Gertrude Sanders was born on November 20, 1878 in Tennessee, United States. Her parents were John Sanders and Elizabeth Alison. She was married to Link Ford on September 14, 1898 by Rev. R. F. King at the residence of Mrs. W. O. Dyer  (W.O. Dyer was a first cousin of Gertrude. Their mothers, Mary Alison and Elizabeth Alison were sisters.) Together they had 3 children:
In the genealogical book he compiled, her younger brother Bill (W. R. Sanders) wrote the following biography:
“Gertrude Sanders husband, Burton Lafayette (Link) Ford, died at an early age of 41 leaving her with three children, ages ten, seven and one. Her first concern was the best procedure to follow in order to give these children an opportunity for a good education. Since she was a graduate of Washington College (1898), her first reaction was to teach in the public school system of Sullivan County, so she immediately applied for and received an appointment as a teacher in the Mary Hughes High School at Piney Flats, Tennessee.
She held this position for eight years. During the summer months she took postgraduate work at what was then known as the East Tennessee Normal School, now East Tennessee State University at Johnson City, Tenn. She also studied at Peabody College, Nashville, Tennessee, and at Columbia University at New York.
After eight years at Mary Hughes High School, she moved to Bristol, Tennessee, in 1918, to assume the position of principal at Anderson Street School. She was especially interested in educational work and although her position as principal was in a city school, she was active in the advancement and plans for rural schools, which was in keeping with a national educational movement at that time.
She was a charter member of the Piney Flats Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and at the time of her death she had just finished serving a year as Worthy Grand Matron of the State of Tennessee. When the Grand Chapter of this order convened the month following her death she was eulogized during the proceedings by tributes from all Grand Chapter officers for the efficient and thorough manner in which she had performed her duties during her occupancy of that very honorable position. Another tribute was the closing of all city schools the day of her funeral.”
William Oscar Dyer was a first cousin. His mother, Mary Alison Dyer was a sister to Elizabeth Deery Alison Sanders.
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