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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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FERGUSON, DANIEL (1826-1920)

FERGUSON, DANIEL, lawyer, collector of customs, consular agent, and militia officer; b. Athol House, near Campbellton, N.B., 30 Apr 1826, s/o Robert Ferguson and Mary Adams; m. 1855, Catherine C. Armstrong, of Quebec City; d. Chatham, 19 Jan 1920.

Daniel Ferguson's father was a native of Athol, Perthshire, Scotland, who came to New Brunswick in 1796 and was the leading businessman for many years at Restigouche, and his mother, Mary Adams, was said to have been the first non-Indian born in that part of the province.

Among the younger of eleven children, Ferguson was sent to be educated in Perth, Scotland, and at Marischal College, Aberdeen. After his return he studied law in Campbellton and Fredericton and was admitted to the bar in 1852. He practiced in Campbellton until about 1855 and then moved to Chatham, where he was in practice for some years in association with George Kerr. In 1860 he was appointed registrar of probate for Northumberland County. In 1862 he was named United States consular agent on the Miramichi, as successor to William J. Fraser. Around the same time, he became agent for the Westmorland Bank. He discontinued the practice of law in 1865 when he was named deputy treasurer of customs for the port of Chatham. This led to his appointment in 1867 as the first federal collector of customs at Chatham, a position which he retained until his retirement from public life in 1905.

Ferguson enlisted in the militia in 1860 as a lieutenant. Five years later he was appointed major and commanding officer of the Chatham Rifles, which was a volunteer contingent of the 1st Battalion. In 1870 he was gazetted lieutenant colonel and first commanding officer of the 73rd Battalion of Infantry, which he had played the largest part in organizing. This was the Canadian militia unit which superseded the former provincial battalions on the Miramichi. He was in command of the 73rd until 1874, when he retired with his rank.

In 1877 Ferguson was elected president of the reorganized Chatham Curling Club. He was also president of the Chatham Skating Rink Co., which had a beautiful enclosed arena built in 1882-83. He was president of the Highland Society from 1892 to 1897 and again in 1907. In 1900 he was chairman of a commission which organized a free public library in Chatham. Between 1904 and 1906 he served as president of the Miramichi Natural History Association. He was a school trustee for some years, a trustee of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, and a member of the Miramichi Religious Tract Society. "No man in Chatham," stated The World, "was more highly respected and beloved than Mr Ferguson." He and his wife, Catherine C. Armstrong, who died in 1867, at age forty, had three daughters, two of whom were still living at the time of his death in 1920, at age ninety-three.

Sources

[b/m] Biog. Review NB [d] Leader 23 Jan 1920 / Advance 24 Jan 1889 (ad), 25 Oct 1900; Advocate 19 Apr 1905; Bird; Fraser (C); Gleaner 17 May 1862, 31 Jan 1863, 8 Apr 1865, 29 Jun 1867; Hist. Highland Soc.; JHA (appendix re. militia); McAlpine's 1883-84; MacMillan; World 21 Jan 1920


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