Robert Gracey Ferguson

 

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 College.

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.

20th Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, page 384

 

Ferguson Hall on the Westminster College Campus, was built in 1941 and named for Robert Gracey Ferguson, Westminster fourth president.

 

 

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