Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rapid City Founders Park Plaza News from Ann Stanton

The Rapid City Founders Park Plaza (FPP) is well on its way to becoming a reality. dhsclassmates contributing author Ann Stanton has been very busy for many months creating community support. She has written an excellent informative history that shows the close founders relationship between Rapid City and Deadwood. Click on FPP History to see Ann's web site.

An important part of FPP funding is by grants, donations, and is open to anyone who wishes to contribute. The FPP web site has details for contributions and they are also offering bricks with inscriptions that will be placed in the Plaza.

Just Found ~ 1898 Deadwood Directory

Click on 1898 DEADWOOD DIRECTORY and 1924 DEADWOOD DIRECTORY for web links.

Deadwood had telephones in 1898! Read about Paul Rewman who started the first Deadwood telephone system only few years after it was invented in 1876.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tribute to Deadwood's Mattie Hill Including Reprint of Published History of Mattie

Mattie Hill

Site Author Dick Dunwiddie

Guest Author Lilah Morton Pengra




Hartshorn College early campus on the Bowe Plantation in Virginia. Mattie Hill attended this college.

Update: I just found the following 1933 Deadwood Plat of what I believe is Mattie’s Deadwood property. This makes sense. When Mattie walked over the hill at the top end of Wabash Street, she was walking on her own property! The same goes for the Pluma side of her gulch access.

Click on all pictures and links for larger view


My introduction:

Note of Revision: Mattie's full name is corrected to show her surname as Champ with noted reason. November 2009 - DickD

Mattie’s proper name was Matilda Champ Hill. Note: In genealogy researched documents, Matilda’s surname is shown as “Champ” but her grandson reports that she usually gave her surname as “Champion”. She was born in 1870 as a freeborn African- American. She was an avid early learner. She attended a noted Washington, DC, seminary and completed college for a full education. She moved to western South Dakota in 1900 and became a cook and child nurse for a Fort Meade couple. In 1902, she married Isaac A. Hill in a church in Pluma. Isaac died in 1937, but Mattie continued to work as a cook and lived her life in their quiet Deadwood home. She raised their own two children and two adopted children, and later she also raised a grandson named Clifford Melrose whom I have never met.

I believe that both Clifford and I visited and helped Mrs. Peck who lived a 37 Charles Street which was close to the Open Air Market. Her engineer husband was murdered with a tire pump bomb in their garage. She was a wonderful person but sure had a sad life. The murder was never solved.

My Mattie Tribute:

My Mattie Hill Tribute starts in the mid-1940s. She frequently walked through my Deadwood neighborhood. Our Wabash Street was a shortcut to Mattie’s home which was over the hill and down in her gulch. She frequently passed Jim Veitl, Dale Allen, and me as we played at dumb kid and dog stuff. She was always friendly and would stop and say something really nice to us and she also liked Jim’s dog Nugget! She also stopped at the Veitl's house and had long talks with Albert and wife Nina. Both my folks worked so were not home during the day. Allens lived on Rodenhaus street which was up another gulch. Old Mr. Fagen the Blacksmith was usually too busy in his shed to notice the neighborhood activities. The Parker House at the foot of Wabash was considered haunted by night and was not scary during the daylight.

In the summers, Mattie raised a large garden and had Rhode Island Red chickens. She sold produce and eggs to the Open Air Market next to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Just think of Mattie and Clifford hand carrying their produce and eggs to the market. It was a long walk no matter which path they took.

Mattie is shown bottom left. I think Seth Bullock is center rear.
Photo courtesy of the Adams Museum

Mattie posed here with a group picture at Calamity Jane’s burial in 1903. She seemed interested and understood the crude, rough-and-tumble women of the Black Hills like the famous Calamity Jane and Bernice Musekamp (Queen of the Rimrock). Mattie lived a quiet community minded life. In the early 1940s, Bernice started the Pactola Moosecamp Park and Restaurant. For a number of years Mattie cooked with Bernice at Pactola and earned the great food reputation for the Moosecamp Restaurant.

