Henry A. Ford Papers

Collection Summary

Title: Henry A. Ford Papers
Call Number: MS 87-31
Size: 0.25 linear feet
Acquisition: Gift of Henry A. Ford
Processed By: KC, circa 1987; Reprocessed by JEF, 1-28-1998; MN, 10-2008
Note: None
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.



Content Note

The life sketch of Henry A. “Lon” Ford is the memoirs of his life during a period of his life in the 1880s from youngster to young adult. It was written during the period from 1943 to 1946 in which Henry recalls specific events of family life growing up on a claim in Kansas. He also includes the origins, names and birth and death dates of his parents and grandparents. The memoir is divided into two topics: his life as a cowboy and the months he spent as a desperado. There are colorful life stories interjected throughout the memoir.


Henry Alonzo Ford (1877-1948) was born March 4, 1877, in Oxford County, Missouri. His family moved to a claim in southwest Kansas near Englewood in 1885. Henry left school at 16 years old and began a life as a cowboy, more specifically as a horse wrangler. Over the years he worked seasonally at several large cattle ranches in western Kansas and eastern Colorado (primarily the Prairie Cattle Company as part of the Cross L Wagon of the JJ outfit). In later years, he served several terms as sheriff and undersheriff of Clark County, Kansas, between 1932 and 1946. His memoir, The Kid: Lon Ford Story, 1890 Cowboy Days, was published in 1982.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Box 1 FF 1 Contains the Life Sketch of Henry A. Ford, which illustrates the travel and diet of cowboys in 19th century America. Ford describes specific events growing up on the claim after his father died. He recalls the death of his father and the accidental death of a childhood friend, Emma Glasshoff, as well as the near-fatal snake bite of his sister Amanda. It is also possible to get a glimpse of cowboy life as he provides details of the roundup crew’s equipment and a synopsis of a roundup in progress. Over the years Ford worked seasonally at several large cattle ranches in Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado (primarily for the Prairie Cattle Co. as part of the Cross L Wagon of the J. J. outfit). In three separate accounts Ford describes herd size and the geological proximity in which the round up took place. A fair portion of the memoir is dedicated to chronicling the escape of Ford and a companion from the Beaver City, Oklahoma, jail, as well as the time they spent in Smith Canyon, Colorado, evading posses.