Timothy Ford, immigrant
  b: ~1610 - England
  d: 28/Aug/1684 - New Haven, New Haven Co., CT

Spouse: Eliza Gordy?
   d: 25/July/1681 - New Haven, New Haven Co., CT

Child-1: Mary - b: ~1636 - New Haven Col.
                        m: Nathaniel Thorpe - 20/Nov/1662 - New Haven, New Haven Co., CT
          2: Bethia - b: ~1638 - New Haven Col.
                           d: 1687 - New Haven Co., CT
                          m: Matthew Bellamy - 1671 - New Haven Co., CT
          3: Samuel
          4: Elizabeth - b: ~1642 - New Haven Col.
                              m: Joshua Culver - 23/Dec/1672 - New Haven, New Haven Co., CT
          5: Matthew - b: ~1649 - New Haven Col.
                               d: 3/Nov/1694 - New Haven, New Haven Co., CT
                              m: Mary Brooks - 12/Jan/1673(1674) - Wallingford, New Haven Co., CT
          6: John - b: ~1652 - New Haven Col.

Biographical Details:

The surname "Ford" clearly derives from the Old English common noun "ford", which in modern usage typically denotes a shallow river crossing or more generally, a shallow body of water.  It is cognate with the Latin word "portus" and Scandinavian "fjord" or "fiord" and, as such, descends from an ancient Indo-European root.  Within this context, "ford" is commonly found as the second element of various place names, e.g., Bradford, Stanford, Guilford, etc., with the first element providing specificity.  Accordingly, these compounds as well as the simple form became fixed as English surnames about the beginning of the fifteenth century.  Of course, it would seem plausible that such  family names were originally derived by use of a grammatical construction such as so-and-so "by the ford" or "at the ford" or in the case of the compounds "of Bradford", etc.1  Naturally, associated prepositions and articles disappeared with subsequent usage.  Perhaps, the most illustrious location that could have served as a source for the surname is Ford Castle in Northumbria.2  Indeed, the Anglo-Norman nobleman, Odinel de Ford, was granted the estate in the thirteenth century and, although it does not seem that he had male descendants, it would seem obvious that "de Ford" could have easily been the source of a lineage bearing the surname "Ford".  However, as with most other English surnames, it should not be supposed that all persons bearing the same name descend from a common ancestor.  Indeed, it would seem certain that a similar process as described above would have independently given rise to the surname "Ford" in common as well as noble lineages all over Great Britain.  In passing, it has been noted that the surname was spelled "Fford" in some early records.  However, this is of little consequence since an initial "double f" was merely a contemporary orthographic variation of a majuscule or capital "f".

