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James W. Ford Family from Tennessee to Oklahoma

This story is about my second great grandfather James W. Ford and his family. I don't have any anecdotal information that has been handed down in the family. About all I have is the historical record. James W. Ford was born about 1825 in Tennessee. Since he was a farmer he likely came from a family of farmers. On 20 Aug 1848 he married Nancy Garrett in Greene County, Illinois. Greene County is in western Illinois. Nancy was about eighteen years of age when she married James. They didn't waste any time. Nancy had the first of her eight children, Jasper Newton Ford, the next year.

At one time I was convinced that the parents of James W Ford (born abt 1825 in Tennessee) were James Ford (1787-1845) and Jane Watts (1795-1864). But, as I look at the supporting documentation right now it appears unconvincing and confusing. It really looks like there might have been two couples named James and Nancy Ford in the midwest at the same time; born about the same time; that have been mixed together.

Anyway, at the time that my second great grandfather was born, Missouri had just become a state in 1821. Immigration was low in the years leading up to 1821, slowed by European wars that raged from 1790 to 1815. Only about 8,000 per year entered the United States during this period. The 1820 census counted 8,385 immigrants, including one from China and one from Africa. In 1825, the Erie Canal was finally completed.

In 1826, former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within hours of each other on Independence Day. The Oregon Trail was coming into use by settlers migrating to the Pacific Northwest and in 1830 the Indian Removal Act was enacted by Congress allowing President Andrew Jackson to run the Five Civilized Tribes out of their lands in the southern US.

According to the 1850 US Federal Census, in that year, James and Nancy were living between Macoupin and Apple Creeks in Greene County, Illinois. In the household were James Ford, age 25 (born about 1824), male, farmer, born in Tennessee. Nancy Ford, age 22, female, born in Ohio. Jasper Ford, age 1, male, born in Illinois. Joseph Ford, age 50, male, farmer, born in South Carolina. Here we have Joseph Ford (age 50) living in James Ford's (age 25) house. In the 1880 Census James said his father was born in North Carolina, but Joseph Ford says he was born in South Carolina. Is it possible that Joseph is James' father?

A few lines down on the the same page of this census is listed the family of William and Lucinda Ford. William Ford, age 30 (born about 1819), male, farmer, born in Tennessee. Lucinda Ford, age 25, female, born in Illinois. Sarah Ford, age 6, female, born in Illinois. James L. Ford, age 4, male, born in Illinois. Cynthia C Ford, age 2, female, born in Illinois. James Douglas, age 17, male, farmer, born in Tennessee. Might William be the older brother of James? Both were born in Tennessee.

In the 1860 US Federal Census is a record of the James and Nancy Ford household. These records for Greene County, Illinois, (township not stated) were enumerated 09 July 1860. James M. Ford, age 34, farmer; Nancy Ford, age 28; Jasper N. Ford, age 10, male; Winney J. Ford, age 9, male; John L. Ford, age 7, male; William F. Ford, age 2, male; Henry J. Ford, age 7 months, male.

The William and Lucinda Ford family is still living close by. William T. Ford, age 38 (born about 1821), farmer, born in Tennessee. Lucinda Ford, age 34, born in Illinois. Sarah Ford, age 15, female, born in Illinois. James L Ford, age 13, male, born in Illinois. Cynthia C. Ford, age 11, female, born in Illinois. William P Ford, age 9, male, born in Illinois. Eliza A. Ford, age 7, male, born in Illinois. Eldorado Ford, age 3, female, born in Illinois. Benjamin F. Ford, age 6 months, male, born in Illinois. John Ward, age 25, male, farm hand, born in New York.

The 1870 US Federal Census has a record of the James and Nancy Ford household. James and Nancy's children were listed as Jasper, age 20, male; Winnie, age 19, male; John, age 17, male; Henry, age 11, male; Margret, age 9 (born about 1860), female; Francis, age 6, male; and Ida, age 2, female.

