I need to apologize for those who may have been waiting for this weeks post. I was hoping that my sister would be presenting this weeks blog but things didn’t work out. So instead I will be continuing with some of the Women in our family in honor of Women’s History Month. Today I want to introduce you to Margaret Helen Ferguson my maternal great grandmother.


Margaret Helen Ferguson
Margaret Helen Ferguson

Margaret was born: April 18, 1850, in New York State, possible Forestburgh in Sullivan County.

1850 Census Forestburgh, Sullivan Co., New York
1850 Census Forestburgh, Sullivan Co., New York

She was the eldest child of Mary Agnes (Lambert) and Joseph Ferguson. Her sister Maryetta was born in 1852, her brothers were David W. b: 1857, Charles T. b:  1859, and Edwin H. b: 1860

Margaret was only 11 when the Civil war started. Her Father volunteered in August of 1862. We are Lucky to have a couple of letters her father wrote while serving for the 1st Mounted Rifles New York . The following letter is addressed to “My Dear Children” it was written from Williamsburgh Virginia on Oct. 6, 1863, he talks of “having the fever without the chills” and having to stay in camp and take care of his horse. He also talks of sending $20 to them and their mother the day before when he “got payed” and would send another $10  in this letter and the rest soon.

letter to children 1863 pg.1
letter to children 1863 pg.1


letter to children 1863 pg. 2
letter to children 1863 pg. 2










Joseph re-enlisted in 1864 and was mustered out in 1865. When Margret was 15.

Three years later she married John Lyle Dougherty (subject of Our Civil War Soldier) On 10 February 1868, in Waymart, Penn.

Marriage certificate Margaret H. Ferguson & J.L. Dougherty
Marriage certificate
Margaret H. Ferguson &
J.L. Dougherty

The new family started in Pennsylvania, then moved to New York City, and soon moved to Staten Island where they remained.

Margaret & John had seven children (Hattie)May b: 1869, Hammond (Howard) b: 1872, Inez b: 1874, Alice G. b:1879, William E. b: 1882, Dorothy Grace b: 1885, and John E. b: 1887.

Margaret lost three of her children during their childhood. Howard died 1n 1883 at 11 years of age,  William died in 1885 at three years of age and Dorothy Grace died in 1894  at 9 years of age. They also almost lost my grandfather John E. when he was a young child. I remember Grandpa as a very finicky eater. When John (my grandfather) was quite ill Margaret had to get up in the middle of the night to give him medicine. One night she picked up the wrong bottle and gave him something , I do not recall exactly what it was, but it was very extremely hard on his stomach. Margaret must have been beside herself trying to save him from her mistake.


In 1908 John and Margaret renewed their vows on their 50th Wedding anniversary

50th Anniversary
50th Anniversary


Margaret Helen letter to her son (J.E. Dougherty) is transcribed below and you can clearly see her personality in this letter.

1916 Letter pg.1
1916 Letter pg.1


1916 letter pg.2
1916 letter pg.2











Jan 30th 1916

310 Jewet Ave.

West New Brighton,

S.I., New York

My Dear Boy

Your letter recd. & we were all very glad to hear that you were being so well cared for not many women could belong to so many clubs & study music & do her own housework & entertain without the help of a maid. Say Boy cut it out & don’t give me any more “Duff”. Ada is all right and just the wife for you she will always be a great help to you & take good care of you & that Baby, believe me.

Papa has wrote you that he has an acoustican but he does not say what it is for, it is to hear with, your Father has been steadily getting a little more deaf in the last four years until it is hard work to make him hear so he went up to 23rd St. & tried one of their ear phones & he has one on trial now, which I think he will keep he pays $35.oo for it $5.00 per month & he may sell a couple of them which will give him a percentage & make his that much less.

Now what do you think of the war. I am very much afraid that we may get in it yet __ but I hope not for we do not want war

Ada wants me to write what are our plans about the house but it is not settled yet & I don’t know as it ever will be when it is I will write you all about it but until then we have no plans only do the best we can. I sent a little present to the baby of some things that were once yours I will find some more & when I do I can send them to her & if she lives she can have them for her children

she is a very health baby now & I hope she will always keep so Alice says she always will if you only giver castor Oil & I guess she is right

All the folks her get it & we all keep prety healthy

I will now close hopeing to hear from you when you get the time as “Ada cant get time with all her club duties & Studies”

Give my love with a big hug to Ada & Dorothy & also keep some for yourself from your loving old Mother

Margaret Helen died 10 October 1919 and is buried on Staten Island with her mother, sister, husband, 2 of her daughters, and a brother in-law.

Death Certificate - Margaret H. Dougherty
Death Certificate – Margaret H. Dougherty


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