Once a Knight is Enough

Knight Genealogy

by Laura Knight


Early Censuses: 1620 - 1789

Very early census records are hard to come by mostly due to destruction of government offices either by accident or war. These losses are almost crippling to the genealogist in some places and during some periods. I've picked up as much as I could find over the years and here are the earliest, including the Jamestown Muster, the tithable lists and processioning lists wherever I could find them if they included a Knight. I've included anything that might be a "census type" mention of a Knight, so I've stretched the term just a bit. Obviously, you can get a much better idea of the spread of Knights, and their names, in the general records lists which include births, deaths, marriages, land transactions, wills, etc, but here, I'm just specifically looking for official records of a particular type.

The very early SC data comes from: Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. South Carolina Census, 1790-1890. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.  (Jury Lists, 1731, Acts #530 [at SC Archives]; Page Number: 32; Family Number: 40) Caleb Knight is also on the Grand Jury list for St. Andrew Parish. (Jury Lists, 1731, Acts #530 [at SC Archives]; Page Number: 25; Family Number: 67) (Jury Lists, 1740, Acts #664 [at SC Archives]; Page Number: 7; Family Number: 115) (Jury Lists, 1740, Acts #664 [at SC Archives]; Page Number: 11; Family Number: 124)

Other records are provided by the National Archives and Records Administration, in the form of images served by ancestry.com. Any items from odd sources will be noted in place or you will find the reference citation in the Raw Records List (when it is finally all published!).

I've extracted what limited information was available from each source and households (HH) are separated by double asterisks thus: ** and the name of the Head of Household (HH) on the record is in bold for ease of finding. I've gone over this several times, trying to catch all errors, but I can't guarantee that there are none; I just do my best at any moment. Also, as noted elsewhere, for ease of search/finding, I've most often converted names to the modern spelling and have frequently included how the name appears in the record and/or how the transcriber rendered it: (text: Knite, trans: Kite). You will see that ancestry transcribers can be really, really dense, making some of the most awful hash of what are often ordinary names. I tremble for my country when I consider the lack of education exhibited by such mistakes.

This page constitutes almost 200 years of records: a rather poor showing, but it's about all we've got over that stretch and I've snatched up every scrap I could find. Later censuses are more comprehensive.


1620 - Mar VA Jamestown – Info – Census - Virginia's first muster, or census, was compiled in March 1620, at which time the population included 892 Europeans and, among "Others not Christians in the Service of the English," four Indians and thirty-two Africans. Fifteen of the Africans were male and seventeen were female. Although it is uncertain where the Africans lived, some probably resided at Jamestown in the households of Sir George Yeardley and Captain William Peirce, both of whom later were credited with having black servants. (Coldham and others)

1624 - Feb Virginia Colony – Info – Census - The population of Europeans in the Virginia colony was 906. A muster, or census, listed twenty-one Africans, down from thirty-two in 1620. Twelve of the Africans were identified by name, suggesting they had been baptized.  Some of the Africans probably had succumbed to summertime diseases which killed a majority of new residents during the colony's first few decades. For this reason, Virginia leaders periodically requested that ships carrying new servants arrive during the winter months, as opposed to August, when the White Lion had landed. Research suggests that some Africans may have been carrying a blood parasite that transmitted malaria, while their close contact with the European slave traders likely exposed them to other infectious diseases. They would have been susceptible to the various agues and fevers common to the Chesapeake Bay region, and probably suffered through the unfamiliar winter cold. And those Africans who did not die of disease may have died in the massacre of 1622.

Four of the eleven Africans living at Flowerdew Hundred—a plantation on the upper reaches of the James River that leading merchant Abraham Peirsey had purchased from Governor Yeardley—were identified by name: Anthony, William, John, and another Anthony.

Three Africans resided at Jamestown, but only one was listed by name: a woman named Angelo (sometimes Angela) belonging to William Peirce.

 An African named Edward lived in the Neck O'Land, the mainland behind Jamestown, and was part of the household headed by Richard Kingsmill, guardian of the late Reverend Richard Bucke's children.

