My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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SAMUEL McKNIGHT. Perhaps no man in Greene County is better enabled to enjoy life than the gentleman above-named, who, with an income of some $2,000 per year, and the freedom to spend the whole or a portion of it in reasonable pleasures, has also a disposition to see and learn by travel, and the generous, liberal nature which prompts him to bear a hand in the good work going on about him. The farm which he owns and occupies consists of three hundred acres of fine land in Spring Valley Township, the dwelling being a beautiful and well-furnished one, erected since the marriage of his brother John.

Mr. McKnight was born September 10, 1816, two miles east of Spring Valley village, on a farm adjoining the one he now owns. His parents were William and Jane (Fulton) McKnight, whose history contains many items of interest. He is a sturdy Republican, whose first vote was cast for William Henry Harrison, and who has not since missed a Presidential election. He has no political aspirations and would never accept an office.

The father of our subject was born June 29, 1777, in Rockbridge County, Va., and in his early days was a teacher in his native State. He afterward adopted the occupation of a farmer, having by his professional labors earned money enough to bring him West. In 1801 he went on horseback to Woodford County, Ky., where a brother was living. There he hired as a hand on a flat-boat and made a trip to New Orleans in the spring of 1802, walking back to the Ohio Valley. He then made a trip through the Buckeye State, passing over the land he afterward purchased and stopping at Caesarsville for a day or two. Thence he journeyed through the wilderness to Chillicothe, carrying feed for his horse as none could be procured on the road. In the fall of 1804 he and his brother Samuel came to Ohio and purchased one thousand acres, more or less, on the banks of Caesar’s Creek east of Spring Valley, paying $2,500, or $2.50 per acre, for their purchase. When surveyed it was found to measure thirteen hundred acres.

In 1807, William McKnight, with his mother, three brothers and three sisters, came from Augusta County, Va., with two teams of fine horses and settled on this land, camping on the banks of the creek until a shanty could be put up. The names of those forming the party were David, Samuel, William, Robert, Hannah, Mary and Isabella, all of whom died here except Mary, the wife of William Young, of Cliillicothe. Their first cabin was built where John McKnight’s residence now stands.

In 1808 William McKnight returned to Virginia and married Jane Fulton, a daughter of William and Margaret (Lusk) Fulton, who was born in Augusta County. Mr. Fulton was a large planter and slave owner. He had a family of nine children, namely: Sarah, John, Mary, Elizabeth, Hugh, William, Martha, Jane and David. He was of Irish extraction, both his parents having come from the Emerald Isle and made their settlement in Augusta County, Va. His mother was a Miss Boggs. Returning with his wife to Greene County, William McKnight erected another cabin, in which they took up their abode. They reared six children — Hannah, John, Margaret, Mary, Samuel and David. Mr. McKnight served in the War of 1812, being connected with the militia. In the early days he was elected Justice of the Peace, but after serving one term declined further honors, he was a stanch Whig and active in behalf of the party interests. He was a Presbyterian in his theological views and a liberal-minded man, giving largely in proportion to his means. At his death he left an estate of four hundred and fifty acres of as fine land as can be found in the county. His wife breathed her last August 6, 1825, and he survived until July, 1853.

Going back another generation, we find John McKnight, a native of Lancaster County, Pa., who in 1755 married Mary Patterson, who was also born in that county, and who was seventeen years old when she became a bride. She was a daughter of William Patterson, who was born in Ireland and had learned the trade of a weaver. After settling in Pennsylvania, he married Mrs. Hannah Wausin, who had lost her husband and only child on the ocean during their passage from Ireland to America. Her maiden name was Montgomery. She bore William Patterson four or five sons and three daughters, the latter being named Mary, Hannah and Jane. Hannah married A. Montgomery, who removed to North Carolina prior to the Revolution; Jane married a Mr. Brown. Mrs. Hannah Wausin was accompanied to America by a brother and sister; the sister married a Mr. Ramsey, whose son David was the author of “Ramseys Universal History.”

After his marriage, John McKnight removed from the Keystone State to Virginia, where he died, in 1801, at the age of seventy-two years. His widow, having come to Ohio, died here in July, 1825, at the age of eighty-seven years. In religion Mr. McKnight belonged to the Associate Reformed Church, and he was decidedly opposed to slavery. To him and his wife ten children were born, five of them being natives of Pennsylvania and five of Virginia. Their names were: James, David, Hannah, Mary, John, Andrew, Samuel, William, Robert and Isabella. All lived to maturity.

John McKnight was the oldest of four sons and two daughters born to his parents, his brothers being Andrew, David and Robert. His father, James McKnight, came from Scotland with a colony of Covenanters that settled in Lancaster County, Pa. He married a Miss Andrew, an English lady. He was selected by the colony to return to Scotland with a cargo of flax seed and bring back a minister of their faith. He disposed of the cargo to good advantage, but failed in his efforts to secure a minister. He was again sent across the ocean, on the second trip taking a cargo of cherry lumber, which he lost; he succeeded, however, in securing a preacher for the colony, who is said to have been the first minister of the Covenanter Church ever in America. James McKnight was a carpenter, and the foot adz he used is now a relic in the hands of his great-grandson, our subject.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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