Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Jo M. Ferguson, December 29, 2014

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Family history--Great grandfather

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Partial Transcript: My name is Betsy Needels and I am a Hospice of the Bluegrass Social Worker in Northern Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Jo M. Ferguson discusses his family history in Central City and South Carrollton, Kentucky dating back to his great grandfather. He says his family moved from Pennsylvania, discusses his family's farm, and talks about their participation in the War of 1812.

Keywords: "Pa Cane"; Ancestors; Central City (Ky.); Daughters; Farms; Fathers; Great grandfathers; Mothers; Paradise (Ky.); Pennsylvania; Scottish; War of 1812; Western Kentucky

Subjects: Families.; Family--history; Genealogy; Muhlenberg County (Ky.); United States--History--War of 1812

GPS: Central City (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.295, -87.128611
00:06:40 - Family history--Grandfather

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I guess to go on with the family--

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about his grandfather's businesses, his family's education, and talks about their participation in the Civil War.

Keywords: Ancient history; Bankrupt; Central City (Ky.); Confederates; Education; Farmhouses; Ferry; Founders; Grandfathers; Green River; Married; McCown family; Merchants; South; South Carrollton (Ky.); Store owners; Union Army; Whig Party; Yankees

Subjects: Families.; Family--history; Genealogy; Muhlenberg County (Ky.); United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

GPS: South Carrollton (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.336667, -87.141667
00:17:33 - Family history--Father

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Partial Transcript: Ready? Uh, where was I now?

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about his family's involvement in the founding of South Carrollton Male and Female College. He talks about his father's education as a doctor, and his father's proposal to his mother.

Keywords: "Pa Cane"; Cane family; Central City (Ky.); Children; Daughters; Doctors; Fathers; Married; Medical schools; South Carrollton (Ky.); South Carrollton Male and Female College; Teaching; West Kentucky College; Wife

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky; Families.; Family--history; Genealogy; Muhlenberg County (Ky.); Universities and colleges.

GPS: South Carrollton (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.336667, -87.141667
00:23:24 - Childhood in Gulfport, Mississippi

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Partial Transcript: We lived in Central City until I was six years old.

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about why his family moved from Kentucky to Gulfport, Mississippi during his childhood. He talks about the atmosphere of the town, his experiences in school, and moving to Little Rock, Arkansas.

Keywords: Awards; Class leaders; Coast; Doctors; Fathers; Health issues; Horseback; Little Rock High School; Mothers; Moving; Parties; Quiet; Roads; School systems; Slow; Social activities; Southern culture; Swimming; Teachers; Veterans Administration

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Gulfport (Miss.); Little Rock (Ark.); Regionalism--Southern States; Schools

GPS: Gulfport (Miss.)
Map Coordinates: 30.401667, -89.076111
00:31:12 - Living in Lexington, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: We--I was--my father received the hospital in Lexington, Kentucky as reward for his service in straightening out this Little Rock school...

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about why his family moved to Lexington, Kentucky. He talks about attending the University High School run by the University of Kentucky. He talks about attending college to become a lawyer.

Keywords: Central City (Ky.); Closing; College; Hospitals; John Oswald; Law school; Lawyers; South Carrollton (Ky.); University High School; University presidents

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky--Lexington; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.)

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:33:52 - Military service during World War II

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Partial Transcript: And I practiced law there for two years before the war begun.

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about why he joined the Army instead of the Navy when World War II was impending. He talks about his training, the many places he was stationed during the war, and describes his time in the military in detail.

Keywords: Airforce; British; Cologne (Germany); Combat medals; Commissioner's ensign; End of the war; England; France; French; Glasses; Military government; Military training; Munich (Germany); Navy; Normandy (France); Officers; Paris (France); Second lieutenants; Stanford University; Volunteers; Weatherman; Women

Subjects: Military service, Voluntary--United States.; United States. Army; World War, 1939-1945; World War, 1939-1945--Veterans.

GPS: Munich (Germany)
Map Coordinates: 48.133333, 11.566667
00:41:44 - His wife's experience during World War II

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Partial Transcript: But, uh, after the end of the war I was in Munich.

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about how he met his wife in Munich during his military service during World War II. He tells the story of how she came to Munich as a refugee after finishing college in Czechoslovakia, and how she got a job in his office in Munich. He talks about her reunion with her family, and his marriage proposal to her.

