This blog is the story of John Henry Ferguson and Ruth Benton Ferguson as told by the hundreds of letters they wrote to each other from June 1925-June of 1930 when they got married. The fact that ALL of their letters exist 88 years later and are still in such good shape is totally amazing! Ruth and John were happily married for 46 years before Ruth died suddenly in her sleep when she was 69 in 1976. John remarried and lived happily with Eleanor fnother 20 years until he died in 1997 at the age of 89. It was when John and Eleanor were moving out of our family home in State College that I discovered a big box of old letters in the attic. I almost threw it out, but fortunately I pulled out a few and discovered that they were all the letters from Dad in one layer and all those from Mom in a second layer. They were even in roughly chronological order.
Their letters describe in fascinating detail what life was like on the farm where Ruth spends her summers, on the railroad where John spends two summers, and in school at their beloved Nebraska Central Academy and College. NCC was so small that in the yearbook from 1926 there were only 8 graduating college seniors! At that time in Nebraska public school ended at 9th grade. Ruth then went to the Academy and to college for two years. In the 1920’s women were not apt to be hired to teach if they were married so among her friends the big question was how long would they go to school themselves if they wanted to teach for a few years before getting married. John entered NCC as a “3rd year” student. Not exactly sure what that means, but he graduated from the Academy in 1925 and continued on at the college until he graduated in 1929. Ruth taught elementary school in Allen for two years; John taught and was the principal at Monroe high school for the school year before they married. The letters give a glimpse into what puplic school was like at the time as well as the history of the time period. Particularly fascinating were the stories Dad recounts of the events in Monroe after the stock market crash of 1929. Flappers, prohibition, the advent of talking movies, and much more are told in these letters.
But most of all, this is a love story. I’ve redacted most of the very passionate parts of the letters – suffice to say they made me blush! What a joy to know they were so much in love. Truly amazing to me is how much time they spend fanticizing about what their home would be like in minute detail and how much of it came true.