AKA Robert Newton Ford
Birthplace: Ray County, MO
Location of death: Creede, CO
Cause of death: Murder
Remains: Buried, Richmond City Cemetery, Richmond, MO
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Shot and killed Jesse James
As a young man, Robert Ford idolized the often exaggerated and romanticized outlaw Jesse James, and Ford eventually met and befriended James, even earning an invitation to join the James Gang. Beginning in 1879, Ford and his brother Charlie participated at least two train robberies with the James Gang, including one in which two of the victims were killed. More often, though, the gang rode without Ford, leaving him to tend their spare horses. When Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden posted a $10,000 bounty on James, dead or alive, the Ford brothers decided that their loyalties were to the money, not the gang.
On 3 April 1882, Charlie and Robert Ford had breakfast with James in his house and, when James turned his back, Robert Ford shot him in the head. Instead of being paid the bounty, however, the brothers were charged with first degree murder, found guilty, and sentenced to hang before being pardoned by the Governor.
Ford spent the rest of his life dogged by his own reputation for cowardice, and hounded by constant rumors that friends of James would have vengeance. The rumors are probably what drove Charlie Ford to suicide. Robert Ford went on to own a saloon in Creede, Colorado -- where he was himself shot in the back by one Ed O'Kelley. Ford's killer, who gained some fame as "the man who shot the man who shot Jesse James", spent eight years in prison for his crime, and soon after his release he was shot dead in Oklahoma City.
Father: James Thomas Ford
Mother: Mary Bruin Ford
Sister: Sarah Ford
Sister: Georgia Ford
Sister: Mary Ford
Brother: Charles Wilson Ford (criminal)
Brother: Wilber Pottuck Ford
Sister: Martha Ford
Wife: Artella Cummins Ford
Son: Albert Ford
Murder 3-Apr-1882, St. Joseph, MO
Shot Creede, CO (8-Jun-1892)
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