Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who is Rip Ford?

If you're looking to find out who I am, you're out of luck. One of the reasons I started this blog was so I could spout off about whatever issues interest me without having to worry that some prospective employer might happen across it while Googling my name and decide not to hire me for reasons not connected to my ability to do the job. If you're looking for information on the real Rip Ford, the Handbook of Texas Online and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum are probably your best starting points.

To give a little summary, John Salmon Ford was born in South Carolina and raised in Tennessee. He came to Texas in 1836 intending to join the fight for independence from Mexico but arriving after the fighting was done. Over the next 60 years he would be present for most major events in Texas history. He wore many hats during his time in Texas. He was a doctor, a surveyor, a newspaper editor, the superintendent of the Deaf and Dumb Institution in Austin, Superintendent of Conscripts for the Confederacy's Department of Texas, and helped set up the State Historical Society. He held several elected offices: representative to the 9th Congress of the Republic of Texas in 1844, state senator in 1852, and mayor of Brownsville in 1874. In 1875 he served as a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention.

He earned the nickname "Rip" during the Mexican War while serving as a Texas Ranger under the legendary Ranger Captain Jack Hays. As a doctor, Ford had the duty of writing letters home to deceased soldiers' loved ones to inform them of their death. Roughly 13 percent of all soldiers involved in the war died, most from disease, and Ford found himself having to write so many letters that he soon shortened his closing to "Rest In Peace" and then later to simple "RIP". For the rest of his life he would be known as Rip Ford.

He passed away on November 3, 1897 in San Antonio.

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