|Fergus(s)on Y-DNA Project
James Ferguson (c. 1721 - 1793), my gggg grandfather, was my earliest known Ferguson ancestor. I believe based on my DNA matches that he was born, married and lived in county Fermanagh, Ireland until he immigrated to America in 1773 with his wife, two sons (John and Thomas) and three daughters (given names unknown). Shortly after their arrival in the Philadelphia/New Castle area, they made their way to New Buffalo, Pennsylvania, a frontier community situated on the west bank of the Susquehanna River, about five miles north of its confluence with the Juniata. What little we know of James Ferguson and his family was gleaned from entries in the "Annals of Buffalo Valley" compiled by John Blair Linn and published in 1877 [online as Google eBook]. An early entry (Jan. 13, 1777) in the Annals stated that Thomas Ferguson was to go on a journey to the Six Nations (of the Iroquois) but nothing to indicate that he ever returned. (Family oral history has it that John Ferguson's brother had gone to war and never returned; I believe Thomas was that brother.) Later entries state that "James Ferguson was living in New Buffalo in 1781 and that he died there in 1793, survived by three daughters (Mrs. William Thompson, Mrs. Hugh McConnel and Mrs. Charles Hummel) and son John, who married David Hanna's daughter."
John Ferguson, my ggg grandfather, was born in Ulster, probably Antrim, in 1756, and immigrated to America in 1773. He served in Captain Noah Abraham's Company of Cumberland County Militia (certificate #19336), at times associated with the American Continentals commanded by General John Sullivan, but more often on frontier duty in central Pennsylvania, protecting against Indian attacks. ("History of Clearfield County" by Lewis Cass Aldrich 1887, indicates that he was one of the defenders of Ft. Freeland in July 1779, but he may instead have been associated with the relief force of Militia commanded by Captain Hawkins Boone, a brother of Daniel Boone. In either event, he was captured by the British and held prisoner for some time.)
I do not know whether John Ferguson met David Hanna, a Scots-Irish soldier about twice his age, before or during the Revolutionary War but John Ferguson joined David Hanna at his home in Cecil County, Maryland, after the war. In 1786, John Ferguson married David Hanna's daughter, Sarah, who was born in Cecil County in 1764. About 1800, the combined Ferguson/Hanna families, including five Ferguson children under 12, moved up the Susquehanna River to Lock Haven where they established a farm and a lumber business. David Hanna died in 1783. In the spring of 1804, John Ferguson and family came another 80 miles upriver and claimed some land on the north side of the river, near the site of what later became Lumber City, Clearfield County, PA. Here they lived the rest of their lives and where they had seven more children. Sarah died August 12, 1844, age 84. John died two years later, on Oct. 19, 1846, age 90.
John Ferguson, Jr., my gg grandfather, the second of four sons of John Ferguson, was born in 1798 in Cecil County, MD. In 1823 he married Elizabeth Wiley, and they located on land near the present site of Kerrmoor (near Lumber City) Clearfield County, PA. Besides clearing and improving his farm, John built a saw mill and engaged in the lumber business. Ferguson Township was named after him. Shortly after the Civil War, he turned the farm over to his son and moved to Lumber City where he engaged in the grocery business. He died in 1874, age 76. Elizabeth returned to Kerrmoor and died in 1883, age 80.
Henry ("Harry") Ferguson, my grandfather, was born in Kerrmoor on Nov. 17, 1863. On January 20, 1894, he married Ruth McGaughey at the Presbyterian Church in Clearfield, PA. In 1886, Harry and his brother Ed founded Ferguson Brothers Hardware Store in Kerrmoor which they ran until 1901; Ed moved to Lumber City where he had a milling business and a general store until his death in 1925 at age 65; Harry moved to Clearfield and with a new partner operated a furniture store, Ferguson & Rosser, until his death in 1919, age 55. Five years after Harry's death, Ruth McGaughey Ferguson moved to Denver where she lived with her sister for 24 years thence to Santa Ana, CA, where she lived until her death in 1956, age 90. Harry and Ruth Ferguson had three sons: John Herman Ferguson (1896-1968), David McGaughey Ferguson (1898-1989), and Robert HenryFerguson (1903-1983).
John Herman Ferguson, my father, was born January 1, 1896 in Kerrmoor, PA. After graduating Franklin & Marshall Academy (Lancaster, PA) in 1914, he moved to Denver, CO, where he worked for the Denver, Rio Grande & Western Railway. He enlisted in the Army when war was declared in 1917 and served with the 8th Engineers in Texas; he went to Officer Training School and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in November 1918, just as the war ended. He was known as "Herm" as a boy, "Fergie" in Colorado and the Army, and "Jack" for the rest of his life. After the war, Jack completed his education at Carnegie Institute of Technology obtaining a degree in Civil Engineering in 1923. He was active in sports, lettering in varsity football, boxing and tennis. In 1923 he moved to Philadelphia, PA, and with a fellow civil engineer formed a construction company which grew rapidly but failed ten years later in the depth of the Great Depression. On August 6, 1924, he married Adda Mae Lutz, whom he knew from childhood in Clearfield. They made their home in Philadelphia where they lived the rest of their lives. John Herman Ferguson died December 21, 1968, age 73. Adda Lutz Ferguson had an active law practice until her death on April 9, 1974, age 91. I, John David Ferguson, born in Philadelphia on February 23, 1928, am their only child.
The above photos of my Great Grandfather and Grandfather were taken around 1894.
Copyright © 2010 Fergus(s)on Y-DNA Project