Biography of Charles T. Ford
Orange County, NY Biographies





CHARLES T. FORD. - Among the citizens of Orange County who by their own efforts have achieved unusual success, Mr. Ford, of Central Valley, occupies a prominent place. He is a son of Charles T. and Martha (Weygant) Ford and was born at Southfield in 1844. He attended public and private schools, supplemented by a course at Claverack Institute and Poughkeepsie Business College. In 1867 he was manager of the iron works at Southfield and four years later was conducting a charcoal furnace in Michigan. Losing heavily in the panic of 1843 he returned to Orange County and was appointed station agent at Turners. In 1881 he began his career as a railroad contractor, his first work being for the West Shore Railroad, excavating and building the retaining wall through the city of Newburgh between North and South streets. From Newburgh he went to Albany, and thence to Rochester, building five miles of road. He received the contract for grading on the Port Jervis Railroad from Rhodesdale to Huguenot, and also laid the track and ballasted the entire line. His next work was building the North Dam of Tuxedo Park, after which he graded eleven miles of the Baltimore and Eastern Shore Railroad. Mr. Ford continued construction for many years for various railroads.

Since 1898 he has personally superintended the construction of all improvements for Mr. E. H. Harriman on his Arden property, including the erection of his mansion, not yet completed. During this time there were constructed a drainage canal three miles long and the course of the Ramapo straightened from Turners to Arden. Not the least of these improvements has been the Panchot system of forestry, the building of an incline railway 3,300 feet long from Arden to Mr. Harriman's house and twenty five miles of roads for driving about the estate.

Mr. Ford has also built over one hundred miles of state roads in Orange County and has charge of maintaining of all the state roads in the county limited by yearly appropriations.

Mr. Ford is a director on the board of the Arden. Farms Dairy Co., and as Mr. Harriman's confidential man here his duties are multitudinous. The Arden property comprises some 20,000 acres of land and there are 650 men employed thereon.

In 1868 Mr. Ford married Miss Josephine McKelvey. Three children were born, J. Barlow, Bertha and Harriet Louise.

Active in republican politics, Mr. Ford is a recognized leader in public affairs of his town and county.

From:
The History of Orange County New York
Edited by: Russel Headley
Van Deusen and Elms, Publishers
Middletown, N. Y. 1908


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