From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
The current number of Chronicles of Oklahoma, official organ of the Oklahoma Historical society, contains a 19-page account of the interesting career of General William Goldsmith Belknap, who, as a captain in the Third U.S. Infantry, helped to establish Fort Leavenworth and later was stationed there as commandant.
When on March 7, 1827, Adjutant General Roger Jones ordered the establishment of a cantonment near the mouth of the Little Platte river, colonel Henry Leavenworth was detailed to select the site. Having done so, he was closely followed by Captain Belknap, with four companies of the Third Infantry, and the work of construction of the new post was commenced in April, 1827--115 years ago next spring.
At the time of his death on November 10, 1851, near Preston, Tex., while on an expedition to establish a post for the protection of California emigrants, Belknap had risen to the rank of brigadier general in the United States Army.
He was born at Newburgh, N.Y., September 7, 1794--140 years ago this month. He served the United States in three wars, was twice wounded and three times brevetted for gallantry, distinguished conduct and faithful service.
When General Leavenworth died in the Indian Territory in 1834, Belknap was detailed to accompany the body to Leavenworth's old home at Delhi, N. Y. In 1902, as is well known, the remains were brought to Fort Leavenworth, where they were re-interred with imposing Memorial Day services and where they now rest.
The paper in the Chronicle of Oklahoma concerning General Belknap, was written by Carolyn Thomas Foreman, one of Oklahoma's most painstaking historical writers, and presents an interesting and authentic narration of the life of this distinguished soldier. General Belknap served as commandant at Fort Gibson, Fort Washita and Fort Smith, three of the most famous southwestern frontier army posts and also at Fort Leavenworth, as already stated.