TIME LINE OF THE FORD FAMILY
1785-2001

1785 West Ford, the son of George Washington and Venus, is born in Westmoreland County, VA.
1799 George Washington dies at his Mount Vernon plantation.
1802 West Ford comes to Mount Vernon with new owner, Bushrod Washington. West becomes caretaker of George Washington's tomb and is befriended by Washington's old valet, Billy Lee.
1804 West Ford is freed on his 21st birthday; his portrait is drawn to commemorate the occasion.
1812 West Ford marries Priscilla Bell, a free woman, they have four children; William, Daniel, Jane and Julia. The children are educated on the Mount Vernon plantation.
1829 Bushrod Washington dies and wills 160 acres of land to West Ford. John Augustine Washington III inherits Mount Vernon. West works at Mount Vernon as an overseer. Venus dies a slave before West can buy her freedom.
1833 West Ford sells his land and purchases 214 acres adjacent to it; the area is known today as Gum Springs.
1834 William Ford marries Henrietta Bruce, a free woman, they have four children; John, Mildred Constance, Hannah, and George. The children are educated on the Mount Vernon plantation.
1850 West Ford's picture is drawn a 2nd time by Benson Lossing, a reporter and artist. Ford is interviewed about his life on Mount Vernon.
1857 West Ford divides his property into four equal parts, 52 acres for each of his four children.
1858 John Augustine Washington III, the last private Washington to own the Mount Vernon plantation, sells the estate to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association for the Union.
1859 William Ford,West Ford's first born son, moves his family to New York before the Civil War. West Ford remains on his property in Virginia and continues his working for the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.
1863 West Ford dies at the Mount Vernon plantation where the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association cared him for; his obituary is posted in the Alexandria Gazette. Ford is buried in the old tomb of George Washington.
1866 William Ford returns to Virginia and works as a caretaker on the Mount Vernon plantation.
1867 George Ford, son of William and grandson of West, joins the 10th Cavalry and heads West.
1871 George Ford marries Harriet Blythewood in Beaufort, South Carolinia - they have eight children; George Jr., Irwin, Bertram, Harriet, Vera, Elise, Donald and Cecil Bruce. William Ford moves to Beaufort, South Carolina.
1872 George Ford re-enlists in the 10th Cavalry as a quartermaster Sergeant.
1877 George Ford is wounded, retires 1st Lieutenant from the 10th Cavalry, and returns to Beaufort, South Carolina.
1896 William Ford dies and is buried at the Mount Vernon plantation.
1898 George Ford joins the F&S 23rd Regiment Kansas Infantry as a Captain in the Spanish-American War in Cuba; becomes a personal friend of Teddy Roosevelt. Is promoted to the rank of Major.
1899Major George Ford moves to Chattanooga, Tennessee and takes a position as superintendent of cemeteries.
1906 Major George Ford is elected to serve as the Secretary of the Army and Navy Committee for the Niagara Movement; he becomes a close friend with W.E.B. Dubois.
1907 Major George Ford moves his family to Springfield, Illinois where he becomes Superintendent of Camp Butler Cemetery.
1917 Cecil Bruce Ford, youngest son of Major Ford, and his brothers graduate from Meharry Medical School. Cecil Bruce becomes a dentist.
1918 Dr. Cecil Bruce Ford joins the army as a Private Medical DET in the 370 Infantry 93rd Division.
1919 Dr. Cecil Bruce Ford relocates to Peoria, Illinois and marries Florence Harrison - they have four children; Florence, Elise, Bruce, and Harrison.
1927 Major George Ford is interviewed by the Illinois Register Newspaper about his army life and his days at the Mount Vernon plantation.
1929 Major George Ford visits for the last time the Mount Vernon plantation. The Slave Memorial is erected at the Mount Vernon slave cemetery.
1938 Major George Ford dies at the age of 91 at his home in Springfield, Illinois; His body is buried at Camp Butler Cemetery.
1939 Elise Ford Allen, daugther of Cecil Bruce Ford, marries James O. Allen - they have eleven children, Carol, James Jr., Gregory, Linda, Joy, Janet, Norman, Angela, Barbara, Timothy, and Matthew (dies at birth).
1944 Dr. Cecil Bruce Ford dies in Peoria, Illinois.
1950 Elise's husband, James O. Allen forms the Allen Printing Company.
1966 Elise Ford Allen becomes the first African-American editor and publisher of the Traveler Weekly Newspaper in Peoria, Illinois. Elise becomes a well-known Civil Rights Activist.
1973 Elise Ford Allen becomes the first African-American female to run for mayor of Peoria, Illinois.
1979 Elise's mother Florence Ford dies.
1988 Elise Ford Allen receives over a dozen awards by the Peoria community for her work in civil rights.
1994 A National Enquirer article speculating upon whom should be heir to the U.S. "throne" left vacant by George Washington results in the Allen/Ford family reuniting with another branch of the Ford family through descendant Dr. Judy Saunders Burton.
1996 The Allen/Ford family goes public with the story of George Washington in their family tree; articles appear in Newsweek, Time, and Der Spiegel magazines.
1998 The Washington/Venus story breaks in every major newspaper in the U.S. Feature stories are carried in the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Peoria Journal Star, Rocky Mountain News, Foster's Daily Democrat, Newsday, Waterloo Courier, Boston Globe, and USA Today. A number of television broadcasts carry the story as well, including live feature stories on MSMBC and Channel 9 Denver, Colorado; mentions on major city networks including CNN, BET, and Saturday Night Live. The story is also featured on several live feature radio broadcasts including WGN, Sheridan Broadcasting Network, KACT Los Angeles, and BBC London.
2000 The West Ford story ushers in the new millenium with a new website and media interest continuing to grow. To date this year the story has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning News, in the Chicago Tribune and Rocky Mountain News. Other print articles and television broadcasts are in the works. In March, a historic meeting took place at Mount Vernon between members of the Ford family and Mount Vernon staff. In May, PBS broadcasted a documentary featuring the Ford history and posted a mini-documentary called George and Venusthat still can be seen on the worldwide web.
2001Ford descendant Linda Allen Bryant publishes I Cannot Tell a Lie: The True Story of George Washington's African American Descendants." The book is the first to explore her family's controversial history. The History Channel features the Ford family history in a documentary called Family Tree in September. Exploration into the saga of West ford and the African-American descendants of George Washington is ongoing. And the story continues....

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Stand tall, stand proud....the legacy of West Ford.