Born in Scotland. Arrived in Virginia in 1667 and
Probably born in Virginia.
My immigrant ancestor, John Ferguson, was born in about 1650, possibly in Scotland, although this has not been proven. He probably arrived in Virginia in 1667 as an indentured servant. In 1682 in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia, he married Anne Stubbleson, the daughter of Stubble Stubbleson. Anne was born in about 1660, probably in Virginia. Her father, Stubble Stubbleson, died in 1669, and he had evidently been in the colony for some time before that, judging from the amount of land he had accumulated. Not much is known of Stubble Stubbleson, aside from a few references in the records of Old Rappahannock County regarding sales of land and livestock. Mention is made in the records that Stubble Stubbleson was an alien (i.e. not born in the colony or any other British territory), and Beverly Fleet, in Colonial Abstracts of Virginia, surmises that he was probably Dutch.
As has been noted with other families, John Ferguson and his children seem to have spelled their names several ways, sometimes even within the same document. This is typical of 17th century English orthography. While Fargisson, or Fargeson are perhaps more common in the earliest generations in America, since no one form is any more “correct” than any other, I have chosen to use the “Ferguson” spelling for the sake of consistency. This is the form which was overwhelmingly adopted by the descendants of John Ferguson (the immigrant) within a few generations.
The first reference to the man believed to be our John Ferguson of Essex County. Virginia (who came to known as “John of Cherry Walk”) occurs on 25 Apr 1667, when it is recorded that Robert Whitehaire, John Bowler and Charles Edmonds were granted 3,000 acres in New Kent County, Virginia for the transportation of 60 persons. Included in the list of 60 persons are James Fargeson and Jno. Fargeson. While it cannot be proven with certainty, it is likely that this is our man. The timing is about right, based on the date of John‘s later marriage and other recorded actions in Essex County. Why these persons were transported or from where is not recorded, but it was common for the Crown to grant land to persons who brought other colonists to Virginia.
The first record that can be attributed to John Ferguson is in Deed Book No. 6, Old Rappahannock County, dated 5 Nov 1680 in which John pays Joseph Goodrich 3,000 pounds of tobacco and casks for a parcel of land on the south side of Piscataway Creek. It appears that John lived at this site for the rest of his life. This sounds like a substantial sum, and presumably it would have taken John some time to earn that much money, adding credence to the theory that John had been in the colony for some time as of that date.
The property which John Ferguson acquired on Piscataway Creek became known as Cherry Walk Plantation (also formerly known as “Cherry Run”). The homestead that now sits on the property was built in about 1781 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Click —> HERE to see the Nomination Form for NRHP dated 14 Dec 1982, which describes the site, the structures upon it and their historical significance. The Nomination form includes the following excepts from a “Summary Description” and “Statement of Significance”:
“Cherry Walk is a Tidewater Virginia farm complex begun in the late 18th century consisting of a picturesque gambrel-roof dwelling house, an important collection of domestic outbuildings, and three early farm buildings. The group, located along an Essex County road with virtually no modern intrusions in the vicinity, is surrounded by level fields with wooded ravines behind. Seen from the entrance gate, the group composes an unusually complete picture of a modest plantation of the period…
… The outbuildings, farm buildings, and residence at Cherry Walk form an unusually complete eastern Virginia plantation complex of modest size, providing a rare, essentially undisturbed picture of a vanished lifestyle.”
The boundaries of the Cherry Walk property contain 95 acres, which conforms roughly with that belonging to the property in the 18th century.
The book Old Homes of Essex County, Virginia (1957) says this about Cherry Walk:
“Cherry Walk, situated between Millers Tavern and Dunbrooke, has been a Broaddus home for over one hundred years. It is a Colonial site, and it was occupied prior to 1700. In 1739 James Farguson sold the place to John Croxton, Sr., for the sum of ‘7,000 pounds of good tobacco and cask.’ He left the place to his son, John Croxton, Jr., who married Mary Anne Haile. He, in turn, willed it to his oldest son, Carter, of Revolutionary fame whose remains now rest in the old burying ground back of the garden. This Carter requested that no stone or tablet mark his grave, as he wished his work in life to be his earthly monument. It was he who built the present house in 1781.
The house is in a good state of preservation. It is built of brick in Queen Anne style, with Dutch roof, cypress shingles on the lowest portion, and dormer windows both front and back. The house contains ten rooms, three porches and a high basement which is still used as a dining room. There is a large chimney at each end of the house. The fireplaces within have tall fluted mantels. There is a hall through the center with double Cross and Bible doors at each end. The old bar fastening is still used. The first floor windows contain eighteen panes of glass with sash frames put together with wooden pegs. Even the big kitchen is in good repair. In it is the old crane with pot hooks and pots, waiting from year to year for ‘hog killing’ time.
Alexander Woodford Broaddus of Caroline County came to live at Cherry Walk in 1854. His first wife was Fanny Ellen, daughter of Carter Croxton. In 1859, he married Sally Haile, a daughter of Captain R.G. Haile of Beaver’s Hill. They reared a large family at Cherry Walk. He was a successful farmer and added many acres to his estate. He was county treasurer for a number of years and died in office in 1883.”
To see the property, drive north on State Road 620 from Miller’s Tavern for 4 miles. The property is privately owned and not open to the public, and the privacy of the current owners must be respected. GPS coordinates are N 37.86056, W 76.95167.
