George Smith Hangs

On this date in 1892, George Smith was hanged at the Grayson County jail in Sherman, Texas. In January of 1891 Smith shot and killed Bells City Marshal James F. Isbell, during a failed robbery in a Bells saloon where the marshal moonlighted as a bartender. Eighteen months later – after a failed insanity plea, a mistrial, an appeal, and petitions for clemency to the Texas governor – Smith paid the ultimate price for his crimes.
GDN 7-9-1892
Newspapers in Dallas and Galveston carried maudlin articles detailing Smith’s final day, dripping with pathos for the convicted man, and baldly downplaying Marshal Isbell’s murder. Smith’s last words, as Grayson County Sheriff R.L. McAfee snugged the noose around his neck, were, “That is pretty tight.”

Marshal Isbell’s tragic death, and George Smith’s long and winding road to justice, are detailed in Chapter 5 of Some Gave All.