An American Family History


Lloyd Ford

  also spelled Foard  

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America and was ratified in 1789.

Lloyd Ford was born about 1748 in Baltimore County, Maryland. He was the son of Lloyd Ford and Mary Grant.

He married Mary.

Mary and Lloyd's children may have included:

James Ford (1776, married Cassandra),
Lloyd Ford (1784, married Nancy Jackson and Mary Branstetter),
Rebecca Ford (1788, married William Jackson),
Alexander Ford (1789, married Mary Ann Johnson),
Grant Ford (1792, married Ellen Griffith),
Benjamin Ford (1794),
Nancy J. Ford (1795, married William Jackson),
William Ford (1797, married Mary Johnson),
Enoch Ford (1800, married Elizabeth Grimsley), and
Thomas Ford (1802, married Elizabeth Chandler).

Lloyd also had children with a women he enslaved.

Peggy Ford (1810)
Rhoda Ford (1814)
Edward Ford
Lark Ford (1815)
John Ford

In 1779, Loyd was a member Captain Benjamin Talbott's company of the Baltimore County Militia.

The family moved to the Watauga Settlement after the American Revolution.

Lloyd started receiving a pension for his serice when he was 83 on on April 13, 1833.

Lloyd Ford, Jr. died at about the age of 96 in 1843.

After his death the family quarreled over a deed that Lloyd had made freeing his slaves and allowing them to use his land.


Baltimore County, Maryland was founded in 1659 and included most of northeastern Maryland. The original county included parts of Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Carroll, and Baltimore Counties.




Lloyd Ford's Will
I want all my personal estate to be sold and the amount arising there from to be equally divided between my seven sons, namely, James, Granites, Alexander, William, Enoch, Thomas, and Benjamin.

I want my land and Negroes to be disposed of in the following manner.

I want Lloyd III, my son, to have one acre of land to live upon during his natural life,

and I want my Negroes to have their freedom, namely,
Peg and her family,
Rhoda and her family,
Edward and his family,
Lark and his family, and

I want them to have the land to live on and raise their families on, but if they should see proper to leave the plantation, I want it to be equally divided between Thomas and Benjamin.

I want the line to run between them beginning on Granites Ford's line below the spring running to James Arterburne's line with the cross fence,

I want the North End for Thomas and the rest for Benjamin

I want the heirs of Rebecca Jackson to have one dollar and the heirs of Nancy Jackson to have one dollar.

I appoint James Ford and Granites my Executors.

In Witness Whereof I here sat my hand and seal this First Day of March One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty [1840].


Testimony of Susan Ford
Witness on behalf of the defendants., being sworn, states in substance;

Old Lloyd Ford was my Brother in Law, For the past 12 years of his life I lived in 1 mile of him. He came to see us right often. I was down at Henry Millers School House at a meeting the spring before his wife died, I asked him how his wife was, he replied that she was dead, On the same day as I was going home he overtook me and asked me who I was.

Lloyd, I said, it is your brother, John Ford's wife.

He declared that he never had a brother John. My husband was then still living. I think it was 5 or 6 years ago but I am not certain. For 8 or 9 years he did not know me when he would met me. I do not know whether the old man ever gave any of his children any property or not, His sons treated him well. Our two families were always friendly. My husband died first. Old Lloyd came in the spring to bleed my husband. He did not seem to know his own children, he would ask who they were. He did not know Ben. Ben is the youngest child, Ben was frequently there and lived about two miles off.

On Cross Examination; I saw old Lloyd Ford every week. I was there the morning after his wife died. I don't believe that he knew anything about when she died. He told me to lay down that I would get sick. When she was put in her coffin the old man went to it and felt of it and then fell down on his face and I never heard a man take on so in my life. He rolled and hollowed and cried, I don't think that he had discovered before that moment that the old lady was dead. His wife died the year before he did. It was about a year or not so much before the old lady died that he asked who Ben was. His son lived about 2 miles of him. I can't tell when the meeting was at Millers School House, which is about 1 mile from where the old man resided. It was a week day, I can't say whether the old man was drinking or not and don't remember the time. I think it was in the Spring or Summer before the old man died. At times the old man talked sensibly enough, and at other times he didn't.

The old man was very much attached to his Black, I have heard him say he could trust John with anything and that he had earned him much money, I have heard him say that nothing pleased him except his Negroes. At the time he came to bleed my husband he said he was troubled about his Negroes. That he didn't intend them to serve anyone. Jason, our Blackman said,

Master Lloyd, you can free them if you will.

