William Ferguson III
William Ferguson III was born on April 12, 1919, son of William and Grace (Arnzen) Ferguson in Fall River, Massachusetts. He attended Durfee High School and received a BA degree at Middlebury College in 1941.
In October 1941 he married Helen Rotch of Milford, New Hampshire. He worked for the Providence Journal in Providence, Newport and Fall River until early 1943 when he became an ensign in the Navy. He then moved his family to Milford and went to sea in the Pacific on a DMS – Destroyer Minesweeper – and was in battles at Linegayen Gulf in the Philippines and at Iwo Jima. He retired from the Navy in 1946 as a lieutenant.
He had moved his family to the Rotch family home in Milford and worked for the family newspaper, the 150 year old Milford Cabinet as reporter, as an advertising manager and at times a typesetter. In 1955 he purchased the Rotch insurance business and opened an office on Middle Street. He sold the business in 1970 and continued writing his column, “The Rambling Reporter,” for the next fifty years.
In 1950, he bought a house on Myrtle Street and entertained exchange students from Europe to improve their English before moving on to American schools. He and his wife later visited families of the students in Holland and France. In 1959, he purchased a 100 acre farm on North River road where he lived until 2004. He edited two magazines and contributed feature stories for the Cabinet. He and his wife visited Europe every year until her death in 1991. He then resumed trips on his own the next year and in later years traveled to Europe with his son and grand– daughter. In all he made 42 trips to Europe where he made many friends. He and his wife exchanged houses in Marlow (Bucks County, England) with George and Janet Knox each autumn for 20 years. As an editor he also visited Uganda and Jamaica and many areas of the United States.
His children attended private schools and colleges – Harvard for William, Antioch for John and the University of Madrid for Helen.
Mr. Ferguson was active in many groups in the Milford area. He was president of the Civic Club, The Milford Rotary Club, founder of the Souhegan Valley Land Trust, president of the Wilton Centre Tennis Club, and served on boards of directors for the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra and the Milford Community House. He headed the committee for the town swimming pool and was active in gaining conservation land for the town. He was also on committees for improvement of the Oval, building of a new dam in the river near the stone bridge and the Emerson Park near the Post Office.
Mr. Ferguson was interested in Milford history from 1784 when the first town hall was built (now Eagle Hal) the Paul Revere bell (from 1802) now in belfry of the town hall. Union Square, the Hutchinson anti– slavery singers, Colonial houses on Federal Hill and North River Road – home of the Hutchinsons and his own former farm, both built about 1776, and the Peabody house on Mont Vernon Road built in 1738.
He is survived by his three children, William Ferguson, John Ferguson and Heidi Ehrich; their spouses Nancy, Mary and Tom; his grandchildren Jodie, Paul, Nathanael, Ben and William; and five great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
William Ferguson died Wednesday morning, June 18, 2014, at Riverwoods, Exeter, where he had lived for the past ten years.