“Hands Up”

On September 1, 1860 a horse thief named “Black Hawk” was captured and brought to Denver. After a speedy trial by a secret meeting of the “Committee of Safety” he was hanged. During his trial, he confessed to being a member of a ring of horse thieves and named A.C. Ford, a Denver lawyer, as being in charge of the Denver district operations.

John Shear, an additional horse thief mentioned by Black Hawk was located and executed. When AC Ford learned of this, he departed town by stage coach. The stage coach was stopped a short distance from Denver by Vigilantes and Ford was summarily executed.

    AC Ford, mentioned in the letter at left, was generally regarded as a habitual professional defender and counselor to the group of thieves that were causing problems in Denver in 1860.

    September 18, 1860 letter of Mark Avery to his brother. Letter mentions:

    “You probably have noticed something in regard to the hanging of thieves – there has been some of that going on. One, AC Ford, was taken out of a coach on his way to the states. He has not found yet – nobody knows what has become of him he lived one door from me – he is a lawyer from Council Bluffs. I will send a paper that has a little account of him.”