Clayton ninth grade GEAR UP students visit Ft. Smith National Historical Site


WILBURTON, OK (April 13, 2014) – Ninth grade GEAR UP students from Clayton recently visited the Fort Smith National Historic Site in Ft. Smith, Ark. Students viewed a short film of the history of the area and the Fort. They were then divided into groups and assigned different sections of the museum to find out information about the museum and then “teach” that section to the rest of the group when they reassembled.

The students were fortunate to visit on the anniversary of an execution and participate in a special program that only occurs on execution days. On January 15, 1875, McClish Impson was executed at Fort Smith. In murder charges filed on July 22, 1873, Impson was accused of shooting the victim, a man whose identity was never known, in the back. Found guilty in a jury trial in November 1874, Impson received a death sentence. On the scaffold he confessed to the crime and said his father's teachings had brought him to the gallows. Impson was one of seven men executed by the federal court in Fort Smith before Judge Isaac C. Parker arrived. This execution was the last to occur under the tenure of Judge William Story.

Students were allowed to sit in the courtroom area in the different positions that the participants in the case would have sat. The Park Ranger walked them through the proceedings.

“Students enjoyed being a part of the presentation,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator LaDonna Baldwin. “We were lucky to be there on the anniversary date of an execution carried out during the years that the federal court at Fort Smith had jurisdiction over Indian Territory.”

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural or educational in nature.

Clayton ninth grade GEAR UP students visited Ft. Smith Historical Site. The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP.

Front Row (l to r): Edmundo Guerrero–Toral Jr, Devan Campbell, Whitney Davis, Tyler Macon, Justin Scarberry, and Daniel Staggs.

Row 2: Dakota Dunn, Brendan Simmons, Braylee Reneau, Sadie Garrison, Tamara Jackson, and Zach Bray.

Row 3: Payton Holley, Willard Roberts, Casey Adams, Robert Breshears, Saysha Crossland, and Sarah Wood.

Back Row: Emily McCarn and Robert Krouse.

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