Keywords: Austrians; Brothers; Concentration camps; Cottage; Czechoslovakia; Dating; Death; Educated; End of the war; English; Escaping; Family; Fathers; Germans; Home; Hospitals; Jobs; Married; Military government; Mothers; Munich (Germany); Parents; Parties; Prague; Priests; Proposals; Refugees; Reunions; Russians; Soldiers; University; Wife; World War I

Subjects: Czech Republic; Education, Higher; Families.; Refugees; Slovakia; Universities and colleges; World War, 1939-1945

GPS: Munich (Germany)
Map Coordinates: 48.133333, 11.566667
01:04:07 - Becoming Attorney General

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Partial Transcript: Well, I, I'm talking to you about a lot of run up things, I guess I ought to talk to you about more.

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about the job that was waiting for him when he returned from World War II, working for the Democratic nominee for Attorney General. He talks about his work in politics and becoming Attorney General himself in 1955.

Keywords: Alvarado E. Funk; Apartments; Bear Bryant; Children; Congressman Carl Perkins; Daughters; Democratic Party; Democratic nominee for Attorney General; Democrats; Frankfort (Ky.); General Funk; Governor Happy Chandler; Governor Simeon Willis; Governor's assistants; Highway Department; Independent; Jobs; Republicans

Subjects: Governors--Kentucky; Highway departments; Kentucky--Elections; Kentucky--Politics and government.; Kentucky. Attorney General's Office; Lawyers--Kentucky

GPS: Frankfort (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.197, -84.863
01:13:13 - Changes in political parties

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Partial Transcript: But I really meant to talk to you about the differences between government in those days and government now.

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about the change that occurred in American political parties which led to the Democratic Party becoming liberal and the Republicans becoming conservative.

Keywords: African Americans; Attorney General; Changes; Conservative agriculturalists; Democrats; Differences; Elections; Farmers; Governors; Hillary Clinton; Interference; North; Old Southern Democratic Party

Subjects: Conservatism; Democratic Party (U.S.); Liberalism; Party affiliation.; Political parties.; Politics and government; Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )

01:20:24 - Career after being Attorney General

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Partial Transcript: Tell you what?

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about working in bond law after his term as Attorney General. He talks about his retirement in 1990.

Keywords: Bill Davis; Bond law; Chip Grafton; Retirement; Spence Harper

Subjects: Bond lawyers; Lawyers--Kentucky

01:23:50 - His wife's experiences during his political career

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Partial Transcript: Now tell me about retirement. How did you spend your time?

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks about spending time with his wife after his retirement, and discusses the impact of her death on his life. He talks about how she assisted him during his political career by socializing with other politicians and their wives.

Keywords: Aides; Attorney General; Biography; Conferences; Death; Intelligent; Loss; Louisville (Ky.); Marriage; Parties; Retirement; Scholar; Wife; Wives; Writing

Subjects: Education; Kentucky, Northern--Social life and customs; Politicians' spouses; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics and government

GPS: Louisville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.25, -85.766667
01:28:48 - Most rewarding experience

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Partial Transcript: Out of all your experiences, 'cause you're 99 now right?

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson says that his most rewarding experience was being Attorney General for Kentucky due to his lifelong interest in state politics and affairs.

Keywords: Attorney General; Bond law; Commissioners; Enjoyment; Highway Department; Housing and Human Development; Kentuckians; State affairs; Universities and colleges

Subjects: Kentucky. Attorney General's Office; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees

GPS: Frankfort (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.197, -84.863
01:31:56 - More on his wife's experiences during World War II

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Partial Transcript: My wife's life was right interesting too and I've naturally that--I've made it part of my life.

Segment Synopsis: Ferguson talks more about his wife and her family's experience during World War II in Czechoslovakia, and her escape to Munich. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Austro-Hungarian Army; Coal mines; Collapse; Czechoslovakia; Empress Maria Theresa; Family; Fathers; Lieutenants; Noblemen; Wife; World War Two

Subjects: Czech Republic; Education, Higher; Families.; Refugees; Slovakia; Universities and colleges; World War, 1939-1945

GPS: Czech Republic
Map Coordinates: 49.75, 15.5