Clara Bryant Ford

Clara and Henry Ford pose on the grounds of "The Mangoes," circa 1925.

Clara Bryant’s childhood shared many of the qualities of her husband Henry Ford; the future couple grew up on farmland north of Detroit in the mid-nineteenth century. Clara, born three years after her husband on April 11, 1866, was the third of 10 children and attended school until age 17.

Clara and Henry met at a New Year’s dance at a local inn in 1885. The couple appreciated each other’s serious and ambitious natures and were married in 1888 in the front parlor of the Bryant family home. Ford’s father William Ford gave the couple 40 acres of farmland where they initially settled.

Henry Ford nicknamed Clara his “great believer” and always appreciated her unfailing support of his ideas and ambition. As Ford found success and became internationally known, Clara traveled with him and when at home entertained at Fair Lane, the couple’s mansion on the Rouge River in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry and Clara had one son, Edsel, who helped run the Ford Motor Company until his death from cancer in 1943 at age 49. Clara died three years after her husband, in 1950.