Following is the latest news on the Fort Smith conference where a majority of the speakers are Oklahombres members. Hope to see you there.
HELL, GRIT, & JUSTICE CONFERENCE TO SHOWCASE WILD WEST, U.S. MARSHALS HISTORY
Free Public Conference To Be Part of 50th Anniversary Celebration
FORT SMITH, ARK. – As part of the celebrations surrounding the Fort Smith National Historic Site’s 50th Anniversary as a unit of the National Park Service, on the weekend of July 1-3 history buffs will be able to enjoy a free popular history conference on Fort Smith’s colorful Wild West past. The “Hell, Grit, and Justice on the Border Conference” will bring regional and national authors and experts to the city for a weekend of lectures and special events highlighting the role that Deputy U.S. Marshals, outlaws, Native Americans, Indian Freedmen, and Indian Territory justice played in shaping Fort Smith’s unique role in American history. All lectures will be held at Northside High School and are free and open to the public; a modest charge applies to some optional conference activities.
The conference is sponsored by the Fort Smith National Historic Site and the Fort Smith Corral of Westerners International.
Speakers scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, July 1 are Indian Territory historian Catherine Foreman-Gray speaking on “Cherokee Lawman Sam Sixkiller”; U.S. Marshals Service Historian Dave Turk speaking on “George Maledon, Fort Smith Hangman, and Hell on the Border”; and author Dee Cordry on “Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas and Indian Territory.” A reception to mingle with speakers and special guests is scheduled for Friday evening at the Clayton House, the Victorian mansion that was home to Judge Isaac C. Parker’s U.S. Attorney. This reception is $5 per person and will offer a cash bar.
Saturday’s conference morning lineup includes author Art T. Burton speaking on “Indian Freedmen Who Rode for Parker” and historian Angela Walton-Raji on “The Trial of Jackson Crow.” The afternoon session features two authors, Mike Tower and Bob Ernst. Tower’s topic is entitled “Rasslin’ with Law Enforcement in Indian Territory, Deputy U.S. Marshal John A. McAlister” and Ernst’s is “The Life and Times of Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Bruner.” A question and answer session with all the conference speakers follows.
Saturday evening a special Hell Night Dinner & Historical Tales event takes place at the Fort Smith National Historic Site. The event, limited by space to 48 people, offers the chance to enjoy a meal of beef stew, cornbread, pickles, sweet potatoes and molasses, and tea or water in the original Hell on the Border Jail. Following the dinner, the attendees will be entertained in the Visitors Center, Judge Parker’s Courtroom and on the grounds by volunteers re-enacting key vignettes and characters from Fort Smith history. The Hell Night Dinner & Historical Tales is $25 per person; early reservations are recommended as space is limited.
Sunday, July 3, the conference wraps up with optional tours in Fort Smith and Indian Territory, and with one-on-one history and genealogy research assistance available by appointment at the National Historic Site. A guided tour of historic Oak Cemetery at 10 a.m. is available for conference attendees, and the Fort Smith National Historic Site will offer interpretive talks at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Other Fort Smith area attractions to explore Sunday afternoon include the Fort Smith Museum of History, the Fort Smith Trolley Museum, Fort Smith National Cemetery, the Drennen-Scott House in Van Buren, Ark., and the former frontier bordello that is now Fort Smith’s official welcome center, Miss Laura’s Visitors Center.
Transportation is provided for the all-day Oklahoma tour of Indian Territory. Sites on the Indian Territory tour include the Cherokee Nation Heritage Center; Cherokee Capitol, Supreme Court and National Prison; Ned Christie Homesite, Fort, and Grave; and lunch at the Restaurant of the Cherokees. Cost for the guided tour is $45 and includes transportation, admission fees, and lunch.
Pre-registration is required for the Hell Night Dinner and for the Indian Territory tour, as space is limited, and is appreciated for all events. To register for the conference or to make an appointment for personal research assistance on Sunday, July 3 contact the Fort Smith National Historic Site at 479-783-3961. Mail-in reservation forms can also be downloaded at the Fort Smith National Historic Site’s website, www.nps.gov/fosm.
The Holiday Inn City Center in downtown Fort Smith will serve as host hotel for the conference. A limited number of rooms are available at the special conference rate of $77 per night for attendees of the Hell, Grit, & Justice on the Border conference.
Additional 50th Anniversary celebration special events are scheduled at the National Historic Site for the week of September 13-18, 2011. Fort Smith is the setting for and inspiration for True Grit and is the future home of the national U.S. Marshals Museum.
The Fort Smith National Historic Site was established as part of the National Park System in 1961 and opened to the public in 1963. From the founding of Fort Smith in 1817 to the final days of Judge Isaac C. Parker’s federal courtroom and gallows, Fort Smith National Historic Site preserves the location and stories of the Western frontier.
Very informative information, but I have a question. Do you have an address to the conference site? You stated it's being held at the Northside High School, but never stated where it's located. Also have you been able to get Oklahombres a table for this event? If so, we'll need some helpers to man it. I wouldn't want Dennis to bring all the stuff he has for nothing if we don't have a place to set it up.
The address of the conference site is: Northside High School, 2301 North B Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
According to the supt. of the Natioanl Historic Site, there will be a table for Oklahombres at the high school and one at the opening reception on Friday nite at the Clayton House in Fort Smith.
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