By Fred Harvey Harrington
Isaac C. Parker, the strict U.S. pass judgement on for Indian Territory from 1875 to 1896, introduced legislation and order to a lawless frontier quarter. He held court docket within the border urban of citadel Smith, Arkansas, yet his jurisdiction prolonged over the Indian tribal lands to the west. urgent juries for convictions, Parker despatched seventy-nine convicted criminals to the gallows-as many as six at a time. extra ofen than no longer, although, he handed sentences on hundreds of thousands of liquor purchasers, rapists, and farm animals and horse thieves-even throwing Belle Starr within the prison for stealing a horse from a crippled boy.
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It seems rather to have made them see the need for law and order. Can the outlaws be defended on some other ground? What about the pastoral transition? Were cowboys thrown out of work and forced to turn to crime when the cattle range gave way to the farm? This is an intriguing explanation; and it has some points. When Isaac Parker took up his judicial duties in the 1870's, the West still beckoned to the young. There was room in those days for a man to move around, for there was new land beyond the horizon.
In my judgment your destiny in this world is fixed, [said the Judge] and your fate is inevitable.... Let me therefore beg of you to fly to Him for that mercy and that pardon which you cannot expect of mortals. When you return to the solitude of your prison ... bring to your recollection the mortal struggles and dying groans of your murdered victim.... And when by such reflections as these your heart shall become softened ... fly for mercy to the arms of the Savior and endeavor to seize upon the salvation of His Cross.
The red man's tribunals, like the ecclesiastical courts of old, were noted for their leniency. ") Had that been all Mankiller might have lived a while. But he also killed a white man, his neighbor, William Short. While the motive was obscure, it was apparant that the Indian had asked to see Short's gun and then had fired the weapon at point-blank range. In all probability, Short had died at once; but, Page 43 just to make sure, Smoker Mankiller had drawn his knife and hacked his neighbor into ribbons.