Submitted by Holly Ferguson, permission by Aztec Club




A History of Isaac H. Ferguson …and a wee bit more.


Born in 1773 in Halifax, Virginia. Father John Ferguson, Mother purportedly Phillis Alston The Revolutionary War ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. Under the Terms, Great Britain surrendered the Old Northwest to the United States. Virginia and other states ceded their claims to the Old Northwest to the federal government. In 1787 this was organized as the Northwest Territory. which included pretty much everything outside of the original 13 colonies that belonged to the United States. In 1800 Illinois was included in the Indiana Territory and in 1809 was organized as Illinois Territory which included all of Illinois, most of Wisconsin and large parts of Michigan and Minnesota.  In 1809 what was to become the state of Illinois was divided into two counties, St. Clair on the north and Randolph on the south.  The dividing line was a diagonal running east to west through what became Clark, Crawford, Jasper, Clay, Marion, Clinton, Washington, St. Clair and Monroe Counties. Ninian Edwards was appointed the Governor of the Illinois Territory.  Ninian Edwards was the son of Benjamin Edwards.  He was born 17 Mar 1775 at "Mount Pleasant", Montgomery Co., MD. He died 20 July 1833 at Belleville and was first buried there.  He was reinterred at Oaklawn Cemetery in Springfield in 1855. His son married the sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. He served as Illinois Territorial Governor from 1809 to 1818 and as Governor of the State of Illinois 1826-1831. Kaskaskia was named as the Territorial Capital. The majority of the white settlement in Illinois  at that time was in the southern regions.

The former Territorial Governments had begun obtaining the land of the Native Americans in a series of Treaties. These treaties exchanged land for yearly payments of money and presents. The Indians were not satisfied and took advantage of the War of 1812 to side with the British. The tribes involved were the Potawatomi, Kickapoo, and The Sac and Fox. During the both French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic wars between France and Great Britain both parties violated the maritime rights of the neutral powers. This especially affected the United States. The British Navy impressed (kidnapped and took aboard for service) thousands of seamen from vessels registered in the U.S. which include naturalized Americans claiming they were either deserters of British subjects. In 1807 the British Frigate Leopard fired on the U.S.S. Chesapeake in American Territorial Waters, then removed and later executed 4 crewmen. Britain also was seizing vessels which were bound for Europe but didn't stop first in Britain. Between 1803 and 1812 nearly 1500 American ships were seized. The American's were prepared to answer with economic sanctions. A trade ban was imposed on Britain in Nov. 1810 but Britain refused to comply and President Madison summoned Congress into session in November of 1811 to prepare for was. War was declared on Great Britain 18 Jun 1812. Fort Dearborn (near the present site of Chicago) was evacuated in the early part of the war while the British and their Native American allies were trying to gain control of the area. The garrison, numbering 67, along with resident settlers, started for Detroit. With them was a group of Potawatami escorts who were thought to be friendly. While they were traveling the escorts joined with another force and attacked the garrison and the settlers. Two thirds of the Americans were killed and the rest captured. The next day the hostile Indians destroyed Fort Dearborn. After ransoms had been paid by Detroit several of the captives were freed. The war ended in 1815. In 1816 Fort Dearborn was rebuilt and garrisoned. After the war Illinois saw a large influx of settlers . The emigrants traveled down the Ohio by flat boat and by wagon overland. Most of the them settled in Southern Illinois because the country was similar to where they had lived before. Central and Northern Illinois stayed largely uninhabited by whites until later.

In 1815 the land which was to become the state had become further divided by a line running north and south into Madison and Edwards Counties with further division in the south into St. Clair, Randolph, White, Gallatin and Johnson Counties.  The Northern Border of St. Clair ran through the present counties of  Madison and Clinton and the Northern Border of White County ran through the present counties of Jefferson and Wayne and met the southern boundries of present Edwards and Wabash


1st wife Mary Wyatt Born about 1781

Children:  Mary Ferguson b 1802 in Livingston, KY

         Wyatt Ferguson b 1804 in unknown


Isaac is found in Livingston County, Kentucky, with a land warrant, #488, Sept. 6, 1802.   A land warrant was issued to a John Wyatt the same day, also to John Ferguson, #640.   All were on the Tradewater River.   It is believed that Isaac was married to a Wyatt first, for he had a son named Wyatt, and a daughter, Mary, born about 1802, while his marriage to Elizabeth Johnson was Jan. 19, 1804.   (source: "Remembering Rusk County")


Elizabeth Johnson b 1787 Princeton, Caldwell County, KY d1858 Gatesville, Coryell, Tx


  Melinda Ferguson b May 18,1805, Marine, IL d 6.23.1880 Marine, Il m Nicholas Kile John Lewis Ferguson b 11.20.07 in Ft Russell, Ill d 10.31.1878  Marine, IL m Elizabeth Blakeman Minirva Ann Ferguson b 1809 in Marine, IL d 1896 m Thomas Wilkerson Uzzell Lucinda Ferguson b 1813 in Madison, IL d 1882 m Squire Peterson and Henry Riggin Elizabeth Ann Ferguson b 1815 Marine, IL d 11.25.1902 Waller, TX m Christian Gottlieb Yahn William Thomas Ferguson b 4.6.1820 in Madison County, IL d 1.24.1894 Ft Worth, Tx m Editha Justice Davis Mary Ann Ferguson b 7.14.1822 Madison Co, IL  d 8.16.1900 Ft. Worth, Tx m Charles Biggers Daggett Justice S. Davis Ferguson b 12.1825 Marine, Il d 1910 Terrell, Tx  m Belsora Parker & Jane Candice unknown Nicholas Kyle Ferguson b 7.9.1829 Madison County, IL d Ft Worth, Tx m Emily Beard & Nancy Eveline Wills It is related that, when Marquette first saw Illinois Indians, which is supposed to have been somewhere near the mouth of the Des Moines river, he made the inquiry, "Who are you?" They replied, "We are Illini." The term "Illini" has been translated as meaning "men," or "perfect men" - a name which they took to distinguish themselves from the Iroquois nation, whom they designated as "Beasts," on account of their many cruel invasions of the western tribes. Under this general term were grouped various subdivisions or tribes of Indians, either living on what later came to be recognized as Illinois soil or federated with them. INDIAN TREATIES-- On August 13, 1803, General William Henry Harrison concluded a treaty at Vincennes with the Kaskaskias, who represented the Kaskaskias, Cahokias, Michigamis and Tamaroas of the Ancient confederacy of the Illini. By this treaty these tribes gave up all their claims to nearly nine million acres of land in the southern portion of what is now Illinois. Subsequent treaties were made in 1803 with the Shawnees and Piankashaws; in 1804 with the Piankashaws and Sacs and Foxes; in 1809 with the Kickapoos and Pottawatomies, and in 1818 with the Peorias, Illinois and Kickapoos. EASTERN ILLINOIS TRIBES -- Most, if not all, of these tribes had, at various times in the years gone before (owing to the varying fortunes of war among themselves), roamed over and laid claim to the lands of. By these various treaties all Indian claims to lands in the greater portion of Illinois were extinguished. Few Indians were here when the first settlers came, and they did not tarry long thereafter. Scattering bands came and went until after the Black Hawk War. A large band came and camped awhile on the Kickapoo Creek just after the Black Hawk War ended, then vanished. For what purpose they came is not known. It may have been to gather up relics which had been previously "cached" by them in the vicinity; or from a sentimental standpoint--for the Indians were possessed of such sentiment in spite of their savagery--it may be conjectured that they came to take a last look at the home of their childhood, or, perhaps, to make a farewell visit to the graves of some distinguished chiefs, or venerated ancestors. The Kickapoo Indians were placed upon a reservation in Kansas after the close of the Black Hawk War. The Indians found here were all friendly. The worst they did to the white settlers in this region was occasionally to steal and take away a horse. Evidences of the years of their occupation of this land were plainly visible on the Kickapoo and Indiana Creeks, and in Morgan Township. They were mostly of the Kickapoo tribe, as the first explorers found numerous villages of that tribe about the Dead Man's Grove, and on the Kickapoo and Indian Creeks. The Winnebagoes and Pottawatomies were, however, also represented in this section at an earlier date. There undoubtedly were one or more "brushes" in this county with the Indians between 1815 and 1820, by the government surveyors and their attendants, and also by some of the "Illinois Rangers," from Fort La Motte, on the Wabash River. The writer was shown, when a boy, places in large trees from which bullets had been cut, along the hillside about three-fourths of a mile west of the old Blakeman's Mill, where he was

