JAMES FERGUSON 1815 - 1888
(other surnames: Murray, Templeton, Simpson, Johnston)
Little is known about the early life of James Ferguson, eldest child of Robert and Mary. But he became an influential man in Ayr when he began work as a Tobacco Manufacturer in Ayr.
He married Elizabeth Murray who was born in Ayr and baptised on 2nd April 1815. She was the daughter of Hugh Murray and Jane Templeton. Hugh and Jane (also known as Jean) married on 28th July 1809 in Ochiltree, Ayrshire. Hugh’s father was James Murray, a farmer, and his mother Jane Simpson. Jane Templeton’s father was John and her mother Jean Johnston.
Read insert for more information about Ochiltree as it was at the
end of the 1700’s.
Tobacco manufacturing was a major industry at the time. John Staworth reported on Ayr’s tobacco industry and noted that “the importation of tobacco in Ayr can be traced as far back as 1679 . In 1739 a brick warehouse was built in the Citadel near the harbour......and in 1750 storehouses were built for another firm in the tobacco trade. After mid-century several Ayr merchants appear in the customs records as importers of tobacco.” (The History of Ayr, 1989)
The list includes a James Ferguson but a connection with our
Fergusons cannot be verified .However what is known that for the next two generations tobacco manufacturing was a family
What Staworth fails to mention is that although the importation and treatment of tobacco was a major source of employment and income for Ayr, the tobacco was grown in the Americas where rich landowners relied almost entirely on the labour of slaves until 1865. See more about the Tobacco Lords below
Excerpts for the Statistical Account written 1837 and reported 1845.
Polpulation.- The number of inhabitants according to a bill taken this year (1792) amounts to 1150. The return to Dr Websater in 1753 was 1250 souls. The average of births for 5 years is about 37. The average of marriages and burial cannot be on account of the inaccuracy of the parochial registers. about 220 families in the parish and 67 of these in the village.
There are about 5 to a family taking country and village together but taking them separately there are six in the former and four in the latter; a circumstance which strongly proves the superior healthiness of a country life. There are 30 more females than males.
For more amusing and informative accounts go to the below link ad type in Ochiltree.
James and Elizabeth had seven children all born in Ayr.
and born well before their marriage.
in 1888 in Troon.
Elizabeth (Bessie) McCall was born in 1877
Mary (Mamie) McCall was born in 1884 .
Mamie worked for The Observer with her uncle James and her cousin Gracie. She died at age 83, and was buried in Ayr Cemetery.
Elizabeth Murray died in 1865 at age 50, and was buried in The Auld Kirk, Ayr. James then married Agnes Carse in 1869. Agnes died in 1880. They had no children together.
At the time of his death in 1888 at age 75, James Ferguson lived at 24 New Bridge Street , Ayr. He owned various properties in Ayr which are mentioned in his Will (See right).
Read on to learn about James Murray Ferguson and his daughter Gracie Craik Ferguson
Tobacco, sugar, and cotton were grown in North America and the West Indies using slave labour. These commodities made immense profits for the Scottish merchants who shipped them first to Glasgow and then on to Atlantic and European consumers.
One of the main ‘Tobacco Lords’, as they were known in Glasgow, was William Cunninghame, whose family roots lay in Caprington, Ayrshire. He was the protégé of Andrew Cochrane, the owner of the King Street Sugarhouse in Glasgow, himself the son of an Ayr merchant.
Cunninghame made vast profits from speculating on the price of tobacco during the American Wars of Independence, and was one of the few Glasgow merchants to survive the colonies’ revolt without being financially ruined. In 1778 he bought the estate of Lainshaw in Ayrshire, and also built a mansion (at the immense cost of £10 000) on the present site of the Gallery of Modern Art on Queen Street in Glasgow.
Extract of Will of James Ferguson 1888.
"to my son Quentin Macadam Cashier Residing
St Johns, The Auld Kirk of Ayr,
Excerpt of Will of James Ferguson dies 1888,
"to my son Quentin Macadam Cashier Residing
in Glasgow my gold watch and chain
to James Murray Ferguson the large field situated
at the head of McCall Ave which I acquired from
John Taylor Gordon
to my son Peter Stewart Ferguson the properties
belonging to me at number 24 and 26 New Bridge St
Ayr with backhouses.
to Jean Ferguson or Cowan 300 pound sterling
to Mary Ferguson or McCall wife of David Robson
McCall the house and shop and backhouses at
28New Bridge St with the ground behind acquired
by me from David Dundas Wigham.
all the rest to Peter Stewart but then
the field in McCall Avenue Newton
belonging to Peter to go to Jean"