• 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 »

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?

Portrait of Anna Dawes

A woman was responsible for the building of a modern federal jail at Fort Smith, AR, in 1888. Anna Dawes, daughter of Sen. Dawes of MA, visited the "Hell on the Border" jail in 1885 and wrote an article describing its conditions. When read in Congress, money was quickly approved for a new jail.