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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Ferguson, Robert

by Mark F. Miller, 1986; Revised by SLNC Government and Heritage Library, December 2022

fl. 1785–93

[advertisement]. North-Carolina Chronicle; or Fayetteville Gazette 2, no. 25 (February 28, 1791). 198.Robert Ferguson, printer, operated a printing press next to the courthouse in Hillsborough from 1785 to 1792. There he printed the North Carolina Gazette in 1785 and 1786 and perhaps even longer, as well as the journal of the Constitutional Convention of 1788. In the latter year and at other times he may also have printed for the state. On the 1790 Hillsborough tax list he is recorded as owning two town lots, a 150-acre farm, and as the enslaver of one person. In 1791, Governor William Blount of the Southwest Territory engaged the services of Ferguson and George Roulstone, editor of the Fayetteville Gazette, to establish a printing press beyond the mountains. Some time that year they began printing the Knoxville (Tenn.) Gazette in Rogersville. Ferguson and Roulstone moved to the new town of Knoxville about seven months after it had been established. Ferguson retired with the issue of 4 May 1793, and no further record of his life has been found.


George F. Bentley, "Printers and Printing in the Southwest Territory, 1790–1796," Tennessee Historical Quarterly 8 (1949).

Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, vol. 2 (1947).

Fayetteville Gazette, 21 Feb. 1791, 9 Oct. 1792.

William H. Masterson, "William Blount and the Establishment of the Southwest Territory, 1790–1791," East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications 23 (1951).

North Carolina Gazette, scattered issues, 1785–86.

State Gazette of North Carolina, 4, 1 Feb. 1791.

Samuel C. Williams, "George Roulstone: Father of the Tennessee Press," East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications 17 (1945).

Additional Resources:

Himebaugh, Glenn A. "Publishing." Tennesse Encyclopedia of History and Culture version 2.0.. (accessed February 25, 2014).

"Tennessee Newspaper and Printing Museum." Rogersville Heritage Association. (accessed February 25, 2014).

"TAX LIST, 1790—HILLSBORO TOWN." State Records of North Carolina vol. 26. Goldsboro, N.C.: Nash Brothers. 1906. 1286-1313 (accessed February 25, 2014).

Image Credits:

[advertisement]. North-Carolina Chronicle; or Fayetteville Gazette 2, no. 25 (February 28, 1791)198. (accessed February 25, 2014).

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