According to an account published in Cutter's History of Western New York, Timothy Ford was believed to have been related to a prominent family living in Devonshire.3  Within this context, some researchers have asserted that he was the son of Sir Henry Ford and his wife, Catherine Drake Ford, and grandson of John Ford of Bagtor.  However, this lineage remains unproven and appears chronologically quite improbable.  Therefore, the origin of Timothy Ford must be properly regarded as unknown.  What is known is that he was born in England and apparently with his family, immigrated to Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1637.  By this time, both the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies had attracted a significant population of settlers due to unrest and civil disorder in England in the period immediately before and during the English Civil War.  Accordingly, the Eaton-Davenport immigrant party spent the winter of 1637 and 1638 with the Massachusetts Bay colonists, after which they settled at Quinnipiac (i.e., New Haven) the following spring.  Concomitantly, it is believed that several families from Massachusetts went with them to the new colony.  This attraction has been attributed to the religious fervor of Rev. Davenport, but no one can be completely sure of their motivations.  In any case, after two years in Massachusetts, Timothy Ford and his family also moved to New Haven and he was one of the fifty-four free planters who signed the Fundamental Agreement of the Colony of New Haven, i.e., the original "Colony Constitution" on June 4, 1639.4  This suggests that Timothy Ford was a committed Puritan, since New Haven was probably the most religiously strict of all the colonial settlements in New England.  Accordingly, in 1640 he received property in both the first and second divisions of the land.5  Even so, he appears to have been of humble means and according to Atwater, his property was outside of the "nine squares" near the water on the east side of West Creek at the "corner of Meadow and Water Streets".  This location is shown on Atwater's map and can still be found  in modern New Haven near where Union Avenue crosses Connecticut highway thirty-four just south of the city center.  Atwater further reported that subsequently Timothy Ford bought the house and lot of George Smith in 1655.  This property was located on the west side of West Creek, probably near Congress Avenue.  Timothy and his wife, Eliza,  were included in the three seating arrangements for town meetings held March 10, 1646 (1647 N. S.), February 11, 1655 (1656 N. S.), and February 20, 1661 (1662 N. S.), which were detailed in an appendix to Atwater's history.  (As was the custom, she was called "Goodwife" or "Goody".)  In the first two of these, both of them sat in the side seats toward the rear of the meetinghouse, which would indicate that their status in the colony, although honorable, was not of first rank.  In contrast, for the meeting in 1661, Timothy Ford was assigned a place in the seventh seat (i.e., pew) in the center of the meetinghouse.  Similarly, although, not in the center, his wife also was assigned a more exalted seat than before.  Therefore, it would seem clear that their social status had improved, presumably because they had become more prosperous as well as older.  It seems that Timothy Ford sold half of his homestead to one of his sons on October 13, 1679, and according to Savage, he died at New Haven on August 28, 1684.6  His wife had died three years previously.  Savage further stated that Timothy Ford's will was dated August 11, 1682.  Other sources indicate that the will was made August 19th instead of the 11th and that he died on September 3, 1684.7  The reason for this discrepancy is unknown, but it could be the result of differing interpretations of probate records or, perhaps, confusion between old and new style dates (although this difference should have been at least ten days in the seventeenth century).  In any case, it has been further reported that the inventory of the estate of Timothy Ford was taken by John Winston and John Alling, Jr., and was dated December 19, 1684.  For completeness, it should be noted that some family researchers have proposed that the maiden name of Timothy's wife, Eliza, was "Gordy".  The basis for this assertion is not clear, but it seems to have been widely propagated in LDS records.  More seriously, Timothy Ford has often been confused with Thomas Ford, another early Connecticut settler who, according to Cutter and Savage, settled at Milford and married Elizabeth Knowles.  It is possible that Timothy and Thomas were relatives; however, there is no evidence of this.  Unfortunately, their pedigrees have been commonly conflated with the result that bigamous marriages to both wives have been frequently attributed to Timothy Ford.  It almost does not merit further comment to observe that such an arrangement would have not been acceptable in Puritan society.

