Mary S BELKNAP Ann Catherine BELKNAP Morris D BELKNAP Jacksobena DYER Sallie Amanda WAKEFIELD Mini tree diagram

Charles W BELKNAP1,5,6,7,2,3,4,8,9,9

about 18181,2,3,4 - 18825

Life History

about 1818

Born in Pennsylvania.1,2,3,4

about 1848

Married Jacksobena DYER in Arkansas County, Arkansas

about 1849

Birth of daughter Mary S BELKNAP in Arkansas County, Arkansas.3,4

about 1854

Birth of daughter Ann Catherine BELKNAP in Arkansas County, Arkansas.10,4

Mar 1860

Birth of son Morris D BELKNAP in Arkansas County, Arkansas.10,11,12

12th Dec 1875

Married Sallie Amanda WAKEFIELD in Arkansas County, Arkansas.5,6


Died in Arkansas County, Arkansas.5


  • Colonel Belknap moved from Kentucky to the location of what is now StCharles.  Originally from Pennsylvania, he settled here andcommissioned a plat of the town in 1949.  When St Charles was finallychartered as a town, Belknap was appointed the first postmaster in1850.

    U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971
    Charles W Belknap
    Post Office in Saint Charles, Arkansas, Arkansas
    Appointment 11 Nov 1850
    Volume #25B, p 542

    "Established 1850, discontinued on July 24, 1866 and re-established onNovember 7, 1866 and still active."
    --  "St Charles Post Office," Genealogy Trails,

    U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971
    C W Belknap
    Post Office in Saint Charles, Arkansas, Arkansas
    Appointment 22 Jun 1866
    Volume #25B, p 543

    The official date of the founding of the town of St Charles is 1851.

    "St. Charles is located on the west bank of the White River about 30miles north of its terminus at the Arkansas River.  Founded in 1851 byColonel Charles Belknap on a portion of Spanish Grant 2424, it hadbeen the site of the St. Charles fur trading post opened by PedroPertuis in 1797 (Henderson 1957).  The town is located on a bluff justsouth of where the White, after flowing from the east, makes a hardbend south.  This would prove of strategic importance during the WarBetween the States."
    --  "The Battle of St. Charles, Arkansas 17 June, 1862,"

    In this battle, the single most destructive shot of the Civil War wasshot by Confederate gunners.

    "The Engagement at St. Charles was fought in June 1862 when a Federalnaval flotilla approached the town. A shot fired by a Confederatecannon hit the steam drum of the USS Mound City, killing most of thesailors on board, in the most destructive single shot of the war. Thetown was mostly destroyed in the battle. A unique memorial to bothsides’ dead, which still stands today, was erected by a sailor’sdescendant."
    --  "St. Charles," Encyclopedia of Arkansas,

    Belknap was a commissoiner and handled several aspects of business forthe county.  When it was decided to move the seat of Arkansas Countyfrom Arkansas Post, Belknap was one of the group that decided where toestablish the new town, which was called DeWitt.  DeWitt was about 12miles west of St Charles.

    "De Witt, the county seat, is the second town of importance in thecounty; is located near the center of the county. Charles W. Belnap,Leroy Montgomery and Dr. John M. Moreman were elected commissioners tolocate the county seat. In 1853 W. H. HalliBurton, acting as theiragent, bought the land. The following year the town was laid off, andin September, 1855, a log court house was finished and the recordsremoved from Arkansas Post to the new town, which has been christenedDe Witt. A little incident in regard to the naming of this town isgiven: The commissioners being unable to agree on a name played a gameof “seven up” to decide on whom the honor of selecting a name shouldfall. Leroy Montgomery won, and to him belongs the honor, as he gavethe name for De Witt Clinton, of New York."
    --  Eastern Arkansas Biographies and Historical Memoirs, p 645,

    Belknap bought several plots of land in the St Charles area, and wasresponsible for getting the town of St Charles chartered.  Here is therecord of one of the purchases.  There was a similar one dated in 1Sep 1856.

    U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907
    Charles W Belknap
    1 Feb 1858
    45.56 Acres
    Meridian 5th PM, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    Township 5-S, Range 1-W, Section 4
    Accession Number AR1760__.041
    Land Office Helena

    Belknap commissioned a young carpenter to build him a grand adobemansion in the new town.  John W Miller's German father had immigratedto Mississippi from Prussia,  then moved the family to St Charles,about the time Belknap moved there.  (See full story below)

    "Pierre Pertuis, fur trader, arrived [in the St Charles area] afterpurchasing a 1797 Spanish land grant. By 1839, Charles W. Belknapowned the site, known briefly as Belknap’s Bluff. He built an adobehouse, one of only a few found on the Arkansas frontier. The houseserved as a hospital for both sides in the Civil War and was alongtime landmark. The name St. Charles first appears with Belknap’sappointment as postmaster in 1850. He platted the town and beganselling lots. St. Charles flourished during the 1850s with theshipping of various products on the river."
    --  "St. Charles," Encyclopedia of Arkansas,

    The Pertuis family are known to have settled around Arkansas Post, andlived also in Drew, Desha  and Lincoln Counties.