Peter, Antonio, Frances, and Margaret resided on the lower side of the James River at Edward Bennett's plantation near the former Indian town of Warraskoyack, while Anthony and Isabella were members of Captain William Tucker's household in Elizabeth City (formerly Kecoughtan). One African was listed among the dead at West and Shirley Hundred, in the corporation of Charles City.

John Woodson and Sarah his wife are mentioned as living at Flowerdew Hundred , or as it was later called, Piersey’s Hundred, on the south side of James River, in what is now Prince George County.  Again and again I read in accounts of this family that “Dr. John Woodson purchased six African slaves in 1620 and that these were registered in 1623 as part of his household.” This is false as can be seen from the records above. The Muster record shows John Woodson and wife Sarah with "Corne, 4 bushells; Powder, 1 lb.; Lead, 3 lb.; Peece fixt, 1; Sword, 1".  (Coldham) No slaves, no medical title, nothing that sets them apart from the ordinary settlers.  For comparison, see the muster entry for Dr. John Potts below.

1624 – Feb – VA James City – Admin – Muster -  Doctor John Potts is enumerated along with “his men” and “servants”.  A Randall Holt was listed as one of “Doctor Pott’s Men in the Maine.”  He was apprenticed to Dr. Potts, the physician general to the colony. There is a theory that Holt was a relative of Dr. Potts as they both accompanied Sir Francis Wyatt to Virginia on the ship George, in 1621.  Dr. Potts served as governor of Virginia from 5 Mar 1628 to 9 Mar 1629. (Dorman 1, p. 28, 31; Dorman 2, p. 311)

Note: The important point I would like to make here is the difference between the documentary survival regarding Dr. Potts and that of the alleged “Doctor” John Woodson. Had Woodson actually been a doctor, it is unlikely that the person(s) making the muster list, would have failed to note that fact; had he actually been the educated doctor that his descendant have claimed, his trajectory in the society of the colony would have been quite different. “Ancient Planters”, as they were termed, were entitled to land patents by virtue of their status as survivors. There is no record of the Woodson’s (John and Robert) acquiring land that would have been theirs by right as sons of an Ancient Planter; nor are the alleged sons, John and Robert Woodson noted as being sons of an Ancient Planter and having such rights when they finally do appear. That they didn’t suggests that their status was not what has been claimed.

1624 - FebVA Elizabeth City – Admin – Muster - A John Knight is listed as having died in Virginia between April 1623, and February 16, 1623/4, at Elizabeth City. (Coldham)

1624 - Feb VA Warrasquioake / Isle of Wight – Admin – Muster -  Capt. Nathaniell Basse and his muster: Nathaniell Basse, aged 35, two other men; no wife, no children. (Dorman 2004, p. 46)

1624 - FebVA James City – Admin – Muster -  A Richard Knight, listed twice, among the dead. (Coldham 1987, p. 39)

Note: Was that two Richard Knights, or just one listed twice by mistake.  Probably the former.

1624 - FebVA Accomack / Northampton– Admin – Muster -  Benjamin Knight, aged 28, servant to Capt. William Eppes, arrived on the ship Bona Nova from the Port of London, in 1620, listed in the Muster of Capt. William Eppes, inhabitants of the Eastern Shore, over the Bay.  (Coldham)  Mordecay Knight is found living in Hog Island as a servant of Capt. Ralph Hamor.  His age and date of arrival are unknown. He said that he arrived in Virginia as a passenger on the ship William & John from the Port of London.  (Coldham)

Note: Mordecay “Knight” appears in Hertfordshire, England, in 1655 when his will is probated.  From this record we learn that his name was “Mordecay Bayley, Yeoman, alias Mordecay Knight”. Obviously, he returned to England as did many who could.

