The life of Andrew Ferguson – condensed from his journal. This is my husband John’s Great-great grandfather.
Andrew Ferguson was born 6 September 1818 in Rutherglen, Scotland. He went to work in the coal mines at the age of nine years. He had gone to school until them. He worked with his father who was a collier. He was brought up in the Church of Scotland. His parents were poor. After courting her for seven years, at the age of twenty-four, he married Catherine Douglas (Kattie) July 15, 1842. They were married by William Bicket, a minister of the Scottish Relief Church. Her father, Robert Douglas was born at Tarbet in the Highlands. He was captain of a ship. Her mother Mary Bruce was born in Glasgow.
Catherine Douglas was reared by William Reid and wife at Rutherglen. She received a good common school education. She was intelligent and religious. She made her living as a power loom weaver. They were married and lived at Rutherglen. Soon after they moved ten miles east of Glasgow to Airdre, where they lived for two years and where twin girls were born, Agnes Reid and Barbara Orther. He says he had them sprinkled to please their mother who was “very tenacious to the faith.”
They both joined the Mormon Church in September 1844. His mother, Barbara Orther Lindsay Ferguson died a few days after he was baptized. In May 1845 they moved to Rutherglen to convert his family to Mormonism.
But only two sisters ever joined the Church. They had a daughter, Mary Bruce, seven months old who died in consequence of “ross on the body and water in the head.” Another daughter, Elizabeth Lock was born in Rutherglen and a son ELi. During all this time he worked tracting and preaching but not many concerts, “owing to prejudice which is a characteristic of the Scottish people”…”Slow to move but sterling when moved.”
January 17, 1847 Andrew was made President of the Rutherglen Branch of the Church. He said, “I gave myself to much fasting and prayer that I might perform my duties well as it has always been my feelings and delight to do good ever since I came into this earth.” i desire my children to act honorable to all men, and to God and every good man will love you”.
Andrew’s wife Catherine, died 4 Jan. 1848 of Cholera following the birth of their son, Eli.
Eighteen months later Andrew married a widow, Elizabeth Watson McIsaac, who had two children, a boy and a girl, ages 16 and 14, Dunk and Anne. On the 22nd of May 1851 a son, William was born at Rutherglen. On Oct. 2, 1851 Andrew started out on a mission with Elder James Leathem to the Southwest of Scotland without any money and leaving his family with very little to live on. He was gone for six months before returning home. “I visited my family and found them all well and in good spirits, always having a bite to eat although sometimes pretty scanty. Yet with all this my wife was willing that I should go again so on the 3rd of April I left again for Aberdeen. The Aberdeen Branch was in an Apostate condition and he had some serious problems to straighten out. He sought God’s guidance in fasting and prayer.
He visited his family on September 12, 1852. “They were glad to see me. During my absence they had suffered a little for the comforts of life, and were in debt a few pounds, and were all very bad off for shoes and clothing, so much so that I was ashamed to look at them. My wife had sold a chest of drawers for 2 pounds and 10 shillings to assist the family.
After this Andrew was called to visit Branches around Glasgow. He said of one visit, “I had to change the Presidents of three branches and re-baptize them all.” He was soon called called by the President of the British Mission to preside over the Dundee Conference, eight branches and 330 members.
Later he was called to to preside over the Preston Conference in Liverpool, where he moved his family in April 1854. He spoke of his father and brother John, having been in an explosion in a coal mine and both being severely burned, but that they would recover. He hoped to take John (17) with him to the “valley” when he goes.
“On February 27th, we set sail for America on the ship, Siddons, an American ship carrying 400 saints. Had a very rough voyage, contrary winds and lots of sea sickness. Landed in Philadelphia, 3 May 1855. In all it took 66 days. Took passage on the rail road to Pittsburg to the 6th and arrived on the 8th then we took a steamboat up the river at Atchison, where we arrived in one week. i remained there eight weeks, doling out provisions to emigrants crossing the plains. During that time since leaving England we have been tried, some have complained, some murmured, some apostatized, yet me and my family are feeling well and thankful for being here. We were organized into a company of wagons with Moses Thurston as captain and a captain appointed over every ten wagons. I was appointed over ten wagons. President Milo Andrus called us together, inspected our arms, gave us our charge and commanded us to God. We were all commanded to hitch up and start off, and we traveled 12 miles the first day, which was good for inexperienced drivers, unbroken cattle and all. This was on July 3rd, 1855. We moved slowly for a week then faster.
On August 23 at Deer Creek, Nebraska Territory 20 miles east of Fort Laramie at 8 a. m., we had a son born and named him Andrew Thurston. The camp started at 7 a.m. so we had to pull to one side. The captain sent back a posse of men to escort us to camp as the Indians were swarming all around us. From the time we stopped until we started again was one hour, and we caught up with the camp at 1 p.m. We traveled 16 miles that day and 12 the next day. We arrived in SLC the 26th of September 1855 with my family all well and rejoicing that we had reached the place of our destination. Many of our friends came to see us and invited us to their homes.
At this time the family consisted of:
Andrew Ferguson age 37
Elizabeth Ferguson age 40
Agnes Reid 12
Barbara Orther 12
Elizabeth Lock 9
Eli Brazee Kelsey 7
Andrew Moses Thurston 1 month
In 1856 the Ferguson family moved to Spanish Fork and lived in the old Monk lot in a dugout. Later they bought the block just west of where the Thurber school now stands in Spanish Fork. A three room adobe house was built, the doors of the house were paneled and the windows were the sash type with 12 panes of glass in each. A hedge grew on either side of the path and around the back door. A well was dug and water was drawn up in a wooden keg bucket.
Sometime later another large adobe room was built on the west of the three rooms. Later as the family married this room was divided into a bedroom and kitchen.
Another son, John Fergson was born in Spanish Fork, Dec 24, 1875. His mother Elizabeth Watson Ferguson died and Andrew was again a widower with a family of children. He married a widow named Mary Baxter, she also had a family. It was rather amusing to hear the older granddaughters tell of this courtship as Andrew never went calling on her without taking his three married girls with him. She lived in Goshen so it took most of the day to make the trip and they always stayed overnight.
Andrew was again called to serve a mission to Scotland leaving Aunt Mary caring for the two families. Andrew held many positions of trust: he was Justice of the Peace from 1865 to 1870. Alderman in 1883, City Attorney and was the first President of the Spanish Fork Co-Op. On February 2, 1888 he consecrated all of his property to the Lord and the United Order, amounting to $613.00. He died Feb. 19, 1988 in Spanish Fork, Utah and was buried in the Spanish Fork Cemetery.