    1860 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 18 July, PrairieTownship, page 57, Hse #413, Fam #393
    Charles W Belknap 42 M Farmer $50,000 Real Estate $8000 Personal bornMiss
    Jackoline [sic] Belknap 35 F Housekeeper born Tenn
    Mary S Belknap 11 F born Ark
    Ann C Belknap 6 F born Ark
    Morris D Belknap 2 M born Ark
    Yance Brinkley 15 M $1600 Real Estate born Kentucky
    Charles B Brinkley 11 M born Kentucky
    Susan Dyse 79 F $1000 Real Estate $3050 Personal born North Carolina

    I found the 1860 census before the 1850 then the 1870.  This wasconfusing due to the name of Charles Belknap's wife, as well aschildren of a second surname of Brinkley in the household.  The 1860census indicates that Charles' wife is named Jackoline (which wouldmake one thing the proper name is Jaqueline).  We see that MaryBelknap and Charles Brinkley are both 11 years old.  This and thedifferent birth states indicates they had different parents.

    However, that was before I had found the 1850 census.  In 1850 C WBelknap's wife is named Jacksobena and she is 25, matching the age of35 for Jackoline in 1860.  Furthermore, both censuses report the wifeborn in Tennessee.  The only child in the household in 1850 also isMary J, age 1, which generally matches Mary S, age 121 in 1860.(Middle initials shift around all the time in the old censuses.)

    So if Jacksobena is the same person as Jackoline (Jackqueline?), thenwhere did the Brinkley children come from?  I have not found any helpin family genealogies.

    1850 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 15 November, PrairieTownship, page 33 (scan 18), Hse/Fam #51
    C W Belknap 32 M Farmer $3000 Real Estate Value b Penn [b abt 1818]
    Jacksobena Belknap 25 F b Tenn [b abt 1825]
    Mary J Belknap 1 F b Ark [b abt 1849]
    James Holdway 30 M Laborer b Ala [b abt 1820]

    The 1870 census, which surfaced next, gives the wife's name again asJacksobena, indicating the 1860 name was an enumerator error.  Mary isstill in the household, this time reported under her nickname as MollyS.

    1870 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 1 July, PrairieTownship, PO St Charles, page 6, Hse/Fam #45
    Belknap, Charles W 52 M W Farmer $2000 Real Estate $1000 Personal b PACannot read or write [b abt 1818]
    Belknap, Jacksobena 45 F W Keeping House born TN Cannot read or write[b abt 1825]
    Belknap, Molly S 20 F W born AR Cannot read or write [b abt 1850]
    Belknap, Kate 16 F W born AR Cannot read or write [b abt 1854]
    Belknap, Morris 12 M W born AR Cannot read or write [b abt 1856]

    Charles' birth state in 1850, 1870 and 1880 is Pennsylvania, in 1860it is Mississippi.

    US, Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1863-1959
    Charles W. Belknap
    United States Commissioner, Arkansas
    Birth Pennsylvania
    Residence Saint Charles, Arkansas, USA 30 Sep 1875
    Residence Saint Charles, Arkansas, USA 30 Sep 1877
    Residence Saint Charles, Arkansas, USA 30 June 1879

    Shortly before the 1880 census, Charles married a widow named Sarah(Sallie) Amanda Wakefield Davidson.

    1880 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, Prairie Township, page18
    Belknap, C W (Charles A Belknap) m w 62 Farmer Pennsylvania Mass Mass[b abt 1818]
    Belknap, S A (Sarah A.) f w 37 wife Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee [babt 1843]
    Davidson, T J (Thomas Jefferson) m w 18 Stepson Arkansas TennesseeTennessee [b abt 1862]
    Davidson, Forsythe m w 10 Stepson Arkansas Tennessee Tennessee [b abt1870]
    Davidson, W W (William W) m w 8 Stepson Arkansas Tennessee Tennessee[b abt 1872]
    Davidson, M O (Matthew Oliver) m w 6 Stepson Arkansas TennesseeTennessee [b abt 1874]

    US, Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1863-1959
    Charles W. Belknap
    United States Commissioner, Arkansas
    Birth Pennsylvania
    Residence Saint Charles, Arkansas, USA 1 Jul 1881

    US, Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1863-1959
    Charles W. Belknap
    United States Commissioner, Arkansas
    Birth state not reported
    Residence Saint Charles, Arkansas, USA 1 Jul 1883

    There is a discrepancy between this last record of Belknap's serviceas a US Commissioner in 1883 and his reported death in 1882.  This maybe accounted for by the delay in publication and circulation dates andthe delay in communication over land in those days.

