Early Black Marriages of Ft. Smith, Arkansas
The names appearing on these pages represent those marriages that were registered with the Office of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands----The Freedman's Bureau.
They occurred between 1865 - 1867.
Ft. Smith was one of the Subordinate Field offices of the Freedmen's Bureau, and the offices were established in the Ft. Smith Military Post. The Bureau assisted not only the newly freed slaves with issues pertaining to their adjustment after the war ended, but also, assisted white citizens who were left destitute after the war, reinstating U.S. citizenship to those whites who wished to reclaim lost land, and more significantly to this page, performed marriages for the newly freed slaves.
Note that a majority of these marriages were performed by Francis Springer
Since the Bureau operated under the direction of the military, the ceremonies were performed under by the military post chaplain, Francis Springer, who also served as Superintendant of the Ft. Smith Freedman's Bureau. The marriages listed on this page represent those first marriages performed at the Bureau by Chaplain Springer. Many of the marriages were between Black Union soldiers of the 57th U.S. Colored Troops who were stationed in Ft. Smith at the end of the war. These marriages are listed 2 different ways:
1) By Groom 2) By Bride and can be viewed in each version.