Despite being born into privilege in 1865, the future for Paul Leicester Ford looked dismal. The son of Gordon Lester Ford and the former Emily Fowler (whose grandfather was Noah Webster), he suffered a spinal injury which distorted his body and prevented his attending school. Initially, his sister Rosalie home schooled him in American History, Greek, French and English. But, following her marriage, the lessons stopped.
In the fright of the moment she jumped up and left the room by a doorway near at hand. Then she pulled herself together and felt that she ought to return. As she was about to do so she heard a voice, which seemed to be Malcolm Ford's, call her name. She re-entered the library at once, and saw Malcolm Ford with the revolver pointed at his heart. He fired and fell backward on the floor.