ABNER T. FORD. - Abner Thomas Ford, who is cultivating one hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining the village of Dawson, of which he owns eighty acres, was born in Williams township, Sangamon county, October 4, 1840. His father, S. W. Ford, was also a native of that state, where the family was established at an early period in the colonization of the new world by ancestors who came from Wales. Thomas Ford became one of the pioneer residents of Illinois and two years later he removed to Wisconsin, where he spent his last days. S. W. Ford was reared to manhood in Virginia and came to Sangamon county, Illinois, in 1836, establishing his home in Williams township. He was married in Buffalo Hart township to Miss Amarilla Enos, a native of Kentucky, who was reared near Lexington. Mr. Ford was a mechanic and a carpenter and builder, being one of the first to follow that pursuit in his locality. He made it his life work and thus provided for the wants of his family. His death occurred in 1866, and for several years his wife survived. They were the parents of three sons and four daughters.
Abner Thomas Ford spent his boyhood days in the usual manner of farmer lads. His educational privileges were limited but his training at agricultural work was not meager, as he early assisted in the cultivation and improvement of the fields. He was a young man of twenty-two years when, on the 25th of July, 1862, he enlisted in the defense of his country, joining Company I, One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Infantry. He was with the Army of the Mississippi and was first under fire at the battle of Jackson, Mississippi, afterward at Black River Bridge and then participated in the siege and capture of Vicksburg. He was also in the second battle of Jackson and the engagements at Brandon, Guntown, Tupelo, Nashville and Spanish Fort, on Mobile bay. After the battle of tupelo he followed General Price through Missouri and Kansas, traveling in this way about three thousand miles. Eventually he reached Montgomery, Alabama. He continued in active service until the close of the war, when he was honorably discharged at Camp Butler, in Springfield, in August, 1865. He had been promoted from the ranks to the position of sergeant.
After receiving his discharge Mr. Ford returned to the home farm and was afterward employed by the month as a farm hand for a few years. In 1869 he went to Kansas and pre-empted a homestead claim in Woodson county, which was his place of residence for three years, after which he returned to Illinois. Here he began farming on rented land and in 1880 he took up his abode where he now resides. This farm he at once began to improve and he has not only erected a good residence and outbuildings, but has also planted an orchard. He has eighty acres of land here and in addition he operates a farm of eighty acres, which he leases. About 1888 he began dealing in grain, buying and shipping such products, and his efforts in that direction have added materially to his income. Mr. Ford and C. E. Wheeland laid out and made an addition to the town of Dawson, known as the A. T. Ford addition, the plat being recorded April 12, 1892. Since that time he has sold lots and there have already been erected a number of good residences on this tract.
On the 8th of October, 1874, Mr. Ford was united in marriage to Miss Rebecca McGinnis, a native of Connecticut. They have one son, William O. Ford, who assists his father in his farming operations. Mr. Ford has served as township trustee of the schools and as school director, and the cause of education finds in him a warm friend. Since voting for General Grant in 1868 he has been an earnest Republican and is interested in everything pertaining to general progress and improvement. He has been a resident of the county for almost his entire life and whatever has tended to advance its welfare or prove of practical benefit has received his co-operation and endorsement.