History of Ferguson, Pa.
From: Clearfield County, Pennsylvania and Representative Citizens
By: Roland D. Swoope, Jr.
Published By Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago

FERGUSON TOWNSHIP

This township was erected by a decree of Court dated February 7, 1839, and named in honor of John Ferguson, one of the earliest settlers in the township. The township is bounded on the north by Lumber City borough and Penn township, on the east by part of the line of Pike township and part of the line of Knox township, on the south by Jordan township and part of Chest township, on the west by parts of Greenwood and Bell townships. The principal business of its inhabitants is farming. The population of the township, according to the census of 1910 was 765.

 

The first settlement within the present bounds of the township was made, in all probability, by Robert McKee, some time previous to 1819, on the farm subsequently owned by W. H. Smith. McKee made but little improvement. Some time between 1806 and 1819; James Rea and James Hagarty came with their families to McKee's to a woodchopping. In the evening they all returned home except Hagarty, who lingered behind talking to Robert McCracken. He did not return and at early dawn Mr. Rea went back to see what had become of his neighbor. He found him in the woods dead, a short distance below McKee's shanty. The surroundings indicated that he had been murdered, but by whom was never clearly proven.

John Henry lived on the place a short time, but in 1836 John Miles, Sr., came to the township and purchased 200 acres of land which included the McKee property. In 1838 he sold one-half of it to John S. Williams, and in 1857, a short time before his death, he sold the balance to his son-in-law, William H. Smith, who still occupies it.

John Ferguson (for whom the township was named), Thomas McCracken, John Hockenberry, William Wiley and John Campbell, all came to the township about 1823. 

John Ferguson married Elizabeth Wiley, a sister of William Wiley. He built a saw-mill on the head waters of Little Clearfield Creek, where he lived several years, subsequently removing to Lumber City. where he engaged in the grocery business. He afterwards removed to Lockport, Pa., where his death occurred in 1874.

John Hockenberry lived on the farm later owned by David Read. He had several sons and daughters, two of whom-David and Marion-moved to the west, the others remaining in this vicinity.

William Wiley moved to Knox township and later to Wisconsin, where he died some time in the eighties. Thomas McCracken married Rebecca Bell, of Pike township, in which township he lived for a few years. He died m 1847, having had ten children, sons and daughters, most of whom grew up and married.

Among other early settlers of Ferguson township were John Campbell (born 1797), who came from Juniata county, and who was still living on the mountain road between Janesville and Tyrone in 1887 (had a numerous family); David Ferguson, a brother of John, who came from the vicinity of Lumber City in 1839 (he was a civil engineer and school teacher, and married Rachel McKee, of Cumberland county, Pa. by whom he had six children); Grier Bell, son of Arthur Bell, and said to have been the second white child born in the county (he married Hettie Roll, of Armstrong county); Robert McCracken and George G. Williams, the latter coming from Center county. Most of these pioneers have numerous descendants now living in the county, some in this township and others elsewhere. They were a sturdy and energetic class of people, as were also most of those who followed them a little later, such as the Straws, Moores, and Tubbses.

The first schoolhouse was built previous to 1841 on the John Ferguson farm, Ross Robison being the first teacher. He was succeedeci by Joseph Moore, a prominent citizen of the township, who has long ago passed away. David Ferguson was the third teacher. Other schools were later erected, according to the needs of the community, and the township's present educational facilities will compare favorably with those of almost any rural community of its size.

One of the most terrible events that ever took place in this township was the burning of the Nicholas Tubbs residence in the autumn of 1961. Mr. and Mrs. Tubbs had gone to attend a meeting in the old schoolhouse at Marron, leaving their four children, the eldest of whom was about twelve, at home. An alarm of fire was heard and when the congregation rushed out they found the Tubbs house in flames. Nothing could be done to save the children, who were roasted to death in sight of the frantic parents and neighbors.

The village of Gazzam, located on both sides of the East Branch of Little Clearfield Creek, in the southern part of the township, was named in honor of Hon. Joseph M. Gazzam, of Philadelphia. Mines were opened here in 1884 by the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co., and dwelling houses erected. This is chiefly a mining community, but there are stores and other industries, with good church and school facilities.

Kerrmoor- This village was named in honor of its originators, Moore Bros. & Kerr, and is located at the forks of Little Clearfield Creek. It sprang into existence as a consequence of the building of the Beech Creek Railroad. The land was owned by Joseph and William Moore, two of the early settlers and prominent citizens of the township, and occu pied by Ross McCracken, who lived here alone for many years in a shanty. In 1884 Robert and Milton (sons of William) Moore, and James Kerr, under the firm name of Moore Bros. & Co., purchased the land and immediately laid it out in town lots. The Clearfield Lumber Co. built a large steam mill for the manufacture of lumber, while other business enterprises soon followed. The community is thriving and has church and school facilities.

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