Hugh C. Macfarlane, founding partner of Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen was born in Scotland in December 1851. He came to America with his parents as a teenager in 1865, settling in Massachusetts.

Macfarlane attended school at Saint John’s College, Minnesota. He received his law degree in 1876 from Boston University and was admitted to practice in Bristol County, Massachusetts, where he practiced for 8 years.

Colonel Macfarlane, as he was best known, was one of the first settlers of Tampa. He moved to Tampa in March, 1884 and opened a law practice. He married Frances Pettingill in Tampa and they had three children.

He served as City Attorney of Tampa from 1887-1890. In 1893 Governor Mitchell appointed him State’s attorney of the Sixth Judicial District. Colonel Macfarlane served as a member of the Board of Public works of Tampa for several years, and also a member of the Board of Port Commissioners, and was also Superintendent of the Board of Public Works of West Tampa.

Colonel Macfarlane was the founder of the area then known as West Tampa. He was instrumental in bringing the cigar-making industry to the area by donating much of his own land and buildings for cigar factories in West Tampa. Macfarlane, along with others, built the first bridge across the Hillsborough River, known as the Fortune Street Bridge. The bridge was presented to the City of Tampa.

He had several law partnerships throughout the 1890’s and into the early 20th century. In 1920, he formed Macfarlane, Pettingill, Macfarlane and Fowler with his son, Howard P. Macfarlane; his brother-in-law, N. B. K. Pettingill and Cody Fowler (predecessor of the Fowler, White law firm).

Colonel Macfarlane died in January, 1935, but left many legacies throughout Tampa. The Colonel ‘s biographer, in The History of Hillsborough County, Florida: narrative and biographical, said: “This firm is one of the most important in the State of Florida, and among the clients could be mentioned many of the larger corporations and leading individuals of Southwest Florida.” … a statement which holds true into the 21st Century and the firm’s Second Century of Practicing Law.