After the assassination of Jesse James, Charley Ford went downhill fast. By May 1884—two years after the killing—he was living with his parents at their home in Richmond, Missouri. His tuberculosis was crippling. And he was hooked on morphine, partly to ease the physical pain and partly to escape his depression.
He shot himself in the chest on May 6, 1884. When the funeral was held days later, there was a surprise—a Mrs. Charley Ford. Most people didn’t know that the late Charley had been married nearly a year before.