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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

September 8, 1876 Execution

drawing of rope tied as noose
On September 8, 1876, the federal court at Fort Smith carried out the death sentences of four men. Each had been convicted of murder in a jury trial. After being accused of theft by James Hanson, Samuel Peters visited his home and stabbed Hanson's wife to death. Osey Sanders protested his innocence but was found guilty of the robbery and murder of Thomas S. Carlyle. John Valley was also convicted of robbery and murder, but blamed his crime on whiskey. Sinker Wilson murdered a sheep drover named Datus Cowan in 1867. He was arrested, convicted and sentenced that year, but escaped jail and remained at large for nine years until captured early in 1876.

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.