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Here are some Ford stories and accounts over the years:

Fords in Devon

There were said to have been Fords at Moreton Hampstead in Devon from the 12th century.  They were later to be found at Chagford, Ashburton, and Ilsington.  From Thomas Ford in Ilsington came John Ford of Bagtor, a playwright during the reign of Charles I, and Sir Henry Ford, briefly Secretary of State for Ireland at the time of Charles II.  Bagtor House in Ilsington still stands.

Fordes in Seaforde in County Down

The village of Seaforde was named after the Forde family that descended from Nicholas Forde of Dunboyne in county Meath.  He had held the post of Deputy Victualler in Cork in 1580, as supplier to Queen Elizabeth’s army in Ireland. 

The village lands were purchased by Nicholas's fifth son, Mathew Forde.  Although Coolgreany in county Wexford was the principal seat of the Forde family during the 17th century, they later established themselves at Seaforde.  Seaforde was the birthplace of Colonel Francis Forde who fought and served with Clive of India.  And Fordes still live at Seaforde House.

Fords in America by Country of Origin


Andrew Ford in Abington

In 1664 Andrew Ford of Weymouth and his brother-in-law James Lovell purchased 200 acres of land in Plymouth colony of what was called the Southern Grant, lands purchased from local Indian tribes.  Andrew's portion became known as Ford's Farms. 

The first settler on Ford's Farms was Andrew’s son Andrew who built a house there in 1679 on the knoll above the stepping-over-place on the Schumatuscacant river.  Andrew was followed by two of his brothers.  In 1685 these Fords were recorded as the only inhabitants of Old Abington.  There is a road in Abington that is known as Andrew Ford Way.

Henry Ford's Irish Roots

The Ford family had initially settled in county Cork during the latter half of the 16th century.   At that time the English crown was awarding confiscated land to English Protestant settlers and this prompted the Ford family to leave their native Somerset in England and join other Protestant settlers in Ireland. 

John Ford, Henry’s grandfather, lived in the simple stone cottage which his father William had built in 1800 on the Madame estate in Ballinascarthy where he was a tenant farmer.  There are still a number of Fords in the area.  But in 1847 at the height of the famine John was forced to uproot his family first to Cork and then across the Atlantic to Canada.  Henry’s father William, then 21 years old, accompanied his family on the voyage, which Tomasine – Henry Ford’s grandmother – was not to survive. 

From Quebec the Fords travelled to America where John's three brothers had emigrated in the 1830’s.  Their arduous journey finally ended in Dearborn, Michigan.  There in 1848 John bought an eight-acre farm from a fellow Cork man called Henry Maybury. 

Henry's father William was a quiet-speaking, hard-working man and expected his eldest son to take an interest in the farm.  But Henry did not like farm work.  He was a boy with a vision of his own.  So at 16 years of age Henry left the farm for the city.

Patrick Ford and The Irish World

Patrick Ford arrived in America as a young boy and, as he himself admitted, knew nothing of Ireland or its history or politics.  However, the conditions he encountered in America in the 1850’s and 1860’s made him aware that he was Irish.  He recalled later: 

“I travelled footsore day after day through Boston for a place for a place at a dollar a week or at any price.  I would see a notice: “Boy wanted – no Irish need apply.”  To get that place I must lie.  I couldn’t do that, even if I could have got rid of the brogue which would have betrayed me.”  

In 1870 Ford started up The Irish World in Brooklyn, a weekly journal that was to champion the Irish-American cause.  He was to run this paper with the help of his brothers until his death in 1913.  It remained an influential at times radical paper throughout this period.  However, after Ford had gone, The Irish World entered into a slow decline and closed in 1951.

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