William Ford (1824-1901)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 1/31/2023 at 13:27:33
Biographical and Historical Record of Clarke County, Iowa, 1886, p.380
William Ford, one of the successful farmers and stock-raisers of Knox Township, residing on section 9, and an old and respected pioneer of Clarke County, was born in Harrison County, West Virginia, December 8, 1824, a son of Elisha and Nancy (Feul) Ford. The father was born in East Virginia, a son of Henry Ford, who was also a native of East Virginia, of Irish ancestry. Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Ford were the parents of twelve children – eleven sons and one daughter – their names being James Henry, Polly, William, Isaac, Abraham, Jacob, Peyton, Thornton, Alpheus, Joseph, Elam and George.
William Ford was reared to manhood in Virginia, receiving a limited education in the subscription schools and by study at home. At the age of nineteen years he began learning the tanner’s trade, serving an apprenticeship of two years, living some time at Hagerstown, Maryland. He then returned to Virginia, and a short time after starting on a western trip, down the Ohio River, then up the Mississippi to Fort Madison, Iowa, going from there by state to Iowa City, where he spent the winter of 1847. The following spring he went to Grant County, Wisconsin, where he operated a saw-mill on the Little Platte River for eighteen months. In the fall of 1849 he returned to Virginia. In 1850 he removed to Marshall County, Illinois, where he resided about five years. He came to Knox Township, Clarke County, Iowa, May 17, 1855, and settled on 160 acres of land, which he had entered the year previous. He then built a log cabin 16 x 22 feet, the logs being taken from Long Creek, which was considered one of the best houses in that part of the county at that time. This house is still standing, and is now used as a stable. He built his present residence in 1866. He has now 310 acres of finely cultivated land, with good farm building, his barn being one of the best in the township. In size it is 36 x 50 feet, 16 foot posts, stone basement, and is well arranged for the convenience of stock, and for hay and grain. He devotes considerable attention to the raising and feeding of stock, and has some fine specimens of thorough-bred and high-grade cattle. He was married in the fall of 1849 to Sarah Dillon, of West Virginia, daughter of John and Maria Dillon. They have nine children – W. S., Mary, Jennie, Josephine, Loretta, H. G., Myra, Katy and Frederick. During the war of the Rebellion Mr. Ford enlisted in Company B, Eighteenth Iowa Infantry, and served twenty months. He received an honorable discharge at Little Rock Arkansas. He was elected county supervisor under the old law, and has also served under the present system, with credit to himself and to the best interest of his county. He has held most of the town offices of his township, and is one of the most respected men of Knox Township. He is one of the self-made men of Clarke County, beginning life without means, and by his own industry and good management has acquired his present fine property. In politics he was formerly a Republican, but now affiliates with the Greenback party. He takes an active interest in all things that are for the advancement of his county, and is one of the pioneers who has assisted in building roads, schools and churches.
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