JUDGE GRIFFIN FORD. The late honored gentleman whose name introduces this memoir was one of the useful men of his day and was a citizen conspicuously prominent in the public and private affairs of Montague county, where he spent two generations of the best years of his busy career.
In 1875 Judge Ford came into Montague county and chose his location on the Bowie and Crafton road on a quarter section of the Daniel Ferri survey. He came hither from Wise county with a team of horses, three yoke of cattle and two cows, and into a log cabin, with shed room which he built, he moved his young family, and the business of his active career was launched. Farming occupied him in the main, but he grew into the stock business to a considerable extent and of both he made a success. From the profits of his labor he purchased other land aggregating four hundred and fifty-eight acres at his death the Ford farm was one of the chiefest of his side of the county.
In Lincoln county, Kentucky, Judge Ford was born April 20, 1844, a son of William Ford, an Irishman, who died in Montague county at the age of seventy-six years. He came to manhood in the state of Kentucky and was the oldest of seven children, his mother being Euphemia Edwards, now of Collingsworth county, Texas, but a native of Kentucky and of Welsh descent. The other children of these parents were: Mary, of Palo Pinto county, is the wife of Lewis Hughes; Amy, wife of Leslie Hudson, of Antelope, Texas; Joseph, who died without issue; Julia, who died at Mrs. Augustus Foy; George W., of Collingsworth county, Texas, and Mattie, who married John White and resides in the latter county.
In the matter of an education Judge Ford was well equipped, but it was rather as a result of self-study than as a pupil of some good school. From Kentucky he went into Illinois during the Civil War and, in 1864, he enlisted in the one hundred day service of the Union army and was discharged at Mattoon in September of that year from Captain Lamb’s company, which had done guard duty at St. Louis, Missouri.
Coming to Texas in 1870, Mr. Ford stopped a time in Ellis and Johnston counties and then drifted into Wise county, where he met his first wife. He was married August 5, 1874, to Miss Frances E., a daughter of Nicholas H. and Mary (Morton) Dawson, from Tennessee and Mississippi, respectively. Mr. Dawson was killed by the Indians in Wise county in 1870 and his widow resides with Mrs. Ford of this review. The Dawson family consisted of children: Mrs. Ford, born in Cooke county, Texas, November 26, 1860; Lucy, widow of Hill Cosby, of Montague County; John W., of Montague county, and Henry, wife of Berry Summerhour, of Armstrong county, Texas.
The Judge and Mrs. Ford’s children are: Frank Griffin, of Mobeetie, Texas, married to Nora Williams and has a child, Francis D.; William W., of Montague county, married Ada Marlett and has a son, Clifford; Henry Lee, of Sweetwater, Oklahoma, married Ada Huff and is the father of Elva and Ruby; Lewis, Bertha B., Charles W., Fred and Marietta complete the family list.
While securing his education Judge Ford advanced so far into the popular subjects as to become able to instruct the youth, and in the earlier years of his life in Montague county he taught country school. This experience was valuable to him in later life, for his county chose him county judge in 1884 and 1886, and among his duties was the visiting of public schools, over which he had general supervision. He served four years in public office and acquitted himself with credit and honor to his constituents. He was a Democrat in politics, but held good citizenship above party principles. While he was not a member of the church he was a liberal contributor to the good works of all Protestant denominations and when he died, March 17, 1903, there was a vacant chair in his community as well as in his own household.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 559.