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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 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 »

September 9, 1881 Execution

rope tied as a noose
Five men were executed on the Fort Smith gallows on September 9, 1881. The motives for their crimes ranged from mistaken identity to senseless violence. In August of 1880, William Brown, trying to defend himself against a man who threatened his life, fired at a shadowy figure moving toward him. Instead, Brown killed his friend, Robert Tate. Self defense was also the claim of Patrick McGowen and George Padgett, but juries found both men guilty of murder. Brothers Abler and Amos Manley shot and killed Ellis McVay, a farmer who offered them shelter for the night of December 3, 1880. Their motive was unknown.

Did You Know?

Parker seated at his bench in 6th Street courtroom

The only known image of Judge Parker in his courtroom is this one from the federal courthouse on Sixth Street which dates from the 1890s. There are no photographs of the courtroom located in the former military barracks.