Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

AARON C. FORD. - Among the residents of Illiopolis, whose labor and enterprise in former years now enable them to live retired from further business cares, is numbered Aaron C. Ford, who for more than half a century has made his home in Sangamon county, while his residence in the state covers a period of six decades. He was born in Marshall county, Kentucky, January 13, 1827. The family is of French lineage and was established in America at an early day. The grandfather, Squire Ford, was one of the first settlers of Kentucky and in that state Boze Ford, the father of our subject, was born and reared. After arriving at years of maturity he married Susan Averitt, also a native of Kentucky. He followed farming in Marshall county, that state, for a number of years and afterward removed to Illinois, settling in Sangamon county in 1852. Here he spent his remaining days.

Aaron C. Ford arrived in Illinois in 1844 - then a young man of seventeen years. He rode from his old home in Kentucky on a pony, which he later sold to secure money for his winter clothing. He attended a select graded school during several winter terms and worked as a farm hand during the summer months, thus providing for the expenses incident to the acquirement of his education. In 1850 he arrived in Sangamon County and soon afterward purchased land near Illiopolis, first securing a raw tract of forty acres. This he broke and fenced and upon the place he built a small house. Subsequently he purchased more land and as his financial resources increased he kept adding to his property from time to time until he had six hundred acres. This he cultivated for a number of years, but subsequently sold a quarter section. In 1887 he removed to California, locating first at Irvington, Alameda county, where he purchased a small tract of land and made a home, residing there during the winter seasons for the benefit of his health. He has since purchased other land in that state. Buying some lots in Illiopolis he built a commodious and substantial residence here and also erected a number of houses for rent. He improved some of his property before going to California and since his return has built two more houses. In 1895 he again returned to Sangamon county and spent two winters here, but in 1897 returned to California. In the spring of 1902, however, he once more came to Illinois and is now living retired in Illiopolis.

Mr. Ford was married in Macon county, this state, December 19, 1852, to Miss Rebecca J. Averitt, who was born in Schuyler county, Illinois. They became the parents of thirteen children: Emma, the wife of Jacob Stengle, of Homer, Illinois; George E., a leading business man of Illiopolis; Aliff Tarter, of California; Abner, a farmer of Illiopolis township; Charles, of California; Minnie, wife of William Garvey; Gertrude, at home; Eva, who was married and had three children, but is now deceased; and five who died in infancy.

In his political views Mr. Ford was formerly a Democrat, but for a number of years has been identified with the Prohibition party. He served for one term as justice of the peace, but has never sought or desired office. He and his wife are members of the Christian Church of Illiopolis and he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, holding membership with both the lodge and chapter of this town. His has been a very active and successful business career and he has helped to improve and make Sangamon county what it is today. He has broken hundreds of acres of virgin prairie soil and has also assisted materially in the upbuilding of Illiopolis by the erection of a number of houses here. In fact, he is one of the public spirited and progressive men of the town and he deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, for he entered upon his business career penniless and everything that he possesses has been acquired through his own labor, enterprise and unfaltering perseverance. He is today one of the substantial residents of Sangamon county and also has valuable property in Irvington, California. He is well known in Springfield and the eastern part of the county as a man of strict integrity and sterling worth and he and his estimable wife are highly esteemed by a large circle of friends. They celebrated their golden wedding December 9, 1902, at the Masonic Hall, in Illiopolis, on which joyous occasion there were ninety-three present, all relatives with the exception of eight. Up to this time mr. Ford had enjoyed the best of health, having never been confined to his bed by illness since his marriage.

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