Source Notes and Citations:
1. Patrick Hanks (ed.), Oxford Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, periodically updated.
     "English: topographic name for someone who lived near a ford, Middle English, Old English ford, or a habitational name from one of the many places named with this word, such as Ford in Northumberland, Shropshire, and West Sussex, or Forde in Dorset."
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2. "Ford Castle stands on a hillside overlooking an ancient crossing point of the River Till.  The origin of Ford can be traced to the Anglo-Saxon period when it was possibly a river crossing place between the coast and the inland farming settlements for monks on their way from Melrose to Lindisfarne during the great Christian era which followed Aidan and Cuthbert.  This peaceful farming area was to suffer from the ravages of the Viking invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries.  Northumbria was fragmented, the land north of the Tweed being lost to the Scots, and by the middle of the 10th century the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were unified under the new Kingdom of England.
      Under Norman rule in 1100 Ford was part of the barony of Robert de Muschamp, who was Lord of Wooler.  Odinel de Ford, related by marriage to the de Muschamps, was granted the manor of Ford in the 13th century where he built a manor house.  This was a dangerous time to be living in the borders because of feuds between families and warfare between England and Scotland.  In 1314 the manor was devastated by Bruce after the Battle of Bannockburn.  A marriage between Mary, daughter of Odinel de Ford, and William Heron resulted in the estate coming into the Heron family.  In 1293 by Royal grant, William Heron obtained 'free warren' of Ford.  His grandson, another William Heron, succeeded to the manor in 1333.  He was a man of considerable importance and influence, and was a conservator of the East March on behalf of the King of England.  As a result, in 1338 he was granted permission to crenelate his manor house and this was followed in 1341 by a licence from Edward III to hold Ford as a castle."  (Anonymous, "History" (of Ford castle), www.northumberland.gov.uk/Fordcastle/Fordsite_files/castlehistory_content.html, 2004.)
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3. William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Family History of Western New York - Vols. 1-3, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1912: Vol. 3, pg. 1296.
      "The Ford family was prominent in Devonshire, England, and connected with the Drakes of Ashe.  Sir Henry Ford, born 1520, only son of John Ford, of Bagtor, by wife Catherine, daughter and heir of George Drake, of Sprattsbays, was lieutenant-colonel under his kinsman, Sir John Drake of Ashe.
      Timothy Ford, believed to be of the Devonshire family, was born in England, and came in 1637 to Charlestown, Massachusetts, removed two years later to New Haven, Connecticut, where he died August 28, 1684; his wife died July 25, 1681.  He was one of the original proprietors of New Haven; his will dated August 11, 1682, bequeathed to children, Samuel, Mary, Bethia, Elizabeth, Mathew, John, Joshua Culver, and Matthew Bellany.  His son Matthew, born about 1650, lived in New Haven and had a son, Matthew, born October 31, 1675.
      Another Connecticut pioneer was Thomas Ford, of Milford, who married in 1646, Elizabeth Knowles, of Fairfield, daughter of Alexander Knowles; his widow married Eliezer Rogers; children: Elizabeth, born 1652; John, November 14, 1654; Thomas, February 14, 1656; Mary, December, 1658; Lydia, 1660.  The children of John, son of Thomas, were born after their father was forty years old, and it is possible that Matthew ... was son by a first wife, not known."
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4. K. Blake Tyner, "Founders of the New Haven Colony", www.bbtyner.com/NEWHAVEN.HTM, 2004.
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5. Edward E. Atwater, History of the Colony of New Haven to its absorption into Connecticut, privately published, New Haven, CT, 1881: pgs. 110, 149-50, 543, 545-6, 549-50 & 553.
      "Timothy Ford, whose lot was at the corner of Meadow and Water Streets, had lived in Massachusetts."
      "Passing now to the suburb on the west side of West Creek, we find, on the corner made by the streets now named Hill Street and Congress Avenue, the lot of William Ives.  He died in 1648, leaving a wife and four children.  William Basset married the widow; and the family continued to reside in the house till it was sold, in 1652, to the widow of Anthony Thompson.
      The next lot fronting on Hill Street was assigned to George Smith, who in 1655 sold his house and homelot to Timothy Ford.  He describes the premises as lying between the house that was Matthew Canfield's and that which was William Ives's.
      The lot thus described as having belonged to Matthew Canfield must have been, if the order of the schedule is to be followed, the property of widow Sherman before Matthew Canfield acquired it.  'An inventory and will of old father Sherman was delivered into the court' in May, 1641, and soon afterward the name of (Campfield) Canfield first appears."
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6. James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England - Vols. 1-4, Little, Brown and Co., Boston, MA, 1860-1862: Vol. 2, pg. 183.  (Reprint available from Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD, 21202-3897)
      "TIMOTHY, Charlestown 1637, rem. to New Haven 1639, there d. 28 Aug. 1684.  He was f. of Matthew and Samuel, beside Mary, wh. m. 20 Nov. 1662, Nathaniel Thorpe; Bethia, m. 1671, Matthew Bellamy; and Elizabeth m. 23 Dec. 1672, Joshua Culver; and his w. whose name is not kn. d. 25 July 1681.  Who was Barbara F. that came in the Susan and Ellen 1633, aged 16, is unkn. to me. An Elizabeth F. d. at Guilford 1673, perhaps d. of Thomas."
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7. New England Genealogical and Historical Register, Vol. 81, pg. 124, 1927.
      "His will made 19 Aug 1682 bequeaths to his sons Samuel and Matthew, to his daughters, Mary, Bethia and Elizabeth and to grandsons, Matthew and John, the sons of Matthew.  Matthew Ford, Joshua Culver and Mathew Bellamy were appointed executors, witnesses were John Clark and Benjamin Broadly.  The inventory was taken by John Winston and John Alling Jr.  Death date may have been 3 September 1684.  (Ref: Early Probate Records of New Haven)"  (Dale A. Updike & Rita Lace; databases - updike & :2155455; worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com, 2004.)
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Additional Citations:

8. Donald Lines Jacobus, Families of Ancient New Haven - Vols. 1-9, Printed by Clarence D. Smith, Rome, NY, 1923 & 1929: Vol. 3, pg. 611;  also appeared as "New Haven Genealogical Magazine", Vols. I-VIII, 1922-1932.  (Reprint available from Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD, 21202-3897)

9. Henry Whittemore, Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers of America, manuscript.  (Republished by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD, 21202-3897, 1967: pgs. 198 & 207.)

10. John Simpson (chief ed.), Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, continuously updated.  (Available electronically at dictionary.oed.com)

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