The Tale of a Wagon Train of Immigrants
from Greene Co, TN to Howell Co., MO -1871
Used by permission from Bridgett Schneider
Greene County, Tennessee Genealogy
A year after the Census of 1870, a large part of our family in the Bright Hope Furnace area of Greene County, Tennessee, made the decision to join the western migration. We do not know their exact reasons for making the decision. In all probability it was the lure of cheap public land in the wide-open space of the West.
A note in the records of John Carl Ferguson, Sr., son of Thomas Jefferson and Missouri Ann HARRIS Ferguson, prepared about 1928 for the obituary of his father, states that the family group intended to move to Atchison County in the Northwest corner of Missouri. This was the location where John Alexander Sauceman, son of Amanda Caroline DOCKINS SAUCEMAN Boles and her first husband, John Sauceman, had just settled with his family.
On 21 September 1871, Thomas Jefferson Ferguson, age 21, oldest son of William Milo and Elizabeth HOGAN Ferguson, secured his church transfer letter in preparation for the Ferguson family's move west. The church letter which is in the family records is written in long hand by the Rev. Newton J. Roberts, D.D., age 39, and pastor of the Pine Grove Episcopal Methodist Church in the Bright Hope Furnace community, as follows:
The bearer hereof, Thomas Ferguson, an acceptable member of the Methodist Protestant Church, being desirous of removing from this Mission, is entitled to receive from the undersigned, this cirtificate (sic) of his good Standing
N J Roberts, Supreintendant (sic)
Midway Mission Sept. 21st 1871"
William Milo and Elizabeth HOGAN Ferguson sold the remaining 114-acres of their farm to their neighbor, William W. Easterly, by deed dated 23 September 1871 (Book 38 pages 156-157). The stated sale price was $1,000 which was $8.77 per acre. They had purchased for $4.84 per acre in 1869. The Deed named the sellers as William M. Ferguson and Elizabeth Ferguson but it was signed Wm. M. Furguson and Elizabeth Furguson indicating uncertainty in the spelling of the name. The signatures revealed that both could write. Witnesses to the deed were Isaac Ottinger and Calvin J. Dyke.
The move to Missouri was described in the obituary of Thomas Jefferson Ferguson, oldest son of William Milo and Elizabeth HOGAN Ferguson, in the Willow Springs (Mo.) Advocate issue of 24 October 1928 as follows:
"The death of Thomas J. Ferguson October 9th marked the passing of one of Howell County's oldest residents. Uncle Tom, as he was familiarly known, came to Willow Springs with his parents and brothers and sisters in 1871. This was nearly fifteen years before the railroad wound its way down through the Ozark hills. In the covered wagon caravan bringing the Fergusons, came the Boles, Whittenburgs, Luttrells, Cochrans, Stillwells and the late George Patterson. - - -"
The move was also described in an article about David Sanford (Uncle Dave) Ferguson, third son of William Milo and Elizabeth HOGAN Ferguson, in the 12 March 1936 issue of the Willow Springs (Mo.) News as follows:
"- - - A few years after the war he took part in one of the great adventures of his life. His father with the spirit of the pioneer, determined to move further west. In a caravan of wagons, horse drawn and drawn by oxen, the Ferguson family came to the location of the present city of Willow Springs, In the party were fifty-three persons.
Another family record by J. Carl Ferguson, Sr., gives the number of persons in the party as 67 and lists a Jim Durham as a member.
We can construct some of the party from the Census record of 1870 in Tennessee and that of Willow Springs, Missouri in 1880 and from other records and documents.
Two family groups we are sure of are as follows:
|William Milo Ferguson||50||Daniel Boles||53|
|Elizabeth HOGAN Ferguson||47||Amanda Caroline DOCKINS SAUCEMAN Boles||47|
|Thomas Jefferson||21||Mary Ann (Polly)||19|
|James Alexander||19||Joanna (Joan)||17|
|David Sanford||18||Sarah (Sallie)||15|
|Emanuel Clark||16||James Daniel||14|
|Susan Emaline||13||Thomas David||10|
|John Andrew||10||Melvina Isabelle||8|
|Sarah Elizabeth||8||Hannah Angelina||5|
|Mary Jane||5||Steven Lafayette||2|
George Patterson was one of those who made the move. He had been born in St. Francis, Missouri, 7 January 1843 to James and Sarah THOMPSON Patterson according to his death certificate. His Civil War discharge gave his place of birth as St. Genevieve County, Missouri. George had captured as a young man by the troops of Confederate Jeff Thompson, the Swamp Fox of the Civil War, and impressed into the Confederate Army. He escaped from Island 10 in the Mississippi River and had gone back to Kentucky where hr enlisted in the 4th Regiment Tennessee Infantry (USA). After the War, George married Margaret J. Brannan of Greene County on 15 June 1868. They had been recorded in the Census of 1870 with daughter Alice age 1. This family group in the move would have been:
|George Patterson||age 28|
|Margaret BRANNAN Patterson||age 27|
|Laura Alice||age 2|
George Patterson had been Quartermaster Sergeant in his army regiment. He had also been born in Missouri. He was experienced in logistics and long distance travel. It is likely that he played a key roll in the movement of the group and their wagon train and perhaps in selection of the place to which they went.
We know of three unmarried males who were in the party. They were William Luttrell, son of John and Sarah BOLES HOGAN Luttrell, and Emanuel Clark Cochran and Charles W. Cochran, sons of Robert D. and Mary HOGAN Cochran as follows:
|William Luttrell||age 20|
|Emanuel Clark Cochran||age 21|
|Charles W. Cochran||age 16|
This identifies 26 people in the group, 23 of them related.
It is not known which of the Whittenburgs were in the party. They could have been William and Matilda Jane BOLES Whittenburg and their family of 8 children. They were not in the Census of 1880 in Greene County, Tennessee. The Whittenburgs had moved from the Willow Springs, Missouri, community before the Census of 1880.
William A. Boles, son of John and Elizabeth Jane KILGORE Boles, might have travelled west with this group. His civil war pension record states he moved to Kansas in 1871 for one-year. He then went to Texas for one-year and then to West Fork, Washington County, Arkansas. There, at age 31, he married 19-year old Elmyra (Elmira) Watkins 5 February 1784. They had the following 11-children:
|Nettie||16 October 1875||Porter||July 1887|
|Charles||28 December 1876||Marshall||8 January 1891|
|Josephine||10 June 1880||Ellen||22 February 1893|
|Weaver||31 October 1881||Clifford||28 March 1896|
|Della||9 September 1883||Maggie||18 December 1898|
|Claton||27 December 1884|
This family moved to Maysville in Benton County, Arkansas, and William A. Boles died there 25 April 1915. His wife died there 5 February 1919. They continued to spell the name Bowles.
The Stillwells and the Jim Durham who were reported to be in the party that moved to Missouri in 1871 have not been identified.
According to the records of John Carl Ferguson, Sr., there were 12 to 14 covered wagons in the train. Two of these were drawn by oxen, one of them being that of Daniel Boles.
In addition to the household furnishings, we know the group took land clearing and farming equipment, carpentry tools, livestock and seeds for crops. They probably took fruit tree seedlings. We know that William Milo Ferguson took 'sets' for winter (multiplier) onions. They have been handed down in the family to this date (1990).
William Milo Ferguson also took his blacksmith shop equipment and he most likely took a supply of pig iron for his shop. His shop equipment and iron supply might require two wagons with sturdy teams for transport.
A pair of his blacksmith tongs are still in the family. Alan Claude Ferguson, son of John Carl Ferguson, Sr. and great grandson of William Milo Ferguson, has (1990) an augur, draw knife and froe that were brought from Tennessee. The froe was reportedly made by William Milo while working at the Bright Hope Furnace. A froe is used to rive (split) shakes (large rough roof shingles) from a block of wood (usually oak).