“My son (these are actually his son’s words but for the sake of Isaac’s history I have made them into his own), John L. Ferguson was born about 4 miles northwest of Edwardsville in Madison County on the 20th day of November 1807 in a blockhouse near Indian Creek, about 1 ˝ miles from Jones’ Fort.  The following spring the Indians became so troublesome that I, Major Isaac Ferguson and my father John Ferguson (then living together in the blockhouse) were compelled to move into Jones’ Fort for safety. I came to Illinois in the Spring of 1804, with my wife, having been married in January of that year.  I then stopped at Downing’s Station some mile south of the present site of Troy, where I remained about 1 ˝ years.  There were a great many blockhouses built on Ridge Prairie about that time at different places.  In the spring of 1805, I father moved into a blockhouse, about 1 ˝ miles north of Troy, on the place now owned and occupied by Jubilee Posey.  At that place my first child Melinda (now Melinda Kile, living near St. Jacobs) was born May 18th, 1803. I remained at that place with a man named Isham Revis in the same house until the winter of 1806 when my family moved to the place where my son, John was born.  In the summer of 1808 I left Jones’ Fort and assisted in building Hill’s Fort in what is now Bond County. Hill’s Fort was situated on the east side of Shoal Creek about 5 miles south of Greenville, the present county seat of Bond County.  While there I raised a company of Rangers partly composed of Kaskaskia Indians. I remained in active service during the remainder of the war. We were attacked occasionally by the Indians up to 1813. In 1809 I assisted, in fact, I had the entire supervision of building Shelton’s Fort. During the next summer I built Brazil Station, at a place then and yet known as Terrapin Ridge, being then and now the extreme southern part of Madison County. There were no troops regularly stationed at Brazil’s Station, it being only 5 miles from Shelton’s Fort where they could get assistance at any time if required.  It was almost impossible for Indian’s to get to that station without being discovered by the soldiers from the forts more on the frontier.  At that time there were no forts or lines of defense north of Jones’ Fort on Indian Creek and Hill’s Fort on Shoal Creek. As there were soldiers passing or always on the line between those forts everything south of the line was comparatively safe; except in the summer time when the Indians in small thieving bands would penetrate or go into the country considerably further south until Shelton’s Fort was built.  I always had my wife and two children with me as I considered them being more safe with me than when left in a fort garrisoned by a few men and many women and children.  Though when in forts women could do as good fighting as the men and it was not an uncommon things in those days for a single lone woman with perhaps five or six children in blockhouses on the farms to successfully defend herself against five or ten Indians particularly if the attack was made in daytime which was generally the case as women and children were never left home alone at night if it could be avoided.  All women on the frontier at that time learned to shoot.  My wife was a good shot with a rifle and could shoot a deer or an Indian as well as me.  Her services were several times called into requisition on certain occasions during the war as were like services by many other ladies of those times.  Previous to the building of Shelton’s Fort, there was a small settlement there, made in 1808.  The first settlers were William Shelton, Augustus Shelton, Josiah Shelton, Thomas Shelton, Samuel Lindley, John Lindley, John Higgins, David Smeltzer, John Howard, Abram Howard, William Howard and Joseph Howard who all lived in blockhouses near each other and cultivated the land in common for the benefit of their families until Shelton’s Fort was built.  After that time their families with many others lived in that fort until the close of the war.

  In the year 1810 I located my family permanently in Shelton’s Fort until 1813, though I did active ranger service outside the forts. In 1810 there was a regular line of forts commencing in Kaskaskia Fort Chartres, in Marion County, Whiteside Station in St. Clair County, Downing’s Station to the southern part of Madison County and Jones’ Fort in the northern part of Madison County.  In the southeast part of Madison County on Silver Creek were Shelton’s Fort and Brazil Station and on Shoal Creek in Bond County was Hill’s Fort.  It was the business of those rangers to be always on the march and occasionally visit all those forts and see that everything was right.  Most of the time they were kept on the frontier watching for Indian signs and whenever they discovered any signs of Indians they followed up. If they could overtake them, the rangers invariably chastised them and sometimes wholly exterminated small bands.

  The general orders for the rangers were from Gen’l Harrison of Vincennes, Indiana to whom all military messages and dispatches from this region of country had to be sent.

  Carrying these dispatches was a duty that invariably fell to the lot of me and with three of four picked by myself, it was a hazardous undertaking as the whole country between Mississippi and Wabash Rivers was always overrun by roving bands of Indians.  About the closeof our Indian war Gen’l Harrison was Territorial Governor of Indiana.

  About that time there was an eccentric genius in the service with me called Mike Dood.  Many old settlers know the man and have probably heard the joke.  He said he had never seen a Governor and as I had to see Gen’l Harrison on military business in a short time.  Mike Dood insisted on being selected as one of my body guards.  His wishes were gratified and our party of three men arrived safely in Vincennes. We immediately reported to Gen’l Harrison’s headquarters and after being introduced to the General, Mike walked around him several times, examined him from head to foot and said, “My Major, this is nothing but a man!”.

  From the time of my first recollection and particularly while living in Shelton’s Fort, there was more unity of feeling amongst the people up to 1814, than has ever existed since this country, their habits, manners, dress and customs, being the same and their social intercourse as that of one family.

  There were no distinctions between rich and poor, they were all alike.  They all labored or cultivated the land in common, for the benefit of all and the only advantage one had over the other, was that those who had the greatest number of children received the greatest reward. The only crops cultivated at Shelton’s Fort during the war were corn, potatoes (then called taters), cabbage and cotton, all the above crops grew find, with little cultivation.  The women picked, spun and wove the cotton for their own and their children’s clothes, and during the war none of them in the region of country ever wore anything except articles raised and manufactured at home.  The men invariably dressed in buckskins, except shirts, which were made of cotton and of home manufacture.  All the men, women and children wore moccasins in those times and if they had been worn by all classes, rich and poor, up to the present day, you would have seen a much less number of lame and crippled men and women, than are now seen on the streets every day, troubled or lamed with corns or bunions or both.  You may say to yourself without fear of contradiction, that such gentleman and lady was not raised in Indian wartimes and have never worn moccasins. Moccasins never produce such results and I do honestly recommend their use to all those who are thus unfortunately afflicted.  As an infallible remedy for all such unfortunate deformities, I am aware that these remarks may be unpopular, yet I consider them true and can site many loving examples of old men and women, who have lived and dressed all their days in the old primitive style, yet perfect models of humanity compared with the present band box style of raising men and women.

