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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

Biography of Judge Parker

I am the most misunderstood and misrepresented of men. Misrepresented because misunderstood. '"
-Judge Isaac C. Parker, 1896

Remembered today simply as 'the Hanging Judge,' Isaac Parker grew up on an Ohio farm, became a frontier attorney, and had a thirty-five year career in public service. He served as a city attorney, state judge, two-term representative to Congress, and for twenty-one years was a federal district judge in Fort Smith.

The following links provide a brief glimpse into the details of the life of this "most misunderstood of men."

Click here to start with Parker's early years in Ohio.

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.