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Charles St. Clair

Biography of son of David Martin St. Clair.

Charles St. Clair was born in Missouri in 1840 but his family moved to Arkansas near Yellville when he was 3 years old. His father, David Martin St. Clair, was involved in the shootout between the Tutt and Everett families at Yellville in 1848. Taking the side of the Tutt family, he shot and killed Cimarron support 7 children between the age of 14 to 2 and one unborn child. According to family lore, they had a very hard struggle to survive. They accepted any work available and Charles worked at age 9 hoeing cotton. They also at times had to eat certain roots they dug up and tea made from certain tree bark. But by 1850, Mary had married Alfred Burnes, a widower with 7 children of his own with similar ages. When the war between the states started, Sam, an older brother of Charles, immediately joined the confederate army, but Charles did not become involved with either side until one day when some confederate soldiers came to the home and stole what meager supply of food the family had and forced Charles to leave with them in hopes of getting him to become a soldier. But he refused and was beaten and assigned menial chores. His shoes were removed at night and held by the commander to prevent him from running away. However, he did escape one night wearing nothing on his feet. He fled to Helena, Arkansas, where he enlisted for 3 years in the federal army and was assigned to the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry, then sent to Sycamore Springs camp near Rolla, Missouri, where he served as a scout until October 1862 when he was promoted to Sergeant and reassigned to guarding prisoners at camp, and as they were being transferred to St. Louis or Cassville. One day he and others became intoxicated while on duty, resulting in Charles and a Lieutenant having a heated argument where Charles threatened to kill the Lieutenant and desert the army, taking the men with him. He was immediately arrested, put in the brig until a date could be set for a court martial hearing for misconduct and insubordination. The hearing was held in September of 1863 in Springfield, MO. Charles pled guilty to all charges and was demoted to private and forfeited one month's pay. He was then transferred to Cassville, Missouri, as a guard of prisoners and forage trains. He was discharged in 1865 at Memphis, Tennessee. He did not return the revolver when he was discharged. He later was required to pay the federal government $20.00 for the revolver. In 1895, he applied for a disability pension, citing a bad heart and kidney failure. The request was denied. After his discharge, he spent his years living at Lesterville in Reynolds county and Thornfield in Ozark county until 1907. In 1907, he moved to Paragould, Arkansas by oxen and cart when he died in 1908 and was buried in a cemetery between Paragould and Corning, Arkansas, in an unmarked grave. Charles and his brother Sam remained estranged for the rest of their lives because of different views about the civil war. [Source: Dean Wallace. <i>The Old Mill Run </i>Vol. 14 No. 3 (Oct 1999)]

Owner of originalOzark County Genealogical & Historical Society
Linked toCharles Leonard St. Clair (Name)

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