4. Emory Cecil (1881-1964)

Your guess at Emory Cecil Ferguson’s age, captured in this handsome childhood portrait by the short-lived Snohomish studio of Barnes & Evans, is as good as mine.

Commonly known as Cecil, he was born in 1881 as the youngest child of Lucetta and Emory, and the only one with descendants living today in Snohomish.

It was not until he was 28 years old that Cecil married Clara Schlieve from Minnesota, but wasting no time, the couple had a growing family of three children ten years later — Emory Albrecht, Burdette Alonzo, and Madeleine — all graduates from Snohomish High School in the 1930s and living on Maple Avenue. A fourth child, Alvin Gordon, died shortly after birth in 1911.

snohomish storiesCecil and sons Burdette and Emory, 1950s
Partners in the family caning business, Ferg’s Finer Foods, produced product that they sold by the railroad car in its heyday.
All images courtesy of the Ferguson Family | Snohomish Historical Society Archives

All three children joined Cecil in establishing the Ferguson Cannery, located in a building that still stands and recently renovated for the new home of the Eagles Aerie #195. Incorporated in the 1950s, the family business became known as “Ferg’s Finer Foods” – even producing a tongue-in-cheek can of Puget Sound Air for the 1960 World’s Fair in Seattle. (You may read more about the cannery here.)

Clara died the following year and Cecil three years later in 1964, and the family operation he founded in 1914 soon came to an end.

Burdette, married Ruth Christensen in 1940, a union that gave birth to three children, all who were saved from a future in the canning business — working summers through their high schools years was enough.

Eldest daughter, Sharon Lee, lives today with her husband in Bellevue.

Middle child, Gary Howard married Penny Lu Hazeltine, daughter of Robert who was the first mail carrier in Snohomish.

And Bruce Allen married Marie McGlinchy, who with their children all grown, live today in the North Snohomish Train Depot, a replica station they built in 2007.

Both Gary and Bruce remember exploring what remained of the original 32 acre Ferguson Farm as kids, especially the stream, then called Ferguson Creek, that bordered the property. It’s called Swifty Creek today, a “daylighted” stream held safely behind cyclone fencing.

Gary Ferguson at the Snohomish Aquatic Center.
Gary is the great-grandson of E.C. Ferguson, founder of Snohomish.

Please leave a comment below with your guess of Cecil’s age in the cover photo above.

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Published in the Snohomish County Tribune, April 16, 2014

  • warnerblake

    The other picture of Cecil, my Dad, and Uncle; it was taken from inside the warehouse. The cannery had two railroad loading docks. This branch line of the N.P. Railroad, ran to Everett. [same tracks the Snohomish Trolley used].

    The cases on the conveyor, happen to be clam chowder. The chowder was boxed in white card board boxes, 24 cans per box. The railroad box car, belongs to the Wabash Railroad. Their logo can be seen on the outside of the box car [a flag on a staff]. You can see the markings of a “W” on the flag. The Wabash was a East Coast railroad, so I would think this is where the chowder is going. The picture was taken around 1954 [?].

    Look at both pictures…………..Cecil is using the same pose, using his fore arm in the same way.

    From Bruce Ferguson via email — thanks Bruce!

  • Margaret Riddle

    I’m guessing about 8 years old, based on this info from David Dilgard at the Everett Library:

    Barnes and Evans were in partnership in Snohomish only from the fall of 1888 to 1889. There is always a possibility, however, that one of the photographers continued using old studio mounting cards after that time, but at least this is a good guess.