St. Charles, Arkansas
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008)|
|St. Charles, Arkansas|
|— Town —|
|Arkansas County and the state of Arkansas|
|• Total||0.8 sq mi (2.2 km2)|
|• Land||0.8 sq mi (2.2 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||200 ft (61 m)|
|• Density||271/sq mi (104.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0058568|
St. Charles is a town in Arkansas County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 230 at the 2010 census. It is best known for the Battle of Saint Charles having been fought there on the White River, and for the St. Charles Lynchings of 1904.
St. Charles is the site of the most deadly single shot of the American Civil War. On 17 June 1862, at the Battle of Saint Charles, eight Federal vessels including the ironclad gunboat USS Mound City attempted to pass Confederate shore guns here, on the banks of the White River. A single shot from a Confederate cannon entered the Mound City and penetrated her steam drum. The resulting explosion and release of scalding steam killed most of her crew, approximately 129 men.
In the spring of 1904, St. Charles became the scene of what would become known as the "St. Charles Lynching of 1904". Over the course of four days, a succession of white mobs terrorized black families in the area, and lynched or otherwise murdered thirteen black persons. The killers or mob members were never identified. The incident began on March 21, 1904, when Jim Searcy, a white man, began arguing with a black man named Griffin over a game of chance. The two men began to fight, and a local police officer arrested Griffin for assault, telling him he would be hanged. Whether the police officer was simply saying that to cause fear, or whether that was their actual intention, has never been known for certain.
In any event, having been told he would be hanged, Griffin struck the police officer, grabbed the officer's pistol, then fled. Griffin went into hiding, but angry white mobs were determined to locate him. By March 23, 1904, white mobs on horseback were accosting black citizens on sight, shooting those who resisted. Between sixty and seventy black men, women and children were driven from their homes and penned inside a warehouse. That night, members of the mob were intent on burning the warehouse with all inside. Some mob members began to argue to spare the lives of certain black persons who they personally knew, then other mob members began arguing for caution, believing the thing had gone too far.
Around 3:00 am on March 24, 1904, angry white men stormed the warehouse and dragged six black men outside. They were marched to the high point on the highway between St. Charles and De Witt, made to stand in a line, then all six were shot dead. On March 27, 1904, the most detailed newspaper report of the killings, posted in the Arkansas Gazette, listed those who had been killed. They were Abe Bailey, Mack Baldwin, Will Baldwin, Garrett Flood, Randall Flood, Aaron Hinton, Will Madison, Charley Smith, Jim Smith, Perry Carter, Kellis Johnson, Henry Griffin, and Walker Griffin. The latter two were brothers, Walker Griffin being the man originally arrested. Their killings brought the total to thirteen. The investigation into the murders was all but nonexistent, with no one ever being arrested, tried, or interviewed. To this day it remains little known, but in fact it was one of the largest murders of this sort, given the population of the town at the time, in Arkansas history.
St. Charles is located at .(34.374050, -91.136661)
As of the census of 2000, there were 261 people, 113 households, and 81 families residing in the town. The population density was 117.2/km² (303.8/mi²). There were 150 housing units at an average density of 67.3/km² (174.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.08% White, 1.75% Black or African American and 1.15% Native American. 0.77% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Due to the town's history of racial strife, the African-American percentage has decreased about 10 times over in the 20th century.
There were 113 households out of which 23.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.3% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.69.
In the town the population was spread out with 17.6% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 29.1% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 112.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $24,375, and the median income for a family was $29,167. Males had a median income of $25,417 versus $13,125 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,481. About 18.8% of families and 22.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.4% of those under the age of eighteen and 19.1% of those sixty five or over.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): St. Charles town, Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "Engagement at St. Charles". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "St. Charles Lynching of 1904". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.