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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Yell County, Arkansas published by Southern Publishing Company in 1891.  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. H. Fergeson, a successful planter and the owner of the cotton-gin, saw and shingle mill and flour-mill of Bellville, all being thoroughly equipped to carry on a good business, was born in Virginia in 1830 to Joseph R. and Jane (Ayres) Fergeson, also native Virginians. His paternal ancestors (were of Scotch descent and his maternal of Irish lineage) early came to America. His father, a farmer and merchant of Virginia, emigrated to Kentucky in 1848, residing here till 1860, whence he moved his family to Arkansas, locating in Yell County, remaining till his death in 1841, his wife having died the year previous. Our subject having early been reared as a farmer, on arriving to manhood still followed this occupation, buying a farm in Riley Township, which he operated till his first wife’s death in 1864 (Miss Euphema Watkins, of Kentucky), to whom he was married in 1852, and who bore him seven children, but one living, Mollie, wife of James Thompson, a resident of this county. Her son, Benjamin Lee, became a Methodist preacher of some prominence and popularity, and died in 1880 while stationed at Ozark. In 1865 he moved to Danville, and this same year was elected sheriff, serving four years, when he resigned. This year also witnessed his second marriage to Miss Sarah E. Stout, a daughter of old pioneer settlers of Pope County, and are the parents of the following children: William H. (deceased), Addie (wife of N. J. Buckman), James C. and Sallie (twins and deceased), Charley, Fannie Pearl and Lillie Irene. In religion the family are members of the Baptist and Methodist Episcopal Churches. In 1872 our subject erected the plant known as Fergeson’s Mills, about five miles west of Danville, and the year following established the first mercantile business in the place and built a residence to which he moved his family, and was appointed postmaster of the Mills, which has had a rapid and astonishing growth, and is now known as Bellville. In connection with his milling interests he owns some 2,500 acres of valuable land in different portions of Yell County, 1,200 near Bellville, with 1,000 in a single tract, 300 of which are highly cultivated, and the remainder fine timber land. He with many others was instrumental in securing the fine academy of this place, which makes Bellville the thriving town it is. Socially, he fellowships with the Masonic fraternity, and as a citizen is deserving of the good wishes and worthy of any attention he may receive at the hands of his townspeople.

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This family biography is one of 124 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Yell County, Arkansas published in 1891.  For the complete description, click here: Yell County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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