Biography of H. Clark Ford
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

H. CLARK FORD. For many years before his death, which occurred August 25, 1915, H. Clark Ford was one of the notable men of Cleveland, esteemed for a broad range of intellectual and active interests that made him well known as a lawyer, as a constructive business man and financier, and a helpful factor in many movements for the general welfare of the community.

He was born at Cleveland, August 25, 1853, his death occurring on his sixty second birthday. He was a descendant in the tenth generation from Andrew Ford, who arrived in Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1650. Mr. Ford's grandfather came West in 1840, traveling with his, family by' wagon and team as far west as Massillon, Ohio, and subsequently returning to Cleveland and acquiring land in what subsequently became a valuable section of East Cleveland. Horatio C. Ford, father of the Cleveland attorney, was about fourteen when the family came to Ohio in 1840. He taught school in his early manhood, and he and his brother, Henry Ford, at one time taught the only two schools west of the river. During the Civil war period he had charge of all the schools in Collamer, now East Cleveland. He also engaged in farming, and died in 1876 at the age of fifty one. He had been a member of the City Council, was a trustee of Oberlin College and exerted a constant influence for the sound development of his community. He married Martha C. Cozad, of French Huguenot ancestry. The Cozad family came from Pennsylvania to Cleveland about 1805, and the home of H. Clark Ford was on a part of a tract of land acquired by the Cozads at that time. The land also included the site of Adelbert College.

H. Clark Ford attended the grade schools in East Cleveland, the old Central High School, was a student in Oberlin College in 1870-72, and took his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Michigan in 1875. In 1878 he engaged in law practice at Cleveland, being a member for a number of years of the law firm of Judge C. C. Baldwin and later of Ford, Ford, Snyder & Henry and still later of Ford, Snyder & Tilden. The large part of the practice handled by this firm was in corporation law.

Mr. Ford served as a member of the City Council of Cleveland from 1879 to 1885, part of the time being vice president. He organized in 1886 the old East End Savings Bank Company, and in August, 1892, the Garfield Savings Bank Company, and served as president of the latter until his. death. He was one of the organizers of the Cleveland Trust Company, withdrawing to help organize the Western Reserve Trust Company, and when the latter was consolidated with the Cleveland Trust Company, in 1905, he assisted in the merger and was on the Board of Directors until his death. He helped organize and became president of the Williamson Company, which erected and owned the Williamson Building, at that timer 1900, the largest and finest office building in Cleveland. The company also owns the Otis Block and the New Amsterdam Apartments. Another line of interest took Mr. Ford into the railroad and electric traction field. He was president for a number of years of the Eastern Ohio Traction Company, and at the time of his death a director of the Cleveland and Eastern Traction Company. In 1895 he became a member of the executive committee of the Wheeling Traction Company, owning a large number of electric traction lines in and around Wheeling, also the Toronto, Canada, and Syracuse electric lines.

For a number of years before his death Mr. Ford was a trustee of Oberlin College and chairman of its finance committee, was a member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and a member of the board and chairman of the finance committee of the Congregational Board of Ministerial Relief, and from its organization in 1892 acted as president of the Cleveland Congregational City Missionary Society.. His first membership was with the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church, of which his father and grandfather were charter members. He was a member of the Zeta Psi college fraternity, and belonged to the Union Club of Cleveland.

On October 17, 1877, he married Miss Ida M. Thorp, who survives him. Her father, John H. Thorp, was a prominent figure in Cleveland's early business history. The six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Ford were: Mildred E., who died in September, 1918, wife of James M. Cobb; Horatio; Cyrus Clark; Loreta, who died when ten years old; David Knight; and Baldwin Whitmarsh, who died when seventeen years of age. The son David was on the border during the Mexican trouble and was in France during the World war.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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