Lynn Ford and the Denton Bronco

I’m a fan of Lynn Ford. It’s hard not to since I walk past his carvings in the library every day. Lynn Ford was a craftsman, cabinetmaker, builder, teacher, and a brother to his siblings Authella Ford Hirsch and O’Neil Ford. I’ve read Authella Ford Hirsch’s autobiography which can be found in a collection of stories published by the Denton Senior Center in 1984 called, Strength to Climb. Here are some from the book below.

She is very good storyteller and describes how she and Lynn got their names. Their father, Leonidas Bertram Ford, had read a book and there was a character in it (an Indian girl) by the name of Authella Ford. He wanted to name his next child Authella, but Lynn was born first (in 1908) and got part of Authella’s name (she was born in 1909). Leonidas worked for the Frisco Railroad Company and was burned by steam while trying to pull someone out of a train wreck; he died four days later. Authella was seven, Lynn was nine, and O’Neil was almost twelve. O’Neil started working and was offered a job by the Frisco Company, but their mother, Lula Belle Ford, did not want them to work for the railroad so she moved to Denton. They bought a boarding house where they served meals to ten or twelve students. The kids took odd jobs: Neil had a cold drink stand; they picked blackberries for the State Experiment Farm; Authella drew paper dolls and sold them; Lynn and Authella made posters for college students and they were paid based on the grades the students made (Lynn’s work always got an A).

And I’m leaving out the best stories! Sorry, you’ll just have to check out the book and read it yourself.

In the meantime,  we have been leafing through the Denton Bronco yearbooks because the Denton Public Library is in the process of having them digitized by UNT to be put onto the Portal to Texas History website. Today, I opened up the 1926 Denton Bronco and noticed the name underneath a line drawing of a bucking bronco on the very first page – Lynn Ford. I wondered if it was THE Lynn Ford, so I flipped through the rest of the book and sure enough, his name is under other drawings, and in the back, on page 96, is a photo of the Assistant Art Editor for the Bronco Staff, Lynn Ford. He was a senior and graduated from Denton High School in 1926. A photo of Authella as a freshman appears on page 52. I look at them think about just how busy this family was and then I go back and read parts of Authella’s stories again, this time see their faces.



-Leslie Couture


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