Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Unford of the Day

Unford of the Day

Robert "Bob" Newton Ford (1861-1892)
The "dirty little coward" who shot Jesse James in the back.

"Bob Ford I don't trust; I think he is a sneak; but Charlie Ford is as true as steel." -- Jesse James

By the winter of 1882, the gang of outlaws led by Jesse James had been greatly reduced due to deaths, captures, and men abandoning the gang. Jesse thought he had only two men left whom he could trust: brothers Bob and Charley Ford. James was running short of cash, and was happy to recruit the young Charley Ford and his brother, Robert, to assist in the robbery of the Platte City Bank. The Ford brothers posed as cousins of Jesse James, but were in fact unrelated. James asked the Ford brothers to move into his house in St. Joseph, Missouri in order to keep himself better protected. Unfortunately for James, the Ford brothers' plan was not to rob the bank, but to collect the $10,000 bounty that had been placed on James's head.

Mostly a "hanger-on" Bob did odd jobs and held the horses for the gang during robberies. It would be the killing of Jesse James on April 3, 1882, that would gain him the most attention, though not the kind he wished for. At first he was charged with murder of James and sentenced to hang. However, he was quickly pardoned by the governor of Missouri.

Though Ford tried to profit from the killing by taking the stage, he was ostracized as a traitor and forever took on the moniker "dirty little coward." But just ten years later, Ford himself was shot and killed while running a tent saloon in Creede, Colorado on June 8, 1892. Ford’s body was returned to Richmond, Missouri where he is interred in the Richmond City Cemetery.

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