Theodosia Ford

c1741 – 1824

I was a widow whose mansion was overrun by the Revolution.

I was born in 1741 in Morristown, and I married into the influential Ford family. In 1774, my husband Jacob built us a fine house – it was the largest home in town – that today people call the Ford Mansion.

The house was barely finished when the Revolution occurred. Jacob supported the cause by running a gunpowder mill to supply the Patriots, while serving as a colonel in the local militia. But then, in January 1777, George Washington’s army arrived after winning the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, and needed places to live. We housed 35 soldiers, and tragically Jacob died of pneumonia on January 10 and his father died about a week later. So I was suddenly a widow with five children, a huge house, several hundred acres of land, a farm, and a gunpowder mill, hosting part of an army!

You would think that would be all. But just three winters later, the army returned to winter quarters in Morristown. This time, my home became headquarters for General Washington and his staff “family,” who took over my entire mansion other than just two rooms for me and my children. Even worse, it was the coldest winter in memory, so we were stuck inside making each other sick.

Thankfully the war ended in victory, I got my house back and lived in it until I died at age 84 in 1824. Today, my mansion is the center of Morristown National Historic Park.


Learn More
Image Theodosia Ford