James Ferguson Jnr (1861-1945), was the only son of James Ferguson Snr (1818-1894), who was a principal partner in the firm ‘Ferguson & Urie’. James Jnr was also a member of the firm until its closure in 1899. He never married and nothing significant is known of his life between 1899 and 1945. Numerous electoral rolls after 1899 simply listed him as a labourer and he resided in a small two storey terrace house at 22 Capel street North Melbourne (one street back from the Victoria Markets) prior to his death in 1945. Family lore has it that he was spoilt as a result of being the only son (amongst his seven elder sisters) and never had any of the business acumen and determination to succeed like his pioneering father. This would seem to be a contributing factor in the firm’s demise after his father’s death in 1894. Most noticeable was the absence of regular company advertising in the leading Melbourne newspapers after the death of James Ferguson Snr on the 18th April 1894. After September 1894 all traces of advertising for the company ceased to exist.
Only three photos of James Jnr are known to exist, being: the employee poster created for the June 1887 company dinner, the Ferguson Clan photo at ‘Ayr Cottage’ on 1st January 1888 and a photo with his father and some employees at the back of one of the stained glass workshops (at either Curzon or Franklin street) thought to be circa 1892-94.
James Ferguson Jnr is buried with his parents, James and Jane Ferguson, and sibling Margaret in the Ferguson family grave at the Melbourne General cemetery but he and Margaret are not listed on the headstone.
“FERGUSON.- On July 26, at Parkville, James, loving son of the late James and Jane Ferguson, and loving brother of Margaret Ferguson (deceased), Mrs. Koop (sic) (deceased), Mrs. Auld (deceased), Mrs. Williams (deceased), Mrs. Gordon (deceased), Mrs. Kier (deceased), Mrs. Gentles (deceased). – At rest.”
“FERGUSON.- The funeral of the late JAMES FERGUSON will arrive at the Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton, THIS DAY, at 3.30 p.m. RONALD MAY, St. Kilda LA4406.”