Cornerstone to be set for the Hall of Honor of U.S. Marshals Museum
Fallen officers will be honored with a cornerstone for one hall
of the future U.S. Marshals Museum at Fort Smith
The U.S. Marshals Museum will present two days of special events Nov. 8-9 surrounding a ceremony to honor the heroes of yesterday and today and to dedicate the cornerstone of the Hall of Honor at the site of the future U.S. Marshals Museum on the banks of the Arkansas River in downtown Fort Smith.
The public is invited to attend the dedication along with distinguished guests, descendants of marshals and deputy marshals, donors and supporters of the national museum that will tell the story of the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. Several other programs held Nov. 8-9 also are for the public.
Fort Smith won the honor of being the location of this future national museum after a multi-year campaign to persuade the U.S. Marshals Service to choose this city, where historically the greatest number of deputy marshals were killed in the line of duty.
While serving the Federal Court of the Western District of Arkansas, the U.S. marshals at Fort Smith were the only law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the Indian Territories – an area of more than 74,000 square miles. The Arkansas River was the border between the United States and the territory beyond.
In the pursuit to arrest and bring to trial suspects who tried to escape justice in the vast Indian Territories, more than 119 deputy marshals were killed. That grim count represents more than half the number of deputy marshals killed in all of the history of the U.S. Marshals Service to date.
The Hall of Honor will memorialize all Marshals Service personnel who died in service. It is one of four themed areas in the future museum, which will contain exhibit areas on “America Divided,” “Frontier Marshals” and “Marshals Today,” according to its master plan.
The Hall of Honor has been planned to contain the name and story of the more than 200 Marshals and Deputy Marshals who have fallen in the line of duty, including a photograph if available. An adjacent memorial garden will be a place of reflection about the fallen and the ideals of justice, integrity and service, the values of the U.S. Marshals Service.
“We've been talking about the new museum and its many features for so long now, we will now have something visible, something to actually look at and put our hands on before construction begins,” museum board president Judge Jim Spears said, “even though it's just a hint of what's coming when the museum is fully funded and built.”
The Nov. 8-9 programs tie together U.S. Marshal actions taken in the Indian Territories in 1872, along with a tour that will give a survey of the history of the self-government and culture of the Cherokee Nation during a day trip to Tahlequah, Okla., the Cherokee capital.
As it was when Fort Smith citizens and its history community held a “Bring It Home!” campaign win selection for the Marshals Museum, events also are being held throughout the city’s other historical institutions to celebrate the Hall of Honor dedication.
Schedule of Events:
Nov. 8: Visiting the Cherokee Nation
Travel to the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, Okla., for a day of programs. Learn about the Goingsnake Massacre from descendants of those involved. The incident in which seven deputy marshals died occurred at the Cherokee Nation court trial of Zeke Proctor, a Cherokee man. A lunch of traditional Cherokee foods is included. A charter bus will transport participants between Fort Smith and Tahlequah.
8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person.
Nov. 8: Night Court Re-enactment: Murder of a Deputy Marshal
Witness a recreation of an actual trial that took place in Judge Parker's courtroom, concerning the 1885 murder of Deputy Marshal James Guy and three of his posse by suspected cattle rustlers, United States v. Ed Stein, Tom Lee, William Davidson. Reservations required, 479-226-3723.
$5. 7 p.m. Fort Smith National Historic Site, 301 Parker Avenue, Fort Smith.
Nov. 9: Honoring the Fallen: Dedication of the Hall of Honor Cornerstone
Remarks by Edwin Meese, U.S. Attorney General 1985-1988, and Howard Safir, New York City Police Commissioner, 1996-2000, and associate director of the U.S. Marshals Service, 1984-1990. 11 a.m. Reservations are required. Call the U.S. Marshals Museum office at 479-709-3766 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nov. 9: Bass Reeves Celebration with Lunch and a Story at Clayton House
Enjoy an outdoors hot dog lunch ($2.50), visit with Bass Reeves and tour the Clayton House Museum, starting at noon. Hear a reading/slide show of “Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal” at 1 p.m. in the Community Room. Clayton House, 514 North 6th Street, Fort Smith.
Nov. 9: Hangings in Van Buren and Other Long-Lost Tales: The Federal Court of the Western District Before Judge Parker
Before moving to Fort Smith, the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas was located in Van Buren. Tom Wing, UAFS assistant professor of history and director of the Drennen-Scott Historic Site, will share stories of this little-known aspect of our western Arkansas history, including hangings in Van Buren and the work of U.S. Marshal George Washington Knox. 3 p.m. Miller Branch Library, 8701 South 28th Street, Fort Smith.
Nov. 9: NAGPRA: Its Context within our Community
Enacted in 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is important legislation for Native Americans, the museum community and our nation as a whole. Museum curator Connie Manning will discuss the history of NAGPRA, a case of the Fort Smith Museum of History’s compliance and offer guidance for the public for compliance with NAGPRA and other relevant state laws. 4 p.m. Fort Smith Museum of History, 320 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith.
Nov. 9: Night Court Re-enactment: U.S. v. Stein, Lee and Davidson Second performance. $5. Reservations required, 479-226-3723. 6 p.m. Fort Smith National Historic Site, 301 Parker Avenue, Fort Smith.