William John Whittington was a white man who lived with his family in the Chickasaw Nation, just across the Red River from Texas. On Sunday, February 7, 1875, he and his neighbor, J.J. Turner, traveled in to Texas to visit a bar. After a day of drinking, the men returned home.
On the way, Whittington stabbed and killed Turner, who was carrying a lot of money.
Turner’s son had decided to ride out to meet the men as they returned from Texas. As he did, he saw Whittington alone with two horses. When Whittington saw him, he fled back in to Texas. He was arrested soon after.
Taken to Fort Smith to stand trial, Whittington was convicted of first-degree murder on June 16, 1875.
On June 26, 1875, Whittington became the first person that Judge Isaac Parker sentenced to hang. Along with five other men, he was hanged at Fort Smith, Arkansas, on September 3, 1875.