Once a Knight is Enough

Knight Genealogy

by Laura Knight

John Knight of Effingham GA, Some Problems and Solutions

Significant Revision: 2019 Aug 6, after days of hard thinking.

UPDATE! FIRST THINGS FIRST: I've communicated with a documented descendant of Capt. Peter Knight of Northumberland via his son James, and a documented descendant of John Knight of Lunenburg County VA who married Elizabeth Woodson. The two Y-DNA lineages are so far apart that there is no possibility of John Knight of Lunenburg being descended from Capt. Peter Knight of Northumberland.

However, the DNA evidence shows that a documented descendant of John Knight and Rachel Anderson of GA/FL, and documented descendants of Thomas Knight and Frances Newnan, are closely related in such a way that strongly indicates that John and Thomas were brothers. Additionally, John and Thomas of GA/FL have the same lineage (and very, very close) as the documented descendant of Capt. Peter Knight of Northumberland, thus confirming descent.

The conclusion is that the Woodson Knights are not descended from Capt. Peter Knight of Northumberland as Lucian Lamar Knight assumed.


For a very long time I believed - because I had been told - that John Knight of SC/Effingham GA was my 4th great-grandfather. He is also the ancestor of a whole lot of other Knights and Knight descendants of allied families. He is, essentially, the reason for the existence of this website. Why? Because there is such a huge mess of nonsense about him on the internet, incorporated into hundreds, if not thousands, of family trees, and I'm quite sure that the ancestors don't like it when their true history is obscured, obliterated, or transformed into complete fabrications. And that is what has happened to the history of the John Knight who is my main subject here.

However, having said all that, I am now not so sure that John Knight is my direct line ancestor and this page will explain why. I should add that I've been in contact with a number of genealogical researchers who are doing some very good work, and some of them have shared their Y-DNA information with me. I can tell you right now that my own Y-DNA line is called "Lineage XII" on the FamilyTreeDNA Knight family Y-DNA project HERE. I can also share that a couple of my correspondents have documented descent from Capt. Peter Knight via his son James Knight, and those persons are also part of Lineage XII, just adjacent to the results of my brother who contributed his DNA for the purpose. So you can say that, via DNA matching, my descent from Capt. Peter Knight of Northumberland VA is confirmed. My descent from Rev. Samuel Knight and his wife, Mary Nancy Roberts Knight is also confirmed via documentation. What is going to be seen here is the problem of documenting the connection of Samuel Knight to John Knight of Effingham GA which is what I will call him for the sake of convenience. As it happens, as one researcher wrote to me:

...although Samuel Knight is one of the better known Knights, he does not have a single DAR descendant who has proven him as Rev.War soldier John Knight's son.

I would certainly like to hear from anyone who has documented descent from John of Effingham's two documented sons: Jonathan Knight and/or William Anderson Knight with their kit numbers on the above linked Y-DNA project. That would be one way to prove the kinship of Samuel Knight to the John Knight line, though it would not prove direct descent. At the moment, I know of one documented descendant of Jonathan Knight who is contributing to the Y-DNA project, but it will be a month or so before the results are back.

What does it mean to document descent?

I was recently corresponding with a researcher who is working on her descent from Mary Knight, daughter of John Knight of Effingham. This is a little bit tougher than tracking a Y-DNA line. There was a family Bible that was presented as evidence as seen in the following image:

William Hunter


Here is what the FL Pioneer genealogist had to say about the above document:

The family bible had a copyright date of 1836, 43 years after William was born.  Thus it is considered a self-reporting date which came numerous of years after the event.  The Florida Pioneer Instructions and Guide for Application explains the use of family bibles.  According to those instructions, the family bible page you submitted is neither a primary nor a secondary source and needs to be removed as a source.

I don't know if we have the same sort of issue with the Bible record that is going to be discussed further down here or not; it's certainly possible. Nevertheless, you get the idea of the strict approach some of these organizations take. DAR, on the other hand, has accepted a lot of applications that should never have been approved based on current genealogical standards. On the other hand, if history was done according to the demands of the FL Pioneer group, we would have to throw out entire libraries of history books. A lot of history must be done by inference and intelligent connecting of dots where no documentation exists. But a discussion of that would take us too far afield.

It will probably be useful for the reader to examine the collected records HERE before continuing with this discussion. Having the locations on the map in your head, the timeline, the obvious multiplication of names, will be very helpful.