In Mattie’s final years she worked closer to her Deadwood home. She cooked at the Deadwood/Lead golf courses, special events in homes and offered famous pastries. Her fried chicken and cakes were legendary.

Early one summer, I needed part-time work and heard that the Tomahawk Golf Course needed a waiter. I did not have any experience but I drove out anyway. I applied and interviewed with Mattie. She had a no-nonsense bearing and sharp questions. I left feeling I would not get the job. But to my surprise, she called to say she picked me over the others that applied. My first day was not good and afterwards Mattie took me aside and gave me some of her special mentoring suggestions. My next day was much better as I arrived freshly bathed, hair combed, clean clothes, polished shoes, a smile on my face and with a much better attitude.

Mattie ran the kitchen, other help, and servers like fine-tuned major surgery. Everything was planned and went like clockwork. She also took extra time to teach me the art of being a server. She gave me inspections that would make the military proud. I never again knowingly failed her trust or expectations.

The last time I saw her and worked for her was at the Lead Country Club for a private family dinner party hosted by Mr. John Finola, the Lead clothier. At dinner’s end, Mr. Finola called me over and put his arm around me. He politely introduced me to his family members and told everyone he knew my parents and they were fine people. He then slipped $5 into my pocket (big money in those days!!). Mattie stayed in the kitchen but she always commanded respect with her quiet ability, caring, and fine cooking. In this small moment, Mattie let me experience and know a new respect for myself. All during the dinner, I had to keep reminding myself of all the correct ways to serve that Mattie taught me. I passed with flying colors… and so did Mattie!

Mattie Hill was an early mentor in what was my lifetime of a few special mentors. I never forgot her and I always loved her. I wish I would have told her personally when she was living. However, I hoped she suspected because she knew a lot more than most of us. She also took time and taught me how to fry chicken and a large gathering batch secret. So now I am a legend with my own family and friends for fried chicken. Each time I cook, I feel her smiling down at me.


Recently, I decided to write a dhsclassmates’ tribute to Mattie. With little to go on other than her name, I started on my information quest to locate something about Mattie and maybe her history. I had a chance discussion with Ann Stanton who wrote Destination in the Wilderness. Ann put me in touch with Joyce Jefferson who suggested I contact Dr.Lilah Pengra. Well what do you know! Lilah knew Mattie’s life history and wrote about Mattie in her published book Corporals, Cooks, and Cowboys. In addition to fully sharing Mattie’s published material, Lilah put me touch with Mattie’s grandson Clifford Melrose. I had long talks with Clifford and his wife Georgia. The Melroses are wonderful people and were pleased to hear how I felt about Mattie and her effect on my life. We stay in touch and they are awaiting this Mattie tribute.

Mattie is shown below on her front steps. She is holding one of her famous cakes.

Mattie Hill from the Melrose Family Collection


Following is Lilah Morten Pengra’s book part and researched history on Mattie Hill. Lilah graciously let me use this digital media rights (DMR) protected material in order to share the Mattie history with dhsclassmates and friends. Lilah also helped me access the DMR images through the Deadwood Adams Museum and Clifford Melrose. Rose Speirs at the Museum was a great help and I consider her too a friend of the dhsclassmates site.

Thank you Ann Stanton, Joyce Jefferson, Lilah Pengra, Clifford & Georgia Melrose and Rose Speirs . . .

Now Mattie’s tribute, history, and quiet Deadwood life can have a new exposure and understanding. I am able to finally share my Mattie story too! You will gain insight as how she lived her life. You will smile about her practical nature and feel a little sad about the porch light signal to Mr. Halleck. The ending hymn quote is an epitaph Mattie’s life in a few words:


Publishing credit:

Click the following for credit link:


Matilda Champion Hill’s story was partly learned through the loving memories of her grandson, Clifford Melrose. He was born in 1935 and knew her, lived with her during his childhood, and kept in contact with her until her death in 1954. In an interview in 1999 with Joyce Jefferson, Melrose summed up his grandmother as a “grand lady…. She did a lot of things for a lot of people although she didn’t have anything herself.” His memories further showed how she was a hardworking, charitable, intelligent and strong-willed woman.

