Charles was the son of Peter and Mary "Polly" (Brown) Newkirk. During the Civil War, he was in the 43rd Regiment, of the Missouri Militia Co "G" under Capt. D. L. Dille. Training and exercises were held in the Smith Fork Bottom near the Newkirk home. Charles was burying some money and family valuables in a corncrib (to hide them from the bushwhackers) when his gun fell out of his belt to the ground, discharging and the shot hit Charles killing him instantly.