You read it?

Okay, let's begin. First, we read these two conflicting statements in just about any bio of John Knight of SC/GA that can be found in books or online:

First version:

John Knight was born about 1747 in Virginia. The names of his parents are not known at this time. At a young age he moved to South Carolina, and was married in the Cheraw area, January 9, 1774, to Rachel Anderson, by the Rev. Evan Pugh. Rev. Pugh also married Thomas Knight to Faney Newnam July 10 1777. It is believed that Thomas was John's brother. [...]

The only proven children of John and Rachel Anderson Knight are listed below:

1. Mary b. 9/25/1776, m. 1) Miles Hunger, 1790, in Effingham Co. GA; 2) John Stewart (Vol. III), 10/14/1798, Effingham Co., Ga. She was born in Edgefield Co., SC and died in Hamilton Co., FL.

2. William Anderson (Vol. I) b. 2/8/1778, m. Sarah Cone, in 1798. Daughter of William Cone, Sr. (Vol. II). He was born in SC and died in Lanier Co., GA.

3. Jonathan (Vol. III), b. 2/14/1781, m. Elizabeth Tucker, 4/20/1802. He was born in the Cheraw Dist., SC and died in Duval Co., FL

Mr. Knight died after December of 1822, probably in Wayne County. It is not known when Rachel Anderson Knight died.

Sources: (1) East Florida Papers Film #85 Florida State Archives; (2) Diary of Evan Pugh

Second version:

John Knight and Elizabeth Woodson's son John Knight III, born 1748 in Surry Co., VA. The family later moved to Edgecombe County, NC. He married Rachael Frances "Fannie" Anderson 9 Jan 1774, in Cheraw Dist. Chesterfield Co., SC. Rachel Anderson was born in 1753 in Surry Co., VA.

John Knight, III died in 1821 in Wayne Co., GA. He is buried in Wayne Co., GA. Fannie died 2 Nov 1844 in Hillsborough Co., FL. (Many researchers agree that this John Knight was the son of John and Elizabeth Woodson.) John and Rachael Knight moved to Bullock County, GA about 1788 when their son William Alexander was about 10 years old.

First, there is no explanation of why John Knight and Elizabeth Woodson's son John Knight would be born in Surry County when John and Elizabeth lived in Lunenburg County. (For an examination of the Lunenburg Knights, see HERE.)

"John Knight III" is supposed to represent to us that this John Knight is the son of John Knight of Lunenburg who has also thereby morphed into a "John Knight JR".

Who is "John Alexander Knight" and how did he get in here? Where is the documentation that "Fannie" (now conflated with Rachel) lived until 1844 and died in Hillsborough County FL? We will soon find out about this latter item, but first things first.

How the heck did version 1 morph into version 2?

That's one thing I want to try to sort out first. I'm going to present the oldest versions of the genealogy of this family and I think that it is there we might find the source of some of the problems.

As I noted in my introduction, one of the first online sites about the Knight family I found about 20 or so years ago was this one: "Southern Style: Knight" It's an astonishingly wrong genealogy as it is put together, but there certainly appear to be sections of it that are right at least for a single family or generation; they just don't happen to connect the way this author has connected them. She appears to be keen to rush on through and get to her immediate family beginning with an Edwin Knight, son of Jesse Knight and Mary Cobb Knight of Edgecombe NC. She's managed to hook the PA Knights to the VA Knights, and then to conflate two different VA Knight families: the Coleman-Woodson Knights with the Jordan-Eppes Knights. I don't know if the website's author is responsible for some of the creative combining of different families, or if she got it all elsewhere. She has a lot of sources listed, and I've chased down quite a few of them with no satisfaction; most people make assumptions or rely on family myths, no real records involved. In any event, it is the sloppiest genealogy I've ever seen.

But the "Southern Style Knights" website is not the oldest version of the Knight's of GA genealogy; that honor goes to the Huxford Genealogical Society of Homerville GA. The Society was created by 78 year old Judge Folks Huxford, a native of Homerville.

From early childhood, he had a keen interest in the pioneer families of South Georgia and spent much of his time going from home to home talking to these old pioneers and collecting their family histories. He kept copious notes on handwritten cards that formed the nucleus for his seven volumes of Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia as well as the additional four volumes published after his death.

