Road Construction I-540
Traveling West on I-40? To avoid construction delays, do not take Exit 7 (I-540 S). Stay on I-40 west and take Exit 1 Dora. Stay on Hwy 64D for 6 miles and follow signs to Fort Smith. After crossing over the river, turn right on 4th ST & right on Garland. More »
August 15, 1873 Execution
The First Execution in Fort Smith
The first execution carried out by the federal court at Fort Smith took place on August 15, 1873. The condemned man was John Childers, convicted by a jury for the murder of Reyburn Wedding. In October 1870, Childers met Wedding in the Cherokee Nation and killed him for the $280 he possessed. Although Deputy Marshal Vennoy arrested Childers a short time later, he escaped from the federal jail (in Van Buren, Arkansas at that time). Recaptured in 1871, Childers was re-sentenced by Judge William Story. On the gallows Childers confessed to the crime.
Did You Know?
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.