PoP's Southern Thangs: Champ Ferguson: Fighter & Killer


Champ Ferguson: Fighter & Killer

I would certainly have wanted him on my side!

'I was a Southern man at the start,' Ferguson said in his final statement. 'I am yet, and will die a Rebel. I believe I was right in all I did.' He reiterated that he had killed only those who had intended to kill him and that he had treated prisoners the way his own men had been treated by the enemy. 'I repeat that I die a Rebel out and out, and my last request is that my body be removed to White County, Tennessee, and be buried in good Rebel soil.'


Esther Frogg knew well the 20-year-old man standing at her front door on November 1, 1861, asking to see her husband, William. The visitor's name was Champ Ferguson, and he was, like the Froggs, a native of Clinton County, Kentucky. Unlike the Froggs, however, Ferguson supported the Confederacy.

'How do you do,' she said and offered him a seat.

'I don't have time,' he replied.

'Have some apples,' she said, gesturing toward the fruit she had just been peeling.

'I have been eating apples,' he said.

Ferguson did not want to sit. He did not want to eat. He did not want to talk. He wanted only to see William Frogg.

Esther told Ferguson her husband was sick and could not take visitors. But Ferguson was not to be deterred. He walked inside the house, leaving the two men who had come with him outside.

Ferguson approached Frogg's bed, perhaps noticing the crib nearby where the couple's five-month-old baby lay. Frogg told his visitor he had the measles. Indeed, he was on sick leave from his regiment, the 12th Kentucky Infantry (Union), though he no doubt withheld that bit of information from Ferguson.

'I reckon you caught the measles at Camp Dick Robinson,' Ferguson said. Camp Robinson was a sore point for Kentuckians who sided with the Confederacy. They believed that men recruited there into the Home Guard went on to fight for the Union.

Ferguson was through talking. He shot Frogg dead where he lay.

Frogg was not the first or last person to die at Ferguson's hands during the war. There were dozens of others. Some of the killings were legitimate acts of combat, but others were nothing more than cold-blooded murder. Many of the victims were Union supporters whom Ferguson sought out more for personal reasons than political ones. In Frogg's case, Ferguson said he had heard rumors that the pro-Union man was planning to kill him. Ferguson decided on a preemptive strike. 'I told the boys that I would settle the matter by going direct to Frogg's house and killing him,' he later said.

Before the Civil War, Ferguson was known throughout the upper Cumberland Mountains on both sides of the Kentucky-Tennessee border as a 'gambling, rowdyish, drinking, fighting, quarrelsome man.' He ranged throughout the region as a hunter and a horse trader, becoming familiar with the whole region.

When the war began, Ferguson immediately sided with the Confederacy.

Free North Carolina


Blogger PoP The Southern American said...

Thanks for this post, Brock..... I had not seen it.


February 23, 2012 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger Brock Townsend said...

First for me also. There was a mention of him on The Moneychanger, but all I could find were brief references, then finally I found this wonderful account. I'd stand beside him.

February 27, 2012 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger PoP The Southern American said...

"I'd stand beside him" Ditto!

February 27, 2012 at 10:06 PM  

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