Excerpts from the Morris Herald for September 29, 1876.
OBITUARY – Daniel Ferguson
Our village was thrown into a state of mourning and sadness last Wednesday, by a telegraphic message announcing the death of Dan’l Ferguson, Esq., merchant and banker. He was brought to his old home on the following day, and the depot and platform were crowded by villagers of every class, and a large, solemn, and sympathizing crowd accompanied the corpse and family to his old residence. Numerous flags hoisted, half mast, added much to the deep expression of strong and ardent respect for poor Dan, as he was familiarly called. His residence and usual place of business were draped in mourning. The village seemed as if a thunderbolt had committed sad havoc and devastation. The general expression was that he died without an enemy.
Dan was born in Scotland, but coming with his family, who are all highly respected, and who reside near Channahon, when he was a boy, he attracted the notice of J. Lewis, Esq., who did an extensive business at that place. His willingness and adaptability to his calling insured the respect and confidence of his employer, and tended much to his after success. He was, at the termination of his time, engaged by G. Smith, Esq., and with him he was equally successful in his business capabilities, and in securing public favor and confidence, and was faithful, industrious and honest. He afterwards bought out the business, which he successfully conducted for a long series of years. The last year or so he met with severe business reverses, which caused him much trouble of mind, affected his nervous system, and ultimately upset his physical system. Yet, notwithstanding these reverses, he had the confidence and respect of all his business friends, who well knew his uprightness honor, and integrity. We heard of one individual, who well knew his stiring worth, who wrote and offered him the use of $4,000. Dan was overpowered by such an act of generosity and confidence, and said that he would have the letter framed, and would preserve it as a precious relic; he, however, did not use the privilege. Such an act of generous, friendly confidence is rarely met with in a lifetime.
Dan was a true patriot and consistent lover of his adopted country; and when the tocsin of the war of the rebellion sounded he promptly answered its call by enlisting in the 113th Ills., regiment, and was appointed lieutenant of his company. Some of his comrades who were with him in dread battles, speak glowingly of his bravery and heroism. He was in active engagements at Hains Bluff and Vicksburg, and had his leg shot off at Fort Hindman, Arkansas Post. He was for a long time in the hospital and attended by the Sisters of Charity, of whom he spoke in the highest terms, and mainly attributed his recovery to their constant and sisterly care. He was frequently visited by his old friend and employer, when in the most critical state of his existence. He was very grateful to the Sisters, and showed it by generous gifts to assist them to continue their mission of love and good works. After his release, and the amputation of his leg, he returned home and recommenced business, and was elected County Treasurer of Grundy, which office he filled with perfect satisfaction to all parties, and resigned it at the end of the term. While filling this position he ensured the respect, confidence, and friendship of all with whom he became connected. After this he resumed business at his old stand. He then wished to settle down to domestic life and enjoyment, and married one of the daughters of Mr. A.C. Worthing, an old respected well-to-do farmer in the town of Seward. He was a devoted and affectionate husband and enjoyed much happiness in their mutual love, and the widow, with his two little girls, have the deepest sympathy of the entire community. His religious views were liberal, his political ones, Republican. He was a candidate for nomination as State Treasurer, and if elected he would have well and faithfully discharged the duties of the office.
His interment and the funeral services took place last Friday, and such a day of sorrow and mourning was never seen before in the village. Throng after throng kept coming in until every available place for hitching a team was taken up, and the streets were crowded with those on foot. The services were held at the M.E. church, but long before the mournful bell tolled, a large crowd had assembled, besides a similar one in front of the house. On opening the church doors, it was uncomfortably filled, and a vast number were unable to obtain a seat, among whom was the writer of this article. The services were very imposing; the choir chanted its solemn requiem, the Rev. A.W. Chapman, Congregational minister, read the scriptures and offered appropriate prayer, and the Rev. T.A. Reynolds delivered the funeral oration, which, we are told, was a very excellent one. When the services were over the procession formed for the place of sepulchre at the graveyard at Channahon. The streets through which it passed were literally packed; we counted upwards of 100 carriages accompanying it, besides many which stayed in the village. He was 3? Years of age; cut off in his prime and usefulness – the village and country round feel that we have lost one of our best men. He was a faithful and affectionate husband and father, a man of high moral integrity, a true patriot, and a constant and unfailing friend. His family were true patriots during the war-a beautiful marble shaft rises next to his resting place, to mark the burial spot of a devoted brother who lost his life in the war, and another brother still survives, who also was in the terrible conflict. There was quite a number of friends, from Morris, Joliet, Channahon, and other places who attended his funeral. — (S.A.H., Minooka, Sept. 25th, 1876)
IS IT TRUE?
Is it true that J.S.R. Scovill, candidate for circuit clerk on the Democratic ticket, is endeavoring to secure his election by the seductive influence of whisky? We have on three or four occasions heard this charged upon him, but as it is so common to charge candidates with almost everything but honesty, we have paid little or no attention to the matter. Now, however, comes to us a man who claims to know whereof he speaks, and over his own signature makes a statement, that will hardly be denied, and if not denied, is surely sufficient to induce any man, be he Democrat or Republican, to withhold his support from a man who will resort to such b___ practices to secure his aim. Aux Sable, Sept. 23d, 1876.
