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Oneils-Scrub Hill & Lower Tatnalls

Land Grants

D-23 (400 acres, 17 Nov 1789), D-124 (200 acres, 28 Jun 1789), D-68 (66 acres, 8 Jul 1788), D-113 (120 acres, 21 Jun 1789)

John Ferguson. Origin: Old Inhabitant.

A John Ferguson was married on New Providence 4 April 1757, though this is assuredly a very common Scottish name, so we cannot be certain that this was our Long Island grantee. In Homeward Bound, Ferguson is said to have arrived on New Providence in 1770. However, in Homeward Bound (Appendix E), John Ferguson is also listed as a proven Loyalist, a sea captain, and surveyor from East Florida. He was issued four land grants on Long Island in 1788-89. Three grants were in the O’Neils-Scrub Hill area: 660 acres dated 8 July 1788 (this apparently belonged to Josiah Tatnall by 1792, according to Tatnall’s map of that year), 400 acres on 17 November 1789, and 120 acres on 21 June 1789. His fourth grant of 200 acres was in the Lower Tatnall area, granted on 28 June 1789. John Ferguson died on Long Island in 1807.

Because of his early arrival in the Bahamas, and the fact that his grant does not specify “Loyalist,” we classified him as an Old Inhabitant.

In a letter to Lord Shirley, Dunmore refers to several Loyalists in Abaco in derogatory terms. Of John Ferguson, he writes “formerly a taylor and deserter from his Majesty’s Navy, now a trader.”
One thing is certain: whether Ferguson considered himself a Loyalist or an Old Inhabitant (“conch”), he was a very successful merchant. He was a part owner of at least one corsair named “The Unicorn” with John Miller. Also, both by himself and in partnership with Panton Leslie & Co. (based in what was then West Florida), Ferguson successfully plied the trade routes between the Bahamas, Florida, Cuba, and Jamaica. Ferguson aligned himself politically with Lord Dunmore.

References: HB App E, DR, DM.

John Ferguson

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