This Site is Dedicated to
Families who settled in and around James County and Hamilton County Tennessee
Several branches of the Ford
family were in Hamilton
County at an early
day. One operated the area’s
first dairy and another was a liquor and tobacco dealer. Still another was a newspaper editor
before the Civil War, while another branch farmed in the area that later became
who was a native of Maryland,
in 1845 bought 90 acres on both sides of the Dry Valley Road
from Cavanaugh Boydston. This was at the present Red Bank on the
“road leading from Washington (in Rhea County)
to John Brown’s old
ferry.” He paid $200 down and
also had a $100 note. His first
wife, Sarah died Sep 3, 1841,
and was buried at the Citizen’s Cemetery. She was 45. His second wife was Pensacola Hawley, who born in
1805. She died at the end of the
Civil War and was buried at White Oak.
Benjamin Ford had
daughters Rachel R. and Sarah and an older daughter, Elizabeth A., who married a Jones. Rachel
married John F. Hamill
in 1849, and their children were Samuel,
Benjamin, Elizabeth, and James
Rachel Ford Hamill died in 1864.
James Henry Ford,
a son of Benjamin Ford, was
born in 1836 when the family was in Sullivan County, Tennessee. Soon after the Civil War broke out, James Henry Ford enlisted on the
Confederate side under J.S. Tyner
with the First Tennessee Cavalry.
He served under Nathan Bedford
Forrest and then under Joe
Wheeler. James H. Ford served as a member of
the County Court. He was “a
man of considerable wealth and in his quiet way was charitable to the
poor.” He had first married Elizabeth Martin, daughter of the Ford neighbor Russell Martin, on Sep 13,
1862. However, she died in
1864. James H. Ford married Rhoda
T. Thomison at Washington
in Rhea County in 1873. She was one of the loyal Rebel women of Rhea County
who organized a cavalry company to carry clothing, food, and “such other
necessities and delicacies as able to procure” to nearby Confederate
camps. She and other members of the
unit were arrested and marched on foot to Dayton
and then taken to Chattanooga
on an Army cattle boat. They were
released after being interrogated by a Union
general. James P. Ford, the only son of James H. and Rhoda
Ford was born in 1874. He
married Minnie Hartley in
1898. When James P. Ford died at the young age of 39, he was
living at the old Ford homestead on Dry
Valley Road and his unmarried Aunt Sally was still with the
family. He was buried at White Oak
Cemetery, where his parents also lie.
James H. Ford died in
1913 and Rhoada Thomison Ford
died in 1918.
died Sep 15, 1861 at the age of 71.
He was buried the Citizen’s Cemetery.
who fought in the Civil War was Nathan
C. Ford who was in the Confederate cavalry, then transferred to the
artillery. The native of Charlotte County,
Virginia came to Chattanooga
in February of 1870. He had married
Anthony Hancock in 1868. Her
first husband was a Hancock,
and she had a son J.D. Hancock. Nathan
C. Ford went into the wholesale liquor business at 717 Market Street with E.R. Betterton,
and both resided nearby at Chestnut
Ford later switched to
wholesale tobacco. He was one of
the first police commissioners at Chattanooga
under appointment from Gov. William
Bate. His sons were W.M., C.L., and F.C.
Nathan C. Ford built a home on the west side of Walnut Street
between Fifth and Sixth streets that he sold to John Divine and later was
occupied by Summerfield and Mary Divine Key. Mrs. Nathan C. Ford died in 1898
at their home at Third and Walnut.
She was “noted for her charity and Christian endeavor.”
Coming to Chattanooga near
the end of the war was William P.
Ford, who was born in 1832 at Windsor,
New York. He had married Maggie S. Bond in 1862, but she was killed by a runaway
team of horses on June 2, 1864. At Chattanooga on June 6,
1875, Ford married Ellen Dady,
daughter of John and Fannie Dady. John
Dady was a contractor who was drowned during a
flood the same year of his daughter’s marriage.
William P. Ford
as a young man had gone out as a surveyor of the “Great American
Desert.” He came to Chattanooga in January of 1864 to assist in
rebuilding the railroads into the devastated town. He was placed in charge of the ox teams
that were used to bring in the timber for the project. Afterward, Ford settled at Sherman Heights
– the section of East Chattanooga where General William Sherman had advanced on Missionary
Ridge. There he opened
first dairy. One of the main
customers was the baker Adolph Tschopik.
The milk was $1 a gallon and buttermilk was half a dollar. During the great flood of 1867, Ford was not stopped from his milk
deliveries – even though much of downtown Chattanooga was under water. He obliged Mrs.