    "Sallie (born about 1842) married 1st to Thomas Jefferson Davidson.He died in 1873.  Two years later, Sallie married 2nd to Col. CharlesW. Belknap on December 12, 1875.  Col. Belknap died in 1882."
    --  Libby Beliew, email correspondence to Orville Boyd Jenkins,October 2008

    "Spanish Founder Named St. Charles For King"

    Topic:  Role of Colonel Charles W. Belknap in the founding of St.Charles, Arkansas
    Topic:  German Immigrant Carpenter John W. Miller Built the BelknapMansion

    Although St. Charles was not an incorporated town for many years afterit first began to be settled, it is one of Arkansas' oldestcommunities - perhaps second only to Arkansas Post.

    It is listed in Spanish Grant No. 2404 made to Pedro [Pierre] Perturisin 1797 by Estevan Miro, governor of Louisiana.

    A trading post was established on the White River at that time for thepurpose of buying furs from the Indians, and it was given the name St.Charles in honor of King Charles IX of Spain.

    When the town of St. Charles was incorporated in 1875 it comprised 160acres of the northeast corner of the old Spanish grant.

    The town actually was platted in 1852 when Col. Charles Belknap had itcommissioned.  The original plat, however, was never recorded.Twenty-seven years after the establishment of St. Charles' post officein 1848, the town became incorporated.  Col. Belknap was the firstpostmaster.

    Leading new settlers to the St. Charles area was Charles Belknap, aKentucky colonel in 1849.  He bought a large Spanish grant on theriver and numerous other lands about St. Charles, some of which helater sold.  He brought with him his immediate family and twobrothers.

    The Colonel was a man of vision and superior native intellect, waseducated, and an optimist who went right to work improving thesettlement he moved into giving himself in public service to thecommunity and the county.

    Soon after arriving, he hired a young German carpenter, John W. Miller[it would have been John C Miller, John W's father.  John W was bornonly in 1843.  John C was born in Prussia and immigrated toMississippi, then brougth his young family to St Charles before 1850],who had arrived by boat to St. Charles about the same time as Belknap,to build his big adobe residence.  Miller was three years completingthe 17-room mansion which became the showplace of St. Charles.  [Themansion burned in the 1950s.]

    Because of its size, Belknap had to give his home up during the CivilWar when Union troops took it over for a hospital.  He moved back intoit after the war and lived there until his death in 1882.  The housewas a gathering place for both old and young for many years.

    During the Battle of St. Charles, the Confederate fort was behind theBelknap house.  Belknap was in the fort with Captain Joseph Fry,encouraging the soldiers and helping direct the defense of St.Charles.  But because he was not a member of the Confederate militaryforces, he violated rules of war.  He and Captain Fry were captured,court martialed and sentenced to be shot the next morning.  Whenbefore the firing squad, Belknap reportedly give the Masonic sign ofdistress.  The captain of the firing squad, also a Mason, consultedFry, another Mason, and let Belknap go.

    The little town saw much tragedy during the Civil War days.  Numbersof its residents were murdered, including women, and the people livedin constant fear as long as the enemy was around - and Union soldiersheld St. Charles a good part of the time during the War.

    "Spanish Founder Named St. Charles For King," the Stuttgart DailyLeader, Bicentennial Issue, July 1, 1976, p. 5H
    (Thanks to Jerry Robnette for locating and initially posting thisinformation on


  • 1. 1880 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • Prairie Township, p 18
  • 2. 1860 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • 18 July, Prairie Township, page 57, Hse #413, Fam #393
  • 3. 1850 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • 15 November, Prairie Township, page 33 (scan 18), Hse/Fam #51
  • 4. 1870 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas
    • 1 July, Prairie Township, PO St Charles, page 6, Hse/Fam #45
  • 5. Libby Beliew, email correspondence to Orville Boyd Jenkins, October2008
  • 6. Davidson of Tennessee Genealogy,
  • 7. U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971
    • Volume #25B, p 542
  • 8. U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971
    • Volume #25B, p 543
  • 9. US, Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service, 1863-1959
  • 10. 1860 Federal Census, Ashley County, Arkansas
    • 18 July, Prairie Township, page 57, Hse #413, Fam #393
  • 11. 1880 Federal Census, La Plata County, Colorado
    • [no date] June, Rio Florida, District 65, page 13 (scan 574), Hse/Fam
  • 12. 1900 Federal Census, Gila County, Arizona
    • 12 June, Globe, District 18, page 16A,  Hse #422, Fam #429

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