Martin and Olive Ferguson

2024, Inductee

Martin Cameron Ferguson was the son of Gordon Ferguson and Catherine Ann Bella “Kate” Cameron. He was born on the 20th of December, 1906. Surrounded by a musical family on the 7th of Kenyon, he began playing the harmonica at a young age, accompanying fiddlers at house parties and social events. Around 1928 he took up the fiddle.

Olive Mae Hall was born on March 1, 1906 and grew up with a similar musical background in Osgoode Township. She received a degree in music at the University of Toronto in 1930 and began teaching. She moved to St. Elmo and met Martin when they were participants in a musical evening at the church hall. They married in 1932 and lived on the Ferguson farm. They entertained for family and at social events. Olive taught fiddle and piano to the local upcoming musicians.

In 1947 the Fergusons moved to Dunvegan to run a store and post office. This became a musical haven for all who loved music or played an instrument. Martin kept a couple of extra fiddles for anyone to use. Old time fiddlers played, supported and encouraged beginners.

Martin and Olive had two daughters, Sheila and Sherrill, both became accomplished pianists and volunteered their talents.

During the 50s musicians would gather in each other’s homes to play and learn new tunes. Some of the participants were: Donald Edward and Mary Frances MacPhee, Clarence and Edna MacMillan, the Ross’s of Lancaster, the Britton’s of Monkland, the Ferguson’s of Dunvegan, Father MacPhail, Duncan MacDonald and Rev Bruce Ross. They shared their talents at many concerts, church socials and musical evenings throughout Glengarry. The roots of the Glengarry Old Time Fiddlers and the Glengarry Strathspey and Reel Society were firmly planted.

In 1954 Martin and Olive worked with others to organize some of the first violin and step dancing concerts in the area, held at the Bonnie Glen. This brought together local and regional contestants.

After retiring and moving to Ottawa they continued serving, with Olive teaching music to local students and Martin crafting violins. Six of them were handed down to grandchildren.

Martin passed away on July 31, 1972 at age 65. Olive passed in January 1998, at the age of 91.

For forty years Martin and Olive entertained and passed their love of music to others, including their daughters, Sheila Kippen and Sherrill Trottier, and to their grand and great grandchildren. They certainly deserve recognition as Inductees into the Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame.

Inducted in 2024