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Offered here is a historic 14k gold presentation United States Marshal badge with seven diamonds. The presentation inscription on the back reads, "PRESENTED BY/WIFE AND FRIENDS TO/JIM FAGAN/FT. SMITH ARK./1875." Comes in a period velvet lined presentation case. During the Civil War, James Fagan (1828-1893) was a major general in the Confederate Army. His brigade composed of Arkansas regiments played key roles in the Battle of Helena, the successful defense of Little Rock and Red River campaign of 1864. For his exemplary service in the Red River campaign that helped to drive Union forces out of southern Arkansas, he was promoted to major general in April 1864 and commanded an Arkansas cavalry division that met its demise during Price's Raid into Missouri and the Battle of Mine Creek. At war's end Fagan was commander of the District of Arkansas. Fagan served as the commander of Joseph Brooks' militia during the Brooks-Baxter War of Arkansas in 1874, an armed conflict in Little Rock between factions of the Republican Party disputing the 1872 gubernatorial election. He was appointed U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Arkansas by President Ulysses S. Grant on July 2, 1874, no more than a year before the badge was presented to him. Fagan's career as a Marshal at Fort Smith coincided with the famed tenure of "Hanging Judge" Isaac Parker. Judge Parker served for two terms as a U.S. Congressman for Missouri's 7th congressional district (1871-1875) and served on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas from Fort Smith for the next 21 years. He went by the moniker the "Hanging Judge." During his 21 years on the bench, Judge Parker tried 13,490 cases of which 344 were capital crimes. He sentenced 160 men to death by hanging (79 actually hanged for their crimes; the remaining died in jail, appealed or were pardoned). Fagan is known to have read at least six felons their death warrants. Speaking to Fagan's merits as a Marshal, the Oklahoma Star "ventur[ed] to say that nine-tenths of [us] would rather see him in the position than any man that could be appointed." The Marshals office for the Western District of Arkansas was, as the Star proclaimed, "the most vital importance to us. In fact we are dependent solely upon it for the preservation of our lives and our property."
Exceptionally fine overall with all diamonds secured in their fittings and clear inscription. The case is very fine showing scattered wear on both the interior and exterior. A unique piece of American history!
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