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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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    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 23, 1886 Execution

Calvin James and Lincoln Sprole were executed at Fort Smith on July 23, 1886. The two men had been tried and found guilty for two separate crimes. In August 1885, Calvin James traveled with three other men to Texas to acquire a supply of whiskey. During the trip, James shot and killed one of his companions in order to take the four gallons he had purchased. The other men with James later served as witnesses against him. In May 1885, Lincoln Sprole worked on a farm in the Chickasaw Nation. A disagreement with Benjamin Clark, who lived on the farm, escalated to violence. While Clark and his son were returning home one day, Sprole suddenly appeared from a thicket by the roadside. He shot and killed them both.

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.