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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Robert Ferguson


 ROBERT 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.


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