George Moss

George Moss was among of group of men who decided to kill and steal a beef cattle from the range near the Red River, along the southern border of the Choctaw Nation on November 26, 1886. Their plan went awry when George Taff, the owner of the cattle, just happened to be in the area at the time. When Taff, a prominent rancher, responded to the sound of the gunshot, he was shot and killed.

The men fled, with Moss losing his horse in the process. When Taff did not return home, a search began. When his body was found, Moss’s horse was found nearby.

Moss was arrested and taken to Fort Smith to await trial. As registered members of the Choctaw Nation, the other assailants were not subject to U.S. jurisdiction. They were reported to have been killed in retaliation by local residents concerned that they would be unpunished.

George Moss was convicted of murder on September 17, 1887, and sentenced to death. He was hanged at Fort Smith on April 27, 1888.

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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