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Subject: Descendants of Alexander Ferguson, died in Franklin Co. VA c1818
Author: mscentavo1
Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Classification: Query
Surnames: Ferguson

I'm posting this here for the benefit of anyone researching Alexander Ferguson's descendants since it was submitted to USGW Archives over a month ago but still hasn't been posted, i.e., a link to the submission added.


Extracts from a Chancery suit brought over Alexander's estate: Henry Board Etc Vs Heirs Of Alexander Ferguson, 1889-026, Franklin County (Va.), Chancery Causes 1787-1929, downloadable at Virginia Memory,

Alexander Ferguson's will (pp. 227-230) was admitted to probate in Franklin
County, Virginia on 5 January 1818 and a Chancery suit instituted almost 60
years later helps to identify and locate many of his descendants. The suit was
filed on 22 February 1875 by Alexander's grandsons Henry Board and Eli Ferguson,
who stated that the land devised by Alexander to his son Eli had been
fraudulently acquired by others and was now held by Mark Perdue and George

According to Alexander's will, Eli's land was to revert to the other heirs if he
died without issue but this reversion was not to occur until after the death of
Eli's widow. Eli conveyed this land and "considerable personal property" to John
Starkey in May 1827 in trust to secure a debt to his brother Stephen. Eli died
later that year (see Notes), leaving no children. Starkey sold part of Eli's
land to Thomas Ferguson and part to Stephen Ferguson, with Eli's widow Nancy
retaining possession of the remainder until her death in 1864 or 1865. George
Divers claimed the first parcel as alienee of Thomas Ferguson's heirs and Mark
Perdue claimed the latter two parcels as alienee of Stephen Ferguson's heirs.

The Court found in favor of the plaintiffs, affirming that the land reverted to
Alexander Ferguson's other heirs following the death of Eli's widow. As the land
could not be equitably partitioned, it was sold at public auction in August 1881
to the highest bidder, John H. Ferguson (see Notes).

Descendants of Alexander Ferguson

Alexander's heirs-at-law are named in four separate documents in this record,
with minor variations in the information they contain, i.e., the original
petition; the October 1886 deposition of Silas W. Chambers, who was married to
Alexander's great-granddaughter Arena and provided more detail on some of the
descendants; and two reports completed in about October 1886 by the
commissioners, one naming heirs and the other naming distributees (see Notes).
The latter report is only a determination of the amount to which each of the
named heirs was entitled, there are no receipts to indicate which of them laid
claim to it.

Alexander had ten children but son Eli left no heirs and there were no
distributions earmarked for the three children said to have been long gone from
Virginia and about whom nothing further was known - Patsy Donahue, Sucky Short
and Daniel Ferguson. The heirs of each of the six remaining children - Polly
Board, Elizabeth Smith, Thomas Ferguson, Alexander Ferguson, Stephen Ferguson
and Noah Ferguson - divided a 1/6 share.

Alexander's children are shown in the order they appeared in the heirs report
but they are ordered differently in the petition and in Silas Chambers'
deposition so this is not an accurate reflection of their birth order. Where the
given name of an heir or spouse was blank or the information was inconsistent, a
search of records readily available at was done to try and fill in the

No attempt has been made to exhaustively research these heirs and the
information below is not meant to be conclusive. It is offered here in the event
other researchers tracing Alexander's descendants may find it useful.

Note: since the entire submission is lengthy, I've just posted the intro; the full text can be found here: