Monument planned for officer killed in line of duty in 1911 - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Monument planned for officer killed in line of duty in 1911

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -  Like so many other Arkansas towns, Paragould ties a lot of its history to the tracks.

Even the name, the only one like it in the world, was created thanks to two competing railroad officials, James Paramore and Jay Gould.

Beyond the tracks, Paragould's history gets a little more interesting.

"This town was...around 1900 though about 1920, was typified by a lot of lawlessness and violence," historian Erik Wright told Region 8 News.

Wright has been working to uncover Paragould's past by rediscovering forgotten stories.

With the help of Paragould Police Lt. Brad Snyder, they're hoping one man's story is never forgotten again.

"People drive by him every single day. I don't think anybody remembers to put flowers on his grave or anything," Wright said.

It wouldn't be that surprising as George Smith's story dates back more than a hundred years.

Nothing on his headstone indicates he was one of Paragould's first police officers or that he was killed in cold blood in the line of duty.

It happened in 1911 at 3:30 in the morning.

Smith was walking from what was the Stancil Hotel in Downtown Paragould.

"He was walking up this sidewalk and came up to in front of what is now McCarrol's Printing," Wright said.

Historical documents state Smith was investigating a suspicious person. It was one of the last things he'd do.

"He was ambushed by Louis Crowley of the pioneering Crowley family," Wright said. "Now the Collin's Theatre was not standing there at that time but there was an alleyway and Louis Crowley stepped from outside that alleyway, leveled his shotgun at Smith and fatally wounded Smith."

Smith fell directly in front of what is now McCarrol's Printing. At the time, it was the city's post office.

Post clerk Albert Baine dragged Smith inside. A doctor who lived across the street tried to administer first aid to Smith but he later died at the hospital.

"His wounds were just too severe," Wright said.

Crowley was later arrested and found guilty of murder but Wright and others want to make sure Smith is honored for his duty.

They plan to do so with a historical marker. The plan is to put it at the site where he was shot.

"I think as people remember that he's there and that this happened, people will embrace his story," Wright said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up.

They need to raise $600 for the monument.

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