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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

He Hung 'Em High- Sheppard Busby, April 27, 1892

A case of adultery led a former United States Deputy Marshal to kill an active one when Marshal Barney Connelly tried to serve a writ of arrest on a philandering Sheppard Busby at his home near modern Muldrow, Oklahoma.

A Kentuckian by birth, Busby had served in the in 56th Illinois Infantry and 50th Missouri in Civil War. Conneley knew Busby personally and chose to serve the court papers on a man he considered an old friend.

Busby, 57, lived in the home with a 22-year old woman that was the mother of two of his children and another 15 year-old female who was described as his “fiancé.”

Busby and his son, 23- year old William, fled after the shootout but William later turned himself in to authorities and was sentenced to 10 years in the Detroit Federal House of Corrections.

Sheppard Busby died for his crime on April 27, 1892. He was one of the few hangings that happened under Parker's court that was not performed by hangman George Maledon, as he had been a personal friend's of Busby and they had served together as deputy marshal's early in their careers. Maledon refused to "do the job".

It is the only time in the history of the US Marshal Service that a former U.S. Marshal was executed for the murder of an active U.S. Marshal.

Busby is buried in Fort Smith's historic Oak Cemetery.

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