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George W. Brassfield

&

"The Hanging Judge"

In the late 1800's, the Indian Territories (later Oklahoma) had justice maintained
by a man known as the "hanging judge".  Judge Parker held court in Fort Smith
Arkansas.  On January 14, 1887, this was the scene of the execution of four men:
James Lamb, Albert O'Dell, John T. Echols and John Stephens.  Lamb, 23,
and O'Dell, 26, received the death penalty for the murders of George Brasfield
and Edward Pollard.  These men happened to be the husbands of Lamb and O'Dell's
mistresses, both of whom were pregnant by them.


James Lamb and Albert O’Dell are both young men, and were convicted jointly on the 18th of September for the murder of Edward Pollard, near Lebanon, Chickasaw Nation, on the night of December 26, 1885.  Their case was one of the most depraved nature, and the evidence showed them to have been guilty not only of murder, but robbery and bigamy besides.

They both conspired to take possession of the wives of Pollard and a man named Brassfield, by either frightening them away or killing them.

Brassfield being the more timid of the two did leave, but Pollard remained, and one week from the time that Brassfield left was waylaid and killed near his home and his body concealed.  The next day following the murder Mrs. Brassfield and O’Dell were married and the whole outfit picked up and left that section together, reporting that Pollard had also deserted his family.

The murder was brought to light by the finding of Pollard’s body about two months afterward, and the murderers were soon afterward arrested, the two faithless wives also being brought here.  The condemned men denounced each other at the trial, each swearing that the other committed the deed.  Before execution they all joined the church.

(Excerpt from Atchison Daily Globe, January 14, 1887)


Many interesting stories of a historical nature related to this time and place are found
at the National Park Service's Fort Smith web site.


The following relevant material is provided through the

courtesy of Bobby J. Wadsworth

Information regarding Elizabeth BRASSFIELD can be found in Jacket No. 118, US District Court, Western District of AR, Fort Smith (National Archives, Southwest Region, Fort Worth, TX):

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LETTER, 04 Mar 1886, from Hiram E. EASTWOOD to Capt. THOMAS, Lebanon, I.T. :

I have found the body of POLLARD : six there recognized him as being the missing man : those who found the body and saw it are John A. (Dink) ORR, Mr. MATHIS, Frank McININCH, G.W. BRASSFIELD, George HOLDER and Dick BUFORD.

[Other witnesses included Elijah LEWIS, Sam DORCHESTER, Mr. ORR (Dink's brother), A.P. (Albert) ODELL and James E. LAMB. ODELL and LAMB had left the area and plans were being made for their return.]

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LETTER, 08 Mar 1886, from Deputy Marshal J.H. MERSHON to U.S. Marshal John CAROL,

15 miles west of Henderson's store : I will inform you that I have been blessed with good luck. I have been successful and captured all of the murderers of E.V. POLLARD, one amongst the horiblest murders ever committed in this territory : but will not give particulars for I have just got into camp after riding day and night and am very tired.

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WRIT OF ARREST, 12 Mar 1886,

Elisha (sic?) LEWIS, Mrs. Elizabeth BRASSFIELD and Dora POLLARD did in the Indian Country, within the Western District of Arkansas, on or about the 2nd day of December 1885 feloniously ... kill and murder one Edward POLLARD.


/s/ J.H. MARSHON, Deputy Marshal

WITNESSES: Hiram EASTWOOD, J.H. SCOTT, Bill SIMPSON, Bruce QUIGLY, Thomas McCLURE and Frank McANINCH.

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