• 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 30, 1896 Execution

The last execution conducted by the federal court at Fort Smith took place on July 30, 1896. George Wilson, alias James Casharego, was the last man hanged in Fort Smith. On May 15, 1895, he killed his traveling companion, Zachariah W. Thatch, with an axe. Wilson became a suspect when he was seen with blood on his trousers and with Thatch's team and wagon. Deputy marshals located the crime scene and, although Wilson had burned a fire over the spot where his victim had bled on the ground, dry weather at the time of the crime caused the earth to crack and blood from the murdered man had run deep into one of the fissures. The officers dug deep into the crack and collected several chunks of blood-saturated earth which were produced at the trial.

Did You Know?

reproduction of keelboat on Arkansas River with first fort soldier reenactors

Fort Smith was established on Christmas Day, 1817. Approximately 70 Rifle Regiment soldiers arrived by keelboat after a long journey on the Arkansas River.