The names appearing on these pages represent those marriages that were
registered with the Office of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abanndoned 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.
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.