By Marguerite Sand, Times-Union Women's Editor
Photos by Virginia Zuck
Miss Rozella Ford, Kosciusko county's most successful lady farmer, has operated farms with know-how usually attributed to men since 1912.
"Farming has changed a great deal since earlier days," Miss Ford said. "It is less diversified and more mechanized. Changes during the years have in most part improved the lot of the farmer, but there are instances where the old practices were better."
Miss Ford did not elaborate on the above statement, but knowing her love of the land we are sure that she had good reason for making it. Her home, a charming early American structure built in 1861, is located on a 400-acre farm in Wayne township, southwest of Warsaw. The other farm, 226 acres is located in Seward township, near Burket.
The house, white with green shutters, is a landmark standing on a slope dotted with pines. It was built for a Dr. Little by Franklin Charles, maternal grandfather of Al Boggs of South Detroit Street.
Twenty years later it became the property of Mrs. Ford's parents, Daniel and Harriet (Weirick) Ford. Prior to this they had lived to the northeast on an adjoining 80-acre farm in a little house known as "The Pines" This is now a part of the present farm.
Father a Doctor
A practicing physician, who had studied at the University of Michigan, Dr. Daniel Ford devoted his full-time to farming when he was forced to give up his profession because of ill health.
The Fords, one of the oldest families in the county, came here from Virginia in 1836. Miss Ford's grandfather, Henry Ford, first lived on a farm on Yankee street south of Warsaw. Father of 11 children, he wanted them to have a good education. To make it more advantageous he moved his family closer to Warsaw. Here the children attended Jane Cowan's seminary. Mrs. Cowan was the great-grand mother of the Misses Miriam and Semaramis Kutz and Mrs. Mary Babcock of Warsaw and Winona Lake.
Miss Ford's mother, Harriet, was the daughter of Jacob Weirick. One of the first directors of the Lake City Bank he was a teacher and Franklin township farmer.
Harriet Ford died in 1893, leaving her husband, daughter and a son, I. W. Ford. Although Miss Ford's responsibilities had been increased by the death of her mother, her father encouraged her to further her education saying, "you will have a richer life for having had the experience." Taking his advice, she attended DePauw university where she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma.
While at the university Miss Ford's father suffered a paralytic stroke. Returning home she took over the management of the land. Her brother, a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine was already practicing in Syracuse.
As the years went by, Miss Ford has found it necessary to limit operations on the farm. George Creakbaum has been her right hand man for the past 17 years. Today she has 100 blooded Shorthorns and more than 100 Hampshire hogs. Crops are limited to corn, oats, hay and grass.
The Creakbaums have in Miss Ford's own words "been very good to me." All the sons have as they grew up worked on the farm, and the two girls still at home give her an assist with the housework. All are interested in her welfare and are a source of companionship.
Farm interest comes before self-interest. Last fall Miss Ford debated buying a television set or a corn mulcher-she bought the latter. Clean fields, free of corn borer meant more to her than entertainment. She did not consider it a sacrifice for she enjoys reading and is a radio fan.
Miss Ford has traveled considerably in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Now she does not attempt too long trips. During her travels she is as a rule on the lookout for antiques and other beautiful objects which have made her home a delightful place to live.
Beautiful old furniture, some pieces of which are family heirlooms, Oriental rugs, fine china, paintings, gleaming crystal chandeliers, books and curios enhance the interior of the old house, and attest to the varied interests of its occupant
Rare and Beautiful
There's a teakwood stand from China, a bit of fine lace from San Salvador, hand-painted china lamp bases, rare old lustre ware. The painting over the mantle is a winter scene done in oils by local artist, Allee Gerard. An appealing portrait study of Mary Elizabeth Boggs, of Beaver Dam, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Boggs, is the work of a Spanish artist. Mr. Boggs, an archaeologist, and his family lived in San Salvadore 20 years.
Because of her many interests, Miss Ford is young for her years. She is a 60-year-member of the Warsaw Methodist church, is active in the Agnes Pruyn Chapman chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Tri Kappa sorority, Zerelda Reading club and West Wayne Home Demonstration clubs. She likes to cook and raise flowers.
Politically Miss Ford has followed in her father's footsteps. She said, "He was a Democrat and I've been one all my life." It will be remembered that in former years Miss Ford was quite prominent in local and county Democratic circles.
"I am never lonely. If you are lonely it is usually your fault," Miss Ford remarked. At Christmas she give a Christmas party for the Creakbaums and other neighbors. Friends bring guests to meet her and see her home, and they , as we did, appreciate its beauty and the graciousness of its owner.
Miss Rozella Ford's Home, southwest of Warsaw. Early American in design, the 97-year old structure is located on a knoll dotted with pines.
|Miss Rozella Ford relaxes in her country home southwest of Warsaw. Miss Ford has lived a busy useful life and has successfully operated 626 acres of land for a number of years. The 400-acre farm on which she lives has been her responsibility since 1912.|
This view of Ford living room shows lovely old settee upholstered in blue brocade, Oriental rugs, and other objects of art in furniture and painting.