Ferguson was born in England and moved to Canada in 1910. He was employed on a farm and received board and $40 per year. At the end of that year he had $39.50 in the bank. His brother Joe moved to Canada and secured a position managing a farm in Dawn Township, where Jerry went to work.
Jerry met his wife, Mary Evelyn (Effie) Ward who lived just around the corner and they were married in 1921. They lived on Concession 11 in Dawn Township and had a family of four boys : Lyle, Allen, Donald and Ross.
Jerry farmed the 50 acre property at Lot 29 Concession 11 of Dawn Township and in the late 1950s bought the 100 acre Angus MacAlpine farm at Lot 28 Concession 11.
Jerry was always willing to share his knowledge of raising livestock, and was often called upon for his specific expertise with the care and doctoring of animals. A veterinarian was very seldom, if ever, at the Ferguson farm.
Jerry was held in high regard by his peers for his knowledge of the Shorthorn cattle breed which originated in the Northeastern part of England. He operated a cow/calf business for many years paying close attention to breeding of these cattle to keep the blood lines pure.
The sow business was primarily selling the wieners but he kept the odd one to butcher for his family. The Yorkshire hog originated in England and was introduced to Canada in 1940. It proved to be the right class of pig for the Canadian market.
Barred Rock Chickens
In the 1940’s and early 1950’s Ferguson’s flock supplied eggs for the Lambton Kent Creamery; with business in both Wallaceburg and Petrolia. With the family’s help, the eggs had to be weighted and candled manually before packing for shipping.
This breeding flock was one of the first in this area. Glasses were put on the hens and roosters after they were blood tested to maintain a healthy flock. The glasses served as a measure to prevent cannibalism in the flock by distorting their vision.
Jerry was best known for his plowing abilities. He plowed with a tractor and a two furrow plow in competitions all over Ontario and Michigan. For many years he borrowed a tractor; either by calling ahead to the match organizers or making a deal with a friend. Doing this allowed him to load the plow in the back of his pickup truck and travel easily to matches.
Around 1959 he purchased a new model 22 Massey Harris tractor. This plow was a customized Massy Harris 26 plow for competition only. With the help of his son Lyle, they created a specialized setup. A trailer was built that would tilt to allow the plow to be loaded in the back of the pickup, then they could load the tractor on the trailer.
Jerry was called upon to be a director and a judge of the International Plowing Match and various county matches. He was Champion Plowman at the Lambton County match on several occasions. He was honoured when he and his son Ross were declared as having the best two plowed lands on the grounds at a match in Shetland.
In 1956, in Essex, Jerry won the Ontario championship and came second the next day for the Canadian championship. Jerry plowed his last IPM in 1973 in Alvinston at the age of 81 where he placed second in the Open Class for Ontario.
On Display at Lambton Heritage Museum
After Jerry’s passing the Lambton County Plowman’s Association asked his family if they would be interested in donating his tractor to the museum. The family graciously donated the tractor, plow and several trophies. They can be seen in the white agricultural display building.
- Over 20 years as a member of Lambton County Plowmen’s Association
- Lambton’s representative on OPA
from 1965 – 1967
- Treasurer & committee member of the Oakdale Picnic
- Member for over 50 years of Alexander Masonic Lodge No. 158 – Oil Springs. Served as Worshipful Master in 1944
In the News
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