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Below is a family biography included in the Woodruff County portion of Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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W. E. Ferguson is not only known as a popular and worthy citizen, but as county and circuit clerk of Augusta, Ark. Though claiming Coahoma County, Miss., as his place of birth, which occurred on September 10, 1851, Mr. Ferguson was reared in Woodruff County, Ark. His parents, James P. and Maria L. (Alcorn) Ferguson, originally from Kentucky, immigrated to Woodruff County in 1850, when W. E. was but eight years of age, and after moving to this county settled in Augusta Township, where the father purchased a tract of land from Dave Johnson, one of the early pioneers of the county. Some of this land he found improved, and a portion was in its wild and natural state. In 1861, Mr. Ferguson moved to Augusta, making his home there ever since. He was a Union man in principle, and opposed the secession of the States, but the first Confederate company that was raised in his adopted county, through courtesy, made him lieutenant. He resigned, and in way of acknowledging the compliment thus shown him, presented the boys in gray with blankets. He has been a farmer and land speculator, and, although the owner of an extensive tract of land, he is practically living a retired life. Hon. James L. Alcorn, one of Mississippi’s distinguished senators, is a brother of Mrs. Ferguson. There are five children now living born to the union of Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson: William E., Mary M. (widow of Ander son O’Neil), Minnie T., Bettie T. and Alcorn. W. E. Ferguson’s younger days were passed principally in Woodruff County, and being placed in the common schools to be educated, he remained in there until fifteen years of age, when he entered the Emory and Henry College of Emory, Washington County, Va., to complete his studies, but only remained through the sophomore year. After leaving this institution, he returned home, staying but two years, and acting as deputy sheriff, then, 1873, entered the Lebanon Law School, from which he graduated the following year. He was admitted to the bar at Augusta the same year, after which he practiced his profession until October, 1874, when he found that he would be compelled to take up his father’s business in the farming interest in order to save the business, the employees of his father having involved him to a considerable amount. W. E. then assumed charge of affairs, and superintended the place, buying and weighing and ginning cotton. He worked diligently for two years, straightened things out, and then went to Dardanelle, where he found employment as a clerk. He remained in this position until September, 1878, when he returned to Augusta, and clerked for L. Rosen, continuing with him until 1880, when he was elected to the office of assessor. In 1882 he was elected sheriff and collector, and reelected in 1884 without opposition in his own party. In 1886 he was elected to his present office (that of county and circuit clerk), and re-elected in 1888. Mr. Ferguson is one of the prominent political leaders of Woodruff County, and has a host of friends, his affability and thorough education qualifying him for any position of trust the people may confer upon him. He was married in May, 1884, to Miss Mary E. Douglass, a native of Iowa, who bore him two children: Louise and Ruby. Mr. Ferguson is a member of the Masonic fraternity, also a Chapter Mason and Knight of Honor and Knight of Pythias. In 1870 he entered the commercial school of Evansville, Ind., remaining at this institution of learning one term.

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This family biography is one of 69 biographies included in the Woodruff County portion of Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Woodruff County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Woodruff County, Arkansas family biographies here: Woodruff County, Arkansas

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