James Calvin Casherego

Zachariah Thatch and James Casherego (alias George W. Wilson) were traveling together through the Creek Nation. They had left Springdale, Arkansas, on April 12, 1895, in Thatch’s full wagon drawn by Thatch’s horses, looking for property for Thatch to purchase.

Seeing a rich target, Casherego robbed and killed Thatch the next day. When Thatch’s body was discovered on May 26, suspicion immediately went to Casherego, who was promptly arrested. Thatch’s property was still in his possession.

At trial in Fort Smith in December 1895, Casherego’s defense that Thatch had sold the goods to Casherego and gone of to purchase land on his own was rejected. He was found guilty on December 19 and sentenced to death.

After his conviction was affirmed on appeal, on July 30, 1896, James Casherego became the last man to be hanged at Fort Smith. In May, 1896, Congress ended the authority of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas over the Indian Territories. Judge Isaac P. Parker, who had presided over that court since 1875, died on November 17, 1896, after 160 death sentences and 79 executions.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: