• 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?

Trail of Tears Routes

The Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, (Muscogee) Creek and Seminole Indian tribes were forcibly moved to Indian Territory on what became known as the Trail of Tears. The Arkansas River served as a water route to Fort Smith where they received supplies before crossing the river into Indian Territory.