Ford's Fort (1813-1815) - A War of 1812 settler Fort established in 1813 near Sandy Hook, Marion County, Mississippi. Named Ford's Fort after the owner Reverend John Ford. Abandoned as a defense about 1815. Also known as Ford House and Ford Stockade.
The two and a half story Ford House that stood at the center of Ford's Fort was constructed circa 1810 by the Methodist Minister Reverend John Ford (1767–1826) and still stands today. The house is approximately fifty feet long and fifty feet wide, including the overhangs. and was originally built to face the Pearl River to the east. The front of the house now faces west toward a feeder road off Highway 35. Both the front and the back of the house have overhanging porches on the second-floor level that were added sometime after the original construction was completed.
During the War of 1812 and the Creek Indian War of 1813 settlers on the Mississippi frontier increasingly faced hostile Indian attacks instigated by the British. In August 1813 John Ford reported the erection of a stockade and other defenses at his house. Ford built the fortified enclosure to provide the Ford family and their neighbors with refuge in times of Indian alarms. His defense came to be known as John Ford’s Fort. The defense was built as a high wooden palisade surrounding his house and spaced about fifty feet from the house.
John Ford hosted General Andrew Jackson on 27 Nov 1814 at his home/ fort as Jackson was on his way to defend New Orleans. Major Howell Tatum who was on Jacksons' staff recorded the arrival on the 27th and the departure on the next day at 9 o'clock. The room he stayed in is still named for him and the bed he slept in is still with the house (currently in storage). General Jackson was apparently a somewhat coarse and vulgar person and his staff had to convince Reverand Ford to take him in and he only agreed after Jackson agreed to attend a prayer service.
Parts of Ford's stockade reportedly survived into the twentieth century but the refuge was probably not used for defense after the end of the War of 1812. Some indications of the stockade location can be seen as depressions in the earth around the house.
The Reverend John Ford died 1826 but his house remained in the extended family until it transitioned into the hands of the Marion County Historical Society in November 1962.
The Ford House is preserved by the Marion County Historical Society and is currently (Oct 2020) undergoing extensive repairs from wind damage done during a 19 Apr 2020 EF-3 tornado. The tornado did not directly impact the home but high winds associated with it damaged the roof and siding and caused the structure to lean dangerously. Temporary supports were put in place first and internal framing was later installed to provide internal stabilization. A new metal roof system had been installed just prior to our visit on 5 Oct 2020.
The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. A least two different roadside markers are in place, Marker #1 is in Sandy Hook, Mississippi at the intersection of State Highway 35 and Rankin Creek Road. Marker #2 is in Foxworth, Mississippi at the intersection of U.S. 98 and State Highway 35.
Visited: 5 Oct 2020