Parker, Isaac Charles

Parker, Isaac Charles,

1838–96, American frontier judge, b. Belmont co., Ohio. Self-taught in law, Parker began practice in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1859. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1870 as a Republican. Parker was appointed (1875) judge of the western district of Arkansas, an unruly area that included in its jurisdiction the Indian TerritoryIndian Territory,
in U.S. history, name applied to the country set aside for Native Americans by the Indian Intercourse Act (1834). In the 1820s, the federal government began moving the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw) of the Southeast to
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. He became known as a "hanging judge" because of the many death sentences he meted out. However, Parker's rigorous justice helped bring law and order to the area.

Bibliography

See biographies by F. Harrington (1951) and H. Croy (1952); G. Shirley, Law West of Fort Smith (1957, repr. 1968).

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Parker, Isaac Charles

(1838–96) judge, public official; born in Belmont Co., Ohio. He attended country schools, taught himself law, and opened a practice in St. Joseph, Mo., where he held various local offices and served in the U.S. House of Representatives (Rep., Mo.; 1871–75). In 1875 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him to a judgeship in Arkansas with jurisdiction over the Indian Territory to the west, then a haven for renegades and fugitives from justice. He approached his task with such energy that he became known as the "hanging judge." He is said to have issued more than 160 death sentences in 21 years on the bench; some 80 were actually carried out. Not so fierce off the bench, he supported charitable causes and was president of the Fort Smith, Ark., school board for several years.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.