Fort Smith National Cemetery

Fort Smith National Cemetery (HM1QJL)

Location: Fort Smith, AR 72901 Sebastian County
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 35° 23.062', W 94° 25.704'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
Civil War Fort Smith
In 1817, the U.S. Army sent a detachment of soldiers to Arkansas Territory to keep the peace between the Osage and Cherokee nations. They built a post on the shore of the Arkansas River and named it for Gen. Thomas A. Smith.
The army abandoned Fort Smith in 1825 but returned in 1836. A federal garrison held Fort Smith until April 23, 1861, when the Arkansas militia seized it. Union forces retook the fort in September 1863 and held it for the rest of the war.
Fort Smith became an important supply depot and outpost at the edge of Indian Territory. In 1865, a council meeting at Fort Smith was held to negotiate between the federal government and tribes that had sided with the Confederacy. The council reestablished treaties between those tribes and the government.
[Photo caption reads]
Fort Smith, 1865. Courtesy of the Fort Smith National Historic Site.

National Cemetery
Post Surgeon Thomas Russell, who died in 1819, was the first interment at Fort Smith. The 5.5-acre cemetery served the garrisons, both Union and Confederate, during the Civil War. In 1867, it became one of three national cemeteries established in Arkansas. In addition to U.S. soldiers, burials include several hundred Confederates and more than 160 civilians who died at the fort.
In the 1870s, the U.S. Army Quartermaster General's office constructed a brick lodge and wall, and placed permanent marble headstones on the graves. In 1898, a tornado swept through Fort Smith and caused extensive damage. The wall was rebuilt in stone, and the lodge was replaced with the current two-story building in 1904. When a new entrance was erected in 1942, the old iron gates were moved into the cemetery. Over the years, the cemetery has expanded to more than 32 acres.
[Photo caption reads]
The lodge in 1941. National Archives and Records Administration.

Judge Parker
Isaac Charles Parker was born on October 15, 1838, in Ohio. In 1859, he became a lawyer and moved to St. Joseph, Missouri. Parker resigned from his position as city attorney in 1861 to join the Union Army. After the Civil War, he was elected county prosecutor and later served two terms in the U.S. Congress. On March 18, 1875, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him judge of the Western District of Arkansas, based in Fort Smith.
Judge Parker held court six days a week, often hearing cases for ten hours each day. He presided over an unusually large number of cases with a mandatory death sentence. Although personally opposed to capital punishment, federal law required Parker to hand down the death sentence if the jury returned a guilty verdict for crimes of rape or murder.
Parker served until shortly before his death on November 17, 1896, and was buried in this cemetery (Section 9, Grave 4000). In the years after his death he was often referred to as the "Hanging Judge."
[Photo caption reads]
Isaac C. Parker, c. 1875. Library of Congress.
Placed ByDepartment of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, January 22nd, 2016 at 9:01pm PST -08:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 370264 N 3916605
Decimal Degrees35.38436667, -94.42840000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 23.062', W 94° 25.704'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 23' 3.72" N, 94° 25' 42.24" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)501, 479
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 554-598 Garland Ave, Fort Smith AR 72901, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?