The menfolk took their guns, powder and ammunition. They also took their lead smelter pots, ladles and molds for making shot pellets, balls and slugs for their guns.
The womenfolk probably took a large supply of "store boughten" yard goods and sewing supplies, spices and some "fineries" that would be in short supply on the frontier.
Thomas Jefferson Ferguson brought his "church letter" prepared by the Rev. Newton J. Roberts on 21 September 1871 and it also survived the 1905 fire.
It appears from the date of Thomas Jefferson Ferguson's church letter (21 September) and from the date of sale of the Ferguson farm (23 September) that the party could have departed the last week of September 1871. John Carl Ferguson, Sr., notes that the group started the trip in October.
The fall season was probably selected for the move because the crops were harvested, the travel would avoid the hot weather of summer and the cold of the winter and they would be in their new location in time for spring planting. Foods could be kept with minimum danger of spoilage or freezing and fruit tree seedlings and plant bulbs, tubers and seeds could be best transported in the fall. There would also be the maximum of forage available along the route in that season.
There is very little record of the route of travel. We can construct two possible routes from maps of that area and records of other migrations.
The most probable route would be through Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee, to Golconda, Illinois, and then to the known crossing of the Mississippi River at Green's Old Ferry just north of Capt Girardeau, Missouri. That route would be as follows:
|Bright Hope Furnace area to Knoxville, Tennessee||70|
|Knoxville to Nashville, Tennessee||180|
|Nashville via Clarksville to Kentucky state line||50|
|State line via Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to Golconda, Ill.||100|
|Golconda via Vienna, Ill. to Cape Girardeau, Missouri||60|
|Cape Girardeau to Patterson, Missouri||70|
|Patterson to Van Buren, Missouri||40|
|Van Buren to Willow Springs, Missouri||60|
This route would join the "Trail of Tears", the infamous overland route used for the removal of the Cherokee Indians in 1830's, at Nashville and follow that route to Patterson, Missouri, as illustrated in Indian Removal by Grant Foreman, 1972. The Cherokee also crossed the Mississippi River at Green's Ferry.
A less likely route would be via the Cumberland Gap into southern Kentucky and through that state via Corbin, London, Bowling Green and Hopkinsville to Golconda, Illinois, where it would join and follow the other route. The total distance by this route would be about 660-miles.
A few details of the trip were described in the article about David Sanford (Uncle Dave) Ferguson, third son of William Milo and Elizabeth HOGAN Ferguson, in the 12 March 1936 issue of the Willow Springs (Mo.) News as follows:
"The trip required several weeks. The smaller rivers were forded, the larger ferried. The Mississippi was crossed at Green's Old Ferry, north of Cape Girardeau. - - -"
John Carl Ferguson, Sr., had a notation in his records that Green's Ferry had been established in 1826 by the Rev. Parrish Green. He noted that a part of the old access road could still be seen (about 1970).
Carl Ferguson had a notation that the party arrived at the Holloway Pond just east of the present location of Willow Springs on 14 November 1871.
If the party departed Tennessee on 24 September, the day after the sale of the Ferguson farm, and travelled every day, the travel time would have been 51-days. The average distance travelled per day would have been 12-miles. If the departure date was October 1, the travel time would have been 45-days and the average daily travel would have been 14-miles. With some days off for rest, repairs and bad weather, it is likely that the party moved about 20-miles per day on the days when they moved.
Two antidotes about events of the trip have been handed down orally in the family. They are as follows:
One of the family hunting dogs that made the trip to Missouri turned up missing shortly after the group arrived at the Holloway Pond near Willow Springs where the group spent their first winter. When he did not return to the camp, he was given up for lost.
Some time later, another member of the family arrived from Tennessee. When the subject of the missing dog came up, the new arrival told how the folks back home were surprised one day when the tired and worn hound showed up at the homeplace back in Tennessee.
