Written 1938 by Mary F. Parrish, daughter of John Ford Jr.


In the village (parish) of Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire, Rebecca Chandler was born December 23, 1814. Her parents William and Elizabeth Bowd Chandler were very poor. She was the seventh child in a family of nine. Rebecca had to work very early in life; when old enough she had to leave home to work as a cook in a gentleman's home. She had no formal schooling.


On a visit to her sister, Elizabeth, who had married James Ford,, she met James's brother John Ford Sr, whom she married in 1833 after a short courtship. Together they ran a tavern, an old place with high gabled roof.. This union brought eleven children: Thomas, William, Eliza, John, Sally, Emma, Job, Ann, and Joseph who were born in England.  Esther and James Hyrum were born after arriving in America.  Job and Ann died in  infancy in England.


Deciding to emmigrate:

Rebecca's parents belonged to the Baptist Church,  When she heard the Mormon missionaries she became very interested, but John Sr. forbade any missionaries in his house.  His brother James, however, had joined the Mormons, and when John was away would go to talk to Rebecca. But he began investigating the Mormon literature, such as “Voice of Warning” by Parley P.Pratt.  “Well Rebecca if you are so  determined you may join  the Mormons”.  They were baptized in 1849.  John Sr. and his wife then began preparing to leave. The tavern,  meadows,  and  household  furniture were sold.


Travelling West

On February 9, 1854, the Ford family, with a large group of converts presided over by Daniel  Garn, left England on the “Windermere”. They sailed for nine weeks and three days. Food supplies ran low and the drinking water was bad. Smallpox broke out; Thomas and William became infected but recovered.  The others on board were vaccinated.


When they reached New Orleans, they were quarantined for 2 weeks, after which they travelled up the Mississippi River by riverboat to Kansas City. They remained in Kansas City for several weeks because of an outbreak of cholera. Rebecca contracted the disease and became very ill.


In Kansas City, John Ford Sr. bought two yoke of oxen, a wagon and camping provisions. They travelled in an Independent Company with Job Smith as its captain.  When only a little way out Thomas and William were sent back to help some freighters who were in need of assistance. Thomas was stricken with cholera and died within six hours, his body buried in a shallow nameless grave on the plains near Kansas City. A few days further on their journey William was also infected with cholera but recovered.  Near Omaha the father, John Jr., William, Sally, and Nathan (James Ford’s son) contracted Mountain Fever. Sally and her cousin Nathan died and were buried on the plains nearby.  William had the same fever and remained unconscious for seven weeks before recovering.



The Ford's first home in Utah was a crude one room log house on a farm near the Jordon River. they grew grain for a winter bread supply, but it was scanty supply.  The next year (1855?) they moved to Centerville to a farm owned by a M.Duel.  This was a hard year: the crops were scarce because of the grasshoppers. The whole family searched for chance heads of grain and they had to ration their food.  Those early days of hardship passed and they began to prosper.




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Rebecca made clothes for the family, including her husband's suits. In 1857-58 her eldest son William would work for three yards of calico a week or even for wagon covers out of which dresses,

shirts, and trousers were made. She also washed, picked, and carded wool, and taught her daughters how to spin and weave. She raised turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens and used the feathers to make feather beds and pillows.


During her last illness she asked her daughter, Esther to pay Maggie Cleveland who was working in the home $1.00 a week more because of the increased responsibilities caused by her sickness.


Rebecca was short, heavy set, & had dark hair and blue eyes..


She  had a very  severe  case  of inflammatory rheumatism in 1860, so much so that she had to be fed, turned on a sheet in the bed and every one had to tip-toe very lightly in crossing the room. She never fully recovered and passed away April 16, 1881 at home in Centerville after a three weeks with pneumonia.  She is buried in Centerville.











Written 1938 by Mary F.Parrish, daughter of John Ford Jr.


























In the town of Graveley, Cambridgeshire, John Ford Sr was born on March 8, 1807. He was the son of Thomas Ford and Sarah Turner Mason. His parents were very poor and for long periods worked as day laborers, then lived on a farm herding sheep and cattle.  After Thomas died the mother, Sarah, taught in the village school.  His parents belonged to the Church of England.


