Hangin' Times in Fort Smith: A History of Executions in Judge Parker's Court

Hangin' Times in Fort Smith: A History of Executions in Judge Parker's Court

by Jerry Akins


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For twenty-one years, Judge Isaac C. Parker ruled in the federal court at Fort Smith, Arkansas, the gateway to the wild and lawless Western frontier. Parker, however, was not the "hangin' judge" that casual legend portrays. In most cases, the guilt or innocence of those tried in his court really was not in question once their stories were told. These horrible crimes would have screamed out for justice in any circumstance. Author Jerry Akins has finally arrived at the real story about Parker and his court by comparing newspaper accounts of the trials and executions to what has been written and popularized in other books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935106340
Publisher: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Pages: 268
Sales rank: 1,190,203
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Jerry Akins is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and worked as a missile technician for fourteen years. In 1980, he relocated to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he began to immerse himself in the history of the area, including the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas and the cases of Judge Isaac C. Parker. He is a frequent contributor to the Fort Smith Historical Society Journal.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Acknowledgements xv

Introduction xvii

Chapter 1 The Beginning: The Black Cap 1

Chapter 2 Two Men Hanged, Both Cherokees, for Murder 9

Chapter 3 "The Awful Doom" 14

Chapter 4 "My Father…Brought Me to the Scaffold" 21

Chapter 5 "Eight Murderers Tried and Convicted in a U.S. Court" 24

Chapter 6 "The Black Cap, The Black Gown: Six Men Atone for Crime" 35

Chapter 7 "Doomed: Six Men Condemned to Die at One Time" 38

Chapter 8 Four More Executions: "Murder Cries Aloud for Vengeance" 48

Chapter 9 The Gallows Gets a Two-Year Hiatus 54

Chapter 10 "A Victim for the Gallows: Hanging Too Good for Him" 64

Chapter 11 "The Law Vindicated" 70

Chapter 12 "Five Trapdoor Angels Sent to that Bourne" 74

Chapter 13 Edward Fulsom, Hired Gun or Accidental Accomplice? 84

Chapter 14 Cattle Drives, Outlaws, and a Hanging 90

Chapter 15 "Three Lives for Six" 94

Chapter 16 Three Down, Three to Go 104

Chapter 17 Execution of William Phillips 113

Chapter 18 James Arcine and William Parchmeal 117

Chapter 19 A New Gallows for New Customers 121

Chapter 20 Sprole and James Hanged 128

Chapter 21 Kitt Ross Executed 133

Chapter 22 Lust, Revenge, and Bad Tempers Send Four to Gallows 136

Chapter 23 Pat McCarty's Respite Expires, And With It, Patrick McCarty 145

Chapter 24 The Executions of Seaborn Kalijah and Silas Hampton 149

Chapter 25 Seven Sentenced, Three Hang 153

Chapter 26 Gus Bogle 160

Chapter 27 His Boots Were His Downfall 164

Chapter 28 Three Senseless Murders, Two Hangings 167

Chapter 29 "Broke Their Necks: That's What Hangman Maledon Did" 173

Chapter 30 "Gallows Fruit" 181

Chapter 31 "Murdered the Fiddler" 191

Chapter 32 "John Stansberry Hanged for the Murder of His Wife" 194

Chapter 33 Boudinot Crumpton, a.k.a. Bood Burris 199

Chapter 34 Shepard Busby Hangs for the Murder of Deputy Connelly 203

Chapter 35 "Bowing and Smiling, John Thorton Marches Forth" 208

Chapter 36 "Lewis Holder, The Slayer of George M. Bickford" 212

Chapter 37 The Execution of John Pointer 214

Chapter 38 The Execution of Crawford Goldsby, a.k.a. Cherokee Bill 218

Chapter 39 Webber Issacs, Mollie King, Berry Foreman, and George and John Pierce 228

Chapter 40 The Buck Gang: Ten-Day Terrors 232

Chapter 41 The Last Man to Go: James Calvin Casherego 236

Epilogue: The End of an ERA 241

References 244

Index 246

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