Matilda Champion was born in 1870 in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Her mother was literate and freeborn, a status that was unusual at that time when, just prior to the Civil War, only 1.9% of the black population of the upper south were free, literate women. She obviously valued education as her daughter not only learned to read and write before entering elementary school but also attended Whalen Seminary and Harshore Memorial College in Washington D. C.

Champion came west in 1900 as a young, single woman working as a cook and child-nurse for a military family stationed at Ft. Meade. At that time, there were two types of domestic employment: “living out” and “living in.” Miss Champion “lived out” which meant that she had her own quarters and controlled her free time, a much more respected type of employment than “living in.” She probably was accorded this status because of her education and trustworthiness.

Isaac A. Hill was born in Tennessee. On the 1900 Federal Census he was living in Lead City, South Dakota in an all-black boarding house operated by Fred Jamison. Other boarders there were T. J. Tyson, William Foster, Albert Mace and Theodore and Thomas Yancey. Theodore Yancey was a boot black, Foster a hod carrier and all the other men were described as day laborers.

In 1902, Isaac and Matilda were married in the church at Pluma. They later bought the church building and the seven acres on which it stood. They converted it into their home. On the 1910 Federal Census, Mr. and Mrs. Hill were living in Pluma with their children, Amy born in 1906; and James born in 1908. They also had two foster children, 4 year-old Paul David and infant Louis.

By 1920 Mr. Hill ranched at a place near Savoy, SD on the Wyoming side. He patented his homestead (T50N, R60W, part of sec. 20, 6th Meridian) in 1916. He died September 6, 1937. Mrs. Hill stayed at their home in town so the children could attend school. On the 1920 census, Kate Reynolds and her son George were boarding with Mrs. Hill. Amy and James were still at home and another foster child, Emil Summers, was with them. Eventually, Mrs. Hill also fostered Emil’s half-brother, Frank Lockhart. Her foster child Paul David died when he was 12. According to Melrose, his grandmother also fostered a child named Carl Wright. Melrose reminisced, “My grandmother said there never would be a Black child in the state of South Dakota that didn’t have a home.”

Mrs. Hill raised a large garden and a flock of 50 Rhode Island Reds every summer. She sold produce and eggs at an open-air market in Deadwood. She also made her own soap and kept a spotless house. Melrose said that his grandmother believed that “if she didn’t boil it, it wasn’t clean. Knees and overalls had to be white. If it wasn’t white, it wasn’t clean.” She also worked during this time as a master cook. In the summers she cooked at various resorts or clubs, including Pactola and Tomahawk Country Club. Later she worked in private homes for special events. The cookbook she used was partially burned in a fire but was still in the personal collection of Melrose.

Melrose recalled that when he was young she would occasionally show him the gifts that people had given her. They were stored away in a closet, not because of their monetary value, but because of a value of a different sort: as symbols of respect from others. She also hosted 4th of July and Thanksgiving celebrations at their home attended by the Kerchervals, Baileys, Banks, officers and many African American families from all over the Hills. Her community-mindedness meant that when he was a child of 8 or 9, Melrose was sent to do errands for people in the neighborhood, such as Kate Reynolds and the elderly white woman, Clara Perkins.

Melrose characterized his grandmother as “a very intelligent woman…. We got the Chicago Defender and the Denver Post. I gained more knowledge from her than from anybody…as they say today, ‘She had it going on in all fields.’ She wouldn’t speak unless she was called on to speak and then she would research before she did speak.” His most enduring memory of her was her seated on the front porch in her rocking chair, reading the Bible with her magnifying glass. He described how she’d hide the magnifying glass under her apron and then she’d say, “Boy come here. What does that say?’ And you’d read the scripture. ‘What?’ And you’d read it again. She was trying to get that point across to you. You had to read it. Then you’d go back and sit in a chair and you’d see her pull that magnifying glass out and she’d go back to reading the Bible.”