The following photos of Cherry Walk Plantation are taken from Ferguson, James Edward, with major contributions by Walter Whatley Brewster. My Ferguson Ancestors in America: 1680-1993 (2005) – Chapter 1:
These maps show the location of Cherry Walk Plantation:
The Will of John Ferguson of Essex County, Virginia dated 10 May 1715 is transcribed as follows:
In the name of God, Amen: I, John Fargeson, of Essex Co., being in perfect sense and memory and good health, God almighty be prayed, therefore considering the transitoriness of this life and being willing to settle my temporal affairs before I goe hence have, and do make, ordain this to be my last will and testament in the manner following, vizt. In primus, I bequeath my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it, hoping through the merits, death, and passion, of my blessed Saviour Jesus Christ to receive full and free remission of all my sins at the last day.
ITEM. I do bequeath and give unto my eldest son John Fargeson all my land that lies on the north side Piscataway Rolling Road. to him and his heirs forever.
ITEM. I give and bequeath unto my son James Fargeson my plantation wheron I now live and all my land on that side the aforesaid rolling road after his mother’s decease, to him and his heirs forever, only reserving for my son Joseph Fargeson free liberty to live and work thereon till he can better provide himself.
ITEM. I do give and bequeath unto my daughter Sarah Redd, the Wife of Thomas Redd, five shillings to buy her a Bible.
ITEM. I do give and bequeath unto my grandson John Rogers one young cow and calf.
ITEM. It is my will and desire that my well-beloved wife Ann Fargeson have and injoy the use of all the rest of my estate during the time she shall continue my widow without any interruption or disturbance of any of my children, and that she shall not give nor convey any of my estate (to) any other person than as this by will directs.
ITEM. it is my will and desire that if my wife do marry that then immediately after such her marriage, my two Negroes, Nacher and Bess, and all my personal estate shall be appraised and the whole value thereof be equally divided (after my just debts and funeral charges are paid) between my loving wife Ann and my two youngest sons, Joseph and Samuel Fargeson, but if my wife dies my widow it is my will and desire that my Negroes and personal estate as aforesaid be, immediately after such her death, appraised and the value thereof be equally divided between my two aforesaid youngest sons Joseph and Samuel, and lastly, I do hereby ordain my wife Ann and my son Joseph Fargeson executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking, disannuling, and making void all manner of wills and testaments heretofore by me made and, of which, I hereunto set my hand and seal this 10 day of May 1715.
I have no explanation for John’s curious bequest his daughter, Sarah Redd, of five shillings to buy her a bible.
This will was presented to the Court by John’s wife, Anne, on 19 Mar 1717, which means that John probably died in early 1717. Anne died in 1732, also in Essex County, Virginia. Both were buried at Cherry Walk Plantation.
The children of John Ferguson and Anne Stubbleson which are named in John’s will of 1715 are listed as follows (all born in Old Rappahannock / Essex County, Virginia):
- John, born about 1685 and died 22 Apr 1769 in Essex County. He is called my eldest son in his will.
- Sarah Ferguson, see below.
- James, born about 1687 and died Jul 1741 in Goochland County, Virginia.
- Joseph, born before 1700 (John’s will of 1715 implies that both Joseph and Samuel were younger than his other children); unmarried.
- Samuel, born about 1700 and died about 1772 in Culpepper County, Virginia.
Sarah Ferguson was born about 1684 and died about 1740. She married Thomas Redd in about 1700. They had seven children together, and their lineage is continued under the heading of John Redd (1642-1742).
 I am aware that some researchers of this line have traced John Ferguson’s origins back to a place called Gargunnoch, Stirling, Scotland and have identified his parents as a John Ferguson and Janet Trumbul, both born in that place in about 1630. Some go on to identify his paternal grandparents as Alexander Ferguson and Beigis Miller of Gargunnoch, Stirling, Scotland. Some go back even farther than that. I do not know whether or not the evidence they cite is convincing. Perhaps this is a productive avenue for future research.
Birth records relating to this possible family connection were sent to me by Cheryl Dieter (22 Aug 2015) – Click images below to enlarge:
 Indentured servitude refers to the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed period of time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. Usually the father made the arrangements and signed the paperwork. They included men and women; most were under the age of 21, and most became helpers on farms or house servants. They were not paid cash. It was a system that provided jobs and – most important – transportation for poor young people from the overcrowded labor markets (such as Europe) who wanted to come to labor-short areas (at first, principally America, later, other colonies), but had no money to pay for it. The great majority became farmers and farm wives.
 Do not confuse modern day Rappahannock County with the now extinct “Old” Rappahannock County from the 17th century. That area is now covered by Essex and Richmond counties, which were formed in 1692.
 Fleet, Beverly. Colonial Abstracts of Virginia (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company) 1988 (reprinted in several volumes).
 Patent Book No. 6, page 45
 The identity of James Fargeson has not been established, but he would most likely be a brother or a cousin, or possibly even John’s father.
 Some sources list an additional daughter, Cary. If so, she must have died prior to 1715. The person mentioned in John’s will and identified as my grandson John Rogers is a mystery to me. If he was truly his grandson, he must have been the son of Cary or another daughter who married a man Rogers. Joseph is not mentioned in Anne’s will of 1731, and presumably he was dead by that date. Sources I consulted were not in agreement as to the wives’ names of John’s sons.