From there, the Fords travelled to America, where John’s three brothers emigrated in the 1830s. The arduous journey finally ended in Dearborn, Michigan, where in 1848, John bought an eight-acre farm from a fellow Cork man called Henry Maybury.
William worked both on his father’s farm and as a hired farm hand and carpenter for several years. One of his occasional employers was another Cork man named Patrick Ahern who originally hailed from Fair Lane, Cork city. William met and fell in love with Ahern’s foster daughter, Mary Litogot (1839-1876).
The two married on April 21, 1861, and it was agreed that the newlyweds would live at Fair Lane with Patrick and his wife, Margaret Ahern. On July 30, 1863, Mary gave birth to the Ford’s first son, Henry.
The Ford family continued to live with Henry’s grandparents and by all accounts, this arrangement was a happy one during the future automaker’s early years. As a result, Henry grew up in the typically hard-working, agricultural environment of the area.
Life dramatically changed however, when his grandmother Ahern died in 1870 and then only six years later, on March 29, Henry’s mother Mary died following childbirth.
Henry’s father William was a quiet-speaking, hard-working man and expected his eldest son to take an interest in the farm. But Henry did not like farm work; he was a boy with a vision of his own. So, at 16 years of age and just three years after his mother’s death, Henry left the farm for the city.
Grandfather Ahern remained on the farm for another three years until his death in 1882. Henry’s grandfather clearly had a huge impact on him and Henry would later famously name his Dearborn home Fair Lane.