Thompson Benton Ferguson

Last updated
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

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. [lower-alpha 1] 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).

Related Research Articles

Watonga, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Watonga is a city in Blaine County, Oklahoma, United States. It is seventy miles northwest of Oklahoma City. The population was 5,111 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Blaine County.

Edward Ferdinand Arn was the 32nd Governor of Kansas from 1951 to 1955.

Payne Ratner American politician

Payne Harry Ratner was the 28th Governor of Kansas from 1939 to 1943.

John Martin (Governor of Kansas) (1839-1889) 10th Governor of Kansas, USA

John Alexander Martin was the 10th Governor of Kansas.

Charles N. Haskell Governor of Oklahoma; politician

Charles Nathaniel Haskell was an American lawyer, oilman, and politician who was the first governor of Oklahoma. As a delegate to Oklahoma's constitutional convention in 1906, he played a crucial role in drafting the Oklahoma Constitution and gaining Oklahoma's admission into the United States as the 46th state in 1907. A prominent businessman in Muskogee, he helped the city grow in importance. He represented the city as a delegate in both the Oklahoma convention and an earlier convention that was a failed attempt to create a U.S. state of Sequoyah.

James M. Harvey (politician) Union Army officer and american politician

James Madison Harvey was a United States Senator from Kansas and fifth Governor of Kansas.

George Washington Steele 1st Governor of Oklahoma Territory

George Washington Steele was an American lawyer, soldier, and politician who twice served as a Congressman for Indiana, from 1881 to 1889 and again from 1895 to 1903. Steele was also the first Governor of Oklahoma Territory and was instrumental in developing the state's public education system and its two largest universities.

Robert Martin (Oklahoma) Acting Governor of Oklahoma Territory

Robert Martin (1833–1897), a Republican lawyer and native of Pennsylvania who moved to Oklahoma Territory in 1889, served as Secretary (1890–1893) and Acting Governor of Oklahoma Territory.

Marcus Junius Parrott American politician

Marcus Junius Parrott was a delegate to Congress from the Kansas Territory from 1857 until 1861.

William Cary Renfrow American politician

William Cary Renfrow was a native of North Carolina who lived there until he enlisted in the Confederate Army at the age of 17. After being mustered out at the end of the American Civil War, he moved to Arkansas. He participated in the Land Run of 1889 in what would become Oklahoma Territory, and settled in Norman where he became a banker and an American businessman. President Grover Cleveland appointed him to serve as the 3rd Governor of Oklahoma Territory from 1893 to 1897. After completing his term of office, he moved to Miami, Oklahoma, where he became active in lead and zinc mining business. He followed this activity by entering the oil and gas business in Texas, which proved quite profitable. He died in Arkansas in 1922 while traveling to see his brother.

Cassius McDonald Barnes Union Army soldier

Cassius McDonald Barnes was a soldier in the Union Army in the American Civil War and a lawyer and Republican politician who served as the 4th Governor of Oklahoma Territory.

Bird Segle McGuire American politician

Bird Segle McGuire was an American politician, a Delegate and the last U.S. Representative from Oklahoma Territory. After statehood, he was elected as an Oklahoma delegate to Congress, where he served six consecutive terms. He retired from politics in 1915. He was a cousin of William Neville.

Willis J. Bailey American politician

Willis Joshua Bailey was a Republican United States Representative from Kansas and the 16th Governor of Kansas.

L. M. Gensman American politician

Lorraine Michael Gensman was a U.S. Representative from Oklahoma.

Thomas A. Osborn American politician

Thomas Andrew Osborn was the sixth Governor of Kansas.

William Miller Jenkins American lawyer

William Miller Jenkins was an American lawyer and Republican politician. He was appointed by President William McKinley in 1901 as the 5th Governor of Oklahoma Territory. However, he had only served for six months when President Theodore Roosevelt removed him from office, after receiving complaints of political malfeasance. Although Jenkins was exonerated by subsequent investigations, his removal could not be undone, forcing his early retirement.

William C. Grimes American politician and businessman

William C. Grimes was an American politician and businessman who had a major influence on Oklahoma politics. He most notably served as Acting Governor of Oklahoma Territory from November 30, 1901, to December 9, 1901. For many years, he served as chair of the Territorial Republican Committee. He also served as the territory's member of the Republican National Committee.

Charles Vernon Eskridge was an American politician. Between 1869 and 1871 he served as Lieutenant Governor of Kansas.

Governor Ferguson or Fergusson may refer to:


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

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

1901 - 1906
Succeeded by
Frank Frantz