Bishop, the 250-pound hostess of the Crutchfield House, by taking her on
a tour of the lower floors of her hotel in his boat. William
P. Ford was one of the first former Union men to denounce the
terrorizing of former Rebels and the confiscation of their property. He was “a Democrat from his youth
up,” though in 1896 he split with many in his party by remaining
a “gold” Democrat instead of a “silver”
one. Ford was justice of the peace
from 1884 to 1888. He was active in
developing the suburbs of Sherman Heights, East Chattanooga,
Boyce, and Avondale. He died
December 11, 1900, and was buried at Greenwood
Cemetery. He had a son, William C., by his first
wife. He lived at Princeton, Kansas. Children by the second wife were Fannie, Sallie, Mamie,
Annie, and William P. Jr.
Before the war, John
W. Ford was an editor at Chattanooga
and his sons, Leonidas N. and Thomas J., were printers. The daughters were Margaret, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Adelia.
Thomas J. Ford enlisted April 25, 1962, at Chattanooga with the Lookout Artillery headed
by Captain Robert Barry. Thomas J. Ford died of pneumonia
at Knoxville on
November 2, 1862. The native of Hamilton County was 31. His wife, Hetty, filed a claim with the
Confederate authorities on pay that was owed. He had a light complexion and gray eyes
and was 5’11” tall.
One of the County’s early settlers was Levi Ford, who has been born at Caswell, North
Carolina about 1780. He and his brothers, Laban, Lemuel, George, Amos, and Pleasant Henry, were sons of Simeon Ford. Levi Ford was married to Mary Payne in 1814 at Caswell County. He was a chair maker. The children of Levi and Mary
Ford included Levi Jr., Mary,
Susan, and Anna. Another son was William Daniel Ford, who was born in Caswell Count in
1822. His first wife was Amy Jane Collins, then
he married the much-younger Betty
Sparks. A descendant, Earl Ford, said this line of Fords sought to get some of the
river bottom property in the north part of the county, but it was all taken and
they had to settle for several hundred acres of ridge land. The family lived at Friendship, which is
between Birchwood and Harrison. The
children of William Daniel Ford
included James Henry, John, William
Robert, Charles, Amanda Jane, Richard, Elizabeth,
Dolly, Thomas, and George. Amanda Jane married William Monroe Pairett
James Henry Ford
was in Company B of the First Tennessee Cavalry. He was hospitalized in May of 1862. He deserted and took the oath of
allegiance at Chattanooga
on April 20, 1865. He lived at
Birchwood with his wife, Mary,
before the war.
Ford, who was born in 1847, married Rachel
Cooley, William R. Ford was a blacksmith, and he taught some of the sons
the same trade. Rachel Cooley Ford died in 1911 and
her husband the following year.
Their children included John
B., Mattie J., Jesse Franklin Sim, Noah, and Lena.
Sim was shot and killed in 1902 and John B. suffered the same fate in
1906. Noah married Ora
Maddox. Lena married Wilson Quinn. Earl Ford is the son of Jesse Franklin Ford and Nancy Cordelia Hindman.
Though several of the sons of William
D. Ford moved to Texas, George
Ford remained at Friendship and his descendants still live there Sons of
George Ford and his wife, Lucy Hindman,
were Arthur Trainer, Alton, Glenn,
James, and Lloyd. Sons of Arthur
Trainer Ford are Alymas, Marvin, Arthur Vernon, Bryan, and George. Earl
Ford said one of the Fords
who moved to Texas returned to Hamilton County,
saying “he could not find a decent woman in all of Texas.” He located one at Harrison, then returned with her to the Lone Star State.
(1811-1900) moved into the Cross Roads area before the Indian Removal and
married Nellie Reed
(1818-1858) who was a half-Cherokee.
Family tradition related that they were married first in an Indian
ceremony and later remarried by the traditions of the white culture. Before Nellie
died in 1858, the couple had six children.
married the second time, Mary A. Ford
(1829-1903), and they had seven children.
was buried in the Montgomery Cemetery with his first wife; his second wife, Mary A. (Ford), was buried in the McDonald Cemetery
located on Snow Hill Road
Church and Mahan Gap Road on
land donated to the community by Preston
McDonald. Other families
buried in the McDonald
Cemetery were Cardin, Cannon, Cooper,
Thompson, Wolfe, Forgey, Friddell,
Dill, Biggs, Holder, Roy, Padgett, Lee, and Lively.
The first school in James County, Tennessee was the Snow Hill
Academy was advertised in
1873 in the Cleveland Banner. Wesley Davis was on the board of
In 1855 Wesley
Davis bought river-bottom land in the area. Two of his children, L. Davis and Jane T. (Davis) Wolfe,
moved to river farms in the Maddux Community, Isaac (1837-1902) and Jane T. (Davis) Wolfe (1840-1894) farmed land
south of Denny Hill and north of the Maddux lands.