  I know from experience and general observation that boys of sixty years ago at the age of fourteen and fifteen years could endure and accomplish more than most young ones of the present can accomplish at the age of twenty one years owing I presume to their constant outdoor exersize and the plain substantial food on which they lived in the early settlement of the county.

  In those days almost any boy of 10 years old if he found a rabbit on the prairie, could run it down and catch it and at the present day it would take a half dozen boys and that many dogs and the result could be uncertain.  In fact I believe that dogs, owing to high feeding and extra care taken of them at present, are degenerating in physical ability as much as men and boys and owing to the same cause.  From the year 1810 to the close of the war, all the corn meal used in Shelton’s Fort was ground on a hand mill ox powered in wooden vessels.  The people lived entirely on corn bread, hominy, venison, turkeys, beef and occasionally pork.  Hogs being at that time scarce and as game of almost every kind was plenty and all sorts of vegetables grew abundantly when planted the people at the forts always had plenty of something to eat, and if they did get a little short in the provision line, five or six soldiers could go out and get a half dozen or more deer before breakfast.  Beef was plenty as cattle were seldom stolen by Indians.  Though Indians could not get them without shooting them, and for an Indian to fire his gun in day time anywhere near the fort was almost the same thing as sounding his own death knoll, so soon and certain was his fate.

  The people of the fort lived in perfect harmony with each other and when one had plenty, all had plenty.  In many instances you could see two or more families in one house with several children in each family and all eat at one common table (that is) for each member of the several families to take whatever they had to eat in their hands and use it to the best advantage under the circumstances.  They were perfectly happy, from the fact that they knew no other mode of living, and probably at that time not many of them looked forward to anything higher than the privileges they then enjoyed.  At that time we had no markets and had nothing to sell.  We never bought anything from the fact that we never wanted anything, except what we could make.

  The people were then generally happy and honest.  Men were strictly honest and many of them religious.  Were but few men that could make a false statement about anything, and if they did, that one offense generally cured them.   A man’s word was then as good as his note, and his house was all he had to care for.  He was therefore very careful not to tarnish it by any ungentlemanly act.

  There was a number of good religious women in Shelton’s Fort amongst whom was my wife.  Although the opportunities for religious services in the fort were limited, yet there were many shining lights in the Methodist and Baptist churches, who then worshipped together and why they will not do so now is a mystery. I can not understand Unless we come to the conclusion that they had better Christians in times of war, than they have at the present day.

  In time of war you seldom ever heard a man swear an oath.  There are not civil officers in our fort, yet as soon as the war ended, the Territorial Legislature in session in Kaskaskia passed a law (and enforced it strictly) fining a man or woman fifty cents for every oath sworn in public, and at the time there were no exceptions or executions or fines.  That law was enforced until 1818 when Illinois Territory became a state.  We had a law at the same time which was continued in force for several years after we became a state, making it a penalty from $3.00 to $10.00 for any person caught at work on Sabbath, and so far as morality is concerned we are certainly on the retrograde.  Men now do with impunity, things that would have appeared horrible fifty years ago.  Things that would have consigned the perpetrator to endless infamy.  The world now is becoming so corrupt and selfish and the great mass ignoring or disregarding the common interest of the country and his fellowmen, that we are on dangerous ground.

  The first religious service, or first sermon, preached in Shelton’s Fort, was preached by Samuel Lindley, a Baptist minister then a resident of the fort.  The first marriage solemnized was between Joseph Ferguson and Virginia Smeltzer in 1811.  The first death in Shelton’s Fort was Augustus Shelton who died in the year 1814.  The first child born was Thomas Shelton (son of William Shelton) inn the year 1810.  After that time they were so numerous as to escape my memory.  We resided in the fort until the year 1813.  We moved into a blockhouse near the fort in the spring of 1813 and that summer, I built the first house ever built in Marine prairie on land in Section 33.  After building it, I did not dare to live in it for fear the Indians who yet made raids on the frontier settlements.  At this period we had very little protection.  The greatest protection we had on the frontier settlement of which Marine was one, was from the Kaskaskia Indians and a few soldiers.

  After Ir built, five other persons built houses in the fall of 1813, and they did not dare to live in them until the spring or early winter of 1814, when there was a permanent settlement made, consisting of about one dozen families as follows: Isaac Ferguson, John Warrick, John Woods, George Newcomb, John Ferguson, William Ferguson, Joseph Ferguson, Alston and Joshua Dean, Abraham Howard, Absalom Ferguson, Aquilla Delahide.  All of these men made permanent settlements at the close of 1813 and the early part of 1814.  In 1815, there were added Christopher Payne, Thomas Breeze, Richard Windsor, John Campbell and John Giger.

  In 1816 came John Scott, John Laird, James Sims, Henry Peck, Andrew Matthews, Jr., James Matthews, Lefford French, James French, Abram Carlock and John Miller. In 1817 came John Dugger, Philip Searcey, John Cleveland and Albert H. Judd.

  On the 19th day of September 1817, a company left their pleasant homes in New York City, and turned their course westward, to seek homes in the vicinity of Edwardsville, Illinois, where some of the party, the Masons, had been the previous year, and brought back favorable reports of the new country.  Rowland P. Allen, his wife and son, George T., a negro boy, Henry and a negro girl, Jane, servants given to Mrs. Allen by her father in New York.  Paris Mason, wife, a sister of Mrs. Allen, one child and two negro servants, James Mason and family, Hall Mason and family, Elijah Ellison, wife and Townsend, John and Jacob, his sons; Richard Ellison, Theophilus W. Smith, an able lawyer, and afterward a judge, with his family; William Townsend, Daniel Tallman and several young men composed this party of pioneers.  They came in wagons to Pittsburg, Pennsylvannia and there purchased a large flat boat, in which they pursued their journey as far as Shawneetown, where they disembarked, continuing their travels by wagon to Edwardsville, where they arrived on the afternoon of December 23, 1817, and found a comfortable log house provided for their reception, where they spent the winter.  In the spring of 1818, Rowland P. Allen and Elijah Ellison moved into Marine, and on section 28 built their cabins, entered the land together, enclosed the same and farmed in common for many years.  Also coming with Allen and Ellison were John Barnaby, Jacob Johnson, the Balsters, Jacob Varner, Adam Kile, Sr., Adam Kile, Jr., John Kile and Jacob Kile.  At this time the place was called Ferguson Settlement in Point Prairie.

  In 1818 Capt. Curtis Blakeman and Capt George C. Allen arrived in Ferguson Settlement with seventy-two persons in one train on  the 19th of July in that year, all of whom settled here.

  Capt. Blakeman brought with him a four-horse wagon driven by Henry B. Thorp, and a one horse rockaway driven by James Sackett.  Elijah Blakeman, a brother of the captain, came with him in a two horse wagon, bringing a wife and five children.  He improved a farm in section 32.

  Capt. George C. Allen brought two teams, one driven by himself and the other by William Coon.  William May, a carpenter by trade, resided here about the same time, but soon returned to his former home in the east.  A few years later, William Goodsell and his family came from the east, but dying about three years subsequent to his arrival, his family returned to their former home.

