Farm Ireland

Sunday 22 July 2018

In Pictures: 100 years of Ford in Ireland celebrated with threshing

Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

The West Cork Vintage Ploughing and Threshing Association’s Ford 100 Fest took place on the ancestral home-farm of Henry Ford at Crohane, Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork, this weekend.

The event, sponsored by Henry Ford & Son Ltd, celebrated 100 years of Ford in Ireland and featured displays of models going right back to the iconic Model T.

On the day, crowds gathered to watch the live demonstrations of ploughing, silage cutting, corn cutting, threshing and exhibits of farming from days gone by.

Visitors could also see the Ford Homestead and walk around the dairy farm that is now run by the Buttimers.

History of the Ford Family

The Fords were tenant farmers in Somerset and Devon in the early 17 century with Starwell and Honners. The younger sons were sent to Crohane in Bandon and the surrounding area by the same landlords.

Henry Ford’s ancestors settled in Crohane over 300 years ago. Henry’s father William and his great great grandfather were all born there. William was 21 years old when they departed for Dearbon USA. All three generations of that family branch left in the famine year 1847, including 71-year-old grandmother Rebecca Jennings.

The relatives and neighbours drove John Ford’s family and Robert Ford’s family to Queentown from Ballinscarthy by horse and long carts to sail to America. Three brothers had already left Crohane in 1832. That was all that family gone from Ireland. Henry’s father William was driven by his young cousin Henry Ford from Knockea. He also gave William 2 pounds. They settled in Dearborn.

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They went from renting 2 acres at Madame in Ireland to owning their own 80-acre farm, near his brother Samuel’s family at Dearborn who had already emigrated. Henry’s father and grandfather John cleared the land of trees and went on to farm it. He preferred meddling with machinery and so, the Ford story began.

Their relations remained farming their land at Crohane. All contact was lost between the relatives over time between the relatives over time between Ireland and America. Henry Ford in 1925-1926 set about to investigate his ancestral roots in Ireland.

It was almost 70 years later when a cousin, Ford R. Bryan, who worked with Henry at his head office , arrived at Crohane in the summer of 1992. He himself wrote several books on the Fords of Dearbon, that he had found the Old Ford Homestead at Crohane and so begins the story of several Ford family visits, and Ford Vintage Clubs and today the Ford 100 Fest.

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