The Gold Rush Widows of Little Falls


The book by Linda Peavy & Ursula Smith was published in 1990. The Gold Rush Widows of Little Falls: A story drawn from the letters of Pamelia and James Fergus was published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in St. Paul, and contains 305 pages.

Back cover of the book; click on image for  larger view.


In the notes on page 291, number 44, is information on the obituaries and the end of the James Fergus’ children.

James Fergus, obituary, Fergus County Argus, July 2, 1902. Upon Andrew’s death on July 18, 1928, the Fergus Livestock and Land Company, which owned ten thousand acres, was dissolved. (Lewistown Democrat News, July 19, 1928, p. 3.)

Mary Agnes and Robert Hamilton eventually left Helena for a ranch on the Fergus spread, where Agnes died of pneumonia on January 29, 1920. (Mary Agnes Fergus Hamilton obituary, Helena Daily Independent, January 30, 1920, p. 5.)

Luella Fergus Gilpatrick lived out her life in Helena, dying there on February 27, 1931. (Luella Fergus Gilpatrick obituary, Helena Independent, February 27, 1931, p. 5.)

In 1912 Frank Maury died in Dilley, Oregon, where he and Lillie had lived since they moved from Iowa. Sometime thereafter, fifty-five-year-old Lillie married Scott Sparks of Forest Grove, Oregon, ignoring the family’s comments that she was "too old to be married a second time." She outlived her second husband and died of a stroke in January 1930 at age seventy-three. (Margaret Maury Bristol to Peavy and Smith, May 22, 1988; Lillie Fergus Maury Sparks obituary, Lewistown Democratic News, February 9, 1930.)


 This book is highly recommended and family members should obtain their own copy!

There are hardback and paperback editions available at ( which translates better to


The authors have a website at:

They have published additional books with information about our family, but they seem to just be summaries of the original work.


It is written about in several PBS sites including:

The map in the book I used for exploring my roots in reverse: