Fergison Morehead

Carroll County IL Biography

Ferguison Morehead, a prominent and well-known farmer of Woodland Township, comes of a family especially remarkable for being long-lived. His paternal grandfather, who was a native of Ireland, died at an extremely old age, in this country, and the maternal grandfather, who came from England, lived to be 110 years old, and the latter’s wife reached the age of 101 ears. The father of our subject, Samuel Morehead, was born in Pennsylvania, and his mother was Catherine Gay, a native of Ohio. In Pickaway County, the latter State, they were married; the mother dying on the farm in that county, and the father subsequently removing to Indiana, where he died.

Our subject was the eldest of his parents’ five children, and was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, Aug. 7, 1807, receiving such education as was to be obtained in that early day in its local schools. He has worked on a farm all his lifetime, and at the early age of twelve years began life for himself, working on a farm for $6 a month. When about eighteen years of age he left Ohio for Indiana, working there for six years, and on his marriage, about that time, all his worldly wealth consisted of a pair of horses and a wagon, the only result of twelve years’ hard labor.

When twenty-four years of age our subject was married to Miss Sarah Bennefield, who was a daughter of Elizabeth (Stuart) Bennefield, and was born in Kentucky, but was then living in Indiana with her widowed mother. The married life of the young couple was begun on a rented farm in Indiana, and in that State they remained for about twelve years. Having to struggle hard to make a living for himself and his growing family on a rented farm he determined to make for himself a home on the fertile prairies of Illinois, and about forty-five years ago removed to Jo Daviess County; for the firs two years of his residence in Illinois renting a farm there. He then removed to this county and entered the farm which he now owns, and which has continued to be his home. He at once put up a log house, and the labor of making a permanent home was begun by the pioneer and his faithful wife. His progress at first was slow indeed, as he had no capital whatever, except a little he had accumulated on the rented place; but energy and perseverance conquered, and the at one time poor immigrant has become a well-to-do man. Hard work and plenty of it was his portion for many years, and in this his faithful and devoted wife took her share and sustained and cheered him by her counsels and sympathy. A good family grew up about him, and his boys, too, bore an ample share of the hard labor necessary to transform the wild prairie into the fertile homestead. As the years progressed and his capital increased, he bought more land, and he is now the owner of a farm of 220 acres of as fine land as is to be found in the township. Nearly all of this is under cultivation, part of it being reserved for stock-raising, which he pursues on a moderate scale, also raising a few horses. The house which later took the place of the log cabin is comfortable and commodious, and the farm is well supplied with all the necessary buildings and machinery.

Mr. and Mrs. Morehead were blessed by the birth of seven children, all now living save one; but the faithful wife and tender mother passed to her last rest on June, 1872, leaving her loving children and devoted husband to mourn the loss of an excellent mother and wife. The oldest child is Stuart, who was married to Adeline Rollins, has six children and is a resident of Savanna, this State. William, the next in order, lives in Albion, Neb., is married to Susan Talbert, and they have seven children. Samuel lives in Iowa, and is married to Amanda Bemis; they have five children. Betsey Ann is wedded to Robert Gillogly, lives in Albion, Neb., and has seven children. James K. is a resident of Jo Daviess County, this State, is married to Margaret Goodmiller, and has one child. John, who is married to Ida Jenkins, and has five children, makes his home with his father. The deceased child was a son, Robert, who early in the Rebellion offered his services in defense of his country, on whose altar he laid down his young life. He enlisted in Company A, 45th Illinois Infantry, and was soon, for his bravery and gallantry in action, promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and was with his regiment in many engagements, and in the action at Champion Hill received a severe gunshot wound. He was honorably discharged for disability in consequence, and returned to his home, where he lived for a few years, always suffering from his wound, from the effects of which he subsequently died. The memory of the young soldier and hero is still held in tender remembrance by his aged father. He left a wife and seven children.

Mr. Morehead has always been a sober and temperate man in all things, and much of his marked success in life he attributes to that fact. Now, though eighty-two years of age, he is as active as most men of a score less years, and he bids fair to live to see his century of years completed, as did many of his ancestors. This result will be hailed with joy by his many friends and by his children, by whom he is greatly venerated and beloved. In his political views he has always been an ardent Republican, and during the war of the Rebellion was a member of the Union League. He has been poormaster and School Director in his township, and for many years took a leading part in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he was a Class-Leader. An upright and God-fearing man, he is held in respect by every one who knows him.

Transcribed and contributed by Carol Parrish. Portraits & Biographical Pg. 940

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