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Walter Ferguson. In the domain of newspaper enterprise ill Oklahoma the name of no one family can claim to have more distinctive precedence than that of which Walter Ferguson is a representative, and as a vital force in the field of journalism in this commonwealth his influence has been specially noteworthy, the while he has shown the utmost loyalty to and abiding interest in the vigorous young commonwealth within whose borders he has been a resident since his early childhood, his father having been a distinguished figure in Oklahoma history and he himself having well upheld the prestige of the family name. Mr. Ferguson is editor and publisher of the Cherokee Republican, at Cherokee, the judicial center of Alfalfa County, and of this thriving little city he served as postmaster from August 1, 1911, until August 1, 1915.
Walter Ferguson was born in Chautauqua County, Kansas, on the 20th of October, 1886, and is a son of Thompson B. and Elva U. (Shartel) Ferguson, his father having been the last of the Territorial governors of Oklahoma and having been a specially prominent and influential figure in this history of this state. In a preliminary way quotation may consistently be made from an interesting article which recently appeared in one of the leading daily papers of Oklahoma:
"The first number of the Shattuck (Oklahoma) Republican appeared recently with Tom Ferguson, Jr., as the editor. The accession of young Tom Ferguson to the ranks of Oklahoma publishers is a very welcome one and puts the third paper in the hands of this interesting newspaper family. That it will be a success is fully expected, as the only kind of papers the Ferguson family ever run are successful ones.
“ Thompson B. Ferguson, Sr., originally an Iowa man, was territorial governor of Oklahoma from 1901 to 1906, and established the Watonga Republican in 1892i He has seen his state grow from an Indian wilderness to one of the most advanced and up-to-date of our commonwealths, and he has seen the Republican grow from nothing to one of the most profitable papers in the state. He was married in 1885 to Miss Elva U. Shartel, a connection of several of the prominent families of Kansas and Oklahoma and a distant relative of Senator Robert M. LaFollette, of Wisconsin. Mrs. Ferguson has been her husband’s partner in the publication of the Republican for some years and is a very able writer and business woman. She pays, however, that her best claim to newspaper recognition is the fact that she is the mother of Walter Ferguson, who is the publisher of the Cherokee Republican, and generally considered the best young newspaper man of the new state, and of Tom, Jr., who she fully expects to duplicate Walter’s success.
“ Walter Ferguson established the Cherokee Republican several years back and has made it the most often quoted paper in Oklahoma, He has a remarkable fine sense of humor, and every week runs a full-page department of satirical criticism of public events. He has recently achieved local fame by running a department of his paper devoted to events in Bugscuffle, Bolivia. The last Indian uprising, five years ago, was led by Chito Harjo (Crazy Snake), who, after days of ‘warfare,’ disappeared entirely, and only recently was reported to have turned up in Bolivia. Mr. Ferguson seized upon the report to begin getting long letters each week from Crazy Snake, who recounted the doings of the politicians in Bugscuffle. By thus adopting Dean Swift’s method to his own use, Mr. Ferguson has been running a department of political satire each week that has seldom been equaled in state newspaper work,–by starting the ‘Bugscuffle News’ as one page of his paper. Being a republican in a hidebound democratic state, he naturally finds plenty of material upon which to exercise his wit. Mrs. Ferguson conducts the women’s department of the Cherokee Republican and is herself a very able writer and quite prominent in the Oklahoma Federation of Women’s Clubs. She was elected second vice president of the Oklahoma Editorial Association at the recent meeting of that organization.
“Tom, Jr., who has only voted one time, has learned his trade thoroughly in his father’s office and now starts out for himself in a new field, at Shattuck.”
The foregoing extracts show that the Ferguson family is one of much prominence in the field of newspaper work in Oklahoma and further pertinent data will be found on other pages, in the sketch of the career of Hon. Thompson B. Ferguson, who came with his family to Oklahoma in 1889, the year that marked the opening of the territory to settlement.
Walter Ferguson was about four years of age at the time when he came with his parents to the virtually untrammeled wilds of the newly organized Territory of Oklahoma and here he has found ample opportunity for “trammeling” to his heart’s content, for the making of name and fame for himself, for being a factor in the march of development and progress and for agitating with the sharp darts of satire the minds of those who have followed the red men on to the stage where the latter long held dominion. Mr. Ferguson has snipped all the dignified prongs off the head of Benjamin Franklin’s ” art preservative of all arts,” and can tell you all about the practical details of a “print shop” and the newspaper business as exemplified in Oklahoma. He learned the printing and newspaper business in the office of his father and, finally shaking off the shackles of paternal supervision, he has shown to his sire and the general public that he is able to sit up and do a few things in the newspaper work in an independent way, all of which has been demonstrated in his upbuilding of the substantial business and wide circulation of the Cherokee Republican,–a paper that is individual, that is an admirable exponent of local interests, and that speaks freely and unreservedly concerning political affairs, from the standpoint of the republican party principles. Mr. Ferguson edited and published the first Blue Book of Oklahoma, and he is alert, vigorous and progressive in his civic attitude, a young man of thought and action and one who has secure vantage-ground in popular confidence and good will. His service as postmaster o£ Cherokee was marked by a careful and effective administration and his retirement came because he did not wish further to harrass by his preferment in office the governmental administration that is at variance with the political principles and policies of which he is an advocate. Mr. Ferguson is affiliated with the Masonic Fraternity, is one of the most active in the support of measures and enterprises tending to advance the welfare of his home city, county and state, and shares with the other members of the Ferguson family in generous popular esteem.
In the year 1908 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Ferguson to Miss Lucia Loomis, daughter of Dr. Edward O. Loomis, a prominent physician and influential citizen of Wapanucka, Johnson County, this state, and the one child of this union is Loomis Benton, was was born in 1909.