John Sr. had little (if any) formal schooling, but was taught at home by his mother.  At the age of eight, he looked after sheep owned by Squire Saunders of Graveley. He also followed the plow and did general farm work.  As he grew older, he bought and sold cattle, hogs, and sheep, and ran a meat shop.


On June 23, 1839, he married Rebecca Chandler with whom he kept a tavern. They produced a total of 11 children.  He and his wife joined the Mormons in 1849.  Their neighbors, it is said, were no longer friendly, since the Mormon missionaries were despised.



The Ford family left for Utah on February 9, 1854 with nine in family; two children having died in infancy. Two days later, they sailed from Liverpool on the Windamere, whose leader was Daniel Garn. They had been two weeks at sea when smallpox broke out and many of the company including the two older sons Thomas and William were stricken.  The ship landed at New Orleans April 23, 1854.  Twenty one cases of smallpox were taken to the hospital and the ship was quarantined.


They were anchored for thirty days then boarded a river boat up the Mississippi River to Kansas City.  At St. Louis, cholera broke out and they were quarantined again.  A great many died.  Rebecca Ford contracted the disease but soon recovered.  Near Ft. Laramie an epidemic of Mountain Fever broke out in the camp.  The father, John Jr., Sally and Nathan (James Ford's son) were stricken.  Sarah and her cousin Nathan died and were buried eight miles apart near Ft. Laramie.  A freighter party came on their way to the California gold rush camps. Captain Smith begged them for some brandy, hoping it might help Mr. Ford.  Mr Jarvis, the owner refused saying “It cannot be broken open before we reach Salt Lake."


The Ford family arrived in Salt Lake, September 24,  1854 and lived for one year on a farm rented from Thomas King near the Jordon River.  They had no provisions so were forced to dig potatoes.  They lived on bran bread, smutty wheat flour and thistle roots.  "It was very hard for me," said Mr. Ford years later, “to see my children cry for food when I did not have enough to give them".



After these early days of hardship, they went into the stock raising business under the name of “Ford and Sons." This firm prospered and continued until 1855 when Ford Sr. retired.  At the time of his death the family was well to do.  There were no threshing nor binding machines at this time and the first grain raised on the Standish place was tramped out with horses.  The ground was levelled and a canvas laid down.  A post ten or twelve feet high was set in the ground with a sweep on top to which the horses were fastened, and it would take them around in a circle.  As the wheat was tramped out, it would be thrown around the pole with the straw to the outside.  The wheat would later be cleaned by the fanning mill.  One man had to be on hand to take care of the droppings.  Mr. Ford was an expert with a sickle and cut most of his first grain this way.  He could cut, bind and shock from one half to three quarters of an acre per day.  He had the second lucern patch raised in Davis County.  The seed


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had to be flayed out by hand and was sold for $1.00 a pound. He was the first man to bring blooded sheep and cattle and horses into Centerville.  He made a speciality of breeding blooded stock

and raising Shorthorn cattle, and registered Ramboulat sheep imported from Canada.


A story - at the time of Hyrum’s birth, Ford Sr. went for the mid-wife, with bare planks on the running gears.  When making the turn, west off the main highway, the team started to run and couldn’t be stopped.  Not wishing to frighten the mid-wife, he shouted “Hang on Sister Brown, I am in a hurry."  All the planks fell off except the one they were sitting on, he on the front and she on the rear, holding on for dear life.  The horses circled the house twice before they could be stopped, demolishing the children's play house.



Ford Sr. was small of stature. He never served a mission.  His home and surroundings were kept beautiful with flowers shrubs and fruit trees.  He had a jovial disposition and enjoyed singing and cracking jokes.  After Rebecca died (April 16, 1881) he married Mary Ann Wright, a native of Warwickshire, England on March 29, 1883.  They had no children. He died of general debility at home in Centerville November 22, 1902 at the age of ninety five years, eight months and fourteen days.







Written 1938 by Mary F.Parrish, daughter of John Ford Jr.






























John Ford Jr. was born in Graveley, Cambridgeshire on August 27, 1841, the son of John and Rebecca Chandler.  He was the fourth child in a family of eleven children.  His father was a quick and rather an abrupt, decisive man and every movement of a rather short body meant energy to some useful purpose.  His mother was a calm reserved woman.


