Category Archives: Documents

The Signature of Jesse James’ Assassin, Robert Ford

The signature of the rotten coward who shot Mr. Howard is becoming better recognized. New samples of Robert Newton Ford’s handwriting and autographs now are on display at James Farm & Museum in Kearney, Missouri.

Swann Galleries Queries Stray Leaves

Early in October of 2018, the auction house of Swann Galleries in New York City petitioned Stray Leaves for signature samples of Bob Ford, the assassin of Jesse James.

Stray Leaves responded, citing a copy of a letter, dated shortly after the assassination, written by Bob Ford to the president of the Wabash, St. Louis, & Pacific Railroad. Ford and his brother Charlie were seeking a rail pass for themselves and their family.

Eric F. James displays for Swann Galleries the signature of Bob Ford as it appears in Sybil Montana’s book Bob Ford was his Name, Jesse James was his Game.

Swann Galleries was delighted with the response from Stray Leaves.


Bob Ford’s Letter Appears

Nothing more was known about the letter cited by author Sybil Montana. Subsequently, the letter appeared in its entirety as a stock photo image on the website alamy.com.

From alamy.com. The website identifies the image as ” Letter from Bob Ford, slayer of Jesse James, to the President of Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railroad, October 14, 1882 .” The letter is the original that appears in Sybil Montana’s book, published in 2001.

James Farm & Museum Acquires Ford Autographs

In the Fall 2019 edition of the James Farm Journal, published by the Friends of James Farm, an announcement heralds the display of two new samples of Bob Ford’s signature. One also includes the addition of the signature of Charles Wilson Ford, Bob’s brother and co-conspirator.

As the Friends of James Farm state, the inscription signatures appear in an autograph album originally owned by Ms. Annie Hancock of Pennsylvania. The signatures are dated November 16, 1882, following the assassination on April 3, 1882, at which time the Ford brothers appeared at Harris’ Mammoth Museum in Pittsburgh. The museum was an entertainment emporium for the public display of curiosities and oddities.

The earlier signature sample of Bob Ford was created on July 12, 1880, two years prior to Ford’s assassination of Jesse James. This signature was entered in the Guest Register of the Harry House Hotel in Hamilton, Missouri. The register lists Ford’s residence as St. Joseph, Missouri.

Announcement page by the Friends of James Farm, that appeared in the James Farm Journal, Fall 2019.
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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

☞Today in Old-West History -- On today’s date 119 years ago, Sunday, October 19, 1902, notorious Old-West outlaw & fiddle player James Hardin “Uncle Jim” Younger (1848-1902) met his earthly demise at the age of 54 when he committed suicide by gunshot whilst on parole at Saint Paul, Minnesota.

☞Requiéscant In Pace, Jim Younger.

☞Jim Younger was one of the central figures of a band of the most desperate outlaws the Old West ever knew -- the infamous James-Younger Gang, which was formed by Jim’s brother Cole Younger along with Frank & Jesse James.

☞Jim Younger joined the Confederate Army during the War Between the States (1861-1865) & served with Quantrill’s Raiders. In 1864, he was captured by Union troops & was imprisoned until the end of the War.

☞After the War, Younger worked on various ranches until he joined the James-Younger Gang in 1873. When his brother John was killed at Roscoe, Missouri in 1874, Jim left the gang & went out west where he worked on a ranch in San Luis Obispo, California.

☞In 1876, Jim returned to the gang, & on September 7 he participated in a bank robbery that became known as the Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. During that robbery he was shot & captured. The James brothers escaped, but Cole, Jim, & Bob Younger were shot up by a posse, arrested, & sentenced to long terms in the state penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota, where they were afforded celebrity status.

☞Jim Younger’s fiddle was one of the few possessions that he was allowed to have with him in prison, & he played it often. As time passed, Jim noticed that a little bird would appear most every day in the window of his jail cell. It seemed as though the bird came to listen whenever Jim played his fiddle. Jim was lonely & he befriended the bird which he named “Swipsy.” The bird would fly into the prison cell & Jim would always try to have crumbs to feed Swipsy. One day, a fellow prisoner killed the little bird just for spite. Jim then painted a picture of Swipsy on the back of his violin to remember his little feathered friend.

☞In 1898, the prison warden allowed the prisoners to throw a Christmas party at his own home, with Cole Younger portraying Santa Claus & Jim Younger playing his fiddle.

☞Paroled in 1901, Jim became engaged to his long-time lover Alix Mueller; however, because of the terms of his parole he couldn’t marry her.

☞On October 19, 1902, after a failed attempt to sell tombstones & then insurance, Jim Younger locked himself in his room, wrote a suicide note to Alix, picked up his revolver, & blew his brains out.

☞In 2013, Jim Younger’s fiddle, which was played by him at the famous 1898 Christmas party at Stillwater Prison, was sold at a Dallas, Texas auction for over $11,000.

☞The left-hand photograph depicts the image of Swipsy the Bird that Jim Younger painted on the back of his fiddle. The right-hand photograph depicts an undated studio portrait of Jim Younger.
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Tuesday October 5th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

For Drury Woodson James, founder of Paso Robles, CA., and all his descendants, PASO ROBLES FOUNDERS' DAY 2021. ... See MoreSee Less

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