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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

People of the Federal Court Era (1872-1896)

For twenty-one years, Judge Isaac C. Parker presided over the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Parker may be the most recognized name associated with the Fort Smith court, but there were many others who worked for the federal court, including the deputy marshals, jailers, court clerks, and bailiffs. On the other side of the law were the men and women who were arrested in Indian Territory and charged with crimes ranging from theft to murder.

Also check out Stories from the Federal Court Era.

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.