He said,

No, I have done all I can to free them but the law will not allow them to be free.

My husband and old Lloyd Ford had been talking about death. My husband said that if he had fifty Negroes he wouldn't free one of them. Old Lloyd exclaimed,

Good Heavens John!, I wouldn't have my Negroes to rise in Judgment against me for the world, and if you don't free your Negroes, they will rise in Judgment against you.

He said little Eddy should go free at all events. I have heard the old man say many and many a time long before he came to bleed my husband that he had never put a mark on any of his Blacks and that no other man should do so after his death. He was generally drinking when he talked about them. I was not at the house when his wife died. The old man was in the yard when I go there. He said nothing to me.

Alcohol played a significant role in the daily lives of colonists; even children. They feared polluted water and believed in alcohol's nourishing and medicinal properties.


John Ford and others by their best friend, Phoebe Stuart vs.Grant Ford and other heirs of Lloyd Ford, deceased

Be it remembered that on the trial of this cause the plaintiffs introduced and examined as a witness, Robert Hale, who being duly sworn stated; That Lloyd Ford in his lifetime executed the paper shown to witness, to be his last will and testament. . .

. . .That he probably died in November 1843. I had written two wills for him previously to this, one I think dated in March 1835 and the other in April 1835. When I wrote the second will my father told Ford to burn the first but he took both away. Mr. Ford told me afterwards that the will and a purse of money had been stolen from him. He said he thought a black boy by the name of Will, a slave of Hall's, had stolen the money.

I drew the will at my own house. Ford lived 1 1/4 mile of me. I wrote the will as he directed, He was a little deaf and I read it close to his ear. He had dictated sentence by sentence as I wrote along. My wife Sarah cannot write. I wrote her name and she made her mark as a witness. My daughter Elizabeth Jane cannot write. I also wrote her name and I think she made her mark. I did not hold the pen for them when they made their mark.

I knew Ford every since I knew anyone. His mind was sound when he executed the Will. I thought him as smart as any man his age I ever saw. He was according to his calculation he was 90 or 91 years old when I drew the will.

In the first or second Will he freed one or two of his slaves. I think Martha, one of his Negro girls was freed in the first Will.

After the two wills of 1835, Ford told me that he had been informed, that in consequence of the insurrection of the Negroes, somewhere the law was so fixed that he could not free his Negroes and spoke of making a new Will.

Finally he said he had found out that he could free the Negroes by their staying on the place. In conversation he seem anxious to reject Jackson's heirs. This Will was drawn in conformity to his instructions and in accordance with his intentions often expressed to me.

Eddy is the mother of Ned and Lark, two of the defendants in this case.
Peggy was the mother of John, another plaintiff and died from four to seven years ago.

Ford's wife died about a year before him. He spoke of the Negroes as his family.

(The plaintiffs by their counsel here stated that they were informed on the ground of the defense in this case, was the alleged incapacity of the testator, and asked the witness if it was not the reputation of the County that the Negroes were the children of Ford, for the purpose of showing, as they alleged that the Negroes were proper subjects of his bounty, The defendant by their counsel, objected to the evidence, but the court over ruled the objection, to which the opinion of the court the defendants by their counsel expected)

The witness proceeded in substance as follows;

I have frequently heard it reported in the neighborhood for years before the will was drawn that some of the plaintiffs suing for their freedom by their next friend are children of Ford. John, Ned and Lark, the slaves here present are mulattos, John being the darker than either of the other.

Old Man Ford told me that he had two set of children, one black and the other white, that the black ones were the smartest and the cleverest and he never intended that the white ones should make a mark on them. He said if I could find a mark on one of his black children he would give them to me.

John, one of the plaintiffs, had been living from home generally about town for 10 to 15 years. The others, except Lark, lived on the place at home. Have heard Ford frequently say that John worked for money and brought it home to him. The Negroes, with the old mans consent owned stock, horses, cows, and hogs. And were well fixed in their houses. Ned, I think lived on the farm of one of the sons. Ned and lark are married men. John is not unless lately.

A year or two after the will was made the old man said to me;

Robert, what better can I do with my black people than to give them to my children ?,

I said,

Mr. Ford have you forgotten that you made a Will ?

He said,

No, you have it, I suppose",

I said "Yes"

He replied,

Keep it, and I will be up in a few days to get it.

I then discovered his mind had left him at times.

