He was also known as Ekow Atta, was a Fante civil servant, surveyor and cartographer who worked in the British colony of Gold Coast (modern Ghana). 

Ferguson was born in Anomabo. His father was Robert Archibald Ferguson, who worked for the trading company F. & A. Swanzy in Winneba, while his grandfather, Samuel Ferguson, had been a colonial doctor. He had a twin brother, who died in infancy, and four sisters. Little is known of his mother except that she was a Christian. Ferguson was born into a family at the top of the colonial social hierarchy. (Arhin 1985, p. 1)

Ferguson was educated from an early age, attending primary school at Cape Coast. He proceeded to enter the Wesleyan Boys High School, Freetown, in 1876. His studies there included mathematics, geography, British and ancient history, classics, French, photography and religious education. 

He left school in 1881, and, considering becoming a Methodist minister, returned to Cape Coast, where he worked as a teacher at the Mfantsipim School. Later in the year, he joined the Colonial Service and received a position at the Governor’s office. In November 1882, he was appointed as Clerk to the Queen’s Advocate. By 1886 he had returned to the Governor’s office, as a Junior Clerk, and by 1889 he had been promoted to Second Clerk. During this period, he travelled with the Governor on visits to Praso (1881), to Lagos (1881, 1882, 1884), to Keta, Ada, Krobo and Akwapim (1882) and to Wassa and Nzima (1888). Ferguson was invaluable to the colonial authorities in the arbitration of tribal disputes, such as that between the Krobo and Akwamu in 1886, because he could speak Fante and Ga, allowing him to communicate with the vast majority of the southern inhabitants of the colony. He also produced a map of the colony and conducted a survey of the water supply of Accra during this period as part of his official duties.

After eight years service as a junior civil servant, Ferguson applied to study one-year course at the Royal College of Science, London. He was given paid leave by the colonial authorities, who encouraged his educational ambitions. In London, he studied mining, geology, surveying, mathematics and astronomy; performing well in his June exams, he received a First Class diploma. (Arhin 1985, p. 5). 

In September 1890, he returned to the Gold Coast. On October 21 of the same year, the Governor asked Ferguson to travel from Accra to Atebubu, in order to prospect for precious stones, as well as producing a report on the quality of the roads and the status of local trade. Upon reaching Atebubu, Ferguson negotiated a treaty with the local chiefs, who feared aggression from Asante, which they had seceded from in 1875. (Ahrin 1985, pp. 7–8). 

Ferguson was appointed as a Supernumerary Foreman of Works in 1891. In the same year he was ordered to survey the River Volta and Keta lagoon. The colonial authorities were interested in the possibility of filling the lagoon from the river during the dry season, to prevent the lagoon becoming unnavigable. (Thomas 1972, pp. 181–215) Ferguson also worked on a proposed light railway transport from Ankobra to the port of Axim.

The border between Gold Coast and the German colony of Togoland had been fixed in 1887, temporarily creating a neutral zone which contained important towns such as Salaga and Bimbila. In 1890, the Heligoland–Zanzibar Treaty resulted in a re-demarcation, and in 1892 Ferguson assisted two British District Commissioners in surveying the new border. The maps produced by the British were significantly better than those by their German counterparts, mainly due to Ferguson’s involvement in the project. (Arhin 1985, p. 6)
He took additional responsibilities as Inspector of Trade Roads from October 1893. (Ahrin 1985, p. 5). George Ekem was instrumental in convincing the local chiefs in the North to sign treaties of friendship with the British. In 1897, a few years before the entire North (including Upper East and West) became a British Protectorate, he was captured and beheaded by Samory, the famous slave raider. Ekem Ferguson is currently buried in Anomabo, his hometown. 

George Ekem Ferguson helped settle tribal disputes, won more lands for Gold Coast (Ghana) by drawing the first map of the colony and helped in the abolition of human sacrifices. A basic school (George Ekem Ferguson Primary School) in Cape Coast is named after him.
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