Submitted by Jack W. James

Fort Smith Newspaper
May 30, 1911


George Maledon is dead.
The old hangman of the United States Court here in the days when the Indian and Oklahoma territories were the real thing in the wild and woolly, and outlaws were made good by the gallows route, passed away at the Soldier's Home in Johnson City, Tennessee, of which he had been an inmate for nearly six years. He was paralyzed for four months before his death.

Had Maledon lived until the eighth day of June he would have celebrated the 88th anniversary of his birth. Maledon was born in Bavaria and came to this country in his youth. He served in the United States army and came to Fort Smith about 1859. He had been a pressman and carpenter in his younger days, and found employment at the latter trade until the US Court was removed from Van Buren to this place, when he was appointed a guard, a position he held for 20 years, and until his health began to fail. About 1890, he was overcome by the heat while working some trusties about the jail yard, and a few months later he gave up his position.

He ran a store in this city for a while, then moved to a farm near Rogers, later coming back to this city and working in a furniture factory until he secured admission to the Soldiers' home in Johnson City, leaving her in July 1905.

George Maledon, during the time he was a guard at the jail, participated in all the executions that took place there. Column after column has been written about him in the eastern press and his work gave rise to the book, "Hell on the Border," in which Maledon is given credit for executing 88 men. This gives him credit, however, for a number that were executed by others. W. S. Harmon conceived the idea of taking Maledon to picnics, etc., and having him display his ropes, photos of men executed and giving a talk on his life. There was a great demand from the crowds for a book of MALEDON'S life, and when Harmon started to write one, he found it hard to separate from a history of the United States court, so engaged C. P. Stearns, of St. Louis, to write the book. Later, J. Warren Reed became interested in the book through financing and printing of it.

Maledon had a wonderful fund of reminiscences of the men over whom he had stood guard and enjoyed talking over the days when the United States court here had its jurisdiction bounded by Kansas, Colorado and Texas. Shortly after he retired from the service of the United States Marshall, Maledon's daughter was murdered at Muskogee by Frank Carver. After Carver's conviction a report was sent out that Maledon had requested that he be permitted to act as Carver's executioner, but this Maledon denied, saying that he had not made the request, but would officiate at the execution if requested to do so. His record as executioner has not been approached in modern times.

Mr. Maledon had a large family, but has only three sons residing here, George, a member of the police force; Charley and Will. They will have their father's body brought here for burial but owing to a delay in their receiving notices of his death they will defer it until cool weather.

(George Maledon's granddaughter is Lorene Ragon who resided in Lavaca.)