Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Robert Fergusson

Robert Fergusson was a busy man. He was born in Scotland around 1745 and by 1772 he was in the United States and was an agent or "factor" in the tobacco trade in Europe. Along with Alexander Hamilton (not the one dropped by Aaron Burr), they became wealthy merchants in Georgetown and Port Tobacco. In about 1788 he married Elizabeth Ballentine and he purchased Mulberry Grove in Port Tobacco from the family of John Hanson. (Yup, the John Hanson. I'll blog on this bloke later.) As Jim showed us in an earlier blog on the Freemasons of Port Tobacco, Robert Fergusson was the Senior Warden.

View of the Hanson/Fergusson cemetery at Mulberry Grove.

Fergusson died at Mulberry Grove in 1812 and is buried in the family burial ground. This burial ground is extremely interesting. Jim and I visited the cemetery this past fall at the invitation of the current owner to assess the condition of the stones and to possibly determine if John Hanson is buried here. While we know two of his children are here, it seems unlikely that Hanson or his wife rest here.

Fergusson's burial tomb is seen below and it obviously has collapsed and needs repair. Over all, the site is in decent shape and was recently reclaimed from overgrowth by the Charles County Genealogical Society. The epitaph on his stone reads:

Sacred to the memory of Robert Fergusson who died Sept 1st, 1812 aged 72 years, he was a native of Dumfries County, Scotland, but America was early the country of his choice and Maryland for 50 years the theatre of his useful honourable and virtous actions. He was a merchant of the first rank and talents, Chief Justice of the Orphans Court of Charles County and in every relation of society an upright and benevolent man, as in life he was respected and esteemed, so in death he was justly lamented. In testimony of their affection and gratitude for a kind and magnificent Uncle, this monument is erected by his nephews Robert, John and James Fergusson (Info is from the Historical Society Research located at the College of Southern Md. LaPlata, Md).
Fortunately, this box tomb is repairable and my company, Grave Concerns, has a proposal to the owner for repair. Let's wait and see what happens!

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