“With only a generalized wish for revenge on Bob Ford, Edward O’Kelly, walked into the tent saloon and blasted Bob Ford with a shotgun. There would be no eulogies for Bob, no photographs of his body would be sold in sundries stores, no people would crowd the streets in the rain to see his funeral cortege, no biographies would be written about him, no children named after him, no one would ever pay twenty-five cents to stand in the rooms he grew up in. The shotgun would ignite, and Ella Mae would scream, but Robert Ford would only lay on the floor and look at the ceiling, the light going out of his eyes before he could find the right words.” ~The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Here are the right words from beyond the grave of Robert Newton Ford, a distant relative on my Mother’s side. I have written the letter Bob Ford always wanted to write.
Looking back at killing you, I now know of how cowardice it truly was. Only in my own murder will I truly know how cowardice I was. While I lie here taking my last dying breath, and the cold running through my body and the light disappearing from my eyes, I want you to know, that I was always ashamed, and regretted killing you. Even when at times I felt proud, truthfully, I was as ruthless as I could be. Thinking back on it, I always knew you saw my reflection in the glass of that picture frame, when I raised my pistol, and I have always known you saw the fear in my eyes. I fear that no one will ever know of my reflection that of which you could see. I have always wondered why you did not move, or dive off the chair as you heard the clicking from the pistol chamber, and afraid, you may have killed me if you had. I have found that life has been nothing more than distasteful, and unbearable, and at times wish that I had the courage my brother Charles did and kill myself. I cannot help but wonder how Ed will feel years from now, if he will regret shooting me with that sawed-off-shotgun, or if he will be able to hold his composer as I did for murdering you. If I could only explain to you why I had to kill you, I would find no answer, nor offer an explanation either, what I did was more than betrayal, and will always be a cold-blooded coward’s unpleasant act of murder and nothing else.
I guess I am that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard, and lay Jesse in his grave. I thought at the age of 20, that I was brave, but now at the age of 30 what I had done was no more than dirty.
These being my final thoughts, while lying in my own blood, if it offers anything more to what I have done, I would like to apologize for killing you Jesse, and hope that you will forgive me.
Robert Newton Ford
Do you think that if Robert Ford had a few moments left of his life that, he may have said these words? Or would he have been too proud of his accomplishment to utter anything at all?