Thompson Benton Ferguson

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Thompson Benton Ferguson
Thompson Benton Ferguson.jpg
Sixth Governor of Oklahoma Territory (1906-1907)
Born(1857-03-17)March 17, 1857
Polk County, Iowa
DiedFebruary 14, 1921(1921-02-14) (aged 63)
Oklahoma City
Occupationminister, educator, postmaster, newspaper editor and publisher
Years active1876-1921
Known forTerritorial Governor of Oklahoma Territory

Thompson Benton Ferguson (March 17, 1857 – February 14, 1921) was the sixth Governor of Oklahoma Territory.

Early life[edit]

Ferguson was born on March 17, 1857, near Des Moines, Iowa. The following year, he moved to Emporia, Kansas, with his parents. His mother died in 1860, and his father enlisted in the Union Army at the beginning of the Civil War. He was raised by his older sister, was educated in public schools and by teaching, he was able to finance his course through the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia.[1] [a] An earnest Bible student, he was ordained as a Methodist minister and after a short time moved to Chautauqua County, Kansas. There, Ferguson taught school for nine years and married Elva Shartel on June 9, 1885, in Sedan, Kansas.[1]


In 1889, Ferguson joined the Oklahoma Land Run and staked a claim near Oklahoma City which he later sold and returned to Sedan, Kansas, where he purchased the Sedan Republican and edited it for two years. In October 1892, he moved to Watonga, Oklahoma Territory and established the Watonga Republican newspaper which he continued to publish until his death. He was appointed postmaster of Watonga in 1897.[2]

President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Ferguson as the sixth Governor of Oklahoma Territory and he assumed the office on November 30, 1901. He served until January 5, 1906. Upon retirement, he returned to his residence in Watonga. He made two notable attempts to return to his public service. He was a candidate for U.S. Representative from Oklahoma in 1907[2] and the Republican candidate for Governor of Oklahoma in 1910.


Ferguson died on February 14, 1921, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After a formal tribute in the Chamber of the House of Representatives, presided over by then-Governor James B. A. Robertson, his remains were returned to Watonga and were interred at Watonga City Cemetery.


Historian John B. Meserve, who summarized the effects of the Territorial Governors in the Chronicles of Oklahoma

...his executive functions were devoted to giving the territory an honest, sober and economical administration. Aside from this sterling service, the regime of Governor Ferguson offered no outstanding features, but it will abide in the annals of history as a most successful tenure. His term of office occasioned less criticism than any of the preceding administrations in the territory. The governor had experienced the hardships and deprivations of the early formative days of the territory and knew the problems which had confronted and still confronted the pioneer folk whose political affairs he was undertaking to guide. He possessed the qualities essential for an executive and with patient but firm resolve gave to the territory a splendid administration and will linger as an outstanding governor of the old territory.[3]

Upon his retirement, he resumed his residence at Watonga and in 1907 made an unsuccessful race for Congress against his Democratic opponent. He continued publishing his newspaper until his death.[3]


  1. ^ Kansas State Normal School is now known as Emporia State University (ESU).


  1. ^ "Thompson Benton Ferguson". Chronicles of Oklahoma. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Thompson Benton Ferguson". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b Meserve, John Bartlett. "The Governors of Oklahoma Territory." Chronicles of Oklahoma. September 20, 1942. Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 218. Accessed December 3, 2019.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William C. Grimes
Acting Territorial Governor
Governor of Oklahoma Territory
Under President Theodore Roosevelt

1901 - 1906
Succeeded by
Frank Frantz
Party political offices
Preceded by
Frank Frantz
Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
Succeeded by