Regarding Hog Island, it is first mentioned in the writings of John Smith (1580-1631) in respect of the Starving Time of 1609: ...but the hogges were transported to Hog Ile, where also we built a blocke house with a garrison, to give us notice of any shipping,..." A map of Virginia With a description of the countrey, the commodities, people, government and religion.  Written by Captaine Smith, sometimes governour of the countrey.(1624)

1625 - Jan/Feb Virginia Colony – Info – Census - The population of Europeans in the Virginia colony was 1,232 at this time. The 1625 muster listed twenty-three Africans and a single Indian, all servants, who resided on plantations scattered from the mouth of the James to Flowerdew Hundred. As servants, they probably lived in houses separate from their European masters. And while the 1625 muster included, for most Europeans, the years in which they arrived and the ships on which they came, little such information was provided for Africans.

Three male and five female Africans lived in Yeardley's household at Jamestown; at Flowerdew Hundred, there were four African men, two women, and a child. An African man named John Pedro lived in the household of Francis West, of Elizabeth City, and the same Edward from 1624 still lived with Richard Kingsmill at Neck O'Land.

Captain Peirce's female African, Angelo, was said to have come to Virginia on the Treasurer in 1619. By 1625, Captain Tucker's Anthony and Isabella, in Elizabeth City, had produced a son, William; all three had been baptized.

Among the African slaves owned by the Bennett family in 1625 was Antonio (also listed in 1624), who had arrived on the James in 1621. In March 1622, he was one of just a handful of people who managed to survive Opechancanough's attack on the plantation, and he eventually gained his freedom. At some point, Antonio wed a woman named Mary, who had come to Virginia in 1622 on the Margaret and John, and the two lived as Anthony and Mary Johnson in Northampton County on the Eastern Shore. There, they raised four children and by the 1650s owned 250 acres of land. Their two sons owned adjoining farms of 450 and 100 acres each before the whole family moved to Maryland, in the 1660s. Anthony Johnson's grandson, John Johnson Jr., purchased a 44-acre farm there in 1677 and named it Angola.

On September 19, 1625, the General Court ordered Captain Nathaniel Basse to provide clothing for an African man named Brass (or Brase), who had come to Virginia with a Captain Jones and been sold to Captain Basse. The same decision awarded temporary custody of Brass to Lady Temperance Flowerdew Yeardley, the wife of Sir George Yeardley and a resident of Jamestown, who was then ordered to pay forty pounds of good tobacco per month for his labor "so long as he remayneth with her." On October 3, the court ruled again, this time transferring Brass to the custody of Governor Francis Wyatt and voiding the original sale Captain Jones had made to Captain Basse.

By 1628, the African population in Virginia jumped dramatically when the ship Fortune, out of Massachusetts Bay, captured a Portuguese slaver carrying about 100 Angolans, whom the captain sold in Virginia for tobacco. A muster planned for 1629 either did not take place or the records did not survive. (VA Hist online)

Yeardley probably named the plantation after his wife's wealthy father, Anthony Flowerdew, just as he named another plantation "Stanley Hundred" after his wife's wealthy mother, Martha Stanley. The plantation survived the Indian massacre of 1622 with only six deaths, remaining an active and fortified private plantation unlike many others in the area, such as the Citie of Henricus and Martin's Hundred, that were abandoned. The first windmill erected in English North America was built at Flowerdew Hundred by 1621, and was an English post mill. In 1624, Abraham Piersey, Cape Merchant of the Virginia Company, purchased Flowerdew Hundred renaming it Piersey's Hundred. Piersey's Stone House was the first home with a permanent foundation in the colony. The 1624 Muster lists approximately sixty occupants at the settlement, including some of the first Africans in Virginia. Over the years the name has been spelled as Fleur de, Flowerdieu, Flower de and Flourdy Hundred. Other names for the property include Piersey or Peircey's Hundred, Selden's, Hood's, and Bellevue.


The Records

1704 VA Gloucester – Admin - Rent Roll Henry Knight. (des Cognets)

1704 VA Nansemond – Admin - Rent Roll James Knight, 600 acres. (des Cognets, pp. 198-204)

1704 VA Northampton – Admin - Rent Roll - John Knight, 200 acres. (p. 230, des Cognets; see entry for 1696 Apr 26)

Gap of 12 years with no records.

1716 SC Colony – Jury List -  **  Thomas Knight.  -  **  Caleb Knight, petitioners.  Caleb Knight is also on the Grand Jury list for St. Andrew Parish.

