The re-enactment of a murder trial which took place in 1844 will let you be the jury as Historic Washington State Park presents “Trial By Jury.”
The living drama re-enacts the murder trial of Henry Skaggs, accused of killing his friend, William Oaks, in cold blood on the porch at Oaks' home in Washington. Skaggs was tried in the 1836 Courthouse, which still stands and is the venue for the re-enactment by state park employees on May 4, for one night only.
“Twelve lucky guests will be chosen as the jury and the others will be witness to one of the most exciting trial re-enactments ever performed in the area,” Historic Washington Sales Director Patricia Thomas said.
The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a meal at Williams' Tavern Restaurant, a working restaurant within the restored historic tavern that is one of the key venues at the park, a living history village which served as the county seat of Hempstead County during the pioneer era of Arkansas, and was the Confederate capital or Arkansas late in the Civil War.
The trial will be played out based, in part, upon the transcript of the original trial and newspaper and other accounts at the time. At the conclusion of the trial, jurors who have been chosen from the audience, will deliberate Skaggs' guilt or innocence, which will be announced to the court.
“After enjoying an evening meal of homemade meatloaf or chicken and dumplings, garden salad, creamed potatoes, Italian green beans, and apple cobbler or chocolate earthquake cake with ice cream at Williams' Tavern Restaurant, guests will proceed to the 1836 Courthouse,” Thomas said.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children under age 14, and reservations are required since seating is limited. Call 870-983-2684 to make reservations.
Historic Washington State Park is located nine miles north of Hope on U. S. Highway 278, which can be accessed from Interstate 30 at Hope.