Osey Sanders

O August 6, 1875, Osey Sanders and William Matier, both Cherokee, went to the home of Thomas H. Carlisle, a white man married to a Cherokee woman.

When they arrived, they shot and killed Carlisle and robbed him of a large amount of money. His family fled.

Sanders was arrested two days later by Cherokee authorities and turned over to U.S. authorities. Mrs. Carlisle identified him as one of the killers. Matier was shot while being apprehended; he is reported to have confessed before dying.

At trial in the Western District of Arkansas, Sanders was convicted of murder. He was sentenced to death on February 5, 1876. After sentencing, Cherokee authorities intervened to assert jurisdiction, arguing that Carlisle was an adopted citizen of the Cherokee Nation (Native jurisdiction over crimes in Indian Territory pertained when the victims were Native citizens).

Originally scheduled to hang on April 21, 1876, Sanders’ execution date was reprieved several times under orders from President Grant. Once the jurisdictional dispute was resolved, Osey Sanders was hanged on September 9, 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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