  During the fall of 1819 and spring of 1820, Capt. Justus DeSeelhorst, Capt. Lewis DeSeelhorst, Capt. James Breath, Capt. Presswick, Capt. David Mead, William C. Wiggins, John Shinn, Samuel Lawrence, David Anderson, Jacob Schneider, David Gooch, Ambrose Houser, Mathias Long, John Ambuehl, William Giger, Reuben Reynolds, Benjamin May, John Harrington, Whitmil Harrington, Frank Frisse, M. Botchford, Solomon Curtis, Wheeler Curtis settled in this settlement and after time changes were so frequent that it would be a difficult job for any personto keep account of the changes that did occur.  From the year 1820 the place was always called Marine Settlement, taking its name from the character of former occupations of the men who made extensive and valuable improvements in 1819 and 1820, many of whom had been sea captains and a majority of the others had been sailors, most of whom made good, honest industrious farmers.

  Some of these pioneer families reached the Marine Settlement by two different routes, for some traveled through Virginia, then by way of the Shenandoah Valley to Tennessee, through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky ferried by flatboats across the Ohio River to Shawneetown in southern Illinois.  There they continued their overland journey in their conveyances such as covered wagons, two wheeled carts, horseback and rockaways to the prairie regions.  The other route was to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia, where flatboats were secured and used to float down the Ohio River to Shawneetown traveling the overland trail by wagon to St. Louis then on to the prairie.

  This beautiful rolling land with bits of wooded area, the rich soil, the creeks with smaller streams containing a water supply was an inviting place for these pioneer home seekers.

  Capt. Blakeman was born October 24, 1777 in Sheffield, England.  When he arrived in Marine Township, he was a man of 40 years of age, who had received much wealth with his endeavors as a ship owner and a sea captain.  Curtis Blakeman purchased one thousand one hundred and 20 acres in Township 4, North Range6. From what was researched for that time, land was sold for $1.25 per acre. Sidenote for Capt. Blakeman: From "Furs for Astor" J.U. Terell (pub Wm. Morrow & Co., NY 1963) "The only vessel Astor equipped especially for running the blockade to China was the brig Macedonian, 407 tons, one of the fastest sailing vessels in the world.  The war was nearly over when Astor purchased her for $27,000 cash. He spent another $40,000 coppering her and outfitting her for a dangerous career.  Astor heard that a group of naval vessels was to leave for the Pacific to attack British shipping in that theater of war.  He arranged to have the Macedonian go along as a "store ship". He was obliged to put some naval stores aboard, but he also loaded her with furs and ginseng.  Gleefully he predicted that if the Macedonian could make the round trip to Canton before the war ended, "she will clear $300,000". Even if peace came while she was at sea, she still would clear "150 to 200 m". Not a disagreeable prospect at the worst. "The Macedonian, under the command of Curtis Blakeman, who had taken the Hannibal to Europe for Astor, put to sea in the company of the frigate President and several other naval vessels.  In command of the President was the famed Stephen Decatur. (note this was January 1815.) "A British squadron soon came in sight, and after a bloody and desperate encounter, the President was forced to surrender.  With the British ships straining to overtake her, the Macedonian vanished over the horizon.  On July 3, after a fast passage of 169 days, she sailed serenely into Canton.  A British frigate which had chased her across the Pacific came in four days later.  "Word that the war had ended reached China shortly afterward.  The Macedonian was safe and she sailed for new York with a cargo of merchandise.  Because of the advent of peace, she brought no more than $200,000 profit to Astor. From the Stratford Historical Society Vol. 32 pg 481, Land Records: "Curtis Blakeman of Stratford to Elijah Blakeman land in Stratford near Old Wharf...with buildings there standing 1 1/2 acre plus land N on Butcher's Flats E of Nehemiah Forham SW on highway it being the same place lately occupied by my father Phinehas Blakeman of Stratford, diseased."


  Land grants prior to the sale of land by the Federal Government were first, Ancient land grants, or allotments, derived from former governments (French or British) or from the Indians, under act of Congress of June 20, 1788. There were no grants of this class within the present territory of Madison County.

  Second, Donations to heads of families. Under the law of the 20th of June 1788, a donation of four hundred acres of land not given to each of the families living at either of the villages of Kaskaskia, Prairie de Rocher, Cahokia, Fort Chartres, or St. Phillips. The Commissioners construed this to provide for all those who had become heads of families from the peace of 1783 to the passage of the law in 1788.

  Third, Improvement Rights. Under the law of the third of March, 1791, when lands had been actually improved and cultivated, under a supposed grant by a commander or court, it was directed that the claim should be confirmed, not exceeding four hundred acres to any one person.

  Forth, Militia Rights.  Under the act of March 1, 1791, a grant of land, not exceeding one hundred acres was made to each person who had obtained no other donation of land from the United States, and who on the first day of August, 1790, was enrolled in the militia and had done militia duty.

  To our knowledge, through research none of the above land grants existed in Marine Township.  Research has shown that many more of the early settlers purchased land to large quantities from the Federal Government in 1816, in Marine Township.

  In this settlement we had no markets, or took nothing to market until about the year 1815.  We then commenced hauling the products of our farms to St. Louis. We hauled with ox teams and the roads were so bad that we generally took from four to five days to make a trip. In going to market, it never cost the people anything but passage, as they invariably took their provisions with them, and slept in their wagons, or carts, or on blankets on the ground.  At that time, carts  were generally used, as almost any man could take an axe, a handsaw,  a drawing knife and chisel and make a cart in 3 or 4 days, as they were not to particular about having things polished as they are present.

  About the year 1815, the first wheat was raised in Marine Prairie.  It was then threshed on the ground with horses, on a place scraped off smooth for the purpose.  It was then cleaned by standing in the wind and slowly pouring from some small vessel, and when there was no natural wind, two men could make a strong breeze with a sheet, or sufficiently strong to clean wheat or oats.  After it was ready and hauled to St. Louis, wheat was wroth thirty seven and a half to fifty cents a bushel .  Oats ten to fifteen cents per bushel and corn ten to twenty cents in the St. Louis market though I have many times seen corn sold  in the country to newcomers for six to eight cents per bushel.

  From the first settlement of the county until about the year 1820 the farmers labored under many disadvantages owing entirely to the inferior quality and make of the implements they were compelled to work with.  Plows were made of wood, except the bar shear and two small rods which were made of iron. With these plows the land was generally broken up, but not turned upside down as it should be to cover the seeds and grass.  About 1825 they made an improved plow, then known as the Carey plow, with half the mould –board made of iron.  It was a decided improvement over the old plow.  Until about the year 1818, all wheat and oats were cut previous to that time with sickles. I recollect, that during that year, Elijah Ellison introduced the first grain cradle lever saw, and it was then ascertained to be a much better plan of saving grain, that in 1819 and 1820 they became of general use amongst the farmers in this part of the county.  The old plan of threshing wheat and oats continued until about the year 1837 when two different kinds of threshing machines were introduced and since that time the inventive mind of the Yankee has made many improvements on all those machines and invented and brought out many other implements of husbandry that probably had never been thought of at that time.

  The corn crops in the early settlement of this county averaged much heavier than now (1875) but wheat crops are at least one third heavier than then, and the oats crop are heavier owing I presume to the better culture generally, by deep plowing and thoroughly pulverizing the land before sowing wheat or oats and by sowing better varieties.

  Ever since I was a small child, I was told that the first town of Marine was south of the Marine Cemetery.  Through research I have found that what they were referring to was really Marine Settlement which was not the same as the future village Of Marin.  In fact, the original settlement of 1813 of the Ferguson, Kile, and Allen families was called Ferguson Settlement, this being some years prior to the arrival of the seagoing men of 1820.  Definition of settlement according to Webster’s dictionary is: a group of settlers, colonists, etc: the place, tract of country, where they settle: their dwellings, etc collectively.

  As these settlers arrived in the new land they live in tents and in wagons until such time as their cabins were built.  The cabins were built of logs, normally one room, occasionally two and some lofts.  They either had a log or sod roof.   And all had a stone or rock fireplace which served a dual purpose for cooking and heating.  The undertaking of building a home in the early days was a project that involved several months of work.

  Within the Ferguson Settlement the first marriage was that of Lefferd French and Sarah Matthews in 1815. Elijah Ferguson, brother of Major Isaac Ferguson, was the first death in the year 1815.  The first child born was Elizabeth A. Ferguson, the daughter of Major Isaac Ferguson, on March 14. 1814. Also married in the year of 1815 was John Barnaby and Mary Johnson

  Major Ferguson, and the other settlers, coming as they did from the heavily timbered countries of Kentucky and Tennessee, all made clearings in the edges of the forest and there built and lived.

  Rowland P. Allen was one of the first to build in the prairie and was laughed at for his willingness to haul building material, fencing and firewood so far, a distance of half a mile.  But in a few years the older pioneers realized the advantages of a residence on the prairie and came out in to the sunshine.

  Food for the early settlers was entirely off the land.  The menu for the pioneers would be wild game, birds, fruit and berries.  Their livestock was fed on the prairie grass and the off falls of the berries and nut trees. The livestock did very well on these foods. Two of the things that were rarely heard of by the early settlers was coffee and tea.  ON the other hand honey of wild bees was in abundance and sugar was made in February from the maple trees.  There were elk when the settlers came. Elk were killed around the Alton area with horns that were four feet long  There were no buffaloes, but the settlers found many horns that were perfectly sound.  Deer were In abundance and panthers were plentiful.  Wildcats would come and catch chickens in open daylight. One kind of wildcat was called the catamount and it was the most troublesome. Foxes were also very troublesome, they were gray as were the prairie wolves. The settlers would go after wolves on the prairie and run them down on horseback.

  You would find otters on the creeks along with beavers.  The beavers would cut down cottonwood trees that were six inches in diameter. Parrots could be found in hollow trees near the creeks.  The parrots fed on cockleburs and used to crack small hickory nuts with their bills.  They also had eagles and ravens. Robins and pheasants would come around the settlement.  Waterfowl was very plentiful and you could see as many as ten thousand a day flying north in the spring of the year.

  Isaac Ferguson turned in 6 wolf scalps to a licensed county furrier in 1816 for which he received $.75 each.

  These pioneers were forced to be self sufficient: create implements, manufacture clothes and household items, provide for basic medical needs, provide for the winter season and maintain family safety and unity. One small innovation was the flour mill.  A large stump was rounded out with an ax and corn was mashed to flour with a pestle.  This served as a mill (mortar).

  One might note that many early settlers did not stay. It was a complete change of lifestyle for many of these people.  It was very difficult to cope with the pioneer life and especially with the renegade Indians.  Thus, many of the settlers returned to what they considered to be a more civilized lifestyle.

  Those who remained at the settlement were found on tracts of land of ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, eighty, one hundred, and plus acres per settler.  Also in the settlement were those that did not own a piece of land, but who lived on the land and worked the land for a prominent land owner.

  Seeing some early photos of Marine and Marine Township and listening to a number of the older folk’s stories as I was growing up, there were always strong emphasis on stories that there were never any colored (black) people living around here.  Research has shown that were was a colored settlement on land in Range 7, Section 8 and 15, beginning in 1818.  The settlement amounted to about 300 people in the mid 1800s with their own school and two churches.  These people, none of which were slaves, crossed the Silver Creek which was the only thing between their lands and the Marine township. They did indeed work with the settlers of Marine and did appear on many photos.

            Territorial Records of Illinois, 1809-1818

Capt. Dudley WILLIAM's Company

4th Regiment

Oct. 14th to Nov. 5th, 1812

"Against the late invasions of the hostile Indians"

Captain, Dudley WILLIAMS

Lieutenant, David MOORE

Ensign, Reuben LINN

Cornet, Alfred LINDSEY

Sergeants, Joseph Ferguson, John REED, Henry GRIFFIN, James MOORE Capt. William Jones' Company A muster roll of a company of volunteer infantry, commanded by Capt. William JONES, ordered into the service by His Excellency, Ninian EDWARDS, governor of the Illinois Territory, May 9, 1813 to June 9, 1813 Captain, William JONES Lieutenant, John SPRINGER Ensign, Thomas FINLEY Sergeants, Edward REAVIS, 1st; John WHITLEY, Sr., 2nd; David WHITE (spy) 3rd; robert BRAZIL, 4th Corporals, Solomon PREUITT, Jacob GRAGG, Matthew MEAANS, David SMELTZER, David SMELSON, Andrew LOCKHART Privates, James ANDERSON, Sr., James ANDERSON, Jr., Richard BRAZIL, William BRAZIL, Abraham BATEMAN, Valentine BRAZIL (spy), William BATEMAN, Ephriam COX, Henry COX, Matthias CHILTON, Joshua SHILTON, James CHILTON, Sr., James CHILTON, Jr., William CHILTON, Aguilla DOLLARHIDE, William DAVIS, Howard FINLEY, Moses FINLEY, John FINLEY, James FINLEY, Isaac Ferguson, John GIGER, John GREEN, Henry GREEN, Jr., Henry GREEN, Sr., John GREEN, Benjamin HENSON, John HENSON, John HILL, John HOPTON, Wm. HOWARD (spy), John HIGGINS, James HILL, Burrell HILL, John HOTT, Abraham HOWARD (spy), George HUTTON, Sr., George HUTTON, Jr., Martin JONES, John JONES, Joseph LINDLY, John LINDLY, Byrd LOCKHART (spy), William LOCKHART, Simon LINDLY, Sr., Simon LINDLY, Jr., Samuel LINDLY, Andrew LOCKHART, Jacob NEELY, Fields PREUITT, William ROBERTS (spy), Andrew ROBERTS, Wm. STUBBLEFIELD (spy), Joseph ST. JOHN, Easly STUBBLEFIED, Herman SMELTZER, George TAYEC (TAYES) (spy), Bartier TAYER (TAYES), Jacob TETRICHS, Charles TETRICHS, Abram TETRICHS (spy), Peter TETRICHS, Abraham VANHOOZER, Mills WHITLEY, John WHITLEY, Jr., Randolph WHITLEY, Henry WALKER, Elisha WHITLEY, Robert WHITE, David S. WHITE 03 May 1809, May 1, 1809, Abram CLARK was appointed captain of a militia company in St. Clair County. The following appointments followed: May 3, Elias RECTOR,adjutant general; Sadrach BOND, Jr., lieutenant colonel commanding; John MOREDOCK, major; Elihu MATHER, adjutant of the St. Clair regiment; Jean BEAULEAU, Etienne PINCENNEAU, John SCOTT, James MOORE, William PREUITT, Francois RACINE, Henry Munroe FISHER, James STOCKTON and Franklin JARVIS, captains; George DEMENT, Joseph MANEGLE, George ATCHISON, Enoch MOORE, first of a cavalry company; Jacob OGLE, second of a cavalry company; John TEATERS, Pierre LIZJE, Samuel KINNEY, Samuel JUDY and Isaac Ferguson, lieutenants; and William BLAIR, Henry MACE, cornet of a cavalry company; William SCOTT, Jr., Baptiste SAUCIER, Francois DERNETTE and Harry COOK, ensigns of the St. Clair county regiment. SECOND REGIMENT (St. Clair county) Consisting of three battalions, one of them called "The Light Infantry" Colonel, William WHITESIDE Captains, Amos SCOTT (Squires), Jean BEAULIEU, Etienne PINCENNEAU, John SCOTT, William PREUITT, Samuel JUDY, Toliver RIGHT, Abraham CLARK, Jacob SHORT, Abraham STALLIONS, John LOWTON, William EDES, Valentine BRAZIL, Samuel WHITESIDE, Edward EBERT, Jean Baptiste DUFORD, Solomon PREUITT, Isaac GRIFFIN, William SAVAGE, James D. THOMAS, NAthaniel JOURNEY, vice William EDES, resigned, Isaac Ferguson, Henry COOK, vice JUDY, promoted, and Nicholas CHURZO (JOURANGE?)  20 May 1809, Thomas Ferguson and Hamlet Ferguson appointed by governor

