FERGUSON, who departed this life September 7, 1901, was numbered among the
distinguished residents of Thamesville as a man of prominence in politics
and entitled to special notice. Mr. Ferguson was a member of Parliament,
a retired business man, free to devote much of his time and attention to
maters of moment to the community and the country at large.
John Ferguson, grandfather of Robert, was a
native of Scotland, and passed his entire life in that country. Among his
children was a son, James, father of Robert, who was born in Scotland in
1792, and there married Miss Margaret Brash, by whom he had the following
children: Elizabeth, widow of William Stainforth; Ellen, widow of John
Ferguson; Margaret, deceased; John, deceased, who is mentioned elsewhere;
Janet, deceased; Robert; Catherine, wife of Daniel McFarlane, of
Thamesville; and James, retired farmer residing in Thamesville. In 1854
James Ferguson emigrated to the County of Kent, Ontario, settling in
Howard township, where for a time he and his sons worked at the
carpenter’s trade, and later engaged in the lumber business, which they
made very successful. The father died in Thamesville in 1866, at the age
of 75 years. The mother had died in Scotland in 1850, aged 56 years.
Robert Ferguson was born in Stirlingshire,
Scotland, Agusut 16, 1832, and came to the County of Kent with the family
in 1854. In Scotland he learned the carpenter’s trade, which he followed
for a time after settling in the Dominion, and he later embarked in the
lumber business, in which he was eminently successful, and from which he
retired about 1890, afterward devoting himself to public affairs and
looking after his large interests in Thamesville and elsewhere. Mr.
Ferguson was a self-made man, having begun his business life with no
capital and worked himself into the enviable position of one of the
wealthiest and most respected men in the County of Kent.
Besides attaining success financially Mr.
Ferguson became very prominent politically. While residing in
Thmamesville he was reeve of Camden township, and also warden of the
county. For 17 years he was a member of Parliament, and in all the
deliberations of that body proved himself a wise judicial legislator,
working for the best interests of the people whom he represented. His
political opinions made him an ardent Reformer, and he steadfastly upheld
the principles of his party upon all occasions. In 1885 Mr. Ferguson
erected his fine brick residence on Ann street, Thamesville, where he
resided until his death, making a home for his sister Margaret until her
death, in 1896. He never married.
For many years Mr. Ferguson was a consistent
member of the Presbyterian Church, and took an active part in all work
connected with that body. Although a firm believer in the doctrines of
his particular church Mr. Ferguson was a broad-minded, liberal man, and
always ready to forward any Christian work. Upon many occasions this
distinguished gentleman laid the foundation stone for new church buildings
of other denominations, and made appropriate addresses upon those
occasions. Among his highly prized mementoes of a long and useful life
were numerous trowels presented by grateful church organizations for his
assistance, inscribed with his own name, that of the church, and the date
of the laying of the cornerstone.
As an honourable and successful business man,
energetic and progressive political leader, and faithful church worker,
Mr. Ferguson had few equals. His charity was great, and he was always
ready to lend a helping hand to those in need, while all enterprises
calculated to prove beneficial to the people and the community met with
his hearty approval.