|Posted by Jay Longley on June 2, 2016 at 11:15 PM|
I just posted this on our Bloody Bill Anderson Mystery group's message board. Probably the greatest unsolved mystery of the town of Brownwood, Texas is the question "who was Brownwood's Henry Ford?" Many old-timers thought he was the outlaw Jesse Woodson James because Jesse and Frank James's mother Zerelda Samuel was seen at Ford's funeral in Brownwood in 1910 and Frank James spoke to the crowd at the funeral, warning them that if they "put a marker on Henry Ford's grave, I will return and blow it to Kingdom Come".
Several years ago, when I was searching for answers to the many mysteries surrounding Brownwood's Henry Ford, I briefly looked into the possibility that his outlaw & KGC connections were because he was somehow related to John Thomson Ford who was the owner of Ford's Theater where President Lincoln was assassinated in April, 1865. As a result of our rekindled interest in these mysteries, I decided to take another look into the biographical information of John T. Ford last night and I found several interesting things in his Wikipedia biography.
The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that he spent much of his younger years in Richmond, Virginia working first for his uncle as a clerk in his tobacco factory and then as a bookseller. Oddly enough, our Henry Ford's death certificate states that Henry was born in Richmond, Virginia. Could it be that our Henry Ford was the son (although he is not listed as being one of them in the article) of John T. or maybe a nephew who was the son of one of John T. Ford's brothers who lived in Richmond?
Then I read farther into the bio and learned that John T. was "a good friend of Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth" (who I believe spent the year of 1871 in Brownwood) and that John T. and his two brothers were arrested for suspicion in the assassination and thrown into prison for over a month.
The third part that struck me was that John T. Ford's funeral was officiated by two Presbyterian clergymen of Baltimore. If you read my recent messages, you know that both Henry Ford and Jesse Woodson James were Presbyterians.
I think that we could very well be getting close to discovering exactly who Brownwood's Henry Ford really was so I encourage all members to get involved in this research and add your findings, opinions, and thoughts to our conversation.