Local historian Denele Campbell will be back at Nightbird Books with her newest book, Murder in the County: 50 True Stories of the Old West. Stop in between 1 and 3 pm to talk with Denele.
Contrary to popular notion, Arkansas was part of the Old West along with Texas and the rest of those more familiar dusty southwestern places. Its western border joined up with the Indian Nations where many a weary marshal rode out with his bedroll and pistol carrying writs from the U. S. District Court at Fort Smith in a search for a steady stream of men rustling livestock, stealing horses, selling whiskey, or running from the law.
From its earliest days, Washington County, Arkansas, experienced some of the worst the Old West had to offer. At unexpected moments, county settlers faced their fellow man in acts of fatal violence. These murderous events not only ended hopeful lives but also forever changed those who survived them. Not to say that the murders in the county all stemmed from conflict along its western border—plenty of blood spilled within its communities and homesteads.
The fifty chapters of this collection each focus on one violent incident. Through family histories, legal records, and newspaper accounts, the long-dead actors tell their shocking stories of rage, grief, retaliation, and despair. A fascinating account.