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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

January 14, 1887 Execution

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?

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.