• 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 »

July 1, 1896 Execution

On July 1, 1896 the five members of the Rufus Buck Gang were executed. In July of 1895, the gang embarked on a thirteen day crime spree. Leader Rufus Buck, a Euchee Indian, Lewis and Lucky Davis, Creek freedmen, and Sam Sampson and Maoma July, Creek Indians, all had previous criminal records. Within two weeks, they killed at least two people, including Deputy Marshal John Garrett, wounded several others, robbed anyone who crossed their path, and raped several women. They were finally apprehended after a seven hour shootout, and stood trial for the rape of Rosetta Hansen. Found guilty, they were the only men to hang in Fort Smith for rape. This was, quite possibly, the largest mass execution for rape in U.S. history.

Did You Know?

Interior of jail cell with box for prisoners to visit with their lawyers

The conditions at the federal jail at Fort Smith were so horrible that it received the nickname "Hell on the Border." Up to 50 men were crowded into one large cell with limited ventilation and poor sanitary conditions.