Tag Archives: charlie ford

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.


Claimed Photograph of Robert Newton Ford

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Tuesday June 30th, 2020

Stray Leaves

Here's some colorful video history on George Morgan Chinn, a grandson of Frank James' cohort John Pendleton "Black Jack" Chinn. Whenever I drive from Danville to Midway or Lexington, Ky, I pass the ruins of Chinn's Cave House.
Here also are a couple of testimonials about George, also colorful, from the files of the James Preservation Trust.
#1- "I remember George very well. He was my late father's cousin and we do have his linage through the Morgan's, dating back to John Morgan in 1778. He was a really smart fellow and funny. His [Ed.: grand] father was Jack Chinn. I have a picture of him with William Jennings Bryan, Dicky Brant, and Frank James (Brother of Jesse) seated in a buggy hitched to the only grey horse that won the Kentucky Derby. Jack was fined five dollars for speeding in a horse-drawn vehicle. He paid ten dollars and told them to keep the change because he was going out of town (Harrodsburg, Ky) the same speed he came in. My dad had a lot of these old family tales."
And #2 - "hi I knew him personally. He has a lot of historical books at the Fort Harrod Museum. He also published one about Brooklyn or the Palisades area of Jessamine and Mercer Counties. His wife's nickname was Cotton because of her white hair. They were both feisty. I lived and grew up on five acres that attached to the Chinn land. It was at 5555 Lexington Rd in Mercer county. The Chinn mansion was in a hairpin curve...'Chinn curve.'
"We had hunters and trespassers that would go on the property and we would have to call the Chinns to have them removed.
"My grandfather grew up and ran with Jack Chinn. Jack had a moonshine still in a cave across the ky river from the mansion. He would take a boat across to the cave.
Mr. George Chinn was a historian and you can look for his books on google. Or contact the Fort Harrod in Harrodsburg or the local library. Sorry, that is all I have except I know George had a daughter."
George Morgan Chinn also was a director of the Kentucky Historical Society and editor of their publication "The Register." He authored several books, including "Kentucky: Settlement and Statehood, 1750-1800," still in print, "The Encyclopedia of Hand Arms," and the five-volume work "The Machine Gun."
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