Following his arrest for treason (for, among other things, allegedly signaling to the British forces across the St. Lawrence River by hanging two blue lights in his Ogdensburg window), Ford was sent to New York City for trial. But he made effective use of his extensive political and social contacts, with evident success. Judge Henry Brockholst Livington (1757-1823) was a very prominent New Yorker who had been since 1807 a Supreme Court Justice.
Judge Ford’s Federalist friends were delighted at his release: the “Cooperstown Federalist” (now “The Freeman’s Journal”) wrote that: “This gentlemen has made himself very obnoxious to the ‘powers that be’ by an honest declaration of his political principles and a decided hostility to their views in the prosecution of an unnecessary, impolitic and ruinous war. His life has frequently been threatened by the military....”
Norfolk, March 30. At a late hour last night, a fracas took place in Little Water-street, between one Middleton, who keeps a disorderly house in that street, and a sailor by the name of Tom Taylor, belonging to the flotilla.
Several blows passed between them in Middleton’s house, and afterwards in the street before his door, and the sailor proving the strongest, Middleton’s wife handed him a pistol, the muzzle of which he applied close to Taylor’s breast and shot him dead on the spot. Middleton was immediately taken to jail.
COMMENT: A “disorderly house” was a polite name for a house of prostitution.