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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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Daniel Lee Ferguson was born near Pulaski, Giles County, Tenn., September 30, 1832. His family was an old North Carolina family of Scotch origin. His father, Edmond Ferguson, moved from Wilkes County, N. C., to Giles County, Tenn., in 1824, where he soon afterward married Mary Sheron, who was also of a North Carolina family, and of English descent. They both died in 1840, leaving a family of seven children. Daniel Lee was the fourth child, and only eight years of age when his parents died, and from that early age he has fought his way unaided through the world. He is a fine representative of the self-made men of our times. In September, 1852, he married Mary T. Combs, of Pulaski, Tenn. She was the daughter of James Combs, attorney at law, and granddaughter of Capt. Charles Buford, a noted man of his day and time. A month after their marriage the young couple moved to Tunica County, Miss., which at that time was an almost unbroken wilderness. Mr. Ferguson there began his career as a cotton planter, which business he has successfully followed ever since. In 1869, on account of his wife’s failing health, he moved to Memphis, Tenn., where he went into business as a cotton factor and commission merchant, in the firm of Ferguson & Hampson. At the same time he kept up his business as a cotton planter. In December, 1875, his wife died of consumption. Two children were born of this marriage, both of whom died in their early infancy. In January, 1877, he married again, his second wife being Mary Alcy (Carleton), widow of Benjamin R. Norris. Her ancestry on the Carleton side belonged to an old Virginia family of English descent. Her father was a prominent physician of North Mississippi before the war. On her mother’s side she is connected with the Orrs, Grays and Alexanders, fine old Scotch-Irish families of Mecklenburg County, N. C., and Mississippi. She had one child by her first marriage, Pearl Eglantine Norris, who died soon after her father, in 1874. One child has blessed this second marriage, a daughter, Alcyone Carleton Ferguson, who is now a bright little girl, eleven years of age. In 1877 Mr. Ferguson became interested in the Nodena plantation, in Mississippi County, Ark., which was then in litigation, and when it was sold by the supreme court of the State, in 1879, he bought it for himself and his partner, Mr. Hampson. Immediately thereafter he was plunged into a long and expensive lawsuit, which lasted nearly ten years, and seriously crippled him financially. But in the end he gained the lawsuit, after carrying it through all the courts of both Tennessee and Arkansas. His family have made Nodena their home since 1879. He found he could not give his business in Memphis the attention it required, and in 1884 closed up his affairs there entirely, and concentrated all his energies at Nodena. He is one of the largest cotton planters on the Mississippi River above Memphis. A view of his broad fields, white with the open cotton, in the autumn, is a sight worthy of admiration. For thirty-seven years the steamers that float on the bosom of the mighty Mississippi have carried his cotton bales to the markets of the world. His plantation, with the rich alluvial lands surrounding it, is interesting from another point of view than its cotton fields. That prehistoric and once mighty race, “The Mound Builders,’’ had an abiding place here, in the centuries long gone by, as is evidenced by the mounds they have left behind them. Mighty oaks crown the summits of these mounds, and speak in silent whispers of the watch they have for centuries kept over them. Races come and go, and these mounds still stand, the monuments of a forgotten people. Mrs. Ferguson is an enthusiastic mound explorer, and has quite a collection of the vessels and implements of those prehistoric people. She hopes to be able, through her explorations, to throw some light upon the habits and customs of that early race. It is with regret that we leave Mr. Ferguson and his interesting plantation, with the mounds and their buried histories, the cotton fields that will help to clothe the people of the world, and the majestic river as it sweeps onward in its resistless course to the sea. Mr. Ferguson seems to belong to such surroundings. A man of magnificent stature and noble bearing, in his broad bosom there beats a heart that is large enough to sympathize with the sufferings of all humanity. Not one of the human family ever turned from his door hungry, or cold from nakedness. He is always ready to lend a listening ear to the woes of the afflicted and needy, and his purse is always open to the wants of the poor. It can truly be said of him, “He is one of Nature’s noblemen.”

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This family biography is one of 162 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Mississippi County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Mississippi County, Arkansas family biographies here: Mississippi County, Arkansas Biographies

View a map of 1889 Mississippi County, Arkansas here: Mississippi County, Arkansas Map

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