U. S. Marshals In Indian Territory
By 1870, The Indian Territory had become a hellhole to live in and the honest citizens were in constant fear for their lives. The Court at Ft. Smith was considered a joke by the citizens of the territory since the Judge and Federal District Attorney were known to ‘rig’cases to see that guilty felons were found innocent and released to commit more atrocities in the Nations. The criminal element in Indian Territory carried a lot of clout in Ft. Smith. In that year a great outcry was heard from the Five Civilized Tribes leaders and attorneys over the lawlessness that was going on in the territory committed by intruders such as whites and Negroes. The five Nations had their own courts and jails for the Indians of the Nations. The problem was with the intruders. The Indian courts had no jurisdiction over these renegades.
In 1875, Judge Isaac Parker, a Republican was appointed, by President U.S. Grant, also a Republican, to what later became the Western Judicial District of Arkansas. This area included the counties in Arkansas that ran north and south along the western Arkansas border, all of Indian Territory and a strip 50 miles wide along the southern Kansas boundary. Indian Territory was an area of more than 70,000 square miles and the “Men who Rode for Parker” numbered less than 200.
There was only one U.S. Marshal in the district. All the rest were Deputies. The U.S. Marshal drew a salary of $90 per month and the deputies drew damn little. They received no salary. The deputies drew mileage of 6 cents per mile whether tracking a killer or delivering court papers and summons. The deputies also received pay of $2 each upon delivery of a summons or for each prisoner they delivered, no matter how violent or dangerous they may have been. The court paid the cost of transporting the prisoners. The prisoner transport usually consisted of a cook, chuck wagon, prisoner wagon, driver and several extra mules and horses.
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