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.
Excerpt from “Man About Town” column in the Gaston Gazette
Gastonia, North Carolina
Friday, March 18, 1910
An interesting story is told of the late Robert Ferguson who, as chronicled in Tuesday’s Gazette, died in Hill county, Texas, on March 6th. Ferguson, as nearly as can be learned, left Gaston, his native heath, in the latter part of 1849, going to the gold fields of California. In those “days of old, the days of gold, the days of ‘49” traveling was done in wagons and on horseback, the railroad then being little more than a dream, so far as this section of the country was concerned. Ferguson’s journey was a long one but he made it as did many another from this section. He spent a year in the California gold fields and, with a goodly load of gold dust, started on the long trip back home. Reaching a point near where the town of Brandon, Texas, now stands, he decided to leave his gold dust as it was burdensome to carry. As it was largely used at that time as a medium for barter and exchanges as coin and currency is today, he kept out a sufficient amount to take care of his needs on the remainder of the trip back to North Carolina and selected a place in that then practically uninhabited country to bury his treasure.
Surveying the country with his eye and making mental note of the mountains and other natural earmarks of the section so he could locate the spot when he should return, he selected a spot on the top of a hill or mountain. Here he made an excavation and buried his treasure. To mark the place for future reference he drove down a small stake and again took up his journey and came back to Gaston.
After remaining here a year, he went West again and some two or three years later sought the place where his gold was buried. He finally located the section only to find that in his absence, a fire had swept over the particular hill or mountain where he had deposited his hard earned yellow metal. The stake was gone. New comers had settled in the vicinity. Things were changed. It looked like he was doomed to failure in his search. At the close of a fruitless search of some days and just as he was about to give up in despair and move on further West, he stumped his toe on something. Examining to see what it was he discovered a small stake burned down almost to the ground. It pointed the way to his gold. He dug down in the earth a short distance and there lay the precious golden dust just as he had deposited it. He secured lands there, settled down and was for more than half a century a prosperous and honored citizen of Hill county, the place where, but for a very small event, his fortune might still be lying in wait for a discoverer.