Yesterday, J.S.R. Scovill, candidate for Circuit Clerk, was out here electioneering. He brought with him a jug of whisky. After treating around once or twice, one of the men at the quarry stole the jug and carried it off a little ways when he met a lot of young men who were out hunting. He told the crowd that it was Scovill’s whisky and they all drank of it pretty freely, until they got drunk. Now, I have always voted for Democrats but I cannot support a man for a public position, one of such responsibility as the office of circuit clerk, who seeks to secure the office by the means of whisky. I hope you will let the people of this county know how Mr. Scovill is electioneering for the office. Joseph Sharp.
The annual meeting of the Old Settlers of Grundy county was held in the city Park on last Tuesday. The attendance was quite meager. The annual address was delivered by the President, Hon. P. A. Armstrong. The officers were elected for the ensuing year, as follows: President, L. W. Claypool; Secretary, James Anderson; Historian, P. A. Armstrong.
Three Mules Drowned
Capt. Chas. Pangburn lost three of his handsome mules last Sunday morning, by drowning near Jack’s Lock, three miles above Lockport. Approaching the old lock he was met by the propeller Atlantic with a barge in tow, and in his rear was the propeller Montauk preparing to pass him; the current at this point is very strong, and in slacking the tow line the boat floats quite rapidly downstream. The team was turned back to follow the slack of the line; after the boats passed the driver was told to turn the team to its proper position, but he earlessly turned them the wrong way, when the saddle mule was crowded over the almost perpendicular bank into the water, a distance of 15 feet, and the other three on top of him. By the kindly aid of the Montauk’s crew, the leader was saved. The driver, Paddy Brown, after causing a loss of $427 to Charley, showed fight because he wasn’t allowed pay for that day, when the day really had just begun. The lost team is reputed to have been the best team that left Morris.
Local Political Notes
On Thursday evening of last week the Hayes and Wheeler club of this city was addressed by Chas. Blanchard, Esq., of Ottawa, and James Goodspeed, of Joliet. Mr. Blanchard is a calm, deliberate speaker, and his remarks were well received by the large audience assembled in the Court House. His remarks were mostly devoted to showing up the record of the Democratic party, commencing at the year 1856 and running down to the present time. Mr. Goodspeed made a rousing speech, full of vim, and from the time he commenced to talk until the close of his remarks the audience was all enthusiasm. His points on reform were keen and cut to the very quick. His showing up of the so-called reform party in this District was well received. The speeches undoubtedly did a great deal of good here.
On Saturday night, last, Gen. Hayes and S. P. Avery, addressed a meeting in the town of Wauponsie. At the close of the speaking a resolution endorsing the action of Supervisor Stine in voting against the County Treasury Salary Grab, was introduced, and carried by the unanimous vote of the meeting. A Hayes & Wheeler club was organized, commencing with 34 members. The officers are as follows: James Stine, President; A. Dingman, Vice President; Jonas Bartlett, Secretary. Wauponsie will roll up a big Republican majority this fall.
Capt. Hill of Joliet, spoke at Minooka on Saturday night. Although a gloom was cast over the town and surrounding country by the death of Dan’l Ferguson, there was a good attendance at the meeting – many of these Democrats and Independents. The Captain made a good speech, touching upon all of the questions of the day. A club was organized with 40 members. The officers are: F. W. Ford, President; G. Dahlem, Vice President; A. Stouffer, Secretary; W. H. Randall, Treasurer. Meetings will be held on Saturday evening of each week.
On last Monday evening a Republican meeting was held at Huston Hall, Mazon, addressed by Hon. W.T. Hopkins and S.P. Avery. The meeting was large and enthusiastic. Judge Hopkins made one of his happiest efforts. A Hayes and Wheeler club was formed with 50 members. Regular weekly meetings will be held on Monday nights.
Last week we announced the Gov. Beveridge would speak at the Court House on the following Tuesday. On Saturday the Governor was again taken down sick. Major McLougery, Warden of the Illinois Penitentiary, was secured to fill the appointment, and right well did he fill it too. News of the Governor’s sickness reached us on Monday evening, and as soon as a speaker was secured the announcement was made so that there might not be any disappointment on the part of our citizens who would go to the hall expecting to meet His Excellency. It was generally known that the Governor would not be here, but the interest of our citizens in the present campaign was a sufficient talisman to bring out a crowded house, a large number of ladies being present. The Minute Men received the speaker at the depot and escorted him to the hall. He was introduced by the Hon. L. B. Ray, and for over one hour spoke to the vast audience. Mr. McLaughery delivered one of the most effective speeches of the campaign. His remarks were principally addressed to the old War Democrats, of which he was one. He did not indulge in the “bloody shirt”, but dwelt altogether on the history of the Democratic party for the past sixteen years, and upon the history of the leader of that party, Samuel J. Tilden. It was a speech to which no Democrat could take exception, and every utterance had a telling effect upon the audience.