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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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January 14, 1887 Execution

noose
Four men were executed by the federal court at Fort Smith on January 14, 1887: James Lamb, Albert O'Dell, John T. Echols and John Stephens. Lamb, 23, and O'Dell, 26, received the death penalty for the murders of George Brassfield and Edward Pollard. These men happened to be the husbands of Lamb and O'Dell's mistresses, both of whom were pregnant by them. A jury convicted Echols, 35, of shooting and killing John Pattenridge in a quarrel over a cattle deal. In May of 1886, Stephens, 28, used an axe to kill Mrs. Annie Kerr, her sixteen year old son and Dr. James Pyle. Stephens' motive was apparently escaping prosecution in a larceny case, as the Kerrs and Dr. Pyle were to appear as witnesses against him.

Did You Know?

Park staff and volunteers demonstrating using lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the cannon's primer

The soldiers who came to Fort Smith in 1817 were still using some 18th century technology and drill. The cannon was discharged using a lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the primer, which originally was loose powder or a turkey quill filled with powder.