Family Genealogy Research

Please find my collection of genealogy materials organized by family surname in the following pages.  Some of the research I inherited from my grandmother, Carrie Jean Goodman Ferguson and other materials I have found either in courthouses, old houses, books, or on the Internet. The surnames I research are: Anderson, Cockerham, Evans, Ferguson, Goodman, Potter, Thomas, and Wood.  I have other families that I research who are closely related to mine.  They are Ward, Patterson, Frazier, and Davis. Enjoy! And let me know if you have something to add or correct!  

  • Family Genealogy Research,  Ferguson,  Uncategorized

    James “Squire Jim” Ferguson’s Account of Their Trip to California

    Background We’ve all heard about Robert Andrew Ferguson’s exploits as a cowboy.  He helped tame the wild West, had more horses under brand than any man in the world, and was one of the wealthiest men in Hill County.  Before all of that, he was a young man in Gaston County, North Carolina when opportunity in the way of a gold rush in California came knocking.  Gold was discovered on January 24, 1848 at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. The news of the discovery of gold was first announced in San Francisco by a newspaper publisher in March of 1848.  Evidently, he walked through the streets with a vial of gold…

  • Family Genealogy Research,  Ferguson

    Ferguson Men and the California Gold Rush – George P. Ferguson Account

    Background Four Ferguson men left Gaston County, NC for the California gold fields in 1849.  They were James “Squire Jim” Ferguson, his son William; Squire Jim’s nephew, Robert Andrew Ferguson, and Alfred Hall Ferguson, son of George W. Ferguson. The following was written by Alfred H. Ferguson’s brother George Porter Ferguson.  He lived in Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas for a number of years and certainly knew R.A. Ferguson as they did not live far apart.  It is interesting that George P. Ferguson states that his brother, Alfred, died in California.  This is not true.  Alfred remained in California until his death in January of 1909.  A quick search for our…

  • Family Genealogy Research,  Ferguson

    Robert Andrew Ferguson’s Buried Gold in Hill County, Texas

    Background I am thrilled that the Gaston Gazette published these stories about R.A. Ferguson.  However, I am not certain about the dates and all the details.  For example, in one of their articles, they have him heading to the gold fields of California before gold was discovered.  In another, they say he went with one companion when we know that he went with his uncle, Squire Jim Ferguson, Squire Jim’s son, and another cousin.  Still, the articles provide insight into what happened.  We need to piece all the facts and details together from all the articles if we are to have a clear picture of R.A.’s adventures. The Article Excerpt…

  • Family Genealogy Research,  Ferguson

    Robert Andrew Ferguson: Not a Common Man

    Background Following his death in March 1910, an article illustrating Robert Andrew Ferguson’s life appeared in the Gaston Gazette.  Some of the dates and timeline are incorrect, I believe, if you compare them to other documents we have.  Over all it is an amazing tribute fitting for an amazing life. The Article Published in the Gaston Gazette, Gaston, NC on Tuesday, April 12, 1910 NOT A COMMON MAN. Late R.A. Ferguson, Gaston County Man Who Recently Died in Texas, Was a Hero from His Youth – Caught Monkeys in South America and Mined Gold in California- Sketch of an Interesting Career. Some weeks ago the Gazette published an account of…

  • Family Genealogy Research,  Ferguson

    Robert Andrew Ferguson Dies In Texas: Gaston, NC Obituary

    Background R.A. Ferguson is kind of a big deal in our family.  I suppose that this is because he lived a larger-than-life sort of life.  Robert Andrew Ferguson was a cowboy in Texas before and after the Civil War.  He went on horse and cattle drives and is reported to have had more horses under brand than any man in the world.  His was the C-5 brand and we are all just a little bit proud of him for his accomplishments.  Lately, I have found documents that paint a clearer picture of him.  R.A. (Uncle Bob to many) had beautiful penmanship.  He was a good friend.  Grandpa Ferguson liked to…

  • 1846 Homestead Renovation,  Wood

    Treasures from the Wardrobe

    The Treasure Hunt It takes no stretch of the imagination to believe me when I tell you that the house in the photo above was full of nasty trash, furniture, rat droppings and general yuckiness.  How much imagination would it take to believe that we found some really cool stuff as we pawed through every stinking item wearing latex gloves and respirators? Before we threw one thing away, Jerry and I went through every box, drawer, and closet in the house item by item.  Some folks had already come and stolen items from the house and went through things.  Jerry and I were the only ones who could have told…

  • Family Genealogy Research,  Wood

    Indenture Between James Wood and Samuel Candlish and Margaret Candlish 27 May 1866

    Background First, this and the other documents surrounding the estate of Hugh Wood, brother of James Wood, reveal an absolute mess.  Let me try and shed what little light I can on the subject. In a letter written by Hugh Wood to James Wood on 1 April 1852, Hugh indicates the following: James will need money to settle himself and his family.  Hugh states that he will make funds available to James once James decides the best course of action.  Hugh also tells James that if he has proof that he purchased land through Sir Edward Belcher (Colony of Kent), he can be reimbursed for the land price.  All he…

  • Family Genealogy Research,  Wood

    John Reid Letter to Isabella Wood 29 August 1874

    Background James Wood sold his land in Scotland for $485 an acre and bought land in Texas for 25 cents an acre.  Yes, he paid for the land associated with the Colony of Kent, and yes, he lost all of that money.  After paying for transportation costs to Texas, was he out of money?  I would like to think not, but in his letter to his brother, Hugh tells James that he will provide money to cover any needs James has.  Notice he doesn’t say “I’ll transfer your money to you.”  So my original theory that James left his cash with his brother is kinda shot.  Hugh also states in…

  • Family Genealogy Research,  Wood

    Dr. Hugh Wood’s Letter to His Brother, James Wood 1 April 1852

    Background In this letter, Dr. Hugh Wood writes to his brother about finding a new place to live.  Hugh promises money to pay for whatever James decides to do.  He also indicates that James and his family are to be his heirs.  Unfortunately, when Hugh died, he did not have a will or a will was not produced and James and his family were not the sole beneficiaries.  This caused tremendous financial hardship (according to a letter from John Reid to Isabella Riddell Wood). Hugh mentions the starvation in the Highlands, the transportation of many to Australia, the discovery of gold in Australia, and other bits of news. There are…