In the 1880 US Federal Census for Greene County, Illinois, is a record of the James and Nancy Ford family. This family was enumerated on 22 or 23 June 1880 by B.B. Hamilton. James W. Ford, white, male, age 55, farmer, born in Tennessee, and both parents were born in North Carolina. Nancy Ford, white, female, age 49, wife, keeping house, born in Ohio, and both parents were born in Virginia. Henry Ford, white, male, age 20, son, works on farm, born in Illinois. Melissa, white, female, age 18 (born about 1861), daughter, works at home, born in Illinois. Francis M. Ford, white, male, age 16, son, works on farm, born in Illinois. Ida O. Ford, white, female, age 12, daughter, works at home, born in Illinois.
[Note 1: The name of the daughter who was nine years old at the 1870 US Federal Census was given as "Margret." Here ten years later she is going by Melissa. In 1870 James and Nancy's children were listed as Jasper, age 20, male; Winnie, age 19, male; John, age 17, male; Henry, age 11, male; Margret, age 9 (born about 1860), female; Francis, age 6, male; and Ida, age 2, female.]
[Note 2: 1860 US Federal Census lists: James M. Ford, age 24, farmer; Nancy Ford, age 28; Jasper N. Ford, age 10, male; Winney J. Ford, age 9, male; John L. Ford, age 7, male; William F. Ford, age 2, male; Henry J. Ford, age 7 months, male.]

On the previous page of the census for this location (Illinois > Greene > Not Stated > 087 > page 1) is a record of the William and Louisa (Sic.) Ford family. William F. Ford, white, male, age 58, farmer, born in Tennessee, and both parents born in North Carolina. Louisa Ford, white, female, age 54, wife, keeps house, born in North Carolina as were her parents. Benjamin Ford, white, male, age 20, son, works on the farm, born in Illinois. Mary Ida Ford, white, female, age 15, daughter, works at home, born in Illinois. David S. Ford, white, male, age 14, son, works at home, born in Illinois. [Someone must have had a head cold on the day of this census. William's wife's name was Lucinda and not Louisa.]

Also in 1880, a total solar eclipse blackens the sky of San Francisco one day after the funeral of Emperor Norton. In February, Thomas Edison files a patent for his electric incandescent lamp. The first successful shipment of frozen mutton from Australia arrives in London aboard the SS Strathleven. In March Wabash, Indiana, becomes the first electrically lit city in the world. In May Thomas Edison performs the first test of his electric railway. In October the "Blizzard of 1880" begins in North America. The University of Southern California opens its doors to fifty-three students and ten faculty members.

Jasper Newton Ford was James and Nancy's first born child. In the 1850 US Federal Census James and Nancy's first son was listed as Jasper Ford (1 year old). In the 1860 US Federal Census he was listed as Jasper N. Ford (10 years old). In the 1870 US Federal Census he was listed as Jasper Ford (20 years old). In later life he began using his middle name as his given name. So here below in the 1900 census and later in the 1910 census he gives his name as Newton J. Ford or just Newton Ford. Newton Ford (1849-1923) married Emily Sofronia Hubbard (1853-1918) and they had one child; Alma Ruby Ford (1882-1972). Newton and Emma lived their whole lives in Illinois.

The 1900 US Federal Census for Illinois > Cass > Ashland > District 7 > page 27 (enumerated 12 Jun 1900) lists the family of Newton J. and Emma S. Ford. Newton J. Ford, white, male, farmer, born Aug 1849 in Illinois, age 50, married for twenty years, his father was born in Tennessee and his mother in Ohio. Emma S. Ford, wife, white, female, born April 1852 in Illinois, age 48, married for twenty years, she had one child who was still alive, her father was born in Kentucky and her mother in Tennessee. Alma R. Ford, daughter, white, female, born November 1882 in Illinois, age 17, single.

1910 US Federal Census for Illinois > Morgan > Prentice > District 0117 > page 5 (enumerated 19 April 1910) lists the family of Newton and Emily S. Ford. Newton Ford, age 60, married 29 years, working as a farmer doing general farming on his own account, born in Illinois, his father was born in Tennessee and his mother in Ohio. Emily S. Ford, wife, age 58, born in Illinois, her father was born in Kentucky and her mother in Illinois.

