An Engraved Invitation The first hanging in Navajo County, AZ was delayed.

Oakes Murphy Arizona Hanging Engraved Invitation True West Magazine
Oakes Murphy.

The first hanging in Arizona’s Navajo County was going to be stylish.  Sheriff F.J. Waltron (who doubled as a teacher and editor) sent out bordered invitations to possible attendees, indicating that the execution of murderer George Smiley would be quite the affair.

Hundreds of citizens complained about the invites, believing they made light of a serious situation.  Governor Oakes Murphy (photo) responded by putting the hanging on hold. But ultimately, it didn’t make a difference.  Smiley met his maker—on the gallows—on January 8, 1900.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine as well as the editor of The Tombstone Epitaph. He also serves as pastor for Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Indiana.