William Bransford Ferguson was born in Dover Township, Athens County, Ohio, the son an James Woen (1817-1914) and Maria (Sullivan) Ferguson (born 4 August 1816). James Ferguson had been born in Virginia; his wife, Maria, was born in Ohio where they were married 9 August 1842 in Chauncey, Athens County.
William B. (4 May 1817-1 June 1903) and known as “Brance” was the oldest of their seven children. The other children were: Elizabeth Rachel (born 26 February 1845), Sarah Maria (born 6 January 1847), James Sullivan (born 10 April 1849), married Anna Hensley, Charles Henry (21 April 1851-30 June 1851), Lydia Rebecca (torn 25 December 1855) married John Mahon, and Mary Coleman Ferguson (23 July 1859—September, 1859). The family was living in Ohio in 1850 (according to the census), but presumably moved to Osage County, Missouri, near Chamois soon afterward where the two youngest children were probably born.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861 (Brance was then 18 years old), he found himself at odds with his family over the issue of slavery, and being a young man of decided opinions and high principles, he went against the wishes of his family who were Southern sympathizers and joined the Union army. At the end of the war, he was a 22-year-old first lieutenant in Co. H, 26th Regiment, Missouri Volunteer Infantry.
Unhappy at the prospect of returning to Missouri and perhaps made to feel unwelcome, he removed to Dallas County where he became a teacher. He was known as “Professor Ferguson” and taught in the Pleasant Mound and Pleasant Grove schools. He enjoyed his reputation as a well-dressed young bachelor, an admirer of attractive young ladies and fine horseflesh. He took part in political rallies and politics within the Democratic Party, an affinity later enjoyed by his daughter, Mary, and his son, Barney, who was named for his father’s friend, a local lawyer and political leader, Barnett Gibbs. His son, Ted, was told that he had been named for Theodore Roosevelt whom his father admired.
Service with the Union army did not serve him ill in Dallas for in 1879 at age 36, he married Miss Mary Catherine Lanham (27 September 1863-20 April 1946), who was 20 years his junior . A native of Dallas, she was the daughter of Benjamin G. and Mary Ann (Beeman) Lanham. The Lanhams had come to Texas from Missouri in 1853. Her siblings were: a half brother and a half sister, Julia A (married William Glover) and Hiram (of Coleman County, Texas), children of B. G. Lanham and Emma (Clark) Lanham. Jacob S., Samuel S., Sarah Jane (married Alexander Dickie of Johnson County, Texas), Franklin (of Clay County, Texas), William and two children who died as infants completed Mary Catherine’s family. The Beemans, her mother’s family, were among the earliest settlers in Dallas County.
Brance and Mary Catherine, called Katie by her family, had five children:
• Mary Maria “Sissy” who married Lee Greenfield.
• Barnett Gibbs “Barney” who married (1) Lucy
Duke (one son, Edward) and (2) Edith Ruble.
• Michael Ralph “Mike” who married Betty Hale.
Three children: Catherine, twins John Albert and Embry Scott.
• James who died in infancy.
• Theodore Bransford “Ted” who married Ellen
Carpenter. Two children: Mary Love and Ellen Isaphine (died in infancy).
W. B. Ferguson died in 1903 when his son, Ted, was only eight years old. Preceding in death was his father, James Owen Ferguson, who died in Missouri at the age of 94. Only one of Brance Ferguson’s descenda-nts now alive bears the Ferguson surname— Embry S. Ferguson—however, one of Ted Ferguson’s great-grandsons is Benjamin Ferguson Sanders. Besides his five children, W. B. Ferguson had six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and seventeen great-great-grandchildren, four of whom now live in Dallas.
Widowed at 40, Katie Ferguson was a placid and dignified lady, a person of strong and well-formed opinions, whose chief interests were centered on the activities of her family and on her home. When her daughter, Sissy, was grown and Barney and Mike were out in the business world, she regularly took her youngest son, Ted, to concerts and to the opera, instilling in him a lifelong love of music. She was gifted with her needle and embroidered exquisite flowers and monograms. Each summer she made a long visit to her sister, Sarah Jane Dickie, in West Texas, near Woodson, where the Ferguson boys and the Dickie boys played one of their favorite games on horseback, Hare and the Hounds, which Ted also played back near his home in South Dallas. In Katie’s later years, she was blind, but she was always dressed as if expecting guests; among her descendants, eight girls have born her name, either Katie, Mary, or Catherine as did one niece and one great-niece.
Submitted by: Mary Love Ferguson Sanders for Proud Heritage, Vol. II by Dallas County Pioneer Association.