July 30, 1896 Execution

The last execution conducted by the federal court at Fort Smith took place on July 30, 1896. George Wilson, alias James Casharego, was the last man hanged in Fort Smith. On May 15, 1895, he killed his traveling companion, Zachariah W. Thatch, with an axe. Wilson became a suspect when he was seen with blood on his trousers and with Thatch's team and wagon. Deputy marshals located the crime scene and, although Wilson had burned a fire over the spot where his victim had bled on the ground, dry weather at the time of the crime caused the earth to crack and blood from the murdered man had run deep into one of the fissures. The officers dug deep into the crack and collected several chunks of blood-saturated earth which were produced at the trial.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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