Guard John Cleophus "Johnny" Ford

Guard John Cleophus "Johnny" Ford

Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Correctional Institutions Division, Texas

End of Watch Monday, October 4, 1937

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John Cleophus "Johnny" Ford

Guard Johnnie Ford drowned while searching for two escaped prisoners in Sugarland, Texas.

At approximately 2:45 p.m., Guard Ford had taken a squad of convicts to cut wood near the Brazos River about seven miles from the prison farm. Two of the prisoners fled into the woods and river bottoms. Guard Ford and several other guards pursued the convicts. The officers were on horseback and located a spot on the river where they thought the prisoners had crossed. Guard Ford started across the river when his horse floundered, and he fell into the river. Ford went under, came to the surface, and disappeared. The horse went on across the river. The other guards dragged the river and later recovered his body.

Guard Ford had served with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for approximately nine years, assigned to the Central State Prison Farm. He was survived by his wife.

He is buried in the Rayburn Cemetery in Madisonville, Madison County, next to a daughter who died at birth in 1920.

The Central State Prison Farm was opened in 1909 and closed in 2011. Most of the prison land has been redeveloped.


  • Age 36
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Drowned

escape, prison work crew

Most Recent Reflection

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Johnnie Ford, you are my Great Uncle, my father Charles R. Ford, told me about when he was a little boy, his father Moses B. Ford, Johnnie Ford brother which was my Grandfather, how mad he was when they went to the funeral home and saw Johnnie Ford, dead all dirty and in the rain. I didn't know why or what the circumstances was, and my father was just a little boy back then. Me and my sons will visit Johnnie and daughters grave site on November 11th, to clean the area around there grave. If anyone knows more about the incident back then are, what happened to the escapees. Please call me Richard Ford 832-250-0893 .

Captain Houston Fire Department
Johnnie Ford, my Great Uncle

November 4, 2023

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