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Fergus, Roberts

There are as many reasons for coming to Ohio as there are people who settled here. Some were first-generation European immigrants who chose to settle in Ohio first, while others were second or third-generation immigrants who relocated from other states. Unfortunately, none of Shelby County’s pioneers kept a journal (that the Society is aware of) but some information is known about the people who settled here from family recollections, letters, newspaper articles, etc.

Shelby County, Ohio, resident, William Roberts, moved to Salem Township from Virginia during the early 1820s. He was of Welsh descent. When William lived in Virginia he owned slaves, but thought it was morally wrong. He migrated to Ohio and brought his slaves so he could grant them freedom. One of those slaves stayed with his family (this is the first mention of a Negro in Shelby County). He helped Roberts clear four acres for cultivation.

John Fergus’ grandfather emigrated from Ireland to Virginia. John moved from Virginia to Miami County in 1820. After losing everything through misfortune, he relocated to Shelby County in July, 1823, after hearing of the good, rich farmland. He wanted to make a new start.

John put some stakes/poles in the ground and covered it with his wagon cover; he made a cloth tent to serve as a house because he couldn’t afford to buy the tools to make a log cabin. John began clearing the land. A month later, in August, 1823, his son, Joseph Fergus was born under the covered wagon. Eventually, through hard work, Fergus was able to build a log cabin home and made a good life for himself and his family.

''Pioneer' segment written in October, 1997 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge

 

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