On Monday, August 26, I started the day with a couple of hours at the fort which established to stop fighting between the indigenous Osage people and the Cherokee, who had been pushed into the area, by the policies of President Andrew Jackson. Thus, Fort Smith is indelibly associated with the Trail of Tears.
The place is named for one Col. Thomas A. Smith, who commanded the fort at its establishment. Another person by that name was a friend of mine, who recently passed on, so it was poignant to read of Col. Smith’s efforts at peacekeeping.
Here are some views of the grounds of this national monument, and of the River Trail, which follows the Arkansas River, along its path through western Arkansas’ commercial center.
We start with the Courthouse and Jails of the fort, now a museum.
Here’s a view of one of the fortifications.
Now, here’s a look at where bad actors spent their time, courtesy of Judge Isaac Parker.
Here is a glimpse of Judge Parker’s dungeon,
and one of his courtroom.
The soldiers, then as now, had to parade in formation, before their superiors.
The remnants of the original Fort Smith may be seen here and there.
Here is the quartermaster’s store.
Then we come to the gallows.
The less said, the better about this place of ghoulish amusement.
My favourite section is the River Trail. Oklahoma lies across the Arkansas River.
At the end of River Trail lies Fort Smith Train Station.
It does not take a train, though, to go the scant 17 miles to Van Buren, the next stop of mine on August 26.