1721 – VA Richmond – Rent Roll -  **  John Knight.

1726 – SC Berkeley County – Parish Record -  **  Mary Knight listed at St. Andrew’s Parish where Caleb Knight was on the Grand Jury list.

1730 SC Berkeley County – Jury List -  **  Caleb Knight is on the Petit Jury list for St. Thomas and St. Denis parishes.

1740 – SC Charleston St Philip Parish – Jury List -  **  Abraham Knight is on the Petit Jury list.

1740 – SC Colleton – Jury List -  **  Caleb Knight is on the Petit Jury list of St. John’s Island.

1743 - Oct - VA Surry/Sussex – Land Processioning -  **  William Knight

1744 - Oct - VA Surry/Sussex – Land Processioning -  **  William Knight  **  John Knight

1748 - Apr- VA Surry/Sussex – Vestry Meeting -  **  John Knight. -  **  Jordan Knight. -  **  Richard Knight

1748 - Jun – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  John Knight (4).

1749 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg - Tithables -  **  John Knight (4).

1750 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg - Tithables -  **  John Knight (4).

1751 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg - Tithables -  **  John Knight, Jonathan Knight, (5)

1752 - Mar 31 – VA Sussex – Land ProcessioningWilliam Knight  **  Richard Knight  **  John Knight.

1752 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg - Tithables -  **  John Knight, Jonathan Knight (5).

1756 – Apr 20 – VA Surry/Sussex – Land Processioning -  **  John Knight  **  Ephraim Knight  **  Richard Knight.

1758 – VA Northumberland – Rent Rolls -  **  John Knight.

1760 – Apr 8 – VA Sussex – Land Processioning -  **  William Knight  **  Richard Knight  **  John Knight.

1760 – VA – Heads of Families – Peter Knight b. 1760.  (Heads of Fams. at the first U.S. census. Va. By U.S. Bureau of the Census. Washington, 1908. (189p.): 108)

1760 – VA Northumberland – Rent Rolls -  **  John Knight.

1760 – SC John’s Island – Jury List -  **  Joseph Knights  **  Thomas Knights on the Petit Jury list.

1764 - Mar 31 – VA Lunenburg - Land Processioning -  **  John Knight.

1764 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  John Knight SR, (4)  **  John Knight JR (3)  ** Peter Knight (2). 

1766 - Nov 22 VA Stafford – Admin - Early Records of Chappawamsic Baptist Church, Stafford Co. VA. new members:  -  **  George Knight.  **  John Knight, Elizabeth Knight. (VA. Gen. Soc. Qrtly. Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 37-40)

1767 – Aug 19 – VA Sussex – Land Processioning -  **  John Knight  **  Jordan Knight  **  Moses Knight  **  Estate of William Knight.

1769 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  John Knight, Joseph Knight (7)  **  Peter Knight.  

1771 – NC Granville – Admin -  **  Jonathan Knight and Martha Knight - Petition of the Inhabitants of the County of Granville against burdensome Vestry taxation for the building of expensive churches signed by Jonathan Knight and Martha Knight.

1772 - Apr 21 – VA Sussex – Land Processioning -  **  Moses Knight  **  Orphans of William Knight  **  John Knight.

1772 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  John Knight Estate, Joseph Knight (9)  **  Peter Knight (4).

1773 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  John Knight Estate, Joseph Knight, Woodson Knight (9)  **  Peter Knight (4). 

1773 – SC Charleston – Will -  **  Thomas Knight -  will probated.

1774 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  John Knight Estate, Joseph Knight, Woodson Knight, (9)  **  Peter Knight (4).

1775 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  John Knight Estate, Joseph Knight, Woodson Knight, (9)  **  Peter Knight (4).

1776 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  Elizabeth Knight, Woodson Knight (8)  **  Peter Knight (4).  ~~ Note: Joseph Knight is gone from the family home and the number of slaves has diminished by 1.

