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 St Charles.  Originally from Pennsylvania, he settled here and commissioned a plat of the town in 1949.  When St Charles was finally chartered as a town, Belknap was appointed the first postmaster in 1850.

    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 on November 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 30 miles north of its terminus at the Arkansas River.  Founded in 1851 by Colonel Charles Belknap on a portion of Spanish Grant 2424, it had been the site of the St. Charles fur trading post opened by Pedro Pertuis in 1797 (Henderson 1957).  The town is located on a bluff just south of where the White, after flowing from the east, makes a hard bend south.  This would prove of strategic importance during the War Between the States."
    --  "The Battle of St. Charles, Arkansas 17 June, 1862,"

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

    "The Engagement at St. Charles was fought in June 1862 when a Federal naval flotilla approached the town. A shot fired by a Confederate cannon hit the steam drum of the USS Mound City, killing most of the sailors on board, in the most destructive single shot of the war. The town was mostly destroyed in the battle. A unique memorial to both sides’ dead, which still stands today, was erected by a sailor’s descendant."
    --  "St. Charles," Encyclopedia of Arkansas,

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

    "De Witt, the county seat, is the second town of importance in the county; is located near the center of the county. Charles W. Belnap, Leroy Montgomery and Dr. John M. Moreman were elected commissioners to locate the county seat. In 1853 W. H. HalliBurton, acting as their agent, bought the land. The following year the town was laid off, and in September, 1855, a log court house was finished and the records removed from Arkansas Post to the new town, which has been christened De Witt. A little incident in regard to the naming of this town is given: The commissioners being unable to agree on a name played a game of “seven up” to decide on whom the honor of selecting a name should fall. Leroy Montgomery won, and to him belongs the honor, as he gave the 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 was responsible for getting the town of St Charles chartered.  Here is the record of one of the purchases.  There was a similar one dated in 1 Sep 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 adobe mansion in the new town.  John W Miller's German father had immigrated to 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] after purchasing a 1797 Spanish land grant. By 1839, Charles W. Belknap owned the site, known briefly as Belknap’s Bluff. He built an adobe house, one of only a few found on the Arkansas frontier. The house served as a hospital for both sides in the Civil War and was a longtime landmark. The name St. Charles first appears with Belknap’s appointment as postmaster in 1850. He platted the town and began selling lots. St. Charles flourished during the 1850s with the shipping of various products on the river."
    --  "St. Charles," Encyclopedia of Arkansas,

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

    1860 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 18 July, Prairie Township, page 57, Hse #413, Fam #393
    Charles W Belknap 42 M Farmer $50,000 Real Estate $8000 Personal born Miss
    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 was confusing due to the name of Charles Belknap's wife, as well as children of a second surname of Brinkley in the household.  The 1860 census indicates that Charles' wife is named Jackoline (which would make one thing the proper name is Jaqueline).  We see that Mary Belknap and Charles Brinkley are both 11 years old.  This and the different birth states indicates they had different parents.

    However, that was before I had found the 1850 census.  In 1850 C W Belknap's wife is named Jacksobena and she is 25, matching the age of 35 for Jackoline in 1860.  Furthermore, both censuses report the wife born in Tennessee.  The only child in the household in 1850 also is Mary 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?), then where did the Brinkley children come from?  I have not found any help in family genealogies.

    1850 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 15 November, Prairie Township, 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 as Jacksobena, indicating the 1860 name was an enumerator error.  Mary is still in the household, this time reported under her nickname as Molly S.

    1870 Federal Census, Arkansas County, Arkansas, 1 July, Prairie Township, PO St Charles, page 6, Hse/Fam #45
    Belknap, Charles W 52 M W Farmer $2000 Real Estate $1000 Personal b PA Cannot 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 1860 it 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, page 18
    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 [b abt 1843]
    Davidson, T J (Thomas Jefferson) m w 18 Stepson Arkansas Tennessee Tennessee [b abt 1862]
    Davidson, Forsythe m w 10 Stepson Arkansas Tennessee Tennessee [b abt 1870]
    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 Tennessee Tennessee [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 service as a US Commissioner in 1883 and his reported death in 1882.  This may be accounted for by the delay in publication and circulation dates and the 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. Charles W. 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 Belknap Mansion

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

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

    A trading post was established on the White River at that time for the purpose 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 160 acres of the northeast corner of the old Spanish grant.

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

    Leading new settlers to the St. Charles area was Charles Belknap, a Kentucky colonel in 1849.  He bought a large Spanish grant on the river and numerous other lands about St. Charles, some of which he later sold.  He brought with him his immediate family and two brothers.

    The Colonel was a man of vision and superior native intellect, was educated, and an optimist who went right to work improving the settlement he moved into giving himself in public service to the community 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 born only in 1843.  John C was born in Prussia and immigrated to Mississippi, 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 completing the 17-room mansion which became the showplace of St. Charles.  [The mansion burned in the 1950s.]

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

    During the Battle of St. Charles, the Confederate fort was behind the Belknap 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 military forces, he violated rules of war.  He and Captain Fry were captured, court martialed and sentenced to be shot the next morning.  When before the firing squad, Belknap reportedly give the Masonic sign of distress.  The captain of the firing squad, also a Mason, consulted Fry, another Mason, and let Belknap go.

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

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


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