Execution Anniversary Programs
Programs are presented at the reconstructed gallows on the anniversary dates of executions carried out during the years that the federal court at Fort Smith had jurisdiction over Indian Territory. Federal executions were conducted here for 23 years, from 1873 through 1896. 79 of the 86 men executed here were put to death during Judge Isaac Parker’s tenure.
The talks will provide a general overview of the federal court during the late 19th century, federal law involving capital crimes, and conditions in Indian Territory. Park rangers will present information about the condemned individual/s executed on that date. The crime and victims, court case, execution, and the violent nature of these historic events will be discussed. The anniversary dates of executions are the only times that the park hangs nooses on the gallows; the number of nooses represents the number executed on that day.
The free programs are offered at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on the following dates. Listed are the names of the men who were executed on those dates.
Did You Know?
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.