Arkansas Acquires Files Of So-Called ‘Hanging Judge’

Judge Isaac Charles Parker

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas has acquired about 6,000 documents on Judge Isaac Charles Parker, the so-called “hanging judge” of the late 1800s.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the acquisition was revealed Friday in the Capitol rotunda. Arkansas became a territory on March 2, 1819, and a state in 1836.

Parker was federal judge for the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith from 1875 to 1889. Records show Parker tried nearly 13,500 cases, with nearly two-thirds guilty pleas or convictions. He sentenced 160 people to death, often by hanging.

The collection was purchased for $314,500. Items were from the family of late William Fadjo Cravens of Fort Smith, a former congressman, lawyer and banker.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says Arkansas had “bigger-than-life” characters, including Parker, during a “rough and tumble” time. Parker died in 1896.

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