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Ferregut, Ferragut, Farragut: Town namesake roots Spanish

Perhaps if the Town truly reflected its founder’s ethnicity, more than 20,000 citizens in southwest Knox County would be living in Ferregut.

Or Ferragut?

Retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Jay A. DeLoach — one of four dignitaries serving as featured speaker during Farragut Memorial Plaza Dedication ceremony Sunday afternoon, May 2 — said the Hispanic roots of famed Adm. James David Glasgow Farragut’s have, to a large extent, been “Anglicized” over time.

“Before I came down here this morning, I actually found a book in Spanish — actually published in Spain — talking about the Farragut family going back to 1249,” said DeLoach, also a historian, after the ceremony.

“There is quite a lengthy history of the Farragut family, including the three different spellings of his name: [including] F-e-r-r-e-g-u-t, and the other one is F-e-r-r-a-g-u-t.”

DeLoach emphasized that Adm. Farragut’s father, George Farragut, had his first named “Anglicized” from its original Hispanic spelling and pronunciation, Jorge.

Having common Hispanic ties with Adm. Farragut “most definitely” makes DeLoach especially interested in this Civil War hero, he said.

“The military knows that we have to represent the population we are sworn to protect,” DeLoach said, adding that with 15 percent of the US population being Hispanic “and growing, it makes sense for us to highlight and say, ‘look, there were elements of diversity in our military way back when.’”

Three Mayors, serving during the Town’s 30-year history, all spoke after the ceremony.

Former Mayor Eddy Ford (1993-2009) echoed DeLoach’s idea that the Town adopt the USS Farragut.

“That was proposed to me 15 months ago, and I was pursuing it in the last few months of my [final] term in office,” he said. “Had established contact with the commander of the USS Farragut. ... That is something I’ve suggested to the current Mayor [Ralph McGill] and other members of the Board.”

McGill brought up the idea “of creating an award — I don’t know what we’d call it, maybe the Spirit of Farragut award — to honor people who have taken that step that is a little bit scary, yet succeeded.

“We have a lot of citizens who boldly go into a new adventure where they can’t be sure they’re going to succeed,” he added.

About the statue, Mayor Robert Leonard (the Town’s first mayor, 1980-93) said, “I think it’s marvelous, it’s just a wonderful thing. That is going to be the signature point of our Town from now on.”

About the craftsmanship of sculptress Linda White Rankin, Leonard said, “So beautiful, she caught him perfectly. She saw every statue of Adm. Farragut in the country. ... That’s Adm. Farragut standing there.”

Referring to Farragut Folklife Museum, Leonard said, “Right now, in that museum, that is the most [Adm.] Farragut artifacts that exist in the whole world,” adding, “We intend to greatly expand [our] Adm. Farragut collection.”

Ford said he takes special pride in knowing “my ancestors, from the perspective of my grandfather and grandmother and his family came and bought the land that we are standing on where this statue now sits, they were an integral part of the community.”

The Town’s second Mayor labeled it “an honor” to have served the first 29 years in Town government history.

“We have people all across this country that look to a municipality that has no property taxes, that has accomplished all that we have done, and are in awe of what we have been able to do,” Ford added.


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