|Re-published from March 4, 2001.|
Jack Ferguson and his wife Ernestine have both passed since this story was published.
By Bob Weaver 2001
Calhoun's oldest living football player gleams with spirit, recalling
his early days on
White Pine and his adventures across America. Jack Ferguson at 93 says
"It has been
a great trip," the business of life.
He and his wife Ernestine, 88,
who sprung from Long
Island, New York, have been married 69 years, living on the Mt. Zion
ridge since 1955.
"We traveled and worked in 38 states on high voltage lines, but always
came back to
Calhoun," he said.
Ferguson house on Mt. Zion Ridge
Ernestine and Jack have been married 69 years
Jack recalled early White Pine, with numerous stores, a hotel, a grist
mill and lots of
houses. "White Pine had more people than Grantsville at one time," he
dad, John Kay Ferguson, came to White Pine in 1880 from Marshall
County, dying in
Calhoun in 1968 at the age of 99. There were three other children,
Edna Swanson and Rome Ferguson. Jack attended Slab Fork School near
Vancamp's place, where David Barr now lives. Slab Fork joined Road
Fork and Cherry
Fork to create the "new" two-room White Pine School.
Jack went off to Chicago in 1928 to receive electrical engineer
training where he
encountered the gangster wars. One of his classmates was gunned down
Looking from a hotel window "Another man was walking down the street
and a car came from a side street and started shooting at him with a
machine gun. He
dropped the crutches and ran for his life. I think he got away." Jack
said there was so
much corruption "You couldn't tell the cops from the crooks."
He went to the original Calhoun High School before it was completed.
The streets in
Grantsville, all mud. "You'd sink in, if you didn't stay on the board
walk." He recalled
the riverboat days and Grantsville without a bridge. "You walked
across the river or
rode a horse near the football field."
"I asked dad Ferguson (John Kay) about how old he felt when he was
The old man said "I feel like I'm almost 28." She said he
ran around with
younger people most of his life, and kept a great attitude, much like
The Ferguson's have three children, Betty Elizabeth Salisbury of St.
Albans (who has since passed away since this article was written) Virginia
Ice of Pittsburgh and John of Glasgow, a retired West Virginia State
Policeman (who has also passed on since the article was written.)
"Life never got monotonous," concluded Jack. "Attitude has helped a
lot. If you start
feeling sorry for yourself, you go downhill fast."
"It's been a great trip"