In another post I mentioned that one of the purposes of the recent Ft. Smith Marshal's History Day was to gather historical artifacts, as for example a picture of the gallows, since the Park Service had none. Just such a picture was brought in by Mr. Leonard Patton of Clarksville, AR. It appears to show not just the "old" gallows, first constructed in early August 1873 but an actual double execution taking place upon it. If this picture is authenticated, it may mean that certain common assumptions about early executions at Fort Smith will have to be re-examined. I, for one, had assumed that the first sextet execution (September 3, 1875) involved, like the later one in July of 1896, the six prisoners being hanged simultaneously. And while it is reported that the old gallows theoretically had a capacity for six simultaneous executions, the picture seems to indicate that this gallows was too small to accomodate such a crowd.
Another problem is that the double execution depicted was "two brothers convicted of killing the local sheriff." But as best I can determine, the only time brothers were executed on the old gallows was on September 9, 1881, when the Manley brothers were hanged for killing farmer Ellis McVay.
Also for consideration. There was a double execution somewhere in Arkansas on January 19, 1910, for murder. The two men were African American siblings, named Charles and Will Mullins. This information obtained from the website BEFORE THE NEEDLES, which covers all local, state, and federal executions in the United States before lethal injections were began.
Posts: 373 | Location: Indian and Oklahoma Territories | Registered: Wed February 04 2004
The Photo that Mr. Patton brought to the Descendants day at the FS National Historic site was of the execution of Fred Underwood & Jersey Durham in 1902 at Clarksville, Johnson County Arkansas. Their crime was the murder of Johnson County Sheriff John H. Powers at 2:00a.m. on Feb. 5 1902 during a night time burglary of the bank of Clarksville......Tony
"I wasn't but 145 pounds but I had a good pistol" T.W."Buckshot" Lane, Sheriff Warton County Texas
Posts: 20 | Location: North Little Rock, Ar. U.S..A. | Registered: Sat December 13 2003