1776 - Oct 12 VA Prince William – Admin -  **  John Knight - Petition of a Baptist Church at Occaqon, asking for freedom to worship in their own way without having to pay tithes to other churches, etc. Signed by John Knight.  (VA. Gen. Soc. Qrtly. Vol. 35, No. 2, p. 102)

1776 VA Stafford – Admin -  **  Uriah Knight.  **  Zachariah Knight  **  Elijah Knight signatories on the “Ten Thousand Name Petition” for religious freedom for Baptists.

1779 – NC Jones - Tax list -  **  Kader Knight.

1779 – VA Gloucester – Rent Rolls -  **  Henry Knights.  **  Henry Knight.

1779 – VA Amelia – Rent Rolls -  **  John Knights.  **  John Knight

1780 – SC Beaufort – Jury List -  **  Zachariah Knight on the Petit Jury list for Parish of St. Peter.  ([name found on the reverse side of page 11: Jury Lists, 1778, Acts #1078 [at SC Archives]; Page Number: 11; Family Number: 405)

1780 - NC Rowan – Militia –  -  **  Reuben Knight  **  Matthew Knight  **  James Knight.

1780 - NC Surry - U.S. Census Reconstructed -  **  Thomas Knight  **  William Knight  **  Abner Knight - Names on a petition, 28 Jan 1779?, to the House of Assembly from inhabitants of Surry Co. seeking redress for the way titles for vacant lands are obtained.

1780 – SC Cheraws – Jury List -  **  James Knight -  on the Petit Jury list for the “District of Cheraw (name found on reverse side of p. 7: Jury Lists, 1778, Acts #1078 [at SC Archives]; Page Number: 7; Family Number: 540)  **  James Woodson on the Grand Jury list.  **  James Knight on the “List of Petit Jurymen and Jurymen in Civil Causes.” (Jury Lists, 1779, Acts #1127 [at SC Archives]; Page Number: 4; Family Number: 141)

1781 - Aug 12 – VA Lunenburg – Admin -  **  John Knight - Petition  to Thomas Nelson Esq, Governor etc. signed by John Knight.  (John Knight JR as John Knight SR is dead.)

1782 VA Gloucester - Tax List -  **  Henry Knight. (Mason 1946, p. 113)

1782 – VA Sussex – Continental Census -  **  Moses Knight.  **  Jonathan Knight SR.

1782 – VA Amelia – Continental Census -  **  John Knight.  **  William Knight.

1782 – VA Northumberland – Rent Rolls -  **  Hannah Knight.

1782 – VA Frederick – Continental Census -  **  William Knight SR.

1783 – VA Nansemond – Tax List -  John Knight  **  James Knight SR.

1783 – VA Greensville – Tax List -  **  Joel Knight.

1783 – SC Beaufort – Jury List -  **  John Knight - is on the Petit Jury list. (Jury Lists, 1783, Acts #1172 [at SC Archives]; Page Number: 7; Family Number: 289)

1783 – VA Gloucester – Tax List -  **  Henry Knight.

1783 – VA Greensville – Tax List -  **  Joel Knight.

1783 – VA Shenandoah – Tax List -  **  Emanuel Knight.

1783 – VA Amherst – Tax List -  **  John Knight.

1783 - Jun 10 – VA Lunenburg – Tithables -  **  Peter Knight (4)  **  Woodson Knight (Charlotte, 7)

1784 – VA Gloucester – VA Census -  **  Joseph Knight listed in census. (Head of Families - Virginia Census - R - 975.5293 VIR - Macon Library, Georgia)

1785 – SC Winton – Tax List -  **  Thomas Knight.

1785SC Beaufort – Admin -  **  Zachariah Knight. **  Thomas Knight.  **  John Knight, signed a petition from Coosawhatchie Baptist Church to the South Carolina Legislature.