as Justice of the .Peaces of Randolph County.

19 Sept. 1812, Thomas Ferguson appointed by governor, judge of the court of common pleas.

 In Nov. and Dec Thomas Ferguson mentioned a number of times in proceedings of the House of Representatives.

25 Nov. 1812, First General Assembly, in the town of Kaskaskia.

27 Nov. 1812, Thomas Ferguson elected a member of the legislative council for Johnson Co., Ill.

 28 Nov. 1812, On motion resolved that Messrs Talbot and Ferguson be a committee to draw up rules and orders for the Legislative Council, and  to report the same tomorrow morning.

01 Dec 1812, On the motion of the council, resolved that the written opinion of Mr. Ferguson  be considered and adopted.


May 9, 1813 to June 9, 1813  Capt. William Jones' Company "Against the latest invasions of the hostile Indians" A muster roll of a company of volunteer infantry, commanded by Capt. William JONES, ordered into the service by His Excellency, Ninian EDWARDS, governor of the Illinois Territory, Captain, William JONES Lieutenant, John SPRINGER Ensign, Thomas FINLEY Sergeants, Edward REAVIS, 1st; John WHITLEY, Sr., 2nd; David WHITE (spy) 3rd; robert BRAZIL, 4th Corporals, Solomon PREUITT, Jacob GRAGG, Matthew MEAANS, David SMELTZER, David SMELSON, Andrew LOCKHART Privates, James ANDERSON, Sr., James ANDERSON, Jr., Richard BRAZIL, William BRAZIL, Abraham BATEMAN, Valentine BRAZIL (spy), William BATEMAN, Ephriam COX, Henry COX, Matthias CHILTON, Joshua SHILTON, James CHILTON, Sr., James CHILTON, Jr., William CHILTON, Aguilla DOLLARHIDE, William DAVIS, Howard FINLEY, Moses FINLEY, John FINLEY, James FINLEY, Isaac Ferguson, John GIGER, John GREEN, Henry GREEN, Jr., Henry GREEN, Sr., John GREEN, Benjamin HENSON, John HENSON, John HILL, John HOPTON, Wm. HOWARD (spy), John HIGGINS, James HILL, Burrell HILL, John HOTT, Abraham HOWARD (spy), George HUTTON, Sr., George HUTTON, Jr., Martin JONES, John JONES, Joseph LINDLY, John LINDLY, Byrd LOCKHART (spy), William LOCKHART, Simon LINDLY, Sr., Simon LINDLY, Jr., Samuel LINDLY, Andrew LOCKHART, Jacob NEELY, Fields PREUITT, William ROBERTS (spy), Andrew ROBERTS, Wm. STUBBLEFIELD (spy), Joseph ST. JOHN, Easly STUBBLEFIED, Herman SMELTZER, George TAYEC (TAYES) (spy), Bartier TAYER (TAYES), Jacob TETRICHS, Charles TETRICHS, Abram TETRICHS (spy), Peter TETRICHS, Abraham VANHOOZER, Mills WHITLEY, John WHITLEY, Jr., Randolph WHITLEY, Henry WALKER, Elisha WHITLEY, Robert WHITE, David S. WHITE 24 Dec.1814, Hamlet Ferguson appointed judge of the County Court, Johnson Co., Ill.

01 Sep 1815, Hamlet Ferguson appointed sheriff of Johnson Co., Ill.

13 Jan.1817, Hamlet Ferguson appointed Col. of 6th Regt., by governor.

18 Apr. 1817, Thomas Ferguson, Capt. In 7th Regt.

24 May 1817, Thomas Ferguson resigned as judge of Pope Co., Ill.

16 Aug 1817, Isaac Ferguson appointed Major, 7th Regt. William Townsend appointed Capt. In the place of I. Ferguson.

13 Jul 1819  “The report of the viewers of a road being read………from thence south of David Anderson, John Shinn Jr, and Curtiss Blakeman’s plantation leaving Eben Blakeman and Isaac Ferguson’s house on the right……it is ordered that Isaac Ferguson be appointed  Supervisor of the road….” 10 Sep 1819  “It is ordered that Roland P Allen, John Scott and Isaac Ferguson be appointed Trustees of the lands reserved for the use of schools…..” 6 Mar 1820  “Ordered that Isaac Ferguson, Joseph Eberman Esq and Augustus Collins be appointed viewers of a public road…..” 8 Mar 1820:  “Whereas Field Jarvice, Robert Stice, and John Ferguson were appointed at the last term to view and lay out a road…….” 

6 Jun 1820  “It is ordered that Joseph Eberman and Isaac Ferguson be allowed the sum of four dollars each for viewing a road four days.” 23 Sep 1820  List of men called to serve as Petit Jurors includes Isaac Ferguson. 9 Mar 1821  List of men appointed to serve as overseers of the poor includes Curtiss Blakeman for Silver Creek, and appointment to settle and adjust accounts of the overseers includes Isaac Ferguson in Silver Creek Township. My notes: Isaac and Hamlet Ferguson appear to be the Isaac and Hamlet who were earlier around Livingston, Ky., they also appear in the they also appear in the Kentucky Land Grants. (L.L.D.) 1820 census, Madison Co IL/Silver Creek Twp, p 091  Isaac Ferguson, farmer Curtiss Blakeman 

1830 census, Madison Co IL/p 177  Curtiss Blakeman,  p 203  Isaac Ferguson

1840 census, Madison Co IL. p 083  Isaac Ferguson,   John L Ferguson 

April 30, 1833, Rushville, Illinois, Isaac mustered into Capt. William Flood's Company of the Brigade of Mounted Volunteers, commanded by Brigadier General Samuel Whitesides.   This was for the Black Hawk War.


In 1837-38, Isaac and his grandson John Thompson Barnaby visited Texas, where his brothers Alston and Joseph had already settled.   In 1842, Isaac moved with most of his family to Rusk County, Texas.   With him came son-in-law Thomas Uzzell, son William T., daughter Mary Lee and her three sons, John T. Barnaby, Alfred J. Lee and William T. Lee.   He bought 160 acres of land for $2,000.00 for his sons William T. and Justice D. Ferguson on March 9, 1842.   In 1842 Isaac was appointed Trustee of the yet to be built Rusk College.   He was one of the first members of the Henderson Clinton Lodge of Masons (tseveral of the Ferguson brothers were ancient York Masons).


