Sira, Inspection bungalow compound
Jagadeesh, Venkatesh, my daughter Molly, and I spent a pleasant day at Sira in late July, 2008. We were there to talk with members of the Sira Antiquities & Monuments Conservation Forum about Sira Fort. As part of our visit, our hosts also showed us the two Sira tombs described below. Regrettably, one of the tombs, that of J. J. Temple, was recently destroyed by “treasure hunters”.
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Erected by her sorrowing husband
To the memory of Ellen,
The most dearly beloved and deeply regretted wife of Lieutenant and Adjutant H. M. Fergusson, 45th Reg.
She fell a victim to cholera at the time raging in camp,
In the bungalow at Seerah, on the 14th March 1846
After a brief But happy union of 40 days.
— W. Johnson, Sr. Trichinopoly
[he did the stone]
OIOC Shelfmark L/AG/23/10/1-2 records the following biographical information for Ellen’s husband, Horne Mackay Fergusson: “Madras Army, b 15 May 1822, d 23 Oct 1895; Elie Retired 30 Sep 1861; m (1) Ellen 1846 (b 1830, d 1846) (2) Charlotte Hamilton 20 Dec 1851 (b 6 Sep 1833, d 16 Dec 1907); Mary Jane Henrietta b 15 Oct 1852, d 14 Feb 1874; Horne Johnstone b 17 Apr 1854; Dora Eliza b 23 Aug 1855, m 14 Feb 1876; Annie S b 7 Sep 1856, m 29 Feb 1876; Charlotte Minnie b 24 Sep 1857, m 20 Aug 1880 Harriot Dunlop b 18 Aug 1861, m 28 Feb 1881”
The inscriptions given below are from pages 387-388 of Cotton’s (1905) list of tombs and inscriptions in the Madras Presidency.
Sira Fort, Tomb next to interior curtain wall, west side of fort
|2269||1800||Temple||Here Lies J. J. Temple, Lieutenant, 2nd Regiment Madras Cavalry. Died 14th March 1800. [Tomb vandalized, 2008]Hayavadana Rao (1930:540) gives the name as “T. T. Temple”.|
Tumkur, Overseer’s lodge compound
|2268||1839||Baker||Captain William Way Baker, 32nd Regt., M.N.I., third son of Robert Baker, Montague Place London, who died of cholera, aged 36 years leaving an afflicted widow and five children. This monument is erected by his brother officers in token of their regard for his memory.|
Many thanks to Kanajanahalli Sridhar, Kote Chandrashekar, S. R. Ramesha and the other members of the Antiquities & Monuments Conservation Forum for their kind hospitality in Sira.
Cotton, Julian James (1905) List of Inscriptions on Tombs or Monuments in Madras Possessing Historical or Archaeological Interest. Government Press, Madras.
Hayavadana Rao, C. (1930) Mysore Gazetteer. New Edition. Bangalore: Government Press, Volume 5.