John Ferguson

1731-1818. He was the elder son of Captain John Ferguson R.N. of Chigwell, Essex, and of his wife Lydia Cumber. His father was known as the ‘Black Captain of the Forty-Five’ in respect of his ruthless treatment of suspected rebels in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.

Ferguson captained the Berwick at the Battle of the Doggersbank in 1781

Ferguson was commissioned lieutenant on 17 September 1756, and in 1758 temporarily commanded the Port Mahon 20.

He was promoted commander on 5 September 1777 and had the Sylph at Plymouth before forming part of the escort to a convoy sailing for the Leeward Islands. By February 1778 the Sylph was at Port Royal, Jamaica, and in the following month was sent up the Mississippi River to demand that the Spanish at New Orleans cease giving succour to rebel privateers and ensure the restoration of British property, although he soon found himself embroiled in a protracted diplomatic dispute. He had left the Sylph by the time she was registered as a fireship in the autumn of 1779.

Ferguson was posted captain on 21 March 1781, and he commanded the Berwick 74, joining Vice-Admiral Hyde Parker in the North Sea and fighting at the Battle of the Doggersbank on 5 August, where he flew the broad pennant of commodore Hon. Keith Stewart. His command, which lost eighteen men killed and fifty-one wounded, spent some time in repair after this event. He next removed to the Surprise 28, taking a convoy out to Newfoundland in March 1782, and retaining her until paid off in February 1783, during which time he took the American privateer Raven in company with the Assistance 50, Captain James Worth.

He became a rear-admiral on 14 February 1799, a vice-admiral on 9 November 1805, and an admiral on 31 July 1810.

Ferguson died at Southampton on 4 April 1818 and was buried at St. Michael’s Church.

His name was also spelt ‘Fergusson’.