STILLWELL (VETERAN RW), JOSEPH - Arkansas County, Arkansas | JOSEPH STILLWELL (VETERAN RW) - Arkansas Gravestone Photos


Boggins (aka Stillwell) Cemetery
Arkansas County,

New Jersey
PRIVATE 1 Regiment Monmouth County, Militia
Revolutionary War
March 3, 1752 - September 10, 1822

Reprinted with permission from The Stuttgart Daily Leader and Dawn Teer, Author.

In the middle of some woods, on the edge of a milot field, in South Arkansas County, about 3 miles from Gillett, there sits a grave for who is believed to be the only Revolutionary War soldier buried in Arkansas County. His name was Joseph Stillwell and he lived from 1752 until 1822.

Recently, the Stuttgart Daily Leader was invited to visit where Stillwell was buried along with Stephen Stillwell, a distant descendant and Leland Fuhrman, former Gillett Mayor as well as former owner of the property where Stillwell is buried. If you didn’t know it was there, and didn’t know where it was located, more than likely you would never find it. It took some water and mud wading, and walking through the grown up woods to find it. There in the woods there is a chain link fence maybe ten feet by ten feet that holds two, maybe three graves. One of these is marked not only by a concrete stone, but also a metal sign given by the Grand Prairie Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, in 1971.

According to and written by Robert W. Dhonau, of Little Rock,
Joseph Stillwell came from far away New Jersey to the frontier country in Arkansas about 1798. The fourth generation of his family in America, he was born March 3, 1752 in Monmouth County, New Jersey, at Middletown. His parents were Sarah Shepherd and Joseph Stillwell, whose forefathers came from Surrey County, England, to Virginia about 1638. Joseph Stillwell saw action in the Revolutionary War as a private in the First Regiment of the Monmouth County Militia of New Jersey. Reports show that he was taken prisoner by the British on February 13, 1777, near the Lighthouse on the Highlands. From later service he was discharged as an Ensign on May 1, 1784.

Before being discharged he was married to Sarah Winters and their first child, Harold, was born on May 3, 1783. Stillwell took his family and moved to New Orleans and made friends with those in power. This would serve them well when in 1797, the Spanish Governor of the Territory of Louisiana gave a grant of land to Stillwell, three of the Winters men, as well as six other men. The total of the land grant was said to be around one million acres of land on the north side of the Arkansas River from Argenta to Arkansas Post. The portions of land granted to Joseph Stillwell was fifteen arpens along the river and forty arpens in depth. It was known as Spanish Land Grant No. 2399. The purpose of the grant was "to form a settlement in the Post of Arkansas for the cultivation of flax, wheat and hemp". In 1798, the Winters and Joseph Stillwell families arrived at the village of Arkansas Post and began a survey of their lands. On June 27, 1806, the legislature of the Louisiana Territory passed an act creating the District of Arkansas. In 1808, Governor Lewis of the Territory of Louisiana, selected Stillwell as Judge of the new District of Arkansas, along with Francis Vaugine and Benjamin Foy. Harold Stillwell, eldest son of Joseph, was appointed Sheriff of the District which included what is now about the southern two thirds of the state. Joseph Stillwell was made Auditor of the Accounts in 1810 and held the position until 1815.

In 1820 Joseph Stillwell was again appointed a Judge of the Court at Arkansas Post. He could speak several languages including French, Spanish and the Quapaw dialect. When Arkansas County Representative W.C. Allen, to the First Territorial Legislature, was killed in a duel with Representative Robert C. Oden in March 1820, Joseph sought the vacant seat. His announcement of candidacy was published April 29, 1820 in the Arkansas Gazette in both English and French for the benefit of the old settlers who knew only French. The French version was labeled "communicated" to show it was not written by the editor. This paragraph is the only one in the history of the Gazette to appear in French. In the election Stillwell defeated Richmond Peeler by the vote of 94 to 82.

Joseph Stillwell died at his home on September 10, 1822. He was buried on his homestead and in 1971 a grave marking ceremony was held under auspices of the Stuttgart Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution and Grand Prairie Historical Society.

It is always fascinating to find pieces of Arkansas History in Arkansas County and a Revolutionary War soldiers grave is a real find.

Originally published 11 August 2015

Contributed on 8/20/15 by shojo29
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Record #: 1093935

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Submitted: 8/20/15 • Approved: 8/20/15 • Last Updated: 5/10/21 • R1093935-G0-S3

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