She was a strong-willed woman and a big woman, “with a lot of moxie,” Melrose said. “She had a very good sense of humor. But it was kind of one-way. She said something and everybody better laugh!” She was a strict disciplinarian but only had to punish him once – when he ate all the soft insides out of a newly-baked loaf of bread but left the empty crust in place.

In her final years, the family tried to convince her to move to be with them in Seattle or Chicago. However, she preferred to live on her own, in the home she had always maintained, without charity from the state or from friends and family. She had “a signal with Mr. Halleck. . .if her light wasn’t on at night or if it was on in the daytime, something was wrong.” Mr. Halleck found her where she had fallen when she died of a stroke. The refrain from one of the hymns sung at Matilda Hill’s funeral in 1954 was a fitting epitaph for her life:

When I’ve come to the end of my journey
Weary of life and the battle is won
Carrying the staff and cross of redemption




Very nice and very thoughtful of you to do this.

Georgia and Clifford--August 22, 2009


I asked Judi what she recalled and she related the following. Obviously Judi remembers some specifics better than I. She was a really nice lady that took very good care of us when our parents traveled!!!! It’s funny, when Judi said she remembered her voice, so do I.

Dave Klein

From: Judi Klein Fitzgerald

I just remember her as loving and respecting me, and also you. I remember her calling me Miss Judi and you Master David. I remember her eating in the closet of the back room - she would not eat at the dinner table with us. That always upset me, as I didn't want her to think of herself as less than anyone else. So I would try to pull the closet door open to get her to come out and she would pull it shut from the inside. We had major tugs of war with that door. I remember her smoking her corncob pipe. She gave me a corncob pipe! I remember her walking down Main Street from our house in the street rather than on the sidewalk - snow and shine. I remember her sparkling white butcher's apron and her curly hair. I remember her kind smile and her laugh. I remember her spotlessly clean house and her rocking chair and her voice. But mostly I just remember her and that she loved me and I loved her.

Dave and Judi-- August 22, 2009


I can't express how much I enjoyed the Mrs. Hill tribute and the part about Pops sign.
I remember Mrs. Hill walking by our place everyday. My mother went out to the street and talked to her and I listened.

I thought she cooked at Louie's Chicken Hut at that time. I didn't realize how well known she was in town. It would be great if we could talk to her now!!

I haven't thought about Nugget for a long time, but I do remember he would stand an wait for you to throw a rock so he could retrieve it and drop it at your feet for another throw. I have many great memories of Wabash Ave.

Ken Lester--August 25, 2009


Dick, I don't consider myself a history "buff" but reading about someone like Mattie, from someone who knew her, is really something. Interesting. Intriguing. Pretty darn nifty! As we've discussed, everyone should have a Mattie in their life. Thank you so much for such a personal look into a piece of Deadwood's history. Whenever I'm in Deadwood from now on, I'll be thinking of Mattie.

Jann August 26, 2009


Hello, I love the information that you have provided about Matilda Hill. I am a family decedent of Matilda Hill. She is my great-great grandmother. I just was reading about her in a book my dad gave me called "Mount Moriah, Kill a man-Start a cemetery" the story of deadwood's BOOT HILL by Helen Rezatto. So I decided to look her up on the internet and found this page. I will love to get into contact with you and learn more about my family.

Quincy L. Jones--September 7, 2009


On behalf of Clifford Melrose's Children- Janice, Brenda, Clifford Jr. and Michael. Thank you for this tribute of our Great-Grandma Mattie Hill. Now, we have more information to pass on to our own children.

Thanks again,

Janice Melrose October 12. 2009


Black Hills Photography by Jann Gam

Jann moved to the Black Hills from the Pacific Northwest. She has fallen in love with the Hills and it shows in her pictures. She is a dedicated and talented photographer. I highly recommend J'ellen's web site The site is a picture show case of the Black Hills, critters, flowers, butterflies, birds and many other varied subjects. She faithfully provides descriptions and interesting facts. She is a real student of the physical world around us.

