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James Mitchell Ford

Source: James Ford, M.D.,"Genealogy of the Ford Family" (Wabash, MO: Plain Dealer, 1890).

James Mitchell Ford

Ford Building

First National Bank of Denison

James Mitchell Ford (1841–1927) was a remarkable man who was active in Denison for at least ten years, between 1880 and 1890.

Ford was a veteran of the Civil War, serving in the 130th regiment of Indiana Volunteers. His final assignment was as procurement officer for General Dodge at St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated at Wabash College and Butler University. Subsequently he took a Doctorate in Medicine and a license in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Michigan (1869). He practiced medicine briefly in his hometown of Wabash, Missouri, and in 1869 married Beulah Kirk (1846–1948), daughter of a judge in Kokomo, Indiana. The couple settled in Kansas City, where Dr. Ford became one of the city's largest real estate investors, as well as a member of the Board of Aldermen.

By 1881, Dr. Ford was investing in Denison, as well as Alabama and other southern states. That year, as president of Denison's First National Bank, he oversaw construction of an imposing building at 231 West Main Street, popularly called the "Ford Building." Later it became home to the Citizens National Bank.

Ford Building, also called First National Bank
ca 1912
231 W. Main St., corner of N. Rusk Ave.
Postcard view
This was the first chartered bank in Denison.  Eventually it became the Citizens National bank.

Ford was also a director of the Denison Land and Investment Company, and president of Denison Cotton Manufacturing Company. He purchased the Gardner & McKinstry drug store at 322 West Main Street. Then, around 1892, he sold it to another druggist newly arrived in Denison from Missouri ~ Charles D. Kingston.

By 1880, James and Beulah had a son, Ernest Elwood Ford (1870–1952). By 1900, they were living in Phoenix, Arizona Territory. Ten years later, they had moved to California, living first at San Gabriel and then in Alhambra in Los Angeles County. James died there on November 13, 1927. Beulah passed away a year later.



Elaine Nall Bay