Faith, Family, Posterity. In his book and in other writing, Dr. James Ford chronicled his nineteenth century life as a physician, family man, surveyor, agronomist, architect, and Civil War surgeon in detail.
Dr. Ford purchased this property in 1839 and moved his family into the unfinished home in 1841. As the Ford family grew and prospered, so did their home. Dr. Ford had an interest in architecture and he designed multiple additions to the house which ultimately became a 4,000 square foot home.
Dr. Ford and his wife, America Holton, raised seven children in the home. Their second daughter Martha Jane died in 1846 before she was five, and their oldest daughter Mary Elizabeth died at the age of 28. Allena and Nancy Anna had reached adulthood by 1865, but the boys were still coming of age – James Henry was 17, William Jesse was 14, and the youngest, Edwin Holton was four years old.
Dr. Ford’s mother, Rebecca Snedeker Ford, was also a member of the household. She played an important role, especially when the Fords found themselves raising Mary Elizabeth’s three young children, Harriet, America and Mary. The girls were only four, two and nine days when Mary Elizabeth died.
Throughout the years, life in the Ford house was full of activity – from the joyful chaos of young children to more formal adult social gatherings.
After the death of a great-granddaughter, ownership of the home went out of the family in the latter part of the twentieth century and was purchased by the Charley Creek Foundation in 2002. The Chairman of the Charley Creek Foundation at the time was Richard E. Ford, a great-grandson of Dr. James Ford Restoration began in 2003 and the Dr. James Ford Historic Home opened in 2005 to give visitors an experience of family life in the 1800s. Throughout the extensive restoration of the home, the goal was to create a working museum without compromising architectural historic integrity.
After Richard Ford’s passing (and at his request), The Honeywell Foundation assumed ownership and operation of the house in 2015.