Why was Sarah Bluebird Smith executed without trial by the US Armed Forces?

+4 votes
According to her death certificate, Sarah Bluebird Smith was executed on August 17, 1926, in Deleware County, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, by the US Armed Forces. Sarah was a Native American. Any idea why she was executed?
WikiTree profile: Sarah Smith
in Genealogy Help by


why is the same picture on this with a different birthdate?

Terry McClintock kindly sourced Sarah's profile.  The records she found are consistent with the later birthdate 1855-56.  Oklahoma Vital Records has a death certificate on file, under the name 'Sarrah Smith' (link in the sources) and they will provide a certified copy for $15.  It would be interesting to see the cause of death on a certified copy.
Uh? Sarah is my 3rd great-grandmother. I don't believe she was executed.
I don't believe she was executed, either.  I think the death certificate referred to in the question is fake.  I ordered a real one from OK Dept of Health.  I'll follow up when I get it.
Not a word I use lightly.  The death certificate that raised the question has a lot of suspicious features.  'State of Oklahoma' is off center at the top.  The city in the header is 'Oaks' instead of 'Oklahoma City,' as if the state vital records department was issuing certificates from an office in Oaks.  There are different typefaces all over the form.  Some of the lettering is much crisper than others.  There is no actual medical cause of death listed, just 'Executed by the United States Armed Forces Without trial.'  What doctor would do that?  There are no signatures or raised seals.  At the lower left, it shows a filing date in 1917, nine years before the event.  That's why I think it's fake, and that's why I won't help propagate it by linking to it, and that's why I laid out my own money for a real one.  If the certified copy matches the one I think is fake, I will gladly recant.

Here's her death certificate: https://mediasvc.ancestry.com/v2/image/namespaces/1093/media/e1a63891-3aa5-436e-b287-9671cf517b32.jpg?client=Trees&imageQuality=hq

The cause of her death was: Cholera, which is "an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhea." Duration: 5 days. She died at the age of 71.

Thanks for posting that, Emily!  Was the informant, Walter Smith, her son?
Yes, he was. He died on February 22, 1942.
Thanks!  And thanks for posting it on the reddit thread, too.  I'm going to see if I can figure out who the doctor was.  Looks like TW Linam?

First try!

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLQ6-K9P : accessed 27 July 2018), Dr. T W Linam, Township 2, Delaware, Oklahoma, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 56, sheet 1B, family 14, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1250; FHL microfilm 1,375,263.

He was still there in 1940, first name Thomas. 

If anyone challenges the authenticity of your copy, you've got Walter and Dr Linam to support you.

Sarah was my great grandmother.  My father was the son of Lamech Smith, son of John D. and Sarah.  My dad would have been 16 years old at the time of her death.  He never at any time of his life mentioned anything like this.

1 Answer

+5 votes
Anonymous, you have the death certificate, and we don't.  Her profile has no sources.  If you become a member, you could add your knowledge about Sarah to our shared tree.
by Living Tardy G2G6 Pilot (733k points)
I googled Sarah and found no historical information about her death.  Her FindaGrave memorial makes no mention of execution.  I found an image of a death certificate, linked from a reddit forum where someone asked this same question.  I won't link it here.  In the 'Cause of Death' field, it says: "Executed by the United States Armed Forces Without trial."  There is no medical information at all.  There are no signatures or seals on the image.  The 1856 birth year differs significantly from FindaGrave, which gives 1845.  There are some variations in the fonts and the sharpness of the lettering.  "State of Oklahoma" at the top is well off center.  That's all I will say about it.

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