James Arcene and William Parchmeal

Henry Feigel lived near Tahlequah, in the Cherokee Nation. On November 26, 1872, he was found dead, having been beaten and shot.

The murder remained unsolved for years, until being reopened in 1883. That investigation led, on March 30, 1884, to the arrest of James Arcene, and on August 4 to the arrest of William Parchmeal; both men were Cherokees.

In a trial complicated by the passage of time, a language barrier (the defendants did not speak English), and the conflicting accounts of witnesses and the defendants, the jury deadlocked after a lengthy trial and deliberations extending from late December 1884 into January 1885. Retried in March 1885, the two men were found guilty on March 28 and sentenced to death.

On June 26, 1885, James Arcene and William Parchmeal were hanged in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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