Charles D. Ferguson was born February 23, 1822 in Errol. Perthshire, Scotland to James Ferguson ( -1838) and Catherine Moir. At age twenty in 1842, he immigrated to America and eventually settled in New York.
On January 13, 1846, he married Charlotte McHardy in Rust, New York (part of New York City). Charlotte was born July 20, 1820 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Charlotte’s parents were Findlay McHardy (1798- ) and Isobel McDonald. Her parents moved to America in 1825.
After their marriage, Charles and Charlotte settled in Hakensak, New Jersey where their first child, Charles R. Ferguson (1847-1923) was born. On their way to Almont, second son James Findlay Ferguson (1848-1903) was born in West Rush, Monroe County, New York.
They reached Almont in 1848 and established a farm on the northeast corner of Tubspring and Kidder roads (location of the Ferguson Cemetery). They had six more children, all born in Almont: Arthur (1850-1852), Charlotte (1853-1858), Alexander Watson (1855-1900), Mary (1857-1863), Katie (1859-1863), and Elizabeth (1866-1938).
Son Charles R. Ferguson at the age of twenty started a general Merchandising business. On December 2, 1872, father and son, Charles D. and Charles R., bought the Townsend & Currier bank, which was located on the northeast corner of Main Street and St. Clair Street.
For thirty-seven years, this was the only bank in Almont. The Fergusons did very well. In 1909, the Almont Savings Bank opened and drew some customers from the Ferguson Bank.
After World War I, money was tight and the bank fell on hard times – assets decreased in value, loans could not be called because their debtors did not have the money to repay their loans. The bank crash in 1921 led to the following notice to be placed on the bank’s doors on a Thursday in 1921: “On Account of the withdrawal of deposits, it has been necessary to close this bank.”
The bank building also had two tenants. On the first floor on the north side of the building was Mrs. Mary Howland’s dress shop and the Hancock Photo Studio was on the second floor.
Shortly after Charles R. Ferguson’s death in 1923, the bank building was torn down and replaced by a gas station, which is now the Almont Donut and Bakery Shop building.
Over the years, Charles D. Ferguson held several local civic and school offices.
Charles and Charlotte had been living on the west side of Van Dyke, the second house north of Washington Street. In 1895, Charles bought property on the northwest corner of Church Street and West St. Clair Street—the site of the original Methodist Episcopal Church. He had the old church building moved to the north side of the property and rotated the building by 90 degrees so it faced Church Street.
Being in his early seventies with abundant money and wishing to enjoy his leisure time, he chose to build a home that would “dispense a most gracious hospitality,” which resulted in this fine example of Queen Anne architecture. The church building had been moved to provide the large yard which occupies the eastern half of the property so he had space to throw large outdoor gatherings and parties.
Charles D. Ferguson died January 17, 1896 in Almont. He was buried in the Ferguson Cemetery in the family plot which already was the burial site of his children Arthur, Charlotte, Mary and Katie. Charlotte lived another twelve years and died on April 2, 1908 in Almont. She was laid to rest next to Charles. Charles and Charlotte’s other children and their spouses were laid to rest nearby.
Copies of the Almont Historical Society’s various books can be purchased by contacting Jim Wade at 810-796-3355 or firstname.lastname@example.org or stopping by the museum on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.