Thomas George Fermor-Hesketh

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Sir Thomas George Fermor-Hesketh, 7th Baronet (9 May 1849 – 19 April 1924) was a British baronet and soldier.

Born Thomas George Hesketh, he was the second son of Sir Thomas Fermor-Hesketh, 5th Baronet, and Lady Anna Maria Isabella Fermor, daughter of Thomas Fermor, 4th Earl of Pomfret. In 1867 he and his father assumed by Royal licence the additional surname of Fermor and in 1876 he succeeded his elder brother as 7th Baronet of Rufford.

Fermor-Hesketh gained the rank of lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade and was also an honorary colonel in the service of the 4th Battalion, Liverpool Regiment of Militia. In January 1879 he started a world cruise in his newly constructed steam auxiliary yacht Lancashire Witch. After he left Madeira on route to Montevideo news arrived there[1] of the British defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana in the Anglo-Zulu War. The news eventually caught up with him at Sandy Point (Punta Arenas) in late March and he immediately set sail for Natal via the Falklands.[2] He offered his services to the army and became ADC to Redvers Buller, becoming involved in mounted action at the Battle of Ulundi.[3][4]

After the war Sir Thomas continued his world cruise and in 1880 was instrumental in the attempted rescue at sea off the coast of Mexico of a number of citizens of San Francisco. In recognition of this, he was honoured by the city, and at a party in his honour he came to the attention of the San Francisco heiress Florence Emily Sharon (1858–1924). Florence was the daughter of U.S. Senator William Sharon (1812–1885), who had made an enormous fortune in the gold, silver, banking and hotel business in California and Nevada. The first United States Senator from Nevada, Sharon was also the wealthiest man in the state. By the early 1880s, his empire was such that he was the largest single tax payer in California. When he died in 1885, he left the bulk of his estate to his daughter — and this she brought with her to the marriage. When her brother died, the whole of the Senator's fortune passed to her. The two were married at the Ralston Hall Mansion of Belmont, California,[5] on 22 December 1880, and had two sons.

In 1881 he was appointed high Sheriff of Northamptonshire.

Fermor-Hesketh died on 19 April 1924 aged 74, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son Thomas, who in 1935 was elevated to the peerage as Baron Hesketh. Lady Fermor-Hesketh died after falling down the stairs at Euston Hall in September 1924.

Hesketh Island, Kachemak Bay, Cook Inlet, Alaska was named after Sir Thomas following his visit to the area in his yacht Lancashire Witch in 1880.[6]


  1. ^ Laband; Knight, John; Ian (1997). The War Correspondents - The Anglo-Zulu War. Gloucestershire: Alan Sutton Publishing Limited. pp. vi. 
  2. ^ "The Lancashire Witch". Daily Times. 23 October 1879. Retrieved 14 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Prior, Melton (1912). Campaigns of a War Correspondent. London: Edward Arnold. p. 112. 
  4. ^ Francis, Francis (1881). War, Waves and Wanderings, a Cruise in The Lancashire Witch. Fleet St London: Sampson Low, Masterson, Searle and Rivington. pp. Volume I page 72. 
  5. ^ "A Regal Wedding Feast". The New York Times. 2 January 1881 with minor errors. Retrieved 20 January 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Baker, Marcus (1992). Geographic Dictionary of Alaska. Washington: Government Printing Office. p. 203.