Texas became a state in 1845. For reasons of economics, security and prestige, Texas was eager for annexation. U.S. President John Tyler was also eager to see the vast expanse of Texas joined with the Union, opening new wealth for the country and new lands for settlement.   President Tyler made offers to Mexico to buy Texas outright and thus solve the dispute over possessory ownership,but Mesico emphatically refused. When Texas was finally granted statehood on April 21, 1845, Mexico severed relations with the Unite States.


March 18, 1843, Isaac made bond ($5,000.00) to Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, to become the first coroner of Rusk County.   Alston Ferguson signed as security. (Rusk County Book A p 3)


 Mexico was both politically and militarily a weak adversary for the United States in 1846. But the Mexican government had never fully relinquished its claims to Texas and was determined to go to war with the United States should her former province decide to join the Union. Mexico offered to recognize Texas independence as late as 1844, providing that Texas remained a Republic and thus remain isolated from American influence. Texans, however saw through the ruse. Mexico still had aspirations of once again extending her influence and control over the vast territory that it had lost in 1836. Formal hostilities came about as the result of alleged boundary disputes between Mexico and Texas as to the recognized borderline between the two hostile neighbors. Texas claimed the Rio Grande as its natural southern border. The Mexican government could not accept such a great loss of its domain and sent the Mexican army across the Rio Grande to protect its rights. President Tyler and Congress looked upon the presence of Mexican troops north of the Rio Grande as an act of invasion upon American soil and declared war on Mexico. General Zachary Taylor was sent to Texas with Federal troops to expel the invading Mexican Army. Texas Governor James Pinkney Henderson called for the mobilization of the state militia, and asked for additional civilian volunteers to sign up for a three months tour of duty. He then temporarily resigned the governorship in order to assume command of the state troops. Texans were as ready as ever to fight. The Texas Revolution was still engraved into the minds of many who had fought in it. It had been but ten short years since the massacres at the Alamo and Goliad, and the victory at San Jacinto. Also, the atrocities that the Mexican army had committed against victims of the ill-fated Mier Expedition just three years before, in 1842, had fired Texans with a thirst for revenge. Rusk County had been in existence but three short years when the war with Mexico erupted. Approximately three hundred men from Rusk County were to eventually volunteer for military service in the four companies that were organized within its borders.

1847: Col. Jack Hays headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, called for volunteers for his second ranger regiment.   One of the commanders was Captain Isaac Ferguson, who had served in three previous wars. Isaac was 70 years old, and the age limit for enlisting was 45, so he claimed to be 44.   Hays wrote: "He was 70 years of age, prompt in the performance of duty, gallant and generous in his dealings with friend or foe; he was a favorite of the regiment."   On August 12, 1847, the rangers left for the Rio Grande.   They were to embark at Brazos Santiago for Vera Cruz, and report for The last company organized in Rusk County, TX was Captain Isaac Ferguson’s on May 25th. Ferguson is credited with being the oldest company commander in the Mexican War. He was seventy years old when he took command. Ferguson died in Mexico on January 1,1848. He was succeeded by his second in command, First Lieutenant Ephraim M. B(d)aggett. Other officers were 2nd Lt. Charles Turner, 3rd lt. John W. Willis, 1st Sgt. Joseph Barnes, 2nd Sgt. Hardy Jones, 3rd Sgt. James M. Mays, 4th Sgt. Logan L. Smith, 1st Cpl. William W. Allen, 2nd Cpl. John E. Martin, 3rd Cpl. William B. Martin, 4th Cpl. Joshua P. McDaniel, 1st Bugler Charles B. Baggett, 2nd Bugler Stoakly B. Choate, and Thomas D. Pullen as farrier and blacksmith.

Privates in Capt. Ferguson’s Company “I” First Mounted Volunteers were: Joseph S. Black, James J. Bond, Joshua Bond, Samuel Bond, John Borgas, James Boyd, James R. Brewster, John M. Burns, John W. Burns, Charles A.S. Campbell, James B. Cambern, James Carey, Andrew J. Carroll, Hiram C. Childress, Daniel Clark, Edward Cochran, Wilson W. Cochran, Mark A, Coleman, Reuben S. Corder, Andrew Danley, Benjamin S. Davis, Jeremiah G. Davis, John C. Davis, Harmon Decker, William Decker, Daniel Donahoo, Henry Duncan, James O. Easley, John W. Easley, William Evans, Charles W. Fairchild, James Fenton, Washington Ferguson, Morris Ferguson, Morris Ferris, Orren P. Forrest, William Fox, Hiram French, Granville Gage, Peter Gass, Thomas W. Gregory, Joseph Hairston, William E. Halton, James Halthouser, Thomas D. Hayden, James E. Higgs, Jeremiah D. Higgs, Edward Hutchings, Rufus Jimmerson, James A. Jewell, John R. Jewell, William L. Jones, James Kincannon, John J. Langley, Isaac Langston, James C. Learee, Robert B. Lewis, Daniel M. Manes, Richard P. Manning, John R. Martin, Daniel Mays, Matthew Mays, Thomas McLaughlin, James McWilliams, Joseph A. Merrill, John Miller, John Mitchell, Sr., John Mitchell, Elisha H. Moore, John M. Morris, Thomas Murray, Peter Nelson, William Nevils, Williams Nichols, Thomas O’Keefe, George W. Parrish, Samuel C. Parish, William K. Parker, Fletcher Parmer, John Parmer, Robert Farmer, Charles Richards, Lewis C. Rucker, William Rush, James M. Shields, Charles L. Slaven, Hardy P. Stockman, Reason P. Stockman, James Stone, Nathaniel M. Stokes, Jefferson Thomas, Robert Thomas, Henry Tucker, James J. Vick, William Wallace, Nelson D. Walling, William L. Weems, David P. Wheelock, Benjamin Williams, William Williams, William A. Wilson, Joseph P. Woods, George W. Wright, Joseph Yeargan, Francis Yoast. Rusk County, with the exception of its volunteer fighting men, remained far removed from the conflict along the Texas-Mexico border. Still the county remained a crossing point for military troops entering into Texas. Then Captain Robert E. Lee crossed the Sabine River into Rusk County at the village of Camden enroute to join up with General Zachery Taylor’s forces along the Rio Grande. Other troops undoubtedly followed Trammel’s Trace on Rusk County’s eastern border, or cut across the county enroute to Nacogdoches and on down to Austin.

Evidence seems to indicate that only Captain Lyon’s Company “G” actually fought in any military engagements. Still each and every soldier from Rusk County contributed to the war effort by his presence in Mexico, as a member of an armed company of troops, poised and ready should ever the need have arisen to answer the call of General Taylor or Governor Henderson to go into battle.


The decisive campaign of the war was Scott's advance from Veracruz to Mexico City. Scott's expedition began at a staging area at the mouth of the Rio Grande in February 1847. He assembled an army of approximately 12,000, which was transported by sea to a beach about 5 km (3 mi) south of Veracruz. Landing on March 10-11, it had surrounded the city by March 15. A combined naval and land attack began on March 22. Heavy shelling from navy guns forced the almost impregnable town to surrender on March 28.

Cerro Gordo and Puebla

Almost immediately Scott began the advance toward Mexico City. Only sporadic resistance was encountered until his army reached the village of Cerro Gordo about 80 km (50 mi) inland. There, in a narrow defile, Santa Anna prepared to turn back the Americans. The attack on Cerro Gordo was led by units under William J. Worth on April 18. The U.S. engineers, who included Robert E. Lee, George B. McClellan, Joseph E. Johnston, and P. G. T. Beauregard, found a trail that enabled the Americans to envelop and rout Santa Anna's forces. The Mexicans lost 1,000 men in casualties and another 3,000 as prisoners. The Americans had 64 killed and 353 wounded.

