Boudinot Crumpton (Execution of)

aka: Bood Burris (Execution of)

Boudinot Crumpton, twenty-two, sometimes known as Bood Burris, was hanged on June 30, 1891, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) for a murder he denied having committed.

Boudinot Crumpton, who was a Cherokee man, and his companion Samson Monroe Morgan, a twenty-six-year-old native of Georgia, set out from Morgan’s residence in the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) on the morning of Sunday, November 3, 1889, riding a pair of Morgan’s horses. Crumpton returned later that day riding one horse and leading the other and “having in possession Morgan’s overcoat, gun and pistol.” Crumpton explained that they had encountered a man in a buggy who had offered Morgan a job herding horses in the Pawnee Nation, and so he had returned alone.

Around seven weeks later, on December 22, 1889, three hunters discovered a body in a hole near the Arkansas River that showed signs of having been shot in the head. They sent for Sam Morgan’s brother Robert, who identified the clothing on the corpse as belonging to his brother.

Suspicion fell on Boudinot, who in the weeks since Sam Morgan had disappeared claimed to have received several letters from him. He was arrested on December 27, 1889, in the Cherokee Nation and taken to Fort Smith.

Boudinot was tried in Judge Isaac Parker’s court on June 2, 1890. Despite a spirited defense, prosecutor William Henry Harrison Clayton provided sufficient circumstantial evidence for a jury to convict Boudinot of first-degree murder. Parker sentenced him to hang on August 2, 1890, a sentence that was delayed as the conviction was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which chose not to overturn the verdict. A request for a pardon from President Benjamin Harrison was also denied.

On June 30, 1891, a pair of Boudinot’s relatives visited him in the jail before he headed to the gallows. Boudinot had joined the Methodist church during his incarceration, and a preacher walked with him as left the jail at 10:00 a.m. dressed in a dark suit; a newspaper reported that “a button-hole boquet [sic] adorned his left lapel of his coat and the victim looked more like a bridegroom than a candidate for the hangman’s noose.”

As he mounted the scaffold, Boudinot addressed the crowd, saying: “To all present, and especially young men; when you are about to drink a glass of whiskey, look closely in the bottom and see if you cannot observe therein a hangman’s noose. There is where I first saw the one which now breaks my neck.” A newspaper reported that “he protested his innocence to the last, saying that his enemies had sworn his life away and that the real murderer would someday be apprehended.”

The trapdoor opened at 10:23, and Boudinot’s neck was broken. He was declared dead six minutes later, and his body handed over to relatives so that he could be buried in a family cemetery at Bragg in the Indian Territory.

For additional information:
Atkins, Jerry. Hangin’ Times in Fort Smith: A History of Executions in Judge Parker’s Court. Little Rock: Butler Center Books, 2012.

“Boudinot ‘Bood Burris’ Crumpton.” Find a Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/122198139/boudinot-crumpton (accessed August 10, 2023).

“Bud Crumpton Must Swing.” Arkansas Gazette, April 2, 1891, p. 3.

“Death on the Gallows.” Memphis Commercial, July 1, 1891, p. 1.

“Died According to Law.” Galveston [Texas] Daily News, July 1, 1891, p. 11.

“Sam Morgan’s Slayer.” Arkansas Gazette, June 4, 1890, p. 1.

Untitled. Arkansas Gazette, June 18, 1891, p. 8.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System

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