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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

People at First Fort Smith (1817-1824)

The first Fort Smith was established by Major William Bradford and a company of the U.S. Rifle Regiment in December 1817 to maintain peace between local Osage Indians and emigrating Cherokees.

The 1822 Treaty of Fort Smith, negotiated by Col. Mathew Arbuckle, then the fort's commanding officer, and Indian Commissioner James Miller, reconciled most of the difficulties between the Osage and the Cherokee.

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.