Fort Smith Museum of History


Women & Murder in the Indian Territory (1870-1898)

March 26 & April 2 at 1:00 p.m.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Fort Smith Museum of History will explore undesirable women who made history in a two-part series.

Women & Murder in the Indian Territory (1870-1898), presented by volunteer Mark Potter, will conclude with the second program of the two-part series on Saturday, April 2.

The program will detail the stories of fifteen women and girls arrested and charged with murder during the era when the jurisdiction of the federal court in Van Buren and Fort Smith stretched into the Indian Territory.

Former slaves, a widow in need of money, jealous men, a wife who killed over money, murders in self-defense, a suicide and a poisoning by a fourteen-year-old; these stories and more are the focus of Women & Murder in the Indian Territory (1870-1898). Women such as Arena Howe, Fanny Echols, Elsie James and Susan Riley, along with young girls like Mollie Speaks, were accused of crimes just as horrible and gruesome as the men who were executed on the gallows of the federal court. These stories are an important part of local history and add to a deeper understanding of what the federal court dealt with during the latter part of the 19th century.

The presentations are offered free with museum admission: $7 adults, $2 children, under age 6 are free.

Contact Info: 479-783-7841


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