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Thu, Nov 09

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Fort Smith

"Finding the Lost Dalton" Program & Book-Signing with author Harold Trisler

Finding the Lost Dalton is an important book documenting the location, circumstance, and murder of Deputy U.S. Marshal Frank Dalton. Well researched by Trisler, this book will add to the knowledge of Frank Dalton's career and last days as a federal lawman in the Indian Territory.

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"Finding the Lost Dalton" Program & Book-Signing with author Harold Trisler
"Finding the Lost Dalton" Program & Book-Signing with author Harold Trisler

Time & Location

Nov 09, 2023, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Fort Smith, 320 Rogers Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72901, USA

About The Event

Finding the Lost Dalton is an important book documenting the location, circumstance, and murder of Deputy U.S. Marshal Frank Dalton. Dalton was one of the brave federal lawmen of the Fort Smith, Arkansas, federal court that worked for federal judge Isaac C. Parker. Dalton had brothers who worked with him as posse and after his death became legendary outlaws.

Well researched by Trisler, this book will add to the knowledge of Frank Dalton's career and last days as a federal lawman in the Indian Territory. It is an important addition to the books on deputy U.S. marshals on the western frontier.

Harold Trisler Bio

I waited until I was seventy to write my first book. Maturity was always a trait that I admired in authors. I finally decided to give up on achieving maturity and just go ahead and write the book.

My academic literary education culminated in 1970 when I successfully completed freshman English on the first try. I do a little better on the history side.

I know a lot of living historians. I am a reenactor. I will tackle along side of my talented wife anything from the war of 1812 to late 1800’s trails of Judge Parker. I go from the 1999 Booshway of the SWRR , Civil War Artilleryman, to the Sheriff and regional vice president of Westerners International.

I supported my hobby by being a registered nurse for some forty odd years. I was the head of an inpatient psychiatric unit for twenty-five years. The Fort Smith hospital where I worked, first chairman of the board was Judge Parker. It is all history.

I have been involved in a number of historical films, including the “Trial of Bass Reeves”, which was the first fund raiser for the Bass Reeves statue project. I have now started writing my second book, still no maturity insight.

Review by Tom Wing

Thanks for the shout out in the book Harold! I enjoyed this, and it's so good! cant wait to see it in book form! Congratulations! Finding the Lost Dalton, by Harold Trisler is an important contribution to the historiography of the Deputy US Marshals of Fort Smith but more than that, it is a good story. Trisler focuses on one of the many US Deputy Marshals of Fort Smith whose life ended in a gunfight. More US Marshal personnel died in the line of duty from Fort Smith than any other district in the United States. Frank Dalton, whose brothers met a tragic end of their own, and Deputy James Cole tried to serve a warrant on Dave Smith for larceny and for introducing liquor into Indian Territory. What is well known is Smith resisted arrest, a gunfight ensued, and Deputy Marshal Dalton and Smith were killed. What is not known is exactly where and perhaps why this occurred. Trilser does an excellent job of taking the reader through the twists and turns of historical research. Hunches appear that develop into theories, sometimes proven, or at least partially, and may confirm a research path, but other times result in dead ends and a trip back to square one. Trisler does a masterful job in pulling together a wide range of evidence, including maps, interviews, newspaper accounts, descendant and family stories, as well as court documents. From the evidence he presents logical answers to the unknowns of the story. Speaking for those long gone is a responsibility for those who write history. Trisler exercises compassion, respect, and caution in speaking for and about these people. The book is well cited and includes the popular counts of the event as well as primary resources. Of particular interest to me is that Trisler answered what we call in interpretation the “So What?” question. What does this mean, or why does it matter today? Some of us enjoy learning more about the past, but we can all gain from understanding how our shared and collective past affects us today. Harold Trisler’s effort to fill in some gaps on Frank Dalton is good history that challenges us to think about today and the future.

Tom Wing Assistant Professor of History Director, Drennen-Scott Historic Site University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Board of Trustees, Arkansas Historical Association (2025)

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