Greetings from the road...
It was a long stretch of Interstate today from
This morning was clear in
We rolled onto Interstate 40 East from
Then there was the surreal visit of the day with a guy who waved us down in the Wendy’s parking lot just outside of
We rolled across the Arkansas River under heavy skies and made our way into old Forth Smith, Arkansas.
Ft Smith had been a frontier army post established in 1817 to help keep the peace between Indian tribes who were being relocated from the east. Basically it was the military base at the end of the "Trail of Tears". It was there to enforce the government policy of Indian relocation to western lands. During the Civil War it was abandoned by Federal forces and used by Confederate troops in the Trans-Mississippi.
In 1871 the borders of Indian country had been pushed farther west. The Army moved out and Fort Smith Became the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas. The Court had jurisdiction over Indian Territory. Federal Marshals were sent into Indian country to apprehend outlaws. The accused were then brought to the Federal court for trial.
This is Federal Judge, Isaac C. Parker. He was known as the hangin' judge and his appointment was for life. He was the final authority on all legal matters in the territory and there was no court of appeal until the 1890's. If you were convicted of a capitol crime in Parker's court - you went to the gallows.
The accused waited for trial in holding cells underneath the court room. Up to 50 men held in each of two cells. Desperados from Indian territory were men of every description.
Judge Parker's court room.
After a "fair trial" the guilty were hung from the neck until dead. As you'll note this gallows allowed for multiple counts of "justice" to be done. Spectators needed tickets to watch the proceedings. Because of Judge Parker's authority - only the President of the United States could issue a pardon.
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