Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
GEORGE W. FERGUSON. The art of photography has shown wonderful development during the past decade or two, more perhaps than during all previous times since it first became known as an art. It would seem that it has attained the zenith of perfection and that, the "last word" has been said regarding photography, but the future is not within the horoscope of mortals, and who knows but that the coming years will reveal still greater wonders in this branch of science. Only a cursory glance at the modern and tastily kept studios of George W. Ferguson on South street Springfield, Missouri, is required to show that he has kept fully abreast of the times in his vocation and that he deserves to rank in the forefront of his profession.
Mr. Ferguson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 4, 1856. He is a son of Isaac and Mary E. (Harrison) Ferguson, natives of Kentucky and Indiana, respectively. After spending several years in Indianapolis they removed to Louisville, Kentucky, and finally, in 1856, they came to Greene county, Missouri, located on a farm three miles east of Springfield, and there became well established through their industry. The mother is still living and making her home with subject. The father died about twelve years ago. They were popular with their neighbors as a result of their honesty and hospitality. They were the parents of the following children: Subject being the eldest; Sarah, who married Charles E. Lodge, of Greene county, both now deceased; Jennie, who married David Repass of Denver, Colorado; James E., deceased; John, of Fayette, Missouri, who is in the photography business; Charles, deceased; Ella (Mrs. Ross Askins), in Springfield; Dora, now Mrs. Louis Funk, of Grand junction, Colorado.
George W. Ferguson was a small boy when he removed with his parents from Indianapolis to Louisville, and he received his education in the schools of the latter city, including a course in the Spencerian Business College, from which he was graduated in 1876. After leaving school he engaged in the grocery business for three years, and although he was making a success as a merchant, this field seemed somewhat prosaic to one of his imagination and esthetic tastes, and he abandoned it and took up the study of photography in one of the best known photograph galleries of Louisville, where he made rapid progress and soon gave evidence of becoming exceptionally skilled in the work. Leaving the Blue Grass state in 1882, he came to Springfield and opened a gallery here. For many years his studio was on Boonville street, but later he moved in the arcade southeast of the Public Square, and finally to his present location on South street. He has thus been in the business in Springfield over thirty years, his success growing with advancing years until he has long since become known over the Ozark region, his splendid work being pronounced by those well capable to judge the same to be inferior to none in the country, and many of his customers come from remote cities for sittings, for he has become celebrated throughout southwest Missouri for securing to sitters before the camera a natural, life-like and graceful pose, and the master hand and thoroughly expert artist is readily seen in all his work.
Mr. Ferguson was married in 1884 at Rising. Sun, Indiana, to Mary Bedgood. Her death occurred in 1885 in Springfield, Missouri, leaving one son, Clarence, who is now in St. Louis, with the Frisco railroad, in the engineering department. Mr. Ferguson's second marriage was celebrated in 1888, to Louise Leetsch, of Helena, Arkansas, and to this union a son was born, Gussie, who is now at home in Springfield.
Politically, Mr. Ferguson is a Democrat and has been more or less active in party affairs. Soon after coming to Springfield he became a member of the city fire department, and his work was so well done that he was elected to every position in the company, In 1892 he was elected chief of department No. 1,and held the same for some time, taking an abiding interest in the affairs of the department and not infrequently manifesting unusual courage and presence of mind in emergencies. He was recognized as an expert fireman and had complete control of his men, whom he kept well trained; in fact, he did as much as any one ever did to give Springfield an up-to-date and efficient fire department.
Fraternally, Mr. Ferguson is a member of Royal Arcanum Lodge No. 418, the Knights of Pythias Lodge No. 213, and the Uniform Rank No. 21, and Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He and his family are members of the Christian church.
Springfield-Greene County Library