James Ford's youngest daughter was my great grandmother. Her name was Ida Olive Ford and she was born in December of 1866 in Barrows Stations, Greene County, Illinois. When Ida Olive Ford was born her father, James, was 40, and her mother, Nancy, was 34. She was the baby of the family. Oh, how she must have been pampered by her five older brothers and two older sisters. Although I never really knew her (she died two years after I was born) I was always very fond of great grandma's name.

The year of Ida's birth was momentous. The American Civil War had just ended and Congress was forcing Reconstruction on the South. Jesse and Frank James conducted their first post-war robbery robbing the Clay County Savings Association in the town of Liberty, Missouri, on February 13, 1866. And the Indian Wars continued out west for another two years as the Sioux and Northern Paiute Tribes continued to attack settlers until the Army forced the tribes back on their reservations.

Ida married Frank Dolton on March 4, 1891. Frank was not closely related to the Dalton gang. Frank and Ida had eight children together over a period of seventeen years. They were: William Jewel Dolton, Florence May Dolton, Nancy Isabell Dolton, Thomas Frank Dolton, Joseph Gilbert Dolton, Elza Garland Dolton, Ines Olive Dolton, and Daisy Irma Dolton. All of these children except Daisy were married and most had children of their own. Daisy had a birth defect and lived with Frank, Ida, and her sister Florence until they had all died. After that she lived in a group home in Yukon, Oklahoma.

Frank and Ida lived in Maysville, DeKalb County, Missouri, until about 1900 when they moved to Spring Creek Township in Oklahoma Territory. On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma was admitted to the union. Before the 1910 census the family moved to Mustang, Oklahoma.

Mustang Township in Canadian County, Oklahoma, was home to the Frank and Ida Dolton family in 1910. The US Federal Census for this place has a record of the family living on a farm they owned (with the bank) and they were doing general farming. Frank Dolton was head of the household, male, white, age 46 years, be was born abt 1864 in Kansas, married for 19 years, and working as a farmer. His father was born in Illinois and his mother in Missouri. He was able to read, write, and speak English. Ida Dolton was Frank's wife, female, white, age 43 years, born abt 1867 in Illinois, married 19 years. She said her father was born in Tennessee and her mother in Ohio. William J Dolton was Frank's son, male, white, 18 years of age, born abt 1898 in Missouri, he was single, and working as a laborer on the home farm. Florence M Dolton was Frank's daughter, female, white, age 16 years, born abt 1900 in Missouri. Nancy I Dolton, daughter, female, white, 14 years of age, single, born in Missouri. Thomas F Dolton, son, male, white, 11 years old, single, born in Missouri, and working as a laborer on the home farm. Gilbert J Dolton, son, male, white, 8 years of age, single, born in Oklahoma. Elza G Dolton, son, male, white, 6 years of age, single, born in Oklahoma. Ines O Dolton, daughter, female, white, 4 years old, born in Oklahoma. Daisy E Dolton, daughter, female, white, 11 months old, born in Oklahoma. In response to the question of whether or not they "Had attended school any time since September 1, 1909" William, Florence, Nancy, Thomas, and Gilbert said yes.

From his first introduction to Mustang, Frank was active in every aspect of life in the growing town. Although he did raise crops on his farm, he became involved in trading and business ventures. But, Ida rarely left the house except to work in the little kitchen garden out back of the house. And once Daisy, their youngest child, was taken ill at five years old and developed a mental affliction caused by the high temperature effects of the disease, then that increased their isolation.

Louis Dolton, Sr., said, Daisy's spirit existed in her mind with very limited vocal expressions. When I walked across the street to Frank & Ida's house, I could always hear her say, "Roos a com'in." (She could not say Louis) If someone was walking to the house, she would say, "man a comin." She ate without assistance (meat did have to be cut up for her) except for a bib and was considerably overweight. I think she was bathed and dressed by her mother. She sat looking out a window and I never saw her take a daytime nap. She did not need help to walk or go to the car for a ride. Rides were occasional and uncommon. She did not venture outside by herself nor was she taken for even an occasional walk. She was friendly and I never saw her angry. She recognized family members, but I do not remember if she could say their names. She never had any chores such as washing dishes, doing laundry, making her bed, or even setting the table because she did not have the mental capacity. I was told that she could play the piano before contracting Scarlet Fever at age 5.