1785 – VA Botetort Capt Bollars Co – Tax List -  **  James Knight

1786 – NC Granville – State Census – Selected - County Line district: Lewis Amis, William Knight, 1 male 21-60, 1 male under 21 or above 60, 2 females, 1 negro, 12-50; Thornton Yancy, Joseph Hart, Joel Chandler, Samuel Harrison, Josiah Farmer, Samuel Peace, M. Hunt (Memucan?). Nutbush District: Joseph Gooch, Frances Lewis, Christopher Harris, Jesse Harper, Nathaniel Parrot, Howel Lewis JR, Henry Bagley, Thomas Clement, Conrad Farmer (Conrod), William Hunt, Charles Parrish, William Parrish, Elizabeth Parrish, Clayborn Parrish. Tara River District: Daniel Meadows, James Meadows, William Cocke, Michael Meadows, Thomas Oakley, Robert Adcock, Amos Gooch (Amouss). Goshen District: Shadrack Roberts, Peter Bennett,  Robert Wade, Lewis Bennett, Thomas Pool, Charles Wade, Milly Harrison. Henderson District: John Fleming, Elizabeth Henderson. Nap of Reeds District: William Bennett, Hardiman Bennett, Jacob Cozart, Anne Cozart, David Cozart, Absolem Foard, Stephen Clement, Obediah Clement, Samuel Clement, Joel Chambless, Leonard Adcock, Jesse Meadows.  Abraham Plain’s District: James Hunt, Lattana Montague, Zachariah Bevill, Henry Montague, William Knight, 2 males 21-60, 3 males under 21 or above 60, 4 females, 4 negroes 12-50, 6 negroes under 12 or above 50;  Jonathan Knight 1 male 21-60, 4 males under 21 or above 60, 4 females, 1 negro 12-50; Young Montague, Willis Roberts, Thomas Glaze.  Epping Forest District: William Spears SR, William Floyd, Isaac Roberts, Thomas Lloyd, John Harp, William Hornsby, Valentine White, William Roberts, Samuel Kittrell, Jonathan Kittrell JR, John Jorden, Edward Harris, George Pearce.  Oxford District: Solomon Walker, James Wade, Isaac Bulter, Thomas Butler, John Hunt, Jeremiah Frazer, Henry Tuder, Edward Noling (Nailing?). Undesignated District: Daniel Fleming, John Fleming, William Vanlandingham, Alexander Carter, Thomas Carter, Jesse Carter, John Massey. (State Census of North Carolina 1784-17817, trans/Ed: Alvaretta Kenan Register, State of NC, Dept. of Archives and Hist., Raleigh)

1786 – NC Bertie – State CensusSelected - Francis Pugh’s Co: Joseph Collins, Agness Moore, Francis Sowell, Francis Pugh, John Slade, Josiah Collins, Cader Bass.  Capt. Moore’s District: Obediah Lawrence, John Castelow, George Outlaw, John Lawrence JR, Abner Lawrence, John Lawrence, William Bryant (Briant), James Moore, Edward Griffin, Robert Butler, Like Collins, Whitmel Pugh, Abigail Charlton.  Capt. Speller’s Dist: John Kittrell, William Armistead, James Jordan, John Cherry, Anthony Armistead, William Warburton, William Jordan, John Smithwick SR, Peter West, John Smithwick JR, Luther Everitt, George Clements, Charles Barber, Thomas Collins. Capt. Solomon Freeman’s District: Samuall Burris (Burrass), James Campbell, Joseph Lawrence, Edward Sparkman, William Peircey, Ann Hallam (Husband ran away), John Mizell (Meizell), William Lawrence (Laurence), Samuel Williams, John Jordan, Obediah Sowell, Jacob Outlaw, William Mizell (Miezell), James Jordan, Thomas Gaskins. Capt. John Folks District: William Bunch, Jeremiah Bunch JR & SR, Nehemiah Bunch, Frederick Bunch, Embry Bunch, John Bazmore SR, James Bazmore, John Bazmore, Jesse Bazmore, Malachi Bazmore, Aaron Cherry, John Cherry, Solomon Cherry, James Farmer, Thomas Griffin, Andrew Goff, Isaac Henderson, Jonas Summerlin, Zedekiah Stone. (State Census of North Carolina 1784-17817, trans/Ed: Alvaretta Kenan Register, State of NC, Dept. of Archives and Hist., Raleigh)

1789 - Dec 12 SC Beaufort – Admin -  **  Zachariah Knight represented the Coosawhatchie Baptist Church at the Charleston Baptist Association.



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