JOHN W. DE FORD, president of the Citizens Banking Company of Celina, of which institution he had been cashier
for a quarter of a century before he became its head, was born September 13, 1841, in Carroll County, Ohio, and
is a son of John and Matilda (Littell) De Ford.
The De Ford family, as the name indicates, is of French extraction, During the French Revolution, this family,
being of importance in France, was compelled to give up its estates and honors and flee from the country. The great
grandparents of our subject, upon reaching America located immediately, it is thought, in Pennsylvania, where they
died and were survived by one son, John De Ford, who at that time was but a youth. He was reared on a farm near
Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, where he married and where he resided all the rest of his life, reaching
the unusual age of 103 years. Many of his descendants have also lived into old age.
John De Ford, the second, the eldest son of John, was born in 1805 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. His father
was a man of substance and afforded him excellent educational advantages, which culminated in a course at Madison
College, in Fayette County, where he was prepared carefully for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. This ambition
was, however, denied him as his health failed and he subsequently became an agriculturist. He died in 1892, aged
87 years. In 1828 he married Matilda Littell and they removed to Carroll County, Ohio, where their son John W.
was born. In 1848 the father removed to Columbiana County and in 186o, to Mercer County. He resided at Celina for
some six years and then returned to Carroll County, where his last days were spent. His wife died aged 8o years,
in January, 1893.
John W. De Ford, the immediate subject of this sketch, passed from the common schools into Mount Union College,
where he studied three terms and there completed his education. He then began to teach school and by the time he
had completed six terms in the different townships of the county, he had attracted enough favorable attention to
be elected superintendent of the schools of Fort Recovery, a position he held for five years. In 1863 he was appointed
school examiner for Mercer County, a position he filled with efficiency for six years. In 1866 Mr. De Ford was
elected by the Democratic party to the office of clerk of the Court of Common Pleas and served for six years ash
such. During all this period he had been engaged in the reading of the law, as opportunity afforded, and in 1872
he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio.
On May 1, 1873, Mr. De Ford organized the Citizens Bank of Celina, which in 1897 was incorporated as the Citizens
Banking Company of Celina; After 25 years as cashier of this bank, Mr. De Ford became its president and so continues.
The other officers are: S. A. Bowman, vice president; Henry Lénnartz, cashier; and Frank Benke, assistant
cashier. The directors are: John W. De Ford, S. A. Bowman, Henry Lennartz, Samuel J. Vining and W. T. Palmer. The
officers of this institution are all well known capitalists and men of irreproachable character. The Citizens Banking
Company has a capital stock of $50,000 and a surplus of $10,000; the deposits at the present time aggregate over
Mr. De Ford has always been one of Celina's most liberal public spirited men. He has made large donations to charity,
has promoted innumerable movements which have contributed to the prosperity of the city and has erected many of
the most important buildings, both in the business and residence districts.
Fraternally, Mr. De Ford is a Mason and a Knight of Pythias. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
History of Mercer County, Ohio
and Representative Citizens
Edited & Compiled by: Hon. S. S. Scranton
Published by: Biographical Publishing Company
Mercer County, Ohio Biographies
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