Samuel Ford died in 1842, but his grown sons carried on the family work, and along with George Ford had become well established by 1847. Cattle, cleared fields planted with crops and rude but substantial homes testified to their industry and persistence. Michigan had prospered with them, rising to a sovereign state but ten years before it was now dotted with small settlements. Detroit had nearly 20, 000 people and a thriving waterfront industry was laying a foundation for the future.
Reports from America of personal prosperity and the taming of the wilderness became ever more enticing to the family in Ireland. At last in 1847, the seventy-one year old Rebecca Ford with her married sons, John and Robert, set sail for the new world. The voyage proved especially tragic to John and his seven children, for Thomasine Ford, wife and mother, did not survive the trip. The saddened family, leaving Robert Ford and his family in Canada, continued on to join their kin in Dearborn Township where their sorrow would be eased by the hard work of a new world.
The new arrivals were welcomed and given a home until they could make one for themselves. John was not long in locating Henry Maybury, an old acquaintance from Ireland, who was willing to sell eighty acres of his land to the newcomer. On January 15, 1848, John Ford became a landowner in Redford Township and began to clear the trees for his home, which was to stand on what is now the corner of Joy and Evergreen Roads.
John and his family still faced primitive conditions but the area had improved rapidly since the year of George and Samuel’s arrival. Not far away was the flourishing town of Dearbornville with a Methodist church, a sawmill, flourmill, seven stores, two smithies, an iron foundry, railroad stop and some sixty families. To the south on what later became Warren Avenue the sturdy Scotch Settlement had erected a schoolhouse (1839) on the northeast corner of Richard Gardner’s land. Within the surrounding area, the population numbered almost 5, 000. The frontier period was drawing to a close.
Aided by his sons, John Ford began the arduous task of clearing his land. He and his oldest son William also found employment for their skill with tools in the construction of the westward extension of the Michigan Central Railroad. The money from these efforts was used to raise the mortgage John had taken to purchase the farm and to carry the family expenses until their land could make them independent.
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