Robert Gracey Ferguson,
who has been identified with Westminster College, at New Wilmington, for
many years, serving as its honored president for a period of twenty-two
consecutive years, now fills the chair of English Bible, in this noted
institution. He was born at Dry Run, Franklin County, Pennsylvania
February 16, 1842, and is a son of Hon. James and Mary Ann (Doyle)
Ferguson. Dr. Ferguson is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, both the Fergusons
and the Doyles coming to Franklin County direct from Ireland, in the
days of the grandfathers. His father, Hon. James Ferguson, was a son of
David and Margaret (McKibben) Ferguson. He was a man of unusual
prominence in Franklin County and served for four years on the bench, as
associate judge. He died June 22, 1895, aged eighty-six years. Of his
five sons and two daughters, Robert G. was the eldest.
During boyhood, Dr.
Ferguson enjoyed academic advantages, first at Chambersburg and later in
Tuscarora Academy, in Juniata County, going from there to Jefferson
College, where he was graduated with honors. During the Civil War he
served seven months in the Signal Corps, under General Couch, having
enlisted at Harrisburg, as second lieutenant in the Twenty-second
Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry.
After completing his
theological course at the Allegheny Theological Seminary, Dr. Ferguson
served the united charge of Mercersburg and Cove, and in 1874 assumed
the duties of pastor of the First United Presbyterian Church at Butler,
where he continued for ten years. His election as president of
Westminster College followed in the fall of 1884, when he came to New
Wilmington and entered upon his successful career as the head of one of
the leading educational centers of his religious body. Through the many
years that followed, his directing force increased the efficiency of
this school and added to its reputation and high standing. The weight of
years and increased responsibilities caused Dr. Ferguson first to
consider and later to put into effect his resignation of the office of
president. His present duties as professor of the English Bible are
thoroughly congenial and his name still adds value to Westminster
On January 28, 1868, Dr.
Ferguson was married to Emma M. Huber, who is a daughter of Dr. H. S.
and Priscilla J. (McCurdy) Huber, the former of whom was a very
prominent physician at Gettysburg, Pa. Dr. and Mrs. Ferguson have five
children, namely: Mary Emma, who is a teacher of music; Huber, who
married Caroline Kraer, has five childrenóKraer, Helen, Jane, Robert
G., Jr., and Paul; James Markle, who married Floy Robertson, has two
childrenóLouise and Robert Doyle; and Wallace Radcliffe and Helen.
Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, page 384
Hall on the Westminster College Campus, was built in 1941 and named for
Robert Gracey Ferguson, Westminster fourth president.