Richard C. Ferguson

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
March 19, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 369-370

RICHARD C. FERGUSON. The natural resources of West
Virginia are practically limitless, for new sources of wealth
are being discovered all the time by men of science and
research, thus affording ample scope for the advancement
of capable and energetic persons. One of the industries of
more recent growth is the manufacture of wood alcohol for
development plants, and one of the men who, as operating
manager for the wood alcohol plant of the Huntington Gas
and Development Company, of Huntington, West Virginia,
has made a name for himself, is Richard C. Ferguson, of
Dingess, Wayne County. He was born in Frederick County,
Maryland, February 18, 1873, a son of Samuel T. and Emma
(Cromwell) Ferguson.

Samuel T. Ferguson was born at Washington, D. C., a
son of William P. Ferguson, who served in the Union army
during the entire war between the North and the South.
Emma Cromwell was born in Maryland. Eiehard C. Fergu-
son comes of Maryland and Virginian stock, and on his
grandmother’s side his ancestors settled in Virginia in 1732.
There is Scotch-Irish and French stock in the families, the
last named being of the Huguenot strain, which was estab-
lished in the American Colonies when the religions persecu-
tions drove all Protestants out of France. Samuel T. Fergu-
son was a clergyman of the Methodist Protestant Church,
and held charges at Newmarket, Maryland, Mardella
Springs, Maryland, for four years each in Franklin and
Bedford counties, Pennsylvania, and Finksburg, Maryland,
and for four years at Libertytown, Maryland, where he died
in 1889.

Richard C. Ferguson attended public schools in Pennsyl-
vania and Maryland through the grammar grades, the high
school at Libertytown, Maryland, and West Maryland Col-
lege at Westminster, Maryland. Entering upon a business
career, he was for about ten years an accountant and general
office worker at Baltimore, and then came to West Virginia
as bookkeeper and paymaster for a lumber company at
Camden on Gauley, remaining with this concern until 1909,
when he went with the Cherry River Boom and Lumber
Company at Holcomb, West Virginia, and was in charge of
their lumber operations there for ten years. After leaving
college at Westminster, Mr. Ferguson took a short course
in chemistry at a night school in Baltimore. Leaving the
Cherry River people, he took charge of the construction
and completion of a wood alcohol and sawmill plant, and
put the same into operation at Sutton, West Virginia. Six-
teen months later, having completed his contract, he en-
gaged with his present company to look after the con-
struction of their wood alcohol plant at Dingess, and after
its completion was made operating manager. The plant has
six retorts, each with a capacity of ten cords of wood,
which are charged six times each week, obtaining from ten
to twelve gallons of wood alcohol from each cord of wood,
beside the acetate of lime and charcoal, of which latter
substance there is about fifty bushels from each cord of
wood. The company has a supply of wood for fifty years
to come.

In 1910 Mr. Ferguson married at Fairmont, West Vir-
ginia. Sue Strother, a daughter of Elihu and Letitia (Carr)
Strother, farming people, both natives of West Virginia.
Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson have one daughter, Letitia. They
belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Mr. Fer-
guson is a Chapter Mason, and plans to continue in the work
of his fraternity. He also belongs to the Knights of
Pythias, Junior Order United Mechanics, and is a charter
member of his Council, and one of the few men now living
who entered this order during the first years of its existence.

While Mr. Ferguson is thoroughly grounded in his pro-
fession, he has also a practical experience that is very
valuable to him and that enables him to overcome obstacles
as nothing else could. His duties are heavy, but he does
not neglect his civic responsibilities, and lives up to a high
conception of American citizenship and sets an excellent
example in his business and private life.