Skip Navigation

GURNETT E. FERGUSON


Business has its pioneers as well as other fields of endeavor, and it sometimes requires as much courage and originality to succeed in the realm of business pioneering as it does to blaze new trails in the wilderness or to sail uncharted seas. One of these business pioneers of the race in West Virginia is Capt. Gurnett Edinburg Ferguson, proprietor of the Ferguson Hotel of Charleston. Capt. Ferguson is a native of Edgewater, W. Va. His father Daniel Ferguson was a farmer and truck gardener, and he was the son of Daniel and Julia Bagley.Capt. Ferguson's mother was Miss Sarah Elizabeth Eddens, daughter of Lucy and Peter Eddens.

As a boy, young Ferguson laid the foundation of his education in the public schools of Charleston. From the public and high schools he passed to the West Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute, graduating in 1922. When he was able to secure teachers license, he began teaching in the rural schools of the State. As his work in this field became known, his services were in demand so that his last work as a teacher was at Huntington, whose schools are known to be among the best in the State. While in school he was active in college games and at Huntington had charge of school athletics.

With the outbreak of the war he volunteered and went to the officers training camp at Des Moines. He was commissioned Captain and sent to Camp Grant, where he trained Company M., 365th Infantry. When his command went over, Capt. Ferguson remained in America to defend some colored soldiers who were involved in a grave charge, and his conduct of the case won for him the commendation of Gen. Martin. Later he went to France on a transport carrying 1,700 men, and being the ranking officer on board was in command of the troops. He was the only Colored officer who commanded a transport.

It is as a business man, however, that Capt. Ferguson is best known. When discharged from the service, he returned to Charleston and resumed his business and real estate operations. A man of good business judgement and an excellent judge of values, he had already won confidence in financial circles.

Observing the rising tide of prosperity and the consequent tendency to travel on the part of the people, he conceived the idea of developing in the heart of Charleston a modern hotel. His plans took into consideration not only facilities for the transient, but grouped around that central idea, the moving picture, the cafe, the pool room, the barber shop and the convention hall--in fact, all those places and occasions at which the people "most do congregate." Accordingly a splendid modern brick structure was erected on Washington Street, near the old Capital site at a cost of nearly two hundred thousand dollars. The work has been departmentalized and a capable man put in charge of each unit, so that Capt. Ferguson is left free to look after the constructive and creative phases of the business without loss of motion or attention to details. This is modern efficiency--but modern efficiency where it has not been applied before. It is gratifying to be able to record that the very first months operation showed a profit.

On August 27, 1914, Capt. Ferguson married Miss Lilly A. Foster. Mrs. Ferguson was educated at Institute and was an accomplished teacher. They have three children, Bess Louise, Ashton and Grace Ferguson.

Capt. Ferguson is a Republican and has been active in the councils of his party. He is a member of the Baptist church and belongs to the Masons.


History of the American Negro Index

Genealogy CornerGenealogy Corner

West Virginia History CenterWest Virginia History Center

West Virginia Archives and History