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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

July 25, 1894 Execution

noose
On July 25, 1894 Lewis Holder was executed having been convicted of the murder of his hunting and trapping partner, George Bickford. The body of the victim was found with a shotgun wound in the back in the San Bois Mountains, Choctaw Nation. Deputy marshals arrested Holder after he had been seen with Bickford’s team of horses and wearing his clothing. While Holder admitted to killing his partner, he insisted it was in self defense. The jury failed to agree and rendered a guilty verdict on September 19, 1892. An appeal to the Supreme Court did not succeed in overturning the conviction.

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.