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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

August 29, 1879 Execution

rope tied as a noose
On August 29, 1879, the federal court at Fort Smith executed two men convicted for unrelated murders. William Elliott, alias Colorado Bill, killed David J. Brown in Muskogee in February 1879. Suspected of murders in four different states, a local newspaper noted that "He will hardly be wanted...after they get through with him here." Dr. Henri Stewart, a physician educated at Harvard and Yale, abandoned his family in Illinois in 1877 for reasons unknown. Arriving in Indian Territory, he joined a gang of outlaws and in May 1879 killed J.B. Jones in an attempted train robbery in the Choctaw Nation.

Did You Know?

foundation remains of first fort overlooking Arkansas River

The U.S. Army selected a spot overlooking the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers for the site of a fort. Soldiers from the Rifle Regiment arrived in 1817 and named the site Fort Smith after their commanding officer, Thomas A. Smith.