied for his military pension under the Act of February 6, 1907, with Alonzo Shull and David C. Scott attesting for him.

On March 10, 1918, Sarah Ellen died. She was buried in the Mulvane Cemetery east of Mulvane in Sumner County, Kansas. After her death, Hiram lived in Mulvane with his daughter Mary, who had married Ottie STOREY.

On June 10, 1918, Hiram's pension increased to $40/month under the Act of June 10, 1918.

Hiram died February 21, 1922, at his home in Mulvane and was buried beside his wife. His funeral services were conducted by Rev. F.H. Poore at the Methodist Church. His military pension at the time of his death was $50/month.

Hiram was a longtime member of the Methodist Church and G.A.R. He is credited with having "witched" Mulvane's first permanent water well.

The children of Hiram and Sarah were:

"Harry" William Harrison FERGUSON (b. 1868; d. 1933)
"Elmer" Levi Elmer FERGUSON (b. 1873, d. 1903)
Oscar Anderson FERGUSON (b. 1875, d. )
Arthur Edwin FERGUSON (b. 1881)
John Lee FERGUSON (b. 1884)
"Ray" Clarence Raymond FERGUSON (b. 1889)
Mary Leota FERGUSON (b. 1891)


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