FORT SMITH – She was a lovely 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 start of a story that cast a century-old shadow over the city’s history. It’s the story that shocked Fort Smith, sent a man rushing out of town, sent an injured woman home to her mother, and sent one to Judge Parker’s court.

This is the 1896 trial of Maud Allen, accused of sending pornography through the mail and attempting to break up a marriage.

This is an opportunity to hear the real testimony offered by the woman who came between the future mayor of Fort Smith, Fagan Bourland, and his wife. Attendees will see copies of the 1896 letters that sparked heated rivalry and put every decent citizen of Fort Smith on their heels when they heard the story.

“The Trial of Maud Allen” premieres Saturday, April 30 at 6 p.m. “In Parker’s Court” at the Fort Smith Museum of History. Back for an encore presentation, the privately whispered story will be shared in public and members of the public will have the opportunity to join the jury and decide for themselves on young Maud’s guilt or innocence. .

Tickets for “In Parker’s Court: The Trial of Maud Allen” are $25 each and include refreshments and drinks before and after the presentation. Places are limited and must be purchased in advance. To reserve tickets, visit the FSMH website at, call 479-783-7841, or stop by 320 Rogers Ave. All ticket sales benefit the Fort Smith Museum of History.

Due to the subject matter and language used in this program, admission will only be granted to those 18 years of age or older. No one under the age of eighteen will be admitted and identification may be required if a guest’s age is in question.


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