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 tell stories and visit with friends. I wish I could have met him if only for a few minutes.
While Robert Andrew Ferguson died in Texas, the following obituary appeared in his hometown newspaper. He hadn’t lived in the Gaston, North Carolina area for almost 60 years but they never forgot their native son. The newspaper would print several stories following his death telling of his adventures in the California gold rush and also his adventures in Texas.
Tuesday, March 15, 1910
DIES IN TEXAS.
Robert Ferguson, Who left Gaston for California Gold Fields in Forty-Nine Passes Away in Hill County, Texas, at Advanced Age – Leaves Number of Relatives in This Section.
News reached Gastonia a day or two ago of the death at his home in Hill county, Texas, on Sunday, March 6th, of Mr. Robert Ferguson, a native of Gaston county and a prosperous farmer of the Lone Star State. Mr. Ferguson’s death was due to the infirmities incident to old age, he being about ninety. He was the last member of his immediate family but leaves a large family connection in this section.
Mr. Ferguson left Gaston in the year 1848 or ’49, going to California while the gold fever was at its height. Remaining there about three years he returned to his native county and staid about a year, planting a crop but selling it before harvest time. A second time he had heard the “call of the wild” and set out to cast his lot permanently in the far-distant and little-known West. He settled in Texas, where he has since resided. He has never revisited Gaston since he left the second time about 1851 or ’52.
Mr. Ferguson was a brother of the late Mr. James Ferguson, of this county, who died several years ago and also of Mrs. Eliza Falls, also deceased, the latter being the mother of Messrs. George, Robert and James Falls, Mrs. Meek Crawford and Mrs. John White. Another sister was Mrs. Ed Wilson, deceased. Mr. Ferguson was an uncle of Mr. T.W. Wilson and was more or less closely related to quite a large number of others in Gastonia and Gaston county.
A wife and seven children, three daughters and four sons, Messrs. Robert, James, Joe and Hugh Ferguson and Mary, Emma and Nannie (White) the daughters all being married.