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    Description

    Humorous "Rip" Ford letter that playfully ends, "I have a headache, and must stop."

    Texas Ranger John S. "Rip" Ford Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages on lined paper, 7.75" x 11.25", May 5, 1897, San Antonio, Texas. Ford (1815-1897, soldier, politician, journalist, newspaper publisher, doctor, lawyer, Presbyterian Sunday School teacher, and Texas Ranger) writes six months before his death to Captain John J. Dix, Jr.,(1826-1910) a former Texas Ranger under his command during the Civil War. Together they had protected the Texan borders against invasion by the Union army. Over the years, their long working relationship developed into a close personal friendship which expressed itself in their humorous and good-natured letters.

    In this letter, Ford swiftly jumps from topic to topic, though they all concern Texas matters. He begins by admitting he has been slow in replying to a previous letter from Dix and playfully explains his delay: "I am satisfied you have been guilty of using profane language at what you considered my neglect in not answering promptly. I shall not excuse profanity, but will explain the cause of delay, hoping thereby to appease your magisterial indignation. The old woman and myself visited our daughter, Addie, at Austin, during February last. While there I joined a historical society. It has Ex-governor [Oran M.] Roberts, and other distinguished gentlemen as members. I shall recommend you as one." Ford then reminds Dix of the "promised . . . life of Colonel John C. Hays" that he was going to write: "I finish [sic] it yesterday, and sent it to the Secretary of the association at Austin ." Ford is most likely referring to the Texas State Historical Association which was founded March 2, 1897, just a few days before this letter. The publication of the TSHA, the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association (today the Southwestern Historical Quarterly), began publication that same year. Ford's piece on Colonel Hays was not published in the Quarterly, but later that year before Ford's death in November, his article "Fight on the Frio, July 4, 1865" was published.

    Remaining on the subject of publications, Ford writes that he "published a reply in the Express [the San Antonio Express-News] to a falsehood appearing in John Henry Brown's pretended history of Indian wars of Texas [Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (1896)]; a beautiful first edition of this book is offered in this auction, lot 45193.]" Ford, clearly not pleased with Brown's "pretended history", mentions mistakes made in the book: "It represents Capt. L. S. Ross as commander of the expedition which defeated the Comanches on Canadian river, and John S. Ford as a captain of the regular army." But Ford himself does not seem to correctly remember what was written in Brown's book. On page 316, Brown writes that Shapley P. Ross, not L. S. Ross, "took the lead in pursuit of the foe [the Comanches]. He was joined by Capt. Ford, of the United States Army." Ford continues the letter with obvious disdain for the "spurious history": "The book is full of photographs of people, whom the Lord may know, but I certainly do not claim their acquaintance. It is a big volume [certainly correct since the volume contains 762 pages]."

    The eighty-one year old Texas Ranger ends his letter by jocularly complaining about old age: "It is a little bad on us old timers to take the hard end of things at the outcome of life. We could have wrestled with difficulties, trials, and wants, at an earlier stage of our career with more assurance and fortitude than we can command now, when we know we are approaching the dissolution of all earthly ties. . . . I have a head-ache, and must stop." Ford received his "Rip" nickname during the Mexican War when he respectfully added "R.I.P." to the death notices he sent out. Some separation and weakness at folds in this very collectable letter; age-toned. Near very good.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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