J'ellen in the Black Hills web site will provide dhsclassmates viewers an added source of great Black Hills photography!! Jann adds photos frequently so check her site often.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Memories of the DHS Janitorial Staff ~ a Snapshot View

Select on an image for larger view

Do you remember these gentle janitors quietly cleaning the Deadwood School Buildings? There was no dust to be seen anywhere. Everything was bright and gleaming. What was that magic odor that they put on the floors and mops? It was plain old good smelling SCHOOL ODOR. They did their job well so we could enjoy our school clean.

In 1971, Lead appended its name to the school and that does not excite DHS Classmates much. Even less appealing is the fact the school district has a plan to surplus the Deadwood School building. There is not much call for big buildings in Deadwood except for gambling. See and send Principal Nick Gottlob a comment about what you think of them selling DHS school building.

Anyway, back to these pictured gentlemen. Do you even remember their names? Mr. Drake is second from the left . . . Did you ever thank them personally or were they ever invited to be a part of any school recognition event? Well probably no, they attended before and after to make sure everything was clean for those events. There is no question they knew all of us and they took pride in each of us as we passed through the school system to graduation.

There is little evidence of DHS in the old Deadwood School Building. But we do have a meaningful bronze plaque displayed on the front stairs. In 2004, we had a rare a window of opportunity and School District cooperation. The plaque was commissioned and paid for by the classes of DHS54 and DHS55 to be shared with pride by all of DHS. The School District provided the installation:

So what about this DHS Janitorial Staff other than they are long gone? Well walk up into the school building and one of first things you will notice is THAT SAME WONDERFUL SCHOOL ODOR. It is just like the old days. Ahhh, the sense of smell can also call up great of memories too! Try it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eldon Gran ~ DHS Typing, Shorthand, Business with Penmanship Appreciated

Select on image for larger view

Eldon Gran was an excellent addition to the DHS teaching staff. The hunt-and-peck did not last long in his classroom. He inspired both boy and girl students to excel and many beyond their self thought limits. We had to type on old upright mechanical typewriters with the QWERTY key boards that did not have n-key roll over. For the younger generations, that means the key bars clashed and stuck when multiple keys were depressed at the same time. The more keys, the bigger the mess, and more time taken to get back keyboarding. You had to reach in and un-stick the mess. It was a demanding correct words per minute typing output and the clock was running. All typewriters were left handed. In those days we did not have a "enter" key. A carriage return was a physical action to reach up with your left hand to the big chrome lever and push the paper carriage clear to the right. Man were those typewriters heavy and noisy!

I forgot to mention you had roll the paper in manually, correctly aligned, and if you were lucky at the top of the page to start typing. The timing started with a sheet of paper next to the typwriter. Elapsed time, sweat, and jangled nerves seemed partners. Girls were smarter and could use their hands better. So they could type faster!

Shorthand is now a lost mysterious art form of personally formed squiggly marks that only the writer could decipher and Mr. Gran too. It too was a planned correct words per minute timed event. It improved if you had a photographic memory. Few boys ever ventured into the shorthand pit as their brain and hand movements were from a different planet.

I think there were other business classes but most of us preferred to have a tooth pulled, Latin or other painful subject options. Lucky for me Latin become an option before Mr. Krug could put my feet in the fire. I must add one short observation about Mr. Krug. I am now convenienced that he knew or suspected every bad thing or mistake each of us ever did in high school. You know that eye in the triangle on the dollar bill? Mr. Krug posed for that. Mr Gran also had one that worked in the back of his head . . . gotcha!

After I graduated, my Mother and Mr. Gran were teachers together out in the Ellsworth School System. By then we were family friends. I then saw him as a open and hilarious person. He had a marvelous sense of humor and could describe the events of the day in a unique way that always made you laugh. To our sadness, he died unexpectedly and our families lost touch.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Old Signs and Old Memories ~ from the Beshara Collection

Woody's Heaven!! :)

Bill shown with the actual "Pop's Grabit N' Growl" sign from
Ken Lester's Pop Collin's cafe he moved around the corner onto Main Street
and was later closed in 1980's
A special article is planned about Pop Collins
and the original Grabit N' Growl

Bill says, in case you are wondering, Sandy's dad, Fred Gravelle owned the Rocky Cove
and also later on he owned the Gold Bar under the Franklin. He used to give
me 45rpm records from the jukebox. To bad I don't still have some of them!

