On May 14, 1879, Martha and Mathew were blessed with the birth of their fifth
child, Walter Chester. When he was about one year old, his older brother
Bill decided the baby needed branding. He had seemed men branding their horses
and cattle, and he did not want to loose his little brother any more than the
cowboys wanted to loose their stock. He heated up the poker in the fireplace
until it was glowing red. He grabbed up Walter's nightshirt and branded him on
the right hip. Walter always said, "I don't remember it, but I've heard it more
than once from Maa. Guess Bill was worse off than I was when Maa saw the brand."
In the succeeding years the Fergusons had four more children, Edwin in 1881,
Maude in 1884, Everrett in 1886 and Wesley in 1880. But theiir lives were
touched by tragety as well. In 1887 their oldest daughter, Clara, died of typhoid.
Since moving to the country, Mathew had become quite interested in mining.
He had, in fact developed "gold fever" and spent long hours in the mines in
search of riches. In 1880, in order to be closer to the mines, he moved the
family to Jaw Bone Gulch, a few miles east of the original place at Granite
Springs. There was an added advantage in this move. The children were now
only two miles from the Hecla School and education was very important to
Martha and William.
One day the boys had without their Mother's knowledge taken her dish pan
and tied it to the tail of a longhorn steer. The steer drug them around in it.
After a while the steer got tired of this game, jumped the fence and ran away
with the dish pan.
Martha couldn't find her dish pan and she looked and looked and looked and
still couldn't find it. She even asked the boys and there wasn't a word from them.
The boys related to family members about climbing the scaffolding at the
capitol building to watch the adults dancing at the statehood celebration in 1890.
Among their buddies on that occation were the well known T. Joe Cahill and
future judge, Sam Thompson. They all remained friends their entire lifes.
Mathew was able to enjoy his mining and his home in the country for several
more years. But his health problems of long ago finally caught up with him
again. He lapsed into a "sick spell" which developed into pneumonia. He
died on March 16, 1891.
After the death of their father, Bill and Walt were left with their mother
to take care of their family. Bill in seventh grade, and Walt in fourth, had to quit
The boys were used to hard work. At a young age they had started their own
business of selling eggs and dairy products to the residents of Cheyenne.
They worked various other places doing many things such as helping to put
the telephone line between Cheyenne and Laramie.
They later turned their grocery route over to their sisters and brother, Edwin and
they went to work in the mines. In addition, they worked at breaking
horses, and participated in the spring and fall round-ups.
In 1895, Walter went to work for Tom McGee for the fall round-up. The bulletin
put out by the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association described that round-up as follows:
"No. 1, will commence September 20 at Big Crow Springs
and work up Crow Creek to Ullman's ranch; thence to
Terry's ranch on Lone Tree; up Lone Tree and Duck Creeks
to Twin Mountains; thence to head of Crow; down Crow to
Whitcomb's; thence to Arnold's ranch; down Pole Creek
to Stage road; up Horse Creek to the road; across to Kelly's
and up Chug to to its head; down to Reishow and Huton creeks,
working the country west of Chug to Ft Laramie; thence up the
Laramie and Sibile creek to its head, working its branches.
Spring Round-up to begin June 1, 1896,
James Presston, Foreman
Wm. Booker, Ass't Foreman"
Walt went on another round-up, The Laramie Plains,
both fall and spring for several years
In 1896, with money earned from their many assorted occupations, Bill and ,
Walter bought the Pole Creek ranch located in what is now Medicine Bow,
National Forest.In 1899, they traded that place for a ranch at Hecla.
The first organized Cheyenne Frontier Days saw Walt there to try his hand at ,
In 1902 he came in second in that event.
In 1906 ,
Buffalo Bill came to Cheyenne to find rodeo guys for his Wild West Show. ,
Because Walt had always placed near the top when he competed, he was asked to,
go along, as was his brother, Bill. At the time, however, his brother Wesley
had been ill for several months. Bill and Walt did not think they should both
go and leave all the bills and ranch work to their younger brothers ,\
Ed and Everrett, and yet neither felt it would be fair to go with out the other ,
missing out on all the fun. So the opportunity of a lifetime was pushed aside
because of family pride and loyalty.
In October, Wesly died of a ruptured appendicitis.
By about 1910 the remaining children of Mathew and Martha Ferguson were grown
and starting families of their own. Eva had married George Kingham and they
operated a grocery store in Cheyenne. Maude married Jim Morton and moved to
his ranch. Bill had married Maude Hammer and moved to Hillsdale, and Ed had
moved to the Hecla ranch with his wife Alberta. Everrett was married to Merle
Garrett and homesteaded what is now called "Everrett's Place
a property now owned by Walt's heirs.
Walt was left alone to care for his mother who was by then in failing health.
Feeling that she was a burrden to Walter, she bought a house in Cheyenne and
moved. It was 1913.
Walt had been courting Julia Willadsen for some time. Her home was near Granite
Canon, five miles south of Hecla. In the fall of 1913 Walt was hauling a load
of posts on a side hill when the wagon turned over on him. His ankle was broken
and when he jumped up to stop the team, the splintered bones were driven through his boot.
On January 14, 1914 at the Martin Willadsen home, Walter and Julia were
married. He had to sit through the ceremony because of his broken ankle. They went
to Denver to the Stock Show for their honeymoon. In 1908 the family had rented
the Andrew Gilchrist Ranch, and this is where he and Julia started their life together.
Julia's parents, Martin and Bergetta Willadsen came to Wyoming from Denmark.
Her two older brothers were born in Denmark. Julia was the only girl in a
family of seven children. The family ran a sheep ranch in the Granite Canon, Harriman area.
....to be continued...
Walter, Ferguson, Sr.'s Story Continued
To continue reading about Walter Chester Ferguson, Sr.
Other related stories and those told by Willaim Mathew and Martha McKerly Ferguson's
children and grandchildren:
Article in American Angus Journal
More Articles about the Ferguson/Anderson Legacy
Article in WREN
LT Livestock Hobby Farm
Photos of the ladies
Pappa & Gramma
Anderson LT Livestock
FERGUSON CLAN HISTORY
LINKS TO HISTORY
Have a great day!