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Illinois Genealogy Trails

 Jefferson County Illinois


as told in his own way.
Pub. in "The Prairie Historian" September 1973, Volume 2, Number 3
Submitted By: Abby Newell

Soloman Ford was born in Anson County, in the State of North Carolina on January 26, A.D. 1812, and at the early age of three his parents moved to the State of Tennessee, near Woodbery on the head of Stone River in Cannon County, and remained there until about the age of 19 years. Then he took to the frontier fever, and leaving his parents, imigrated to Illinois with a man by the name of Joel Middleton. He had a one horse wagon. There was an incident that happened on the road I will mention. Joel Middleton owned an old bull dog that was a favorite, and George Ford, a cousin, owned a fine young bull dog that was a favorite also. We were somewhere close to the Kentucky and Tennessee line when these two favorite dogs got into a fight. They had been growling and quarreling all the way, so they got into a fight right. Of course, I respected the old dog most as he belonged to the man I was moving with and at the commencement of the fight I wanted the Ford boys to part them, but no they would not do it. Their dog was young and his antagonist was old and they wanted the young dog to whip the old one. After they had fought a considerable time, the old dog was turning the tide. Then the Ford boys were going to part the dogs whether or no, but I gathered my ox whip and turned the butt end of my whip stock and told them I'd knock the first one down that interfered. Well, from that the whole crew got into quite a mess, the women excepted, so for a while, they, the dogs, got into a mud hole. There the old dog would have drowned the young dog. I then told George Ford he could go in and pull the old dog off, so he did not wait to be invited the second time, but pushed into the mud and water up to his knees and pulled him off. That ended the fight, but it was several days before we all got right, but finally we did. Then after we got near the Ohio river, we had stopped for dinner. While eating the boys commenced complaining of being tired, to grunting considerably and all at once Old Billy Middleton then 60 years old, bannered anybody for a foot race. Well, the crowd kept silent. Finally Joel Middleton's wife said, "Sol, are you going to take that?" I said, "No, I'm not." So we all left our dinner, went up the road, stepped off 50 yeards and we started off. The first thirty yards we ran, I had no advantage of the old man, but at the end of fifty yards I came out about 1 1/2 feet the advantage. We then went back, finished our dinner and then we pulled across the river. There was nothing of importance until we came to Ratliff's Prairie in Marion County, on the third day of May, A. D. 1831. We then rested a few days, then went to Grand Prairie, near Iuka, Marion county. And it happended those few days we were resting in Little Prairie, I made the acquantance of one Sarah Morrison. Our acquantance ripened into love and in the following July 21, 1831, were joined in the Holy Bands of Matrimony at her fathers, Joseph Morrison, by Reverend David R. Chance, and those that witnessed our marriage were Joseph and Elizabeth Morrison, Joseph Nail, and Samuel and James Morrison, William Huff, and family and others. I don't remember all. Sarah Morrison was born May 15, A. D. 1812, in Washington County in the State of Tenn., and emigrated to Marion County, Illinois in the year 1829. The next feature of our married life, my father-in-law had about 20 acres of wheat. They had out all he intended to cut, leaving about 4 or 5 acres not cut. The next morning after our marriage he said to us if we would harvest the remainder we might have it, so we went in to harvest the remainder of the wheat, making our bread for the next 12 months very nicely. This harvesting was done with a reap hook, not commonly in use now days. I, shortly after our marriage bought a cabin in the prairie with nothing else attached to it, and moved to ourselves. I soon sold out and rented a place of Nelson Andrews and made a crop with him and the next year rented from my father-in-law and made a crop on his farm. Made a good crop and sold out in the fall and moved to the State of Mississippi. Our trip was dotted along with several draw backs, but nothing very strange. We stopped in route for Mississippi in what was called The District, that was a part of Tennessee. For a short time I was there intro-duced to the Ague. About Christmas we landed in Mississippi. We went into the wilderness, built our cabins and cleared up about four acres to put in corn. It was here I killed my first bear, it being an ordinary sized bear. There was plenty of bears, deer, panthers, wolves, wild cats, and in fact, all kinds of wild beasts ad reptiles. It was here I killed the largest snake I ever killed in my life. It was about 10 feet long and about 5 inches through. We took with us breadstuff to last til about the first of March. We, that is a brother-in-law and myself, went back to the settlement, about 50 miles and bought bread enough to last til about the first of June. When it was gone we went back after more bread. We could get plenty of corn, but could not get it ground on account of water being low, for all the mills were water mills. So we took our corn home to make meal out of it by beating it in a mortar. About the last of August we started back to Illinois. All went well until we got to the western District of Kentucky. We stopped and struck camp on a little rise and in the night some-time there was a cyclone. It sent us back about 40 yards and where our wagon stood everything was swept clean. Our cattle, when we turned them loose at night, started in the direction of the most damage done. I supposed we were left in the wilderness with no team, but it was lucky the oxen had turned and had gone back out of all danger. The next day we had fun geting through the fallen timber. We must have gotten at least a 1/4 mile and did well. The next morning we had but little trouble. We landed back in Illinois in September, in the latter part. When we landed we found my wife's father had died about the time we left Mississippi. After staying here two or three years, I concluded that there was a better country west, so pulled up and started. Landed in the State of Arkansas in Marion county, near Sugar Load Prairie. We landed well up in the winter. It was there I made contract with a miller. He let me have all the meal I wanted and took poultry in turn. It was here I killed my first panther, one of the largest that ever was in that country. It was here I made 1200 railes for 50 pounds of salt. For one pound of coffee 200 rails. We stayed in Marion county one year, then moved into Benton county. It was here I saw in Indian hung. He had killed his wife by sticking a knife in the top of her head. After staying in ARkansas 3 years, we moved to Lawrence county, Missouri. After staying 2 years, in the spring of 1845 we came back to Marion county Illinois and rented a farm of Old Uncle Billy Baldridge. We lived in Marion county until the fall of 1849. We then moved on to the Old John Dobbs farm, better known as the Willie Keller farm. (this was in Wolf Prairie, Editor) Stayed there 3 years then bought the old Billy Farthing Farm, better known as the Ed Palmer farm. Stayed there three years and then took what was then known as the Texas Fever very bad. I was hardly able to sit up, but launched out and got over in Arkansas and stopped in what was known as The Rich Woods, Randolph county. Stayed there one year and in the summer following I had the severiest attack of spinal disease and could not walk without two sticks for a year or more. There were three months when first taken that I was not out of the house. Stayed until the fall of 1885, then moved back to Jefferson county, Illinois and rented the farm of Old Uncle Jonathan Wells, known as the Thenus Farm. Stayed there five years, then rented the farm I first lived in in Jefferson County, known as the Keller Farm. Stayed there 8 years then bought this farm which I now live on.

Soloman Ford died on January 26, 1893. His wife Sarah Ford, died November 14, 1898.
The thirteen children of Soloman and Sarah Ford are as follows:
Oldest (Jane Ford) married Dr. Swift's uncle of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, a widower with three children.
Nancy Ford married a Wells, Jane Ballard's mother. The grandchildren are as follows:
Emma Ballard, Ollie Ballard, Jennie Ballard, Mattie Ballard, Earl Ballard, Morton Ballard, Arthur Ballard.
Joseph Franklin Ford married Harriet Scott. The grandchildren are as follows: William Ford, Shale Ford, Luna Ford, George Ford, (Elmer Ford and Tommie Ford) died when about 2 years old. Soloman Ford, Sarah E. Ford, Ollie Belle Ford, Harriet Scott Ford deceased.
Joseph Franklin Ford, a widower married Victoria Roberson. The grandchildren are as follows: Rosa May Ford, Lillian Susan Ford, (Deceased 2 years)
Danile Ford married has two children - Etta and Hall Ford.
Betsy Ann Ford, married Raynor Gilbert. The grandchildren are as follows: Ollie Gilbert, (married Dave Dodds), Ervie Gilbert, Waldo Gilbert, 2 died young.
Thomas Benton Ford, married Nancy Hicks. The grandchildren are as follows: Emma Ford, Annie Ford, Dollie Ford, Hattie Ford, Billie Ford, Hayne Ford, Edd Ford, Hall Ford, Agnes Ford.
Susie Ford, married a Gilbert. The grandchildren are as follows: Menzes Gilbert of Alton, Illinois, John Gilbert (Prof) Carbondale, IL (deceased), G. Gale Gilbert (Lawyer) deceased, Eunice Louth of Mt. Vernon, IL., Hattie Shafer (Deceased).
Albert Ford, married Etta Wells. The grandchildren are as follows: Erie Ford, Bertha Ford (Daniels) 2 died in infancy.
Ella Ford, married Harvey E. Brown. The grandchildren are as follows: Halsey Clyde Brown, S. G. Brown, Calm Broan, Ziba Brown, Eddith Brown,Mollie Brown, Susie Brown, Beulah Brown.
Willie Ford - 3 died when young.
(Editors note: the list of children and grandchildren was doubtless written after Soloman Ford died.)

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