About 12 months before he died, I was at his house. I saw Mulkey, who was the Ford's own preacher was there and dined. After dinner the old man asked who it was who eat dinner. I told him the preacher Mulkey. The old man was then, as I thought, entirely out of his mind.

During the Fall the old Man died, and early in the Fall, as well as I can remember, he came to my house and said he had come to get the deed. I told him I had no deed, He then said it was his will he wanted. I saw that he was in great distress of mind. He talked so he could be heard two hundred yards away. I told him to go get his son Lloyd or some neighbor to come with him and lift the Will.

He said his son Lloyd, had drove him there - that Lloyd ought to be in the penitentiary years ago, that Lloyd had drawn a club over him and had threatened to beat him-that Lloyd said he would beat him with the club if he did not come and get the Will. He made such a to do that I finally agreed to let him have the Will and told my wife to go and get it, She brought a paper which by the old man's directions was thrown into the fire. The old man then said,

Now, I reckon he'll let me alone.

He seemed to be out of his head, seemed deranged or interrupted in mind, was in a state of great trepidation and alarm and said that Lloyd had threatened to kill him or beat him. The old man at length started off, after he got to the corner of the house he turned around and said he would be back in two or three days to get me to do some writing.


from 200 Years Through 200 Stories: a Tennessee Bicentennial Collection byAnne Klebenow

Loyd Ford Sr. A White Man and His "Black Children" Inheritance

In the early nineteenth century, Loyd Ford Sr. referred to the three men and two women who tended his 112-acre Washington County, TN, farm as his "black children," and they may have been. Whether or not they were his offspring (eventually a major court issue) Ford's slaves were closer to him than were his seven legitimate sons---none of whom, as adults, chose to remain on the family farm and help their father. The situation resulted in a controversial will, a bitter family dispute, and a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling.

Ford's fondness for his slaves led him in 1840 to have a neighbor, Robert Hale, draw up a will granting them eventual freedom and possession of the farm. Two years later, he returned to Hale's home an unhappy man. Under the influence of alcohol and angry sons (Loyd Ford Jr. had threatened to kill him) Ford asked that the will be destroyed. Sarah Hale instead retrieved another document, "an old school article", and gave it to Ford. Though illiterate, Ford recognized that this was not his will. With a shake of his head and a laugh, he gave the phony document to the Hales with instructions to "put it in the fire and burn it, maybe it will satisfy them."

This ploy did not fool Ford's sons. They sent an emissary to buy the will from Mrs. Hale. She refused, then hid it in loose planks above her bed. When Ford died in 1843, the court battle began. Tennessee law allowed county courts to decide whether or not freed slaves could remain in the community (a law that changed many times during this era). A Washington County Court, showing no desire for the slaves to leave, ordered a jury trial concerning the contested will. The "black children," meanwhile had to meet certain requirements before they could appear in court. They had to find a white person, called a "next friend," who was willing to initiate a civil suit on their behalf. Phoebe Stuart (otherwise unidentified) agreed to fill this post, and on December 4, 1843, she began proceedings before the Washington County Circuit Court---Ford v. Ford.

Attorneys representing the sons tried to establish that their father was insane, that the Hales were untrustworthy, and that the will was a forgery. Attorneys for the slaves countered by introducing evidence that Ford's "black children" were exactly that---his natural offspring. The Washington County jury upheld the will.

The Ford sons appealed, citing errors in the circuit court proceedings. the matter went to the three-man Tennessee Supreme Court. Here, Justice Nathan Green dismissed the argument that the slaves were not "proper parties" to be involved in legal proceedings. Green's pronouncement was eloquent in its clarity and its simplicity: "A slave is not in the condition of a horse or an ox...he is made in the image of the Creator. He has mental capabilities, and an immortal principle in his nature, that constitute him equal to his owner but for the accidental position in which fortune has placed him...the laws under which he is held as a slave have not and cannot extinguish his highborn nature nor deprive him of many rights which are inherent in man."

Although the Tennessee Supreme Court agreed with the Washington County verdict, it conceded that errors had been made in the case. There was no choice but to order a retrial. Ford's white heirs asked for a change of venue to Johnson County, but Johnson Countians also upheld the will. Looking a second time at the case, the state Supreme Court that same year, 1850, again backed an East Tennessee lower court in favor of the slaves. Loyd Ford's "black children" took possession of the farm he willed to them...many years, four hearings and one change of venue later.

Watauga Pioneer Neighbors
Colonial Maryland
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Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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