William Ford (businessman)

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William Ford
BornDecember 10, 1826
DiedMarch 8, 1905 (aged 78)
Other namesWilliam "Bill" Ford
Billy Ford
Bill Ford
Spouse(s)Mary Litogot Ford
ChildrenHenry Ford
John Ford
Margaret Ford
Jane Ford
William Ford Jr.
Robert Ford

William Ford (December 10, 1826 – March 8, 1905) was an Irish-American businessman and was the father of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford.

Life and career[edit]

William was born in Ballinascarthy near Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland and was the son of Thomasine (née Smith) and Jonathan "John" Ford.[1] Ford's ancestors were originally from Somerset, England,[2] and migrated to Ireland as the English created plantations. Ford was an Anglican and attended a local Episcopal Church. The surname Ford is an English surname that dates back to Anglo-Saxon England,[3] although the surname "Forde" is sometimes found in Ireland as an Anglicised version of a number of indigenous Gaelic names.[4] Another Irish surname anglicised Ford is Ó Fuartháin, a name meaning "descendant of Fuarthán". The personal name Fuartháin, derived from the Irish fuar ("cold"), was once taken to represent the Irish fuarathán ("cold little ford"), which led the name to be erroneously translated "ford". The former two Irish surnames were borne by septs centred in the province of Connacht, whilst the latter was borne by a sept centred in County Cork (in the province of Munster).[5]

William attended St. Joseph's High School, had six siblings, and emigrated to the United States in 1846.[6] The family arrived in Quebec in 1847 and then onto the United States.[7]

On April 21, 1861, William married Mary Litogot in Wayne County, Michigan, daughter of Belgian immigrants. He and Mary had eight children, six of whom survived into adulthood. They moved to Detroit, Michigan.

William retired in 1879. He died of natural causes on March 8, 1905, in his home and was buried in the Ford Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan, USA, Plot: St. Martha's Episcopal Churchyard.


William married Belgian-American Mary Litogot, together they had six children:

Name Birth/Death Information
Henry Ford 1863–1947 Henry was the first child of William and Mary Ford. He is the founder of the Ford Motor Company
John Robert Ford 1865–1927 John was the second child of William and Mary Ford.
Margaret Ford 1867–1960 Margaret was the third child of William and Mary Ford.
Jane Ford 1869–1906 Jane was the fourth child of William and Mary Ford.
William Ford Jr. 1871–1917 William was the fifth child of William and Mary Ford.
Robert Ford 1873–1934 Robert was the sixth and last child of William and Mary Ford

William had 6 siblings — 4 sisters, and 2 brothers:

Name Birth/Death
Rebecca Ford 1824–1895
Jane Ford 1829–1851
Mary Ford ca. 1832–1882
Nancy Ford 1834–1920
Henry Ford Sr. 1840–1901
Samuel Ford 1837–1884[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ford Family Tree". Answers.com. Retrieved 2000-03-28. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ "The history of Ford in Ireland Family Crest and Name History".
  3. ^ "Ford Family Crest and Name History".
  4. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families, Dublin, 1980 http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/surname/index.cfm?fuseaction=History&Surname=ford&UserID=
  5. ^ Grehan 1997 pp. 124–125; O'Laughlin 1992 p. 114; The Great Families of Ireland p. 145; MacLysaght 1972 pp. 150–151
  6. ^ United States Census, 1900, Detroit city, Wayne, Michigan, page 6A
  7. ^ http://www.ford.ie/AboutFord/CompanyInformation/HistoryOfFord
  8. ^ Michigan, Deaths and Burials Index, 1867-1995
  9. ^ Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950