• Rifle Regiment arriving at Belle Point, 1817. Artwork by Michael Haynes

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

Judge Parker and the Federal Court 1872-1896

Program Description:

Fort Smith and surrounding residents all know about Judge Parker, but few of them actually know the real Isaac. C. Parker. This program goes a long way in dispelling the cruel myths behind the quiet man unfairly nicknamed "the Hanging Judge". The program also goes into some depth on the role of the Federal Court, its key players, and the importance of the US Deputy Marshals in helping to maintain law and order in Indian Territory. Students will get a lot of interesting information, facts, and stories that will give them a better understanding of Fort Smith's history.

Students will learn about:

  • Judge Isaac C. Parker, the quiet man behind the myth
  • Introduction to jurisdictions and law in Indian Territory
  • The role of the Deputy US Marshal

Length: 60 minutes*

*Note: When making the reservation please inform park staff of the length of the class period in which this program will be given. The program can be adjusted as needed.

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Did You Know?

Portrait of Anna Dawes

A woman was responsible for the building of a modern federal jail at Fort Smith, AR, in 1888. Anna Dawes, daughter of Sen. Dawes of MA, visited the "Hell on the Border" jail in 1885 and wrote an article describing its conditions. When read in Congress, money was quickly approved for a new jail.