Amos McCurtain

Amos McCurtain was a member of the Choctaw Nation implicated in the murder of two Black men – James McClain and James Blakely – in that nation on September 7, 1869. After encountering the two men as they were traveling, McCurtain decided to kill them and steal their possessions.

After their bodies were found, investigators tracked down McCurtain. McCurtain’s traveling partner, William Fry, who had refused to participate in the scheme, provided evidence against McCurtain.

Daily Arkansas Gazette, November 28, 1869

McCurtain was tried in U.S. District Court for the District of Arkansas and convicted of first-degree murder in November 1869. Sentenced to death in May 1870, he was hanged in Van Buren, Arkansas, on June 24, 1870.

Fayetteville Weekly Democrat, July 2, 1870

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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