The 1920 US Federal Census enumerated 27 January 1920 by J. S. Rector has a record of the Frank and Ida Dolton household living at a farmhouse on Township Road in Mustang, Canadian County, Oklahoma. Frank Dalton was the head of household, male, white, age 55 years, married, born in Kansas. His father was born in Illinois and his mother in Missouri. Frank was farming doing general farming. Ida O. Dolton was his wife, female, white, age 54 years, married, born in Illinois. Both her parents were born in the United States. Thomas F. Dolton was Frank's son, male, white, 20 years of age, single, born in Missouri. Thomas was farming on the home farm. Joseph G. Dolton, son, male, white, age 16 years, single, born in Oklahoma. Joseph was farming on the home farm. Elza G. Dolton, son, male, white age 14 years, single, born in Oklahoma. Elza was farming on the home farm. Inez Dolton, Frank's daughter, female, white, age 13 years, single, born in Oklahoma. Daisy E. Dolton, daughter, female, white, age 11 years, single, born in Oklahoma. In answer to a specific question whoever was replying to the census taker's questions said that Joseph, Elza and Inez had attended school at some time since September 1, 1919. They specifically said that Daisy had not attended school in this time frame and I guess Thomas because of his age (he was twenty years old) didn't have to answer the question.

Frank and Ida were still living in Mustang in 1930. The US Federal Census for this year has a record of their household as enumerated by Walter E. Starry on 10 Apr 1930. Frank Dolton was still farming at age 66 years. He was renting the house they lived in. He says he was first married at age 27. He was born abt 1864 in Kansas, his father was born in Illinois, and his mother in Missouri. Ida Dolton, his wife, was 63 years old, had first married at age 24 years, was born abt 1868 in Illinois, her father was born in Kentucky, and her mother in Ohio. Daisy Dolton was Frank's daughter, age 20 years, born abt 1910 in Oklahoma, and was single.

By this time several of Frank and Ida's children had moved to California to take advantage of opportunities in the Sunshine State. Gilbert, had moved to California and worked as a driver for Hal Roach who produced Our Gang also known as The Little Rascals. When the depression hit no one could sell their produce. Florence and Claude Barefoot, Bell and John Watson, and Thomas Dolton sold everything that Frank had given them and moved to California to work in the movie industry. They worked for Hal Roach working as grips and later as a carpenter. John made the princely sum of $1,700 per year. Uncle Art and Aunt Ines moved to Culver City and Art worked as a carpenter and fireman in the motion picture industry. So, that's five of Frank's eight children moved out to California. After Claude died at the age of only fifty-eight years, their having had no children, Aunt Florence moved back to Oklahoma City and lived for twenty-seven years until she died.

Frank and Ida's oldest son moved back to Kansas City, Missouri, where he lived for the rest of his life raising a huge family that spread across western Missouri and eastern Kansas. Only Elza, Frank's youngest son, remained in Mustang, Oklahoma, for life. Of course, Daisy lived in the home her whole life, but everyone else moved away.

The 1940 US Federal Census for Mustang, Canadian County, Oklahoma, enumerated 03 Apr 1940 by Weldon J. Spitler has a record of the Frank and Ida Dolton household. Frank Dolton was the head of household, male, white, age 76 years, married, born in Kansas. Ida Olive Dolton was Frank's wife, female, white, age 72 years, married, born in Illinois. Daisy Erma Dolton was Frank's daughter, female, white, age 31 years, single, had not attended school and the highest grade she had completed was zero. Daisy was born in Oklahoma. None of the three of them were employed and they all indicated they had zero income. Frank and Ida indicated that they had other sources of income.

Frank suffered a final stroke from cerebral thrombosis after driving across town in his ritual yearly visit to the Oklahoma State Fair. He died a few days later in a hospital in Oklahoma City 28 Oct 1952. His wife, Ida, survived him only a few months as her job of taking care of him was finished. She died some time in 1953.



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