One of the substantial farmers and ranchmen of Clay county whose career was launched here twenty years ago and whose connection with the grazing industry about Bellevue has become conspicuously prominent is Joseph B. Ford, announced as the subject of this sketch. He accompanied his parents to Texas in September, 1885, from Dalton, Georgia, and settled on a farm near Bellevue. With this farm and the additions that have been made to it by him, as his prosperity warranted during the passing years, he has ever since been connected and upon it he has maintained his young family and has an attractive home.
October 9, 1864, Joseph B. Ford was born near Dalton, Georgia, of parents, Joseph R. and Palmyra B. (Cowan) Ford. The Fords are of Irish origin, settling first in North Carolina, where Matthew Ford, the great-grandfather of our subject, reared his family. One of the latter’s sons, Amos, married Frances Rudd, near Raleigh, and with his family migrated to Cherokee county, Georgia, when his son, Joseph R., was a boy. This was prior to the removal of the Indians of the Cherokee tribe to their new home in the Indian Territory and the children of the whites and the Cherokees mingled and went to school together.
Joseph R. Ford was a country school teacher for a time in early life, but afterward became a farmer. He served in the Confederate army until his capture by Sherman’s army, near Dalton, Georgia, when he was confined in the Camp Chase military prison till the end of the war. He was born December 30, 1823, an died at Bellevue, November 5, 1900. He was a consistent and prominent member of the Baptist church and in politics an adherent of the Democratic faith. His wife passed away in 1891, being the mother of: George W., a popular officer of Clay county, having served ten years as county and district clerk and being accidentally killed by the discharge of his own gun in August, 1891, while out hunting; James Amos, of Searcy, Arkansas; Francis Marion, of Bellevue; Laura, who died in Georgia in 1880; Edward A., of Popular Bluff, Missouri; Joseph B., Robert L. and C. Lawrence, of Bellevue, and Ava B., who died in Roswell, New Mexico, as the wife of Ben L. Miller, leaving a family there.
Joseph B. Ford received his common school education in the proverbial log school house of his Georgia community, and when he came to Clay county he was just ready to embark upon an independent career. Farming first furnished him an occupation, and he added stock-raising later, and he purchased his first tract of land—raw prairie—in 1888, fenced it and put on his little bunch of cattle. As he prospered he added more land and increased his herd until his ranch contains twenty-five hundred acres and his cattle number four hundred head. Three hundred acres of his ranch is under plow and his possessions lie between Bellevue and the Montague county line.
The marriage of Joseph B. Ford and Miss Bulah Weeks occurred December 20, 1900, at Bellevue. Mrs. Sparks was born in Navarro county, Texas, September 15, 1877, was orphaned by the death of her parents and became a member of the family of an uncle, A. W. Melton, of Bellevue. Three children is the issue of their marriage, viz: Amos Weeks, born September 18, 1901; Frances B., born March 30, 1903, and Joseph B., Jr., born November 25, 1905.
A close application to his personal affairs has consumed Mr. Ford’s time to the exclusion of almost every other consideration, and he has had neither time nor disposition to divert himself from this course. He has no ambition outside the domain of business and the gratification of this he seeks, alone, to achieve.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 194.