Pursuit was impossible, but Worth moved up the road to occupy the venerable Perote Castle on April 22. Scott and the main army had entered Jalapa on April 19. There the advance stopped for a month. Scott reported over 1,000 men bedridden in Veracruz and another 1,000 sick at Jalapa.

On May 14-15, Worth and John A. Quitman moved into Puebla, about 80 km (50 mi) closer to Mexico City. They expected heavy resistance because of Santa Anna's reported presence there. However, the town's leaders and the priests had decided to open Puebla to the Americans. Santa Anna had only about 2,000 cavalry, which the Americans easily routed. Another 1,000 Americans fell sick at Puebla, apparently from the local water supply. By July 15, with recent augmentations, Scott's forces numbered about 14,000. However, over 3,000 were sick or convalescent, and the sickness rate showed no sign of decreasing.  Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec  During June and July, Santa Anna frantically prepared to defend Mexico City. On August 7, Scott began his advance from Puebla, following a route over lava beds and rough land to the south of Lake Chalco that Santa Anna had left relatively unprotected. The first heavy fighting occurred on August 19-20 at Contreras, outside Mexico City, where Mexican losses were estimated at 700 and American casualties at 60. Santa Anna fell back about 8 km (5 mi) to Churubusco, where he took up a defensive position in a fortified convent. Advancing under extremely heavy fire on August 20, Scott's men finally forced the convent's surrender, although Santa Anna and much of his command escaped. Mexican losses were estimated at more than 4,000 killed and wounded and more than 2,500 prisoners; by contrast, American losses were slightly more than 1,000.

Scott might have moved promptly into the capital. Instead he granted (August 24) the armistice of Tacubaya to permit the negotiation of a peace treaty. Santa Anna used the time to muster his forces and prepare a final defense of the city. Fighting was renewed on September 7-8 at Molino del Rey, where the Americans forced the Mexican position but lost nearly 800 soldiers. The Mexican losses totaled about 2,700. The final battle for Mexico City took place at the fortified hill of Chapultepec. American artillery bombardment on September 12 was followed the next day by an infantry assault. The citadel was heroically defended by cadets from the Mexican Military College, but they were forced to surrender before noon. American troops entered Mexico City that afternoon, and shortly after midnight Santa Anna evacuated his troops.

The war was over. In just over five months, Winfield Scott had done what many had considered impossible. The duke of Wellington wrote, "His campaign was unsurpassed in military annals." On September 16, Santa Anna resigned the Mexican presidency. Forced to resign his command also (October 7), he fled the country. The new acting president, Pedro Maria Anaya, began negotiations with the American peace commissioner Nicholas Trist (1800-74) in November. Trist had just been recalled to Washington, but he decided to negotiate without credentials.

The Texas volunteers were usually described as the least military in appearance, wearing a variety of buckskins, homespun pants and shirts and everything from forage caps to straw hats. General Zachary Taylor, called "Old Rough and Ready" by his men and easily one of the most popular officers of the war, was also one of the least military in appearance, preferring to wear a straw hat and linen duster with his uniform. More than one soldier commented he looked more like an old farmer than a general. By contrast, Winfield Scott was nicknamed "Old Fuss and Feathers" for his impeccable military appearance and by-the-book approach. Niles' National Register for July 11, 1846 listed the garments volunteers required for service in the army:

1 Dress Cap     2 Flannel Shirts

1 Forage Cap(glazed silk) 2 Pair drawers

1 Uniform Coat      4 Pairs Bootees

1 Woolen Jacket     4 Pairs socks

3 Pr. Woolen Overalls   1 Leather or Silk stock.

1 Cotton Jacket     1 Fatigue Frock (Lin.)

1 Pr. Cotton Overalls   1 Blanket

The same issue also printed the current army pay scale:

Rank        $ per month

Major       50

In addition to the fact that their pay was so low (in relation to the hardships they had to endure to earn it), many soldiers did not get paid on a regular basis. This was definitely a sore point with most soldiers and a major source of dissatisfaction and low morale. If anything, the life of the average Mexican soldier was probably worse. In Mexico's rigid class system, many of the officers were wealthy, landed Creoles (Mexicans of Spanish ancestry) while the regular troops were landless peasants, either Mestizos (a mix of Spanish and Indian ancestry) or Indians. This situation made for poor morale and a dislike and distrust of their officers by many Mexican soldiers. Although Mexican soldiers fought bravely (and endured hardships as difficult as any suffered by American troops) their officers sometimes treated them badly. Some Mexican officers were known to slash at their own men with their sabers, to force them forward or to make them stand their ground. By contrast, many volunteer officers in the U.S. army were elected to their positions and would never force their men to drill, much less attack (although they rarely needed encouragement for the latter). Some writers (primarily those with an anti-U.S. bias), have engaged in wholesale denunciations of the American volunteers, suggesting that to a man they were little better than criminals. Certainly, some atrocities were committed by a certain rogue element on both the Mexican and U.S. sides, but these, as General Zachary Taylor declared, were "unfortunate exceptions" to the way the war was waged. As for the volunteers, General Winfield Scott estimated that ninety-seven out of every hundred were "honorable men," a view that was shared by several other contemporary observers.


Isaac Ferguson died in Mexico on January 1,1848 (disease oriented). He was succeeded by his second in command, First Lieutenant Ephraim M. B(D)aggett. "   (E.M. Daggett, whose brother Charles was the wife of Isaac Ferguson's daughter, Mary Ann.)


Isaac was buried in Mexico City with a United States flag draped around him.   A bill sent to his widow, Elizabeth, translated from Spanish, says "In the City of Mexico, January 3, 1848, died the Senor, Capt. Isaac Ferguson, and in order to bury him, I made a casket the value of the lumber and iron ornaments (hardware), eight pesos ($4) and six reales (75c) and also four reales of lumber to cover the casket and six more to launder his clothes."   Signed, Marcos Villa (I  was informed that the bill for his funeral clothes, wood & hardware for casket, etc.may be in the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth)


From Brink's "History of Madison County, Illinois:"

"He was spoken of by an old resident as the noblest pioneer of Madison County, a man of fine native talent, as brave as Julius Caesar.   He fought the Indian race in Illinois, and ended his life as an officer in the U. S. Army in Mexico."


He was not buried in Mexico City National Cemetery, we still need to find the cemetery he was interred in.


His children migrated to Tarrant County TX, where they helped to found Ft. Worth.   His son William T. Ferguson was the first City Treasurer and owned the first drug store.   His son Nicholas Kile Ferguson was one of the first policeman.   His daughter Mary Ann married Charles B. Daggett, whose brother Ephraim Daggett is known as the father of Ft. Worth.   There is a large bust of Ephraim Daggett in the lobby of the Main Ft. Worth Library.  His son, John Lewis Ferguson, stayed in Marine, IL and died there and at least one of John’s children went on to Missouri.


Holly Ferguson with input from a lot of different resources. Including John L. Ferguson’s Recollections found in “History of Madison County, Ill”, “Remembering Rusk County”. And from the Aztec Club site and lots of help from her cousin, M.Meador.  No copyright infringement intended. For your genealogy notes only.  Not for reproduction.