Barney Ford was born a slave in Virginia. At the age of twenty-five, he escaped and began a successful career in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures. By 1860, he was living in Denver and became a prosperous tycoon in the hotel, restaurant, and barbershop businesses, earning the nickname the "Black Baron of Colorado." Throughout the Civil War, he gave financial assistance, food, and jobs to escaped and free African Americans.
Many Victorian mothers, while intending to provide the best food and feeding methods for their infants, tragically caused the deaths of their own little ones. Although doctors condemned the bottles and infant mortality rates of the time were shocking – only two out of ten infants lived to their second birthday – parents continued to buy and use them. The bottles eventually earned the nickname, “Murder Bottles.”