Fergus Falls Township, which shares its name with the city of Fergus Falls, was organized June 29, 1870.
James Fergus, for whom the township and city were named, was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, October 8, 1813. “At the age of nineteen he came to America with the idea of improving his fortune. He located in Canada a first, where he spent three years and learned the trade of millwright. In 1854 he removed to Little Falls, MN, and in company with C.A. Tuttle, built a dam across the Mississippi and platted a Village. Here he remained for two to three years. During the town-site speculation fever, in the winter of 1856 and 1857, Joseph Whitford, a blacksmith and steamboat engineer, a natural frontiersman, possessed of uncommon courage, energy and prudence, proposed to go out and take up a town-site at what was known as Grahm’s Point, on the Red river. Mr. Fergus furnished the necessary outfit for this expedition. Procuring a dog train and guide, Whitford went to Graham’s Point and staked out a town. On their way back, at Red river, an Indian family told them of a better place for a town twenty miles distant. Leaving his guide to recruit, Whitford took an Indian as a guide and went to the place designated and staked off what is now Fergus Falls, the name being given by the exploring party in honor of the man who had furnished the outfit for the expedition. Mr. Fergus himself never visited the place.
“In 1862 Mr. Fergus drove his own team from Little Falls, Minnesota to Bannock, Montana territory, and held many positions of trust and responsibility. He served two terms in the Montana legislature, and was a member of the constitutional convention of 1887.”
Fergus County in Montana was named in his honor. He died near Lewistown in that county, June 25, 1902.
Source: The Book “Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance” Volume 17 – 1920 By Warren Upham”