Isaac "Hanging Judge" Parker
Isaac Charles Parker was born in Ohio and in 1859 he graduated from
lawschool. Later that year he moved to St. Joseph, Missouri, opened up his
own business and met his wife to be. In 1868 Parker was appointed judge,
a post he held onto until he was elected to the Congress two years later.
Parker ended his political career in 1875, and before the end of that year
he had been appointed Federal Judge in the Western District of Arkansas.
The Federal Court had its headquarter in Fort Smith. The Federal Court for
the Western District of Arkansas was also ruling over the Indian Territory
(Oklahoma). With his mind set on bringing law and order to the area Parker
told the US Marshal James F. Fagan to hire 200 deputies to bring in all the
robbers, murderers and thieves they could find.
During the 21 years Isaac Parker was responsible for the law and order in
this part of the United States he sentenced 168 men and four women to hang
by the neck until they were dead. Even though many of the sentenced were
hardened criminals some of lectures Parker gave when reading them the verdict
were sadistic to an extent that few of the sentenced could be accused of.
The Hangman were a small meanlooking German, George Maledon, who eagerly
looked forward to execute the verdict. Pardons and appeals cheated Maledon
of his fun in more than half of the cases. Maledon was almost as skilled
in handling his gun as he was with the rope, and he shot down five men sentenced
to death while they were trying to escape.
Isaac Parker died on his post, in a heartattack in 1896.