Among those loyal sons of the nation who at the country's call for troops joined the "blue" and went to the south to aid in the defense of the Union, was Franklin Ford, who to-day is a valued representative citizen of Mission township, Brown county, as true and loyal to duty as when he followed the starry banner upon southern battle fields. He was born in Perry county, Ohio, April 20, 1842, and is a son of Lory Ford. His father was a representative of one of the old New England families that was established in Ohio in early pioneer days. His birth occurred in Perry county, in 1811, and he is now living in Brown county, Kansas, having almost attained the ninetieth mile-stone on life's journey. His father, Chauncey Ford, was born in Connecticut, about 1775, and was one of three brothers who went down the Ohio river in a canoe, establishing a home in Perry county. It was necessary to cut their path through the wilderness a part of the way, and in the midst of the. dense forest Chauncey Ford made a claim and built a log cabin. He never received any deed to his land, for the claim, if not the first, was one of the first,. made in the county. The right to the title, however, has never been disputed and the old homestead is now owned by a son of Chauncey Ford. Life amid those pioneer surroundings was often fraught with dangers, and in fact the Ford family suffered from the treachery of the Indians. One of the three brothers was decoyed into the woods by a turkey call made by the members of the red race and was then killed by the Indians.
On the old family homestead in Ohio, Lory Ford was reared, and after arriving at years of maturity he married Miss Hester Miller, who was born in Muskingum, Ohio, and belonged to one of the earliest families of Perry county. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ford ten children were born, five sons and five daughters, namely: Philarua Smith, now residing in Ohio; Clarissa Elliott, who died in February, 1899, in Mission township, Brown county; Minerva, Mrs. Ford; Mary E., Mrs. Johnson, who is living in Tennessee; Franklin; Chauncey, who died in infancy; Jennie, who is living in Ohio; Lory, also a resident of Ohio; John Sylvester, who died at the age of twelve years, and Hiram J., a resident of Mission township, Brown county. The parents resided in Perry county, Ohio, until 1849, when they removed to Marysville, Ohio. The mother, who was a consistent and faithful member of the Lutheran church, died in 1874, at the age of sixty-five years. The father came to Kansas in 1888, and although now eighty-eight years of age his mental and physical faculties are unimpaired. He gives his political support to the Republican party, and for over fifty years has been an active and zealous Mason.
Franklin Ford was a lad of seven years when his parents removed from Perry county, to Union county, Ohio, where he pursued his education in the public schools through the winter months, while in the summer season he aided in the labors of the field and meadow on his father's farm. At the age of eighteen years, at President Lincoln's call for seventy-five thousand troops, he enlisted for three years, as a member of Company F, Thirteenth Ohio Infantry, joining the regiment at Maryville, under the command of Colonel Smith, Lieutenant-Colonel Hawkins and Captain Slocum. He was first under fire at Pittsburg Landing, and subsequently participated in the battles of Perryville, Kentucky, and Stone River and Chickamauga. At Missionary Ridge he was with General Wood's command, but later was with General Sherman in the campaign from Cleveland, Tennessee. He took part in the battle of Burnt Hickory, or New Hope Church, where the Federal forces went into battle eight thousand strong, and after two and a half hours lost sixteen hundred and forty men. He was honorably discharged at Louisville, Kentucky, after three years and one month of hard service in the enemy's country. Always found at his post of duty, he made for himself a most creditable military record, of which he may be justly proud.
After his discharge. Mr. Ford returned to Union county, Ohio, where, in 1864, he was married to Miss Emily L. Mears, a lady of culture and innate refinement, who for some years was a popular and capable teacher. She was born in Hartford, Licking county, Ohio, a daughter of Timothy V. Mears, who was born in Chittenden county, Vermont, and a granddaughter of Stephen Mears, who was a soldier in the war of 1812. Her father married Miss Dorcas Carpenter, a daughter of Aaron Carpenter, and a native of Vermont. She, too, was a capable educator, and by her marriage she became the mother of four children, namely: Hiram B., who served as a member of the Thirty-third Ohio Infantry during the Civil war, and now resides in Bungo, Minnesota; Mrs. Hannah Hutchinson, who is now residing in Ohio. and is a widow, her husband having been a soldier in the Civil War; Mrs. Ford; and Lucian H., a resident of Joplin, Missouri. The parents are both deceased. The father was a mechanic by trade and lived to the advanced age of eighty years. His political support was given the Republican party. He and his wife were consistent members of the Methodist church and earnest Christian people. She died January 1, 1892, at the age of eighty-two years, he dying four days later, January 5, 1892.
After his marriage Mr. Ford resided in Union county, Ohio, until 1868, when he removed with his family to Madison county, Iowa, locating near Winterset. The following year he came to Atchison county, Kansas, and in 1870 located on his present farm in Mission township, Brown county. The land was new and the country but sparsely settled, but he erected a cottonwood shanty, when there were no houses within sight of his home. He was at that time the owner of sixty-seven acres, to which he afterward added a tract of one hundred acres, so that he is now the owner of one hundred and sixty-seven acres, all of which is under a high state of cultivation. The farm, adjoining the corporation limits of the town of Willis, is also well stocked with a high grade of horses, cattle and hogs, and there is a large orchard on the place. The residence is a modern one, furnished in good taste.
Mr. and Mrs. Ford now have four children: John Howard, who married Miss Anna Shortridge and resides in Willis; Leona, the wife of R. M. Figley, of Mission township, Brown county; Minnie S., the wife of J. F. McMillan, of Jackson county; Jennie, who was a twin sister of Mrs. McMillan, and died at the age of fourteen months; and Ethel, at home. There are also six grandchildren: Dulcie Iola and Harry F. are the children of John Howard Ford, while Angeline and Gertrude are daughters of Mrs. Figley, and Nellie and George Franklin are the children of Mrs. McMillan.
Mr. Ford exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party and keeps well informed on the questions of the day, although he has never sought or desired political preferment. Both he and his wife attend the services of the Methodist church and are well known people of the community, esteemed for their sterling worth.