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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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  • 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 »

January 25, 1889 Execution

noose
On January 25, 1889 Richard Smith was executed for the murder of Thomas Pringle. Although a dying Pringle named Smith as his assassin, the key to conviction was a unique footprint at the crime scene. This showed that the murderer wore a pair of boots with soles full of roundheaded tacks, twenty-one in the right foot and fourteen in the left. When arrested, Smith was wearing boots matching the footprints but the heels and tacks had been removed. A witness led officers to the location where Smith had thrown the heels and while the tacks were never found, the holes from them were visible in the shoe soles. Despite confessing to the deputy who arrested him, Smith declared his innocence on the gallows.

Did You Know?

foundation remains of first fort overlooking Arkansas River

The U.S. Army selected a spot overlooking the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers for the site of a fort. Soldiers from the Rifle Regiment arrived in 1817 and named the site Fort Smith after their commanding officer, Thomas A. Smith.