Ferguson, Dr. George R.
    by Julia Munro


"Dr. George R. Ferguson," three photographs by Rufus W. Holsinger taken on February 22, 1917 and July 7, 1915. (See also the portrait of Dr. Ferguson labelled, "Miss Sattie Butler.")

Dr. Ferguson was an African-American physician in the 1900's. Photographed by Holsinger with his children George (P48614) and Louise (P49208) on February 22, 1917 and July 7, 1915 (see entry on George Jr.). He's been described as the first African American physician to have a long-time practice in Albemarle County. A graduate of Howard University, he was described in a 1933 "national medical journal" as, "'the beloved physician' who 'was gentle, modest, friendly to all, and easily approached by the most lowly'" (Starr Hills Heritage Trails). 

From Family Photo Day, 9 March 2019: 

"This is Dr. Ferguson - he was one of those home physicians. Back then, it was against the law to have a white doctor come to a black person's house, so the person who needs the doctor would have to call him. If he was out of town, you were in bad luck. His son (pictured here), George Ferguson became an undertaker and his last office was on Ridge Street at the funeral home [possibly Hill & Wood Funeral home, Charlottesville?]. He was president of the NAACP." - Mr. Melvin Flannagan Jr., participant at Family Photo Day. 

From August 2, 2019: 

"The girl is sister of George, Jr. and named Louise. George Ferguson, Jr. the undertaker with Louise Ferguson." - Ms. Teresa Price.

Fortunately, George Ferguson Jr. was interviewed in 1980; the audio of the interview, as well as a transcript, can be found here: ¨Interview of George Ferguson [Jr.] by Milton J. Carpenter on December 15, 1980

See also: a synopsis of the interview by George Ferguson, Junior in a site about the Vinegar Hill neighborhood in Charlottesville.

Dr. Ferguson's office was located at 307 West Main Street, as listed in the Charlottesville City Directory, 1914-15 (below). Dr. Ferguson signed death certificates for many individuals buried at the Daughters of Zion cemetery; George Jr. was in charge of funeral arrangements for several burials.

Other businesses/owners photographed by Holsinger include Acme Shaving ParlorWilliam F. and Charles H. Brown (Brown Barber Shop), A. T. Buckner (and son George F. Buckner, grocers), George Carr's Second Hand ClothingDr. George F. FergusonDr. George R. JohnsonMr. J. P. HawkinsW. G. Layne (Layne and Whitlock, Wheelright/Blacksmith), J.F. Taylor, and D. J. Ward. See "Freedman's Tally" for more information about African Americans operating businesses in the Jim Crow Era.

According to the Starr Hill Heritage Trails Map: 

After nearly twenty years at 307 West Main, Dr. Ferguson moved around 1929 to 206 Sixth Street NW. He saw patients in the lower level office. Son George R. Ferguson had a funeral home and was president of the Charlottesville NAACP. Granddaughter Olivia Ferguson was one of the Charlottesville Twelve, who led the 1959 desegregation of city schools. This duplex [206 Sixth St NW] was home and office for three African American doctors. After Dr. Ferguson died in 1932, Dr. Edward W. Stratton was here until 1940. Dr. Marshall T. Garrett then lived and practiced here until moving to 320 West Main just before 1950.

Below: 1917-02-22 (X04851A2)
Dr. George Ferguson

Below: 1917-02-22 (X04851A1)

Ferguson, Dr. Gorge R.

Below: 1915-07-07 (X03348A)
Ferguson, Dr. G. R.

- "Dr. George Ferguson," 1917-02-22 photograph in UVA Library Catalogue (X04851A2)

- "Dr. George Ferguson," 1917-02-22 photograph in UVA Library Catalogue (X04851A1)

- "Dr. G. R. Ferguson," 1915-07-07 photograph in UVA Library Catalogue (X03348A)  

- ¨Interview of George Ferguson by Milton J. Carpenter on December 15, 1980,¨ audio and transcript, Virginia Center for Digital History

- ¨Recollections of George Ferguson, Junior¨ from Charlottesville Urban Design and Affordable Housing  

- printed notes, flipbook vol. 2.1  

Heritage Trails: African Americans in Charlottesville-Albemarle

- comments from Family Photo Day courtesy Mr. Melvin Flannagan, Jr.  

- comments from August 2, 2019 courtesy Ms. Teresa Price


Holsinger Image Gallery of African Americans


J. F. Bell Funeral Home Records


Charlottesville City Directory, 1914-15 [Hathi Trust] 


1870 & 1910 U. S. Census - Charlottesville & Esmont Communities


Cite This Entry
  • APA Citation:

    Munro, J.F. (2022, February 14). Dr. George R. Ferguson. Holsinger Portrait Project. https://juel.iath.virginia.edu/node/1129

  • MLA Citation:

    Munro, Julia F. "Dr. George R. Ferguson." Holsinger Portrait Project. Univ. Virginia (2022, February 14). Web. [Date accessed].

First published: October 9, 2019 

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