March 17, 1896 Execution
Crawford Goldsby, alias Cherokee Bill, was executed on March 17, 1896. A jury found Goldsby guilty of the murder of Ernest Melton during a robbery of a store in the Cherokee Nation. While awaiting an appeal, Goldsby engineered an escape from the new jail. On July 26, 1895, he pulled a pistol (which had been smuggled to him) on a guard in the jail who was assisting in the nightly lockdown. As the guard reached for his gun, Goldsby opened fire, killing him. He was once again convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Again the decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld the first verdict. As Cherokee Bill began his walk to the gallows, surrounded by a crowd of 3,000 he remarked that "this is about as good a day to die as any."
For more information on Cherokee Bill follow the links below.
Cherokee Bill: On The Outlaw Trail
Did You Know?
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.