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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

July 9, 1890 Execution

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John Stansberry was executed on July 9, 1890, having been found guilty of murdering his wife. Although he and his wife had a new baby, Stansberry had fallen in love with someone else. To sever the ties that prevented his marriage to another woman, Stanberry killed his child on September 20, 1889. About a month later, he murdered his wife with repeated blows from an axe. Stansberry was arrested while still at his wife's grave after the funeral and was convicted shortly thereafter.

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.