She was a lovely, young bride. He was a charming businessman. They were both married, but not to each other. The day they met in downtown Fort Smith was the beginning of a story that cast a century-old shadow on the city’s history. It’s the story that shocked Fort Smith, sent one man scurrying out of town, sent one wounded woman home to her mother, and ended up in Judge Parker’s court.
It is the trial of Maud Allen, accused of sending pornography through the mail, and attempting to break up a marriage.
Here’s your chance to hear the actual testimony offered by the woman who came between future Fort Smith Mayor, Fagan Bourland, and his wife. You’ll see copies of the 1896 letters that brought a festering rivalry to a head and set all decent Fort Smith citizens on their heels when they heard the story.
The Trial of Maud Allen will be presented Thursday, April 23, at 6pm “In Parker’s Court” at the Fort Smith Museum of History. For the first time, the story whispered about in private will be shared in public and audience members will have the opportunity to join the jury and decide for themselves the guilt, or innocence, of young Maud.
Tickets for “In Parker’s Court: The Trial of Maud Allen” are $25 each and include refreshments and drinks before and after the presentation. Seats are limited and must be purchased in advance. If sufficient reservations are made, an additional presentation will be added to the schedule.
For ticket reservations, please visit the FSMH website at fortsmithmuseum.org, call 479-783-7841, or stop by 320 Rogers Avenue. All ticket sells benefit the Fort Smith Museum of History.
**Because of the subject matter and language used in this program, admission will be granted only to those twenty-one years of age and older. No one under the age of twenty-one will be admitted, and identification may be requested if the age of a guest is in question. We appreciate your assistance in making this an adults only event, thus allowing us to use as much of the actual language as possible, and to display a sample of the drawings. Again, no one under the age of twenty-one will be admitted due to adult subject matter, and language.