Little White House

002e North Plains - closeup 8 x 6

“Little” White House – Boyd, Cleo and baby Darwin Fergus on porch – 1938


10789 Gordon St. North Plains, Oregon

“The Garden of Eden of Oregon: North Plains, a thriving town where things are doing…” (North Plains Optimist Aug. 7, 1913)

The first Oregon home for the little Fergus Family of Boyd, Cleo, and Darwin was in North Plains located in Washington County, near the county seat of Hillsboro.  The house had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and dining room.  Money was tight while they lived here, and Boyd and Cleo each only had one good pair of clothes.  It was while living in this house that they came in contact with some Mormon missionaries.  There were only two LDS families living in the area at the time.  Cleo was so excited to see the missionaries that she put her arms around them and gave them a big hug.  A branch of the church was soon started in Hillsboro and grew from there.  One of the missionaries at the time prophesied that there would be so many wards and stakes in his mission of the Northwest that they would be unable to count them.  This was proven true and Boyd and Cleo were involved from the beginning.

Darwin as a child, loved to throw the ball up against the house and catch it.  He also loved to follow his dad around while he worked.  One time Darwin was dragging a chain around trying to reach the railroad trestle that his dad was working on.  He accidentally drug it through an electric fence and instead of letting go he just hung on until his mother rescued him.  A very scary experience for both of them.

Two children were born to the family while they lived here, Dorothy and Howard.  In August of 1938, Dorothy Cleo Fergus was born with a struggle.  Cleo’s doctor was about to go on vacation and as a result tried to hurry the baby along by inducing labor.  Both mother and daughter had a very rough time and fought hard to survive.  Dorothy’s little feet were black when she was born.  At the time, the doctor advised Boyd and Cleo not to have any more children.  After praying about it, Boyd and Cleo did not feel right about it, so Cleo did not have the surgery which would have prevented her from having any more children.

Approximately 2 years later, Dorothy contracted pneumonia and was put in the hospital.  Cleo was pregnant with Howard at the time, and as she prepared to leave Dorothy at the hospital she went into labor.  So, with both mother and daughter in the hospital, another baby was born to the family on February 26, 1941.  They named him Howard Edwin Fergus.  This time everything went smoothly and easily and they were so glad that they had not consented to the surgery which would have limited their family.  While Cleo recovered from the birth of little Howard, she could hear Dorothy calling out, “Daddy, let’s go milk the chores.”  In those days you were not allowed to visit your children in the hospital and this was little Dorothy’s way of calling out for her Daddy.  When she was well and home she loved to wait for him outside on the ledge and then follow him around while he worked.


Little White House - 1993

“Little” White House on Gordon Rd. – 1993

Gordon House North Plains 3 - 2015

“Little” White House – 2015




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