Caroline said...

Too weird! Marge Bell sent me your blog link, she and I are acquainted because I stumbled on her blog. I live in Rapid City, Bill is an old friend, we often eat at their restaurant and those signs are all familiar. What a small world!

Shoe's News on the Economy

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Deadwood Women's Society ~ Circa Unknown from Bill Beshara Collection

Bill Beshara shares this old photo of the Deadwood Women's Society. He and I hope some of you can identify these grand ladies and provide names, date and location in Deadwood.

Top Row: L to R: Mrs. Frances Williamson, Helen Wagner , Mrs Eilers , Blank, Mrs. Reuther , Blank.

Middle row: L to R: Blank, Blank, Mrs. Vancas , Mrs. Hefron , Mrs. Crogran .

Front row: L to R: Blank, Virginia Roberts, Blank, Blank

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Long time DHS English Teacher and Wife of Coach Ferguson Passed Away

Select on image for larger view

I talked to Edna's sister Ruth today. She is a younger sister who graduated from the Custer SD high school. She was happy to hear that many dhsclassmates remember Edna and how she contributed to our lives and education. Not many attended Edna's graveside service.

A few weeks ago Ruth visited Edna in Hot Springs. Edna become ill with a relatively minor medical problem. She did not respond to treatment and suddenly become worse. She was moved to the Rapid City hospice and died within a short time..

Edna was always bright and cheerful. She loved to hear from her students and attended just about all the DHS Runions of late. She drove a bright colored Pontiac Vibe so it was easy to spot Edna when she was in Deadwood. The family decided to keep the Vibe and drove it back to CA.

Ruth is every bit as delightful as Edna and sounds much like her too. Ruth is going to have her family show her dhsclassmates so she can see Edna's tribute and other articles.

DickD 8-19-2009


Edna Ferguson Robinson
1921 - 2009

Select on picture below for larger view

A number of people have passed away since this picture. Names are not listed.
In large view you may need to scroll l-r, u-d.

Edna Robinson 3rd from left front row and Elsie Krug to her right.

50 Year Reunion of DHS54 in 2004

Edna Ferguson Robinson died August 10, 2009 at age 88.

She lived in a Hot Springs retirement home but still kept the original Deadwood house she shared with “Fergie” at 38 Denver Street. She was a long time English Teacher at DHS. I have talked to her quite a bit recently. She was very active and had a marvelous sense of humor. She attended many reunion functions over the years. She was delightful and happy to meet every one of her students, wives, and anyone in attendance. The group picture above is not the best but was taken in 2004 at the 50 Year Reunion of DHS54. Edna is in the front row, third from left, in blue dress. Elsie Krug is to her right in a red pants suit. They both were ageless.

During my last telephone call with Edna, I asked her how she felt about DHS and what was her most important school achievement. She said DHS and Deadwood school system was top caliber and the administration/staff was dedicated to educate the students and prepare them for a successful life. She said her most important school achievement was every student she ever taught. She loved them all and tried to be firm to each student’s need. She is very proud of DHS.

I mentioned to Edna that I write dhsclassmates as an amateur writer using Internet publishing. I tried to explain digital media, visualizing and social interchange. She replied she had a computer but did not know how to turn in on. But anyway, she really laughed when I told her that now I wish I had been a better student in her classes.

Please write in Edna’s guestbook and click on GUESTBOOK.


