West Ford
Original Author: Unknown
Created: Probably nineteenth century
Medium: Pencil sketch

West Ford

West Ford, a Washington family slave set free in the early 1800s, is the subject of this pencil sketch by an unknown artist. Bushrod Washington—George Washington's nephew who took over Mount Vernon after Martha Washington's death in 1802—hired Ford as the estate's manager. Bushrod later bequeathed Ford a substantial parcel of land adjacent to Mount Vernon.

Ford's paternity has proved controversial: some oral histories claim George Washington was West Ford's father, though stronger evidence points toward Bushrod Washington. This image passed down in the Washington family and was donated to Mount Vernon in 1985.