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(Some of this information was obtained from Charlie Parsons of Holland, Arkansas and also from "Faulkner Facts and Fiddlings", XXXVII, No. 1-2, Spring & Summer 1995. The original source of the latter information was Charlie Parsons.)

James Ford (Uncle Jimmy) of Holland Arkansas was a well known pioneer in that part of the country. He founded the Oakland Methodist Church, a kind of cultural center as well as a church for the people who in the community. James moved from the present-day County of Taylor in West Virginia (Near Pruntytown Community)1, traveled down the Ohio river to the Mississippi, then to Arkansas to the the Cadron Creek, then to the mouth of Harve Creek. He and his family landed there on 5 Nov. 1849. He homesteaded two farms there in Acklin Gap near Holland, Arkansas. He later gave these farms to his two daughters, his only children that lived to marry and have children of their own. One of the farms he gave to Martha Jane Ford who married Joseph Lavender Jr. and the other he gave to Mary Elizabeth Ford who married Elisha Edward Parsons. The farm he gave to Martha would eventually be called the 'Old Parham Homeplace" and remained in the Parham family until 1950.2

James Ford was son of Elisha Ford and Eleanor Warder of Virginia and grandson of William Ford who was born in Charles City, Maryland. William fought in the Revolutionary War and Elisha fought in the War of 1812. James, born 19 June 1813, was one of fourteen children and was the only one to leave the state of Virginia. He was married three times, first to Amilia Yates on 8 Nov. 1836 in Harrison Co., VA (Now W.V.), then Hannah (Guthrie) Hartje on 6 Jan. 1853, and finally to Permelia W. Saunders on 12 July 1878.3 James only had children by his first wife, 6 in all, including the two surviving daughters who inherited his land. One daughter of James Ford, Martha Jane Ford, was born 29 March 1844, and she died 20 July 1870. She married Joseph Lavender Jr. in 1865. The other daughter, Mary Elizabeth Ford, was born 5 Nov. 1848 and she died 28 April 1921. She married first William Killough in 1866 & second Elisha Edward Parsons in 1889.

All of James' family except Mary Elizabeth Ford Parsons and his third wife are buried on an old abandoned cemetery, just across the property line of the original Parham homestead. The cemetery only has rocks for markers and the present owners do not allow access to it. Indications are that many if not all the rock headstones have been hauled away. The cemetery was probably abandoned when the cemetery at Oakland Church was established. No one now living remembers any burials there.

James Ford's Obit was printed in the Arkansas Gazette newspaper (Little Rock) on 6 Dec. 1895. It said he was an Arkansas pioneer who died near Holland, and he was buried with masonic honors. His age was stated to be about 90 although his family bible show his age as 82. He had been a Mason and Methodist for over half a century.

James' wife Amelia Yates was born about 1814 and she died on 10 Nov. 1851. Hannah (Guthrie-Hartje) Ford was born 10 May 1823 in Deleware and she died 17 April 1878. She was the widow of Charles Henry Harje (a German Immigrant) and she came to the marriage with 4 of her own children. She did not have any children with James Ford. According to church records, a P. W. Foard (presumably Pamelia W. "Saunders" Ford James' third wife) died 10 March 1892. She was born 13 June, 1818 in Virginia. Parmelia was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Conway, Ark and she has a monument.

Story told by Lyndell Lackey-1986- Jimmy built his own casket and stored it in the back of Oakland Church- There was no closet. He was real stooped, and when he died the people who dressed him straightened him out. They then found that he was too tall to fit into the casket. So, after all those years of thinking he was prepared to die and have a convenient burial, the casket had to be taken apart and made over.


1. It appears that James Ford moved from Harrison County, VA to Lewis County by 1840. Lewis County was formed from Harrison County in 1816. Taylor County was formed from Barbour, Harrison, Marion & Preston County in 1844. All were part of Western Virginia until the Civil War. In 1861 they were part of 50 counties that united to form "The Restored Government of Virginia". They petitioned Congress for re-admittance to the Union. The State of West Virginia was admitted to the Union in 1863 after Union victories in the area cleared out the Confederates.
2. James Ford deeded 200 acres of land to Sarah J. Lavender (granddaughter) on 7 July 1880 for the sum of $1.00. DB 11, page 313. Sarah was raised by her grandfather James Ford after her parents died. Sarah married Henry (Mangum) Parham in 1883. Henry's son John Parham sold the place about 1950.
2. James and Pamelia entered into a marriage contract in Faulkner County, AR on 10 July 1878. In that contract it stated that if James Ford died first, than "Sanders" would have one bed, cow and calf, 1/2 of the provisions then on the farm consisting of wheat, corn, bacon but not normal witness nor claim in the above Ford's lands nor balance of his personal property. It was signed James Ford and Pamelia W. Sanders. and was filed 10 July 1878. (DB D, page 54)

Ford/Lavender Photo Album