Orpheus McGee

Along the Red River in the Choctaw Nation, three Choctaw brothers – David, Charles, and Orpheus McGee – lived near to white brothers, Robert and W.V. Alexander. Relations between the families were strained. The Alexanders viewed the McGees as unruly and lawless. The McGees viewed the Alexanders as interlopers.

Sometime in April 1875, the McGees encountered Robert Alexander alone as he hunted. The brothers robbed and killed him. After telling friends what they had done, Orpheus McGee was arrested. Alexander’s gun and other property were found in his possession. McGee survived four gunshot wounds resulting from an escape attempt.

Charles McGee was killed while being arrested. David McGee was arrested, tried, and acquitted.

After being found guilty in US District Court for the District of Western Arkansas, on February 5, 1876, Orpheus McGee was sentenced to death. He was hanged at Fort Smith on April 21, 1876.

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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