The dog had navigated the 630-mile route home from south-central Missouri to East Tennessee. He probably had to cross the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee rivers by ferries and the many smaller rivers and streams by swimming. He could only have identified the route from observations and his markings made on the journey west.
This story was in the family notes of John Carl Ferguson, Sr. (1981), and he had related the story on several occasions to the family and in public presentations. The story was related in July of (1990) in almost identical form by Mable SIGMAN Stouse, age 90, granddaughter of Daniel and Amanda Caroline DOCKINS SAUCEMAN Boles, to Alan Claude Ferguson and James Alvin and Jeanne Marie BRUSSARD Sauceman at her home in Houston, Missouri, in July of 1989. Mable SIGMAN Stouce identified the dog as belonging to Daniel Boles.
Mable SIGMAN Stouce also related the story of the toddler who was temporarily lost as follows:
Stephen Lafayette Boles, at 2-years of age, was the youngest member of the Daniel and Amanda Caroline DOCKINS SAUCEMAN Boles family. He was supposedly secluded in one of the wagons at the begining of a days journey. After some time, it was found that he was missing from his assigned spot and he could not be located anywhere in the wagon train.
A party of men and older boys made a hurried trip back over the route travelled. Great was the sense of relief when the 2-year old was found unharmed along the trail. As best they could determine from his limited communications and from the place in which he was found, he had fallen from the wagon as it was moving along.
The Holloway Pond where our people pitched camp on 14 November 1871 was one of a few natural ponds in the Karst topography in the Willow Springs area. It had been used as a campsite for centuries as evidenced by the flint chips and arrow points in the area. Our people lived in their wagons and in canvas and pole leantos while they searched for property to homestead or purchase. Here the party spent their first winter in the Ozarks and here we will leave them while we consider those they left behind in Tennessee.
James Hiram and Amanda Frances LUTTRELL Hogan did not move to Missouri with the 1871 group. The Confederate army veteran also lived apart from the Unionist portion of the family in Greene County, Tennessee.
This family also decided to head west in 1872. They sold 167 1/2-acres of land to Jeremiah McMillian by deed dated 29 February 1872 (Deed Book 38 pages 445-446). The price stipulated was $1,675.00 which was $10.00 per acre. They signed the deed as James H. and Amanda F., indicating both could write.
The tract was described by metes-and-bounds survey. The survey has been platted but it has not been located on the ground. It joined lands of P. Louas (?), Malinda Harmon, and John Kibler. It may be in the what was then District 19 in the Midway area where the family resided at time of the Census of 1870. It may have been part of the tract acquired by James Hiram Hogan in the Sheriff Deed of 17 April 1871. Part of that tract joined John Kibler.
We do not know of any relationship of this John Kibler to the William Frederick (Bill) Kibler who would marry Elizabeth "Bessie" Eunice Boles, daughter of the Rev. James Daniel and Mary Permelia Adeline GREEN Boles in Howell County, Missouri, about 1920.The biography of James Hiram Hogan in Goodspeed's A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region, 1894, pages 714-715 states as follows:
"- - - In the year 1872 Mr. Hogan moved from Tennessee to Kansas, and one year later he came to Howell County and located on a farm near Willow Springs. - - -"
An obituary of James Hiram Hogan published in a Willow Springs, Missouri, newspaper after he died 25 January 1901 states as follows:
"- - - Mr. Hogan was born in Greene county, Tenn., on the 26th of June 1826. He lived here till 1870, when he emigrated to Greenwood county, Kansas. At expiration of one year he removed to the neighborhood of what is now Willow Springs, living here till his transfer to that clime in which there is no removals.- - -"
This report of the year of the move was in error as he moved in 1872.
A Hogan family history obtained from Elizabeth (Betty) Lucinda FERGUSON TAYLOR Hayes, great granddaughter of James Hiram Hogan through her mother and great granddaughter of Elizabeth HOGAN Ferguson through her father, contains the following (page 4):
"- - - In 1872, James Hogan sold out his Tennessee holdings, and moved his family to Kansas where he located near the town of Piedmont."
This was the James Hiram Hogan family when they moved to Kansas in 1872:
|James Hiram Hogan||46|
|Amanda Frances LUTTRELL Hogan||42|
|James Hiram Jr.||8|
We do not know others who may have made the journey with James Hiram Hogan to Kansas. The usual practice was for several related families and friends to travel together. We do not know of any others who moved with them from Kansas to Missouri in 1873.
We also do not know how many wagons were required to transport their belongings or how much livestock and personal belongings they took with them.
One item that has been handed down in the family is an iron cooking pot that was reportedly one of the commercial products of the Bright Hope Furnace. It is a cast iron pot with three pointed legs, wire handle and tin lid. It is about 1-1/2-gallon size. The pot is in the possession of Sadie Ruth SCHUREMAN Ferguson (1990), granddaughter of Sarah Frances (Aunt Sadie) HOGAN Smith and widow of Thomas E. Ferguson, grandson of James Alexander Ferguson.
We do not know the route of travel James Hiram Hogan took in his move to Kansas. Piedmont in Greenwood County is in southeast Kansas about 40-miles east of Wichita. Their route of travel might have been near that of the Ferguson-Boles party of 1871 to Missouri and then on west through Springfield, Missouri, to Kansas.
Piedmont, Kansas, is in the Flint Hills of Kansas where the eastern forest meets the western prairie. Tree belts follow the water courses while grass dominates the wind-swept higher ground. This was probably foreign ground to our people of the forested mountains - especially during their one and only winter there.
After one year, James Hiram Hogan turned east again and brought his family to join those at Willow Springs, Missouri. We have the following from Missouri Democracy, Clarke Publishing Co. Volume II, 1935, page 671, concerning the move of James Hiram Hogan:
"- - - He sold his property in Tennessee in 1872 and brought his family to Missouri, arriving in Howell County March 27, 1873.- - -"
This account is in error in that it omits the sojourn to Kansas and the first winter there on the bleak plains.
The Hogan family history contains the following account of the year the family spent in Kansas (page 4):
"For over a year he and his older sons farmed the land, and ran cattle, but hostile Indians, drought, and general hard-times put an end to their efforts, and in 1873 James Hogan moved his family back, settling this time in Howell County, Missouri - - -."
James Hiram Hogan, the Confederate veteran and staunch Democrat, now lived near his Unionist and equally staunch Republican relatives. He had joined his sister, Elizabeth HOGAN Ferguson, and their uncle, Daniel Boles, and their Luttrell, Cochran and Patterson nieces and nephews in the community where later intermarriages would make most of the citizens cousins one or more times.
We know that Jessee Vanburen. Luttrell and his sister, Sarah R. Luttrell, children of John and Sarah BOLES HOGAN Luttrell remained in Greene County, Tennessee. A few years later, they would both move to Howell County, Missouri, to join the others who had moved earlier. John Clark Masoner came later with his Uncle Robert Cochran. He reportedly did not do well with his stepmother and ran away from home with his Uncle who was going to Missouri to join his brothers. He changed the spelling of his surname to Masnor and his descendents became prominent in Willow Springs.
Several other families from the Bright Hope Furnace area of Greene County, unrelated to our family members, came later to join the Greene County immigrants. They included members of the Ottinger, Nease, Smith and Rader families.
The three who made the trip together from Tennessee to Missouri in the 1871 Wagon Train and who are now lying in the Pine Grove Cemetery, just west of Willow Springs, Missouri, are George Patterson, Daniel Boles and Thomas Jefferson Ferguson. They had brought the name for Pine Grove Church and Cemetery with them from the their former home in the Bright Hope Furnace Area of Greene Co., TN.
A. Claude Ferguson
Updated to May, 2002