Edna Robinson

DEADWOOD - Edna Ferguson Robinson, 88, passed away Monday, August 10, 2009 at Rapid City Regional Hospital Hospice House. Edna was born Sept. 19, 1920 on the family ranch in Custer County to John and Lita (Graham) McAdam. She was reared by her father's sister Fannie McAdam and brother Robert McAdam. She attended Hot Springs High School, graduating in 1938. Edna then received a Bachelor's degree in 1942 from the University of Arkansas- Monticello. While at university, Edna met and married Coach Stewart A. Ferguson in 1940. Edna spent World War II in Louisiana at Navy Pre-Flight School. She then moved to Deadwood in 1944, becoming a librarian and English teacher at Deadwood High School. A son, Stewart A. Ferguson was born in 1947 - he preceded her in death in 1996. After Coach Ferguson's death in 1955, Edna moved to Sheridan, WY as a high school librarian for one year. She returned to Deadwood for two years as librarian at the Deadwood Public Library. She then moved to Ellsworth Air Base to coordinate the 7th grade English department for two years. Edna then married Harry Robinson in 1960 and returned to Deadwood in 1961 as high school English teacher and librarian, before moving to California in 1965. There she served as librarian with the Colton School District until retiring in 1983. After retirement she returned to Deadwood. Edna was a member of several educational and social organizations including: South Dakota Retired Teachers Assn., California Retired Teachers, Deadwood Round Table Club and the United Methodist Church. Survivors include her three sisters, Ruth Lewis and Louise Schram, both of CA, and JoAnn Picholtz of CT; her step-daughter, Colleen Robinson-Meyers of Rapid City; former daughter-in-law, Jill Tiffany of Spearfish; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, close friends, including Mayme Boltz and Marilynne Hudgens and former students. She was preceded in death by her parents; both husbands; her son, Stewart "Freddy" Ferguson; a step-son, Jim Robinson; two brothers; and a sister. Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 15, at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Deadwood. The Aldinger Funeral Home & Cremation Service has been entrusted with the arrangements. Condolences may be left at .

What a wonderful teacher Edna was. I loved having her as part of my DHS education system .Very recently Janet Burke Burtzlaff and I were discussing her on the telephone. I am so sorry to learn of her passing. She contributed so much, in so many ways,to her students and friends during her lifetime. She will be missed by all who knew her and will always be remembered with love and admiration.. A great lady.
Yvonne Spaulding Hendrickson 8-13-2009
Edna was an interesting study. Here is a bit of trivia. Back in 1962 following our marriage and return to Albuquerque. Our mode of transportationwas the following:

The bright red convertible was good for getting Carol’s attention, but not much of afamily car, so I traded it on a family car. Don’t even remember what now. But I did the trade-in up in Deadwood. So who buys the convertible? Edna Ferguson!!

I sure would like to have that car back now as a big boy’s toy.

DaveK 8-14-2009

There are so many memories about Coach and Mrs. Ferguson and when my husband, Gene, was alive, we used to talk about both of them often and what they meant to us as we were growing up in in the environment of Deadwood Public School. Mrs. Ferguson was our school Librarian and I spent many hours there helping shelve books and learning backwards and forwards the Dewey Decimal System. She was also my "coach" when I entered the High School Poetry Contest. She was always there to help students. She had a dry sense of humor. She always had my respect. The last time I spoke with her was at a 1954 Class Reunion. Like all of us - she looked a little older - but the essence of her was absolutely in place. How lucky we were to have her and Coach Ferguson as our teachers and mentors. We will miss her; but, we will always have our special memories.

Marcia KayW 8-13-2009


Final Important Morris Toppila Message about the 2009 DHS Dinner Details this September


This a reminder that the DHS Dinner is this September 12 at the Deadwood Social Club (above Saloon No. 10).

This will be a full and fun evening for all. Happy Hour is from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. There will be a cash bar to serve you refreshments in our private dining room.

The dinner will start around 6:30. The DHS Dining Room will hold 60, so any late comers will eat in the main restaurant and then join up with us afterwards. We expect a full group of DHS Alumni! Any overflow will be seated in the adjoining dining room for the same cost as the main group dinner room.

The Special Menu cost is $21.25 per person including tax and gratuity. The dinner: First course: Mixed Green Salad. Next, Soup of the Day. Entree: Choice of Mediterranean Chicken, Grilled Salmon, Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, or 8oz. Choice New York Strip Steak. Desert: Chef's Choice.

The management asks that you please bring cash for the social hour and dinner. It will make it much easier for the resturant to process this many people at the same time.


PS: The popular Deadwood Jam is going on the DHS Dinner weekend so allow time for crowds and scarce parking.