Question: What was Charles Ford’s calling as he traveled to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848?
Answer: “My father, Charles Ford was born on November 4, 1806, in the town of Owlpin, Gloucestershire, England, to William and Sarah (Dauncey) Ford. He went to work as an apprentice to learn the shoe and harness trade at which he served a time of seven years. He learned the weaving trade and also the shoemaking trade.
“At about twenty three years of age, he married Hannah Steventon, daughter of Richard and Sarah Steventon. She was nineteen years old. She bore him two sons, Edwin (1831) and Alfred (1833). About the last of May 1839, he started to Liverpool to make arrangements for passage to the United States. Having reached Liverpool he made the necessary arrangements, sent for Mother, myself, and brother, Alfred, whom he had left at home in the town of Valvaramton, Staffordshire, England. We met him and set sail on the fifth of June 1830, and landed in New York of the same year and reached our place of destination at my grandfather Steventon’s farm in the state of Indiana, where we remained some six years, during which time my father worked at his trade, shoemaking and part time farming.
“In the fall of the year 1843, three Mormon Elders by the name of John Garner, George Garner, and Alexander Stevens came into the neighborhood and preached at different homes. Now about this time mother was and had been afflicted with spinal complaint so much so that it took away the use of her feet and legs, that she could not stand or walk and she was in the condition for nearly two years.
“One day when father was out from home, three Mormon Elders came to the house where father and family lived. Mother, being bedfast, bade them to come in and they did so, seated themselves, and began to talk about the principles of the Gospel, and introduced themselves as Elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They talked of the gifts of the church or of the priesthood; that they held the same authority to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel as the Apostles of old.
“And in talking with mother, in turn, for about an hour, she believed and requested them unitedly to administer to her, which they did by laying on hands and prayer. I think Alexander Stevens was mouth on that occasion. Now as a boy I thought these were singular movements, having never hear of the laying on of hands and praying for the healing of the sick. After they had done the ordinance, they sat and talked with each other. Then they arose and said they would come on the morrow. (Hannah was healed of her ailment and lived seven years longer than Charles.)
“It was afternoon when they came and father was at home. He received them very kindly. They introduced themselves as preachers of the true Gospel of Christ and said they had been there the day before. Mother told him all, and he was fully prepared to receive them. He made them welcome, and they made their home with him while they stayed in the neighborhood.
“They preached in several places in the region around about, but only my father, mother, my step grandmother, myself and brother, five in number, were baptized, which occurred on the third of April 1844. Brother Stevens attended to the ordinance of baptism and confirmation. The Garners went to the north and east to see if they could find an opening to preach the Gospel. We did not see them again until we landed in Nauvoo.
“In July of that summer, news came to us of the death of the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum Smith. As a boy I remember seeing father and mother weep at the sad occurrence. In the fall and winter of 1844, father sold everything that he could and gathered together all the means he could, and started for Nauvoo. In the summer of 1845, my father was ordained a Seventy in the twenty- fourth Quorum. While in Nauvoo, all of us suffered much sickness. In February 1846, my father was called upon to go to the house of the Lord and receive his endowments, which he did, taking mother and step grandmother, Nancy Rice, with him. I remember hearing them say they felt happy and contented with what they had received and heard.
“In April 1846, my father and family started west with the Church and moved on until he reached Mount Pisgah. In June 1848 we started westward in the Brigham Young Company. Father was appointed to be a hunter for the company, which was very successful. He killed many deer and antelope, and several bears and mountain sheep, and thirty-two buffalos, which furnished meat for the camp. (They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September 1848.)
“Father assisted to build up Salt Lake City. He lived in Salt Lake City till the fall of 1861, when he was called to and settled in Southern Utah. He died February 17, 1864, in Washington, Utah and is buried in the Washington Pioneer Cemetery.’
Source: Excerpts from “Biography of Charles Ford,‘ A short sketch written by his son, Edwin Ford, FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com
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