Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The
Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties,
State of Washington", published by Western Historical Publishing
THOMAS J. FERGUSON lives at Ephrata
and devotes his attention to handling stock and raising hay. He is
a man whose experience extends over many years of western life and who
has gained a liberal fund of knowledge from actual contact with the ways
and manners of many men in many different lines. He is to be classed
as one of the pioneers of Douglas county and is one of the real builders
of this political division. His birth occurred in the vcinity of
Owensburg, Greene county, Indiana, on Christmas day, 1832, and his parents
are James and Elizabeth (Riddle) Ferguson, natives of Virginia. Like
the children of other pioneers, our subject was educated in the log cabin
school houses of those early communities and he well remembers the rude
benches and the puncheon floors. However, he made the best of his
opportunities and was soon well trained in the common branches. During
the portions of the year when not at school, he was laboring with his father
on the farm. This continued until 1852, when, being twenty years
of age, he determined to come west. His first journey was to southwestern
Missouri, and after one year there, he joined a train bound for California,
being in company with an elder brother. In due time they landed in
Tehama county and in the vicinity of Red Bluffs, he went to farming.
For a decade, he continued in this line, doing well. Then he migrated
to Nevada, and there selected a location on the Humboldt river and planted
a large acreage to potatoes. Owing to various causes, he lost the
entire crop and this was the means of changing his career for a time, at
least. He abandoned the farm and gave attention to mining and freighting.
He also prospected some and shortly made his way to Boise, Idaho.
Here he continued the occupations he had been engaged in and also did freighting
for the Central Pacific railway. Next we see him in Linn county,
Oregon, where he went back to farming again. Two years later he located
in what is now Gilliam county, Oregon, and took up wool growing.
He operated on an extensive scale there until 1889, when he sold out and
came to his present location. He purchased seven hundred and twenty
acres from the railroad company and at once went to raising stock.
Later years he has sold his stock and is devoting himself to raising hay.
He has over two hundred acres of the finest meadow, which produces red
top and native grasses. Mr. Ferguson has been well prospered in his
labors and has the joy of having a good competence for the golden years
of his life, which are running apace. He has won the esteem and confidence
of the people and has many warm friends. He has one half-brother,
Lovell R. Ferguson, who dwells in Bloomfield, Indiana; and two sisters,
Mrs. Martha Davis, living at the old home in Indiana; and Mrs. Nancy Cook,
at Freedonia, Kansas. He also has two nieces, Mrs. William N. Pate,
at Wenatchee, and Mrs. Henry Decter, at Hartline, this county. He
was raised under the influence of the Christian church but belongs to no