Biography: Ferguson, John, M.D.

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives
Limerick Index


File contributed by:  C.L.


 The ancestors of Dr. Ferguson were Scotch, who settled in 
the North of Ireland, and were generally engaged in the 
celebrated linen manufacture of that part of the country. 
His grandfather, David, settled in the South of Ireland, and 
was a merchant in the town of Rathkeale, County of Limerick, 
which is watered by the "Lordly Shannon," one of the noblest 
rivers in the united Kingdom. Here he was married and here 
reared his family of five sons and two daughters, giving 
them good educations. The professions of the law, divinity 
and medicine claimed one each of the boys, only one of whom 
is at this date living and he is the judge of the Circuit 
Court for the Southern District in Ireland. The remaining 
son, named for his father, chose also his father's business, 
which he carried on in his native town successfully, and 
married a daughter of Councilor Fitz-Gerald, of the city of 
Limerick, known in history as the city of the "broken 
 From this union there were eight children, the eldest of 
whom was John (the subject of this sketch), who was born 
October 28, 1829, in Rathkeale. He was early placed under 
the care and instruction of a private tutor, where he 
remained for several years, and completed his collegiate 
course with the Jesuits. Immediately after he was placed 
under the instructions of his uncle, Philip O'Hanlon, M.D., 
of Rathkeale, who had a large city and country practice. In 
due time Dr. Ferguson graduated at the Hall of Apothecaries, 
in Dublin, and still associated with Dr. O'Hanlon, acquired 
a practical knowledge of medicine, surgery, pharmacy and 
dispensatory practice. His uncle emigrated to America and 
soon afterwards became justly celebrated in its metropolis. 
Dr. Ferguson followed him to America in 1851, and that he 
might practice his profession here he offered himself for 
examination to the faculty of the Medical College of 
Castleton, Vt., and received from them their diploma. The 
following spring he passed the examination of the College of 
Physicians and Surgeons of New York City, and received their 
diploma. At this time he accepted the position of a surgeon 
on the line of mail steamships plying between New York, 
Liverpool, Bremen and Havre, where for a period of three 
years he associated with many literary people among the 
traveling public and made many valuable friends. Leaving the 
service of the steamship company, Dr. Ferguson was appointed 
one of the postmortem examining surgeons for the coroners of 
New York City, also assistant anatomical demonstrator and 
assistant clinical examiner at Medical University, in 
Fourteenth Street, a college chiefly patronized by the sons 
of Southern planters, who were a liberal and chivalrous 
class of gentlemen.
 After practicing for some years in New York City, he 
removed to Manchester, N.H., in 1861, being the first Irish 
physician to settle here. Dr. Ferguson, shortly after, was 
appointed by Governor Berry surgeon of the Tenth Regiment of 
New Hampshire Volunteers, and left for the front, with his 
regiment, in the fall of 1862. Dr. Ferguson, during his 
residence ni New York, was surgeon on the staff of Colonel 
Corcoran, of the famous Sixty-Ninth New York State Militia, 
and saw service in the quarantine riots on Staten Island. 
This service fitted him all the better to fill the position 
of brigade surgeon during the Civil War, near the close of 
which he returned to Manchester, where he has since been 
successfully engaged in his private practice, which has 
become large and lucrative. Prior to removal to Manchester, 
Dr. Ferguson married Eleanor, only surviving daughter of 
Michael and Eleanor Hughes, who were of an old and wealthy 
family of New York City, where she was born June 24, 1838. 
From this union there have been four children, - Eleanora, 
Mary C., John D., and Alfred W.
 Among his professional brethren, Dr. Ferguson is known to 
be a skillful and thoroughly educated practitioner, and in 
social life is an affable and courteous gentleman. 

History of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. Philadelphia: 
J.W. Lewis & Co., 1885.