When the family arrived in the valley, and rented a farm from Thomas King, the boys hauled wood from the west mountains for the family and some to sell for provisions; the father and elder boys dug potatoes on shares.  After harvest that year, John Jr., his sister Eliza, and their parents went to Bountiful to glean the wheat fields.  They got about twenty bushel of grain on which they subsisted until the next harvest.


The grasshoppers took the crops in the summer of 1855.  In the fall of this year the family moved to Centerville where they were offered a home and work on the farm of a Mr Duel.  They suffered much for food during that winter and spring but raised good crops the next year.  The crops were planted in the spring of 1856 but because of the coming of Johnston's Army the family (with the exception ofWilliam), moved to Springville.  They returned in July and harvested the crop on the Duel farm.  They then leased the old Standish place in northwest Centerville for five years. The fathers and sons traded and worked (for others?) to get established for the future.  They took sheep and cattle for their labor, thereby getting a good start in the livestock business.  The father and older sons bought the Ricks farm on the main highway and went into the stock raising business under the name of Ford and Sons.  John Ford Sr. took in sheep to herd for neighbors and John Jr. and younger brother Joseph would herd them.  The sheep were washed before shearing and the boys were very particular where they herded them and bedded them so as to keep them clean.  John Ford Sr had started looking after sheep at the age of eight and later bought and sold cattle.  This characteristic was handed down as John Jr's ability as a judge of cattle was unsurpassed.


The firm of Ford and Sons continued until 1886, when Ford Sr retired from active business. His sons continued for a time under the name of Ford Brothers Land and Livestock Company and later incorporated under the same names.  The firm included the older brothers John, Joseph, Hyrum and John's five sons.  They made a speciality of breeding blooded stock both cattle and sheep with their headquarters in Centerville and rangeland in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.  John Jr. spent much of his time looking after the sheep herds in Idaho.


Ford was active in civic, political, business, and church affairs.  He served as County Commissioner for two terms 1914-1918. It was entirely through his efforts that the RFD mail service was procured for the north half of Centerville. He was also director of the Bountiful State Bank for a number of years,


John Ford Jr. when a young man, took part in the Morrisite War, which was fought in the north end of Davis County between the Morrisites and volunteer troups who were called in.  The Morrisites were stealing and plundering and would not submit to law.  They had to be subdued by force.  The skirmish lasted but a few days and Morris was killed.



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His church activities began with driving a team to Florence, Nebraska in 1863 to bring back emigrants.  He was accompanied on this tnp by Charles Berry whose life he saved from drowning while bathing in the Platte River.  On November 20, 1876 (until March 1877) he left Centerville to fill a mission in Kentucky to  bring  home  a load of immigrants.


John Ford Jr. had no formal schooling, but could write, read and spell.  He was about five feet eight and had brown hair and eyes.  His general health was very good.  He was a man of clean habits, clean living in every respect and had a wonderful disposition.


John Ford Jr. and Elizabeth Garn were married January 4, 1868 (see Garn below).  They had seven children - five sons and two d'aughters.  As well as one adopted girl Ora Pennington.  The Fords celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 1928 with 125 of their family present (including in-laws). Their posterity numbers seven children, forty seven grandchildren, sixty three great grandchildren  and one great-great grandchild.


Wiith his wife, he had the pleasure of taking 3 trips: a Livestock Convention in Fort Worth, Texas in 1900, to Los Angeles in 1909, and to Canada.


John Ford Jr. died October 1, 1928 at his home in Centerville of heart trouble.  Although he was eighty-five years of age he never appeared old.



Written 1938 by Mary F.Parrish, daughter of John Ford Jr.


