Fun with Genealogy

Grandma was the genealogist of our family. I haven't done any research myself though I expect to take it up shortly. She recently moved into a home because she has increasing dementia. It's very sad. But I visited her one summer in Utah as an adolescent. She told me and some cousins very proudly about one of our ancestors, a famous general and friend of Brigham Young, James Ferguson.

Tonight, for no reason in particular, I felt like looking him up and finding out exactly how I was related. I used this site to look up the records : Family Search it's the LDS church's website so it's free to use unlike many others. All you need to find someone is their name and some piece of information, such as year of death or birth or state.

So it turns out, Ferguson is my Great-Great-Great Grandfather and he was freaking cool. Unfortunately, he died at age 35 from his 'devotion to the inebriating cup.' Looks like he only had 4 wives. Though we know from his letters he was madly in love with the woman he left behind in Ireland. Perhaps his second wife? I can't remember. Here's an excerpt from an article about him:

Sheriff James Ferguson's exploits have always been short on documentation but long on notoriety, from hunting for mountain man Jim Bridger to almost igniting a war between frontier Utah and the federal government. Yet the brilliant career of this colorful soldier, actor, missionary, newspaperman and attorney was cut short before he reached middle age.
. . .
While sheriff, Ferguson read the law, later serving as territorial attorney general. He also became one of Great Salt Lake City's foremost actors, appearing in 1853 as Hamlet, and remained Utah's favorite leading man almost until his death.

On his mission to Britain in 1854 for the Mormon Church, Ferguson served as pastor of Ireland and on his return helped organize the handcart emigration of 1856. On reaching home, he was named adjutant general of the Nauvoo Legion. Perhaps craving action, he led a mob that dumped the law library of federal judge George P. Stiles into an outhouse and burned it, helping to ignite the Utah War that brought one-quarter of the U.S. Army to enforce federal authority in the "State of Deseret."

The rest of the article can be read here: Utah History

Go Gramps. I imagine he and I would get along very well.