THEODORE M. FORD is a retired business man of Mound City who has passed a
third of a century in this city, and has been a particularly important
factor in the business life of the district with which he has been
identified for so many years.
Mr. Ford is a native of McMinn county, Tennessee, having been born there on February 3, 1853, his father being William Ford, also a resident of McMinn county and of Maryland ancestry. The life of the elder Ford was, for the greater part, devoted to the pursuit of mechanics in a practical way, he having been for years a millwright and blacksmith in Tennessee, which was the field of his operations throughout the extent of his busy career. He passed away at Irving College, a small town near McMinnville, Tennessee, in the year 1900, at the venerable age of eighty-four years.
The father of William Ford and the founder of the Tennessee branch of the family settled in McMinn county in the early part of the nineteenth century, coming to Tennessee from Maryland. He was the father of several children, among them, being Margaret, Andrew and William, the latter named being the father of Theodore M. Ford, of whom we write. William Ford married Elvira Meyers, who passed away in 1893, and of their twelve sons and daughters seven attained to years of manhood and womanhood. Those now surviving are: James, Thomas, Theodore M., Edward, Florence and Elizabeth.
The early life of Theodore Ford was passed in a country town near McMinnville, and his education was, for the greater part, acquired in the district school. While yet a mere youth he evinced a strongly marked tendency towards mechancis, and at the age of fifteen years he began to study the carpenter's trade. He followed that line of work for a few years, after which he drifted into the sawmilling industry at Paducah, Kentucky, where he was employed for a few years, and lie later engaged in the same line of industry in Williamsville, Missouri. Out of his wages while employed in these two mills he managed to save the money which, combined with his practical knowledge and unfailing energy, represented his only assets when he branched out into a mill and lumber career on his own responsibility.
In 1881 he moved to Mound City, and for a short time he operated a small shingle mill in Ballard county, Kentucky, later removing it to Mound City, where he and his partner, Mr. Alfred W. Williamson, conducted it as a lumber and planing mill until he sold out his interest to his partner and took up the business of merchandising in Mound City. For fifteen years Mr. Ford carried on a general merchandise business with most pleasing success, and in the year 1900 he retired from active business. However, he did not relinquish all his business interests, as he is still more or less involved in various industrial and financial organizations, being a stockholder in the Mound City Crystal Ice and Coal Company, and in the Metropolis Ice Company, as well as in both of the Mound City banks. He is also vice-president of the Williamson-Kuhny Mill & Lumber Company in Mound City.
Mr. Ford has never taken any marked interest in the civic affairs of his home city. He is concerned for the welfare of the town, but his labors in that direction have not been of the order that would necessitate any especial affiliation with local politics. He served as a councilman for one term. He is a member of the Mound City Commercial Club, in which he is active and influential. Mr. Ford is a Democrat in his political persuasions, and the chairmanship of the County Central Committee of his party was pressed upon him for one campaign.
In the year 1880 Mr. Ford married Miss Ella Williamson, a sister of his one-time partner, Alfred W. Williamson. Mr. Ford is not connected with any fraternal orders, but he and his wife are earnest members of the Congregational church.
Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 618-619.