History of Utah by Orson F. Whitney

Volume 4

Farmers and Stock Raisers

John Ford


John Ford, of Centreville, who died November 24, 1902, was a patriarch in the Church, and had been a settler in Utah since 1854. He was born at Graveley, Cambridgeshire, England, March 8, 1807, and was the son of Thomas Ford and his wife Sarah Turner Mason. His parents were very poor, and for a long period day laborers at whatever they could find to do. They were ambitious, however, and in due time went on a farm, to handle sheep and cattle. After the father's death the mother taught the village school. John went to school three days and was then taught by his mother at home. From his sisters he learned to braid straw. He herded sheep, followed the plow and did general farm work. Later he bought and sold cattle, sheep and hogs, kept a meat shop and ran a hotel. He was honest, industrious, religiously inclined, and earnest in whatever he believed to be right. In 1833 he married Rebecca Chandler, and in the spring of 1849 was baptized a Latter-day Saint.


Bound for Utah he left his native place on the 9th of February, 1854. Two days later he sailed from Liverpool on the ship "Windermere," in a company of Saints presided over by Elder Daniel Garns. They had been two weeks at sea when small pox broke out, and eleven of the company, including two of Mr. Ford's family, were stricken. To add to their troubles a terrible storm arose, lasting about eighteen hours. In the midst of it the captain said to President Garns, "If there is a God, as you people believe, call upon him to save us, for I have done all I can." The Saints assembled for prayer, the ship weathered the gale and the company landed at New Orleans. They had been nine weeks and four days upon the water. Twenty-one cases of small pox were taken to the hospital. At St. Louis the cholera attacked them and for two weeks the company was quarantined; a great many died. At Kansas City two of Mr. Ford's sons, Thomas and William, were sent back to drive in Church teams. While in the performance of this duty Thomas was taken with cholera and died. The sad news, carried by William to the family, reached them the night after their departure from Kansas City. Job Smith was captain of their company across the plains. On the way west the mountain fever broke out, carrying off two other members of the Ford family, who were buried near Laramie. Mr. Ford was also taken sick, and sent to a man named Jarvis, who had a barrel of brandy, for a little of the liquor. Jarvis refused it, saying, "I will not break the seal until we reach Salt Lake City;" whereupon Captain Smith prophesied that the brandy would never reach Salt Lake City. While coming down Emigration canyon the wagon containing it upset, and the barrel was lost in the mountain stream.



The Ford family arrived here on the 24th of September. For a year they lived on Thomas Kings farm west of the city, where the grasshoppers destroyed the crop they were raising. They then had the Duell farm at Centreville for two and a half years. The move of 1858 took them to Springville, and from 1859 until 1864 they cultivated the Standish farm at Centreville. Mr. Ford then bought the Ricks farm at that place, and resided there during the rest of his life. When he first arrived in Salt Lake Valley he had but ten cents in money. The first few years after, he and his family suffered some for want of food. They lived on bran bread, smutty wheat flour and thistle roots, and were glad to get them, for even these were not plentiful. "It was very trying to me," says Mr. Ford, "to see my children cry for food when I did not have enough to give them, but I never felt to complain, and was never sorry that I left my native land for the Gospel's sake." Those early days of hardship passed, he began to prosper financially. His principal business was farming and stock-raising, in which he engaged with his sons. For four years he and they were interested with William R. Smith, in the Davis County Co-operative herd. With this exception Mr. Ford's partnerships were confined to his own family. He prospered in material things, and at the time of his death was very well to do.


He fulfilled no foreign mission, but was a zealous Church member, serving for many years as a ward teacher, also as an assistant superintendent of the Sunday school. He was ordained a Patriarch June 13, 1897, by President Joseph F. Smith. At his death he was buried in the Centreville cemetery by the side of his first wife, the mother of all his children, six of whom are living. His second wife Mary A. Wright, whom he married in 1883, also survives.



Sarah and Thomas Ford


Treasures of Pioneer History: Vol 4

the Price of Pioneering

Brother, Sister and Cousin


Sarah and Thomas Ford were members of the family of John and Rebecca Chandler Ford. The family came to America on the ship Windermere sailing from Liverpool in February, 1854. At New Orleans all passengers were quarantined on the boat for thirty days, smallpox having broken out. Sarah's two older brothers Thomas and William contracted the disease. After being released the family traveled up the Mississippi River to St. Louis where an epidemic of cholera broke out. Sarah's mother contracted the disease and was very ill. A few weeks later the family started on the trek across the plains with Job Smith as captain of the company. They had not gone far when Thomas and William were called to return and drive Church teams to assist other Saints on their way. Thomas, still weak from the severe case of smallpox on the ship, contracted cholera on the way back and died within six hours. He was buried on the plains by his brother William, assisted by another pioneer. After William's return he, too, was stricken with cholera but survived.


John Ford Jr.


Utah Since State: Historical and Biographical Volume II

John Ford                                                           


John Ford is a partner in the Ford Brothers Land & Live Stock Company of Centerville and in this connection is contributing to the successful conduct of an important business. He is interested in general agricultural pursuits, in stock raising and dairying and also devotes some time to the raising of fruit and garden products. He was born in England, August 27, 1843, a son of John and Rebecca (Chandler) Ford, both of whom were natives of England. They came to America in 1854, making their way to Kansas City, Missouri, and thence crossed the plains with ox teams, it requiring two months to make the long and arduous trip to Salt Lake City. After reaching his destination Mr. Ford rented a farm near Salt Lake City and in the fall of 1855 removed to Centerville, Davis county, where he again rented land for five years. During that period he carefully saved his earnings until his industry and economy had brought him sufficient capital to enable him to purchase land and he made investment in the property upon which his son Joseph now resides. Both he and the mother passed away upon the old homestead, the latter dying in 1890, while the father, who was born in 1807, reached a very advanced age, his death occurring in 1903. He always took an active part in church work but held no office. In their family were eleven children, four of whom are now living.


Utah Since State: Historical and Biographical Volume II


John Ford acquired his education partly in the schools of England and also attended the common schools of Davis county. After reaching his majority he took up the occupation of farming in connection with his father and later their business was incorporated under the name of the Ford Brothers Land & Live Stock Company, which now owns two hundred acres of land, all highly cultivated and all under irrigation. In connection with the raising of cereals best adapted to soil and climate, the company operates a dairy with twenty-five cows. They are likewise engaged in the raising of fruit and garden produce and each branch of their business is proving profitable, owing to their capable management and their practical and progressive methods.



Utah Since State: Historical and Biographical. Volume II


On January 4, 1868, Mr. Ford was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Garn, who was born in Sandusky county, Ohio, April 19, 1851, a daughter of Philip and Mary (Fought) Garn, natives of Pennsylvania. In 1855 they removed to Utah and located at Centerville, where both passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Ford have become parents of seven children: John W.; Philip J.; Joseph N.; Thomas; Albert D.; Esther, the wife of Nathan G. Clark, of Farmington; and Mary, the wife of Stanley Parrish, of Centerville.



Utah Since State: Historical and Biographical Volume II



Mr. Ford is a republican in politics and has served two terms as county commissioner and is a director of Bountiful State Bank. He has long taken an active part in the work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as first counselor in 1877 and in 1876 he went on a mission to the middle states. He is now high priest in the second ward of Centerville. In 1863 he drove four yoke of oxen to a covered wagon from Utah to Omaha, Nebraska, in order to act as guide for a train of emigrants, it requiring about six months for the round trip. The Indians stole all of the horses they had when the company reached the vicinity of the South Pass in Wyoming, but the people all succeeded in safely reaching their destination. Two of the boys were captured by the Indians but were later released. Mr. Ford is numbered among the pioneers of Davis county and deserves much credit for what he has accomplished in the upbuilding of his own fortunes and in the advancement of public interests here. During the first winter which he spent here, he worked for his board.  Thus starting out in life empty-handed, he has advanced steadily through his industry and persistency of purpose, overcoming all obstacles and difficulties in his path. He has now reached the seventy-sixth milestone on life's journey but still remains an active factor in the world's work, being at the head of important farming and stock-raising interests.



Our Pioneer Heritage

Volume 12

Zion’s Co-Operative Mercantile Institution

Davis County

Company E


Centerville. The co-op store at Centerville was opened March 20, 1869, with the following officers in charge: Bishop William R. Smith, president; Nathan T. Porter, vice-president; John Ford, Sr., John W. Woolley and Philo Dibble, directors, and Wm. Reeves, secretary and treasurer. Joel Parrish was manager and John Adams was clerk for several years. The store prospered through the patronage of the citizens of the area. A number of years after its opening, the store was sold to Joel Parrish, Sr.