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Springer, Colfax County, New Mexico – 1914

family history

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BTF (before the flood), I had a first edition of John Salmon “Rip” Ford’s book; however, I am thankful to have ANY edition of Ford’s memoirs.

Ford was the son of William Ford (17895-1866) and Harriet Salmon (1791-1845).

Like so many surnames, there were various spellings and Harriet’s father George Salmon was the brother of my ancestor John Sammon.

Rip’s grandfather was John Ford and his grandmother was Ann (surname perhaps Hiller).  John Ford was born in Maryland and died in Greensville County, Virginia.  Note:  my research is certainly not written in stone and I have had difficulty tracing the Ford lineage.

John Salmon Ford was called “Rip” because, as a Texas Ranger, one of his duties was to inform families of the deaths of their loved ones who were killed while doing their duty as Texas Rangers.  He writes “Rest in Peace” at the beginning of each letter informing the family of a death.  This was eventually shortened to “RIP” – and this became his sobriquet.

At the beginning of Ford’s book, he writes a STATEMENT OF PURPOSE ‘by the author’ –

When a man assumes to place the matters connected with his career in life before the public, he is actuated by some motive.  The real motives including the writer to tell his story are as follows: he has been an humble actor in the transaction of many affairs that happened in Texas from 1836 to almost the present date and believes that a large majority of the residents of this State are but little acquainted with the incidents which have given her people a reputation for gallantry in war and considerable insight in the management of public affairs; he knows that many men displayed a notable spirit of patriotism in the service of a noble State, and, feeling that they have been forgotten, he wants to offer something that will aid his fellow citizens to do justice to their memories and thus aid in arriving at the truth of history.

His main purpose will be to write the truth, to do injustice to no person, and to let the action of men be the facts by which we may judge them.  The itching which some writers seem to feel to place themselves forward on all occasions will be avoided.  The writer will not endeavor to become the hero upon all extraordinary events and to let the book speak of himself alone.



One of Rip Ford’s traits is quite recognizable (humor intended) in my maternal lineage:

“He possessed the capacity to get into fights with the boys, to fall in love with the girls, and to take a hand in the deviltry set on foot by his playmates.  The old ladies of his neighborhood looked upon him as a sort of prodigy, and predicted he would be killed for his general ‘cussedness’ before reaching the age of maturity, or hanged for some infernal mischief  he might commit.”

John Salmon "Rip" Ford - 1858

John Salmon "Rip" Ford - 1865