The website doesn't reveal much except perhaps indexes of what they have at their genealogy library and they have books for sale. You can check the index of family histories so that you don't have to buy the entire set of Huxford books, but only those where your ancestor might be found. Volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 seem to be the main ones with Knight Genealogy. But, keep in mind, these books are not "about Knights", they only have "sketches" of various families mainly derived from Huxford's notes taken when interviewing descendants. Huxford and/or his associates also did research to find documentation to support the stories with what few records were available at the time, but for some information, human memory was apparently the source. And that is not to say that human memory is useless; it can be helpful, but it is notoriously untrustworthy when passing on "heard" information rather than "experienced" data.

As can be seen in the discussion of Lucian Lamar Knight in the Introduction, when you have only a few records from widely different time periods, and nothing to fill in the gaps, you can make some big mistakes in how you put it all together. John Knight of Lunenburg was assumed to be the son of John Knight of Sussex until the will of his son, John Knight of Sussex/Edgecombe was found and transcribed, leaving John of Lunenburg with no family! The "1st version" of the John Knight story above is from Huxford. The second version, as far as I can tell, is from some internet genealogy jockey who decided to improve on Huxford probably utilizing Lucian Lamar Knight's erroneous connections and a few other mixed sources. In any event, here is the full Huxford Version with a couple of notes:


John Knight was born about 1747 in Virginia. The names of his parents are not known at this time.

Note: There is a John Knight who was in SC and fought in the Revolution who was born in exactly 1747, but it is a different John Knight. He may have been a distant cousin of John of Effingham, and his lineage is known.

At a young age, he moved to South Carolina, and was married in the Cheraw area, on January 9, 1774 to Rachel Anderson, by the Reverend Evan Pugh. Reverend Pugh also married Thomas Knight to Faney Newnam on July 10, 1777. It is believed that Thomas was John's brother.

John Knight, Thomas Knight and Zachariah Knight were named executors of the will of William MacCormack in 1777. Zachariah was also probably a brother of John Knight.

Note: There was yet another John Knight, associated with a second Thomas Knight, both of whom were associated with a Zachariah Knight. But this was not John Knight of Effingham as the Disambiguation page linked above shows.

John served as sergeant in the Ist Georgia Battalion of Continental Troops, commanded by Colonel Robert Rae, at Silver Bluff from April 1, 1779 to February 1, 1780. He also served in the Cheraw District of South Carolina with Colonel Benton during 1781 and 1782 for 153 days.

In 1783 he served as petit juror for the Beaufort District.

Note: This was not John Knight of Effingham. Beaufort District was about 175 miles distant from Cheraws.

He received a land grant of 200 acres in Beaufort District, on the waters of the Coosawhatchie River in 1785, and in 1786, another grant of 250 acres on Beach Branch and Blood Hill, branches of the Coosawhatchie River. At the same time, Thomas and Zachariah also received land grants, with Zachariah's land adjoining John's land.

Note: This was not John of Effingham, this was the John/Thomas/Zachariah set from Beaufort.

John received a grant of 250 acres in Burke County, Georgia on September 20, 1789.

Note: I haven't found any such record though I have found records for Effingham as noted next.

On May 19, 1789, he received a 200 acre grant in Effingham County, Georgia which he sold to Joseph Knight in 1790.

Another grant of 250 acres was granted on February 13, 1799 in Effingham County, and this grant was sold on May 15, 1801 to Moore Spier of Effingham County, and signed by John Knight and Rachel Knight. Thomas Knight also received grants in Effingham County next to John's while Zachariah went to Liberty County, Georgia, and died there.

Note: Again, Zachariah Knight is unrelated to John of Effingham.

On September 2, 1803 in St. Augustine, Florida, John Knight and his son, Jonathan Knight, were granted land in Spanish Florida. They signed Oaths of Allegiance to the Spanish Government, stating that John was married, a farmer, born in Virginia, that he had with him, one son, one daughter, two negroes, two horses, and 30 cattle. His residence was listed as Fernandina. Jonathan's grant and oath, (married no children), were listed below John's. On the same day, they requested permission to return to the United States, to bring their families and property to Florida. On October 8, 1805, John Knight asked to be released from his Spanish Land Grant, due to the loss of his eyesight, and permission to return to Augusta, Georgia, which request was granted on October 17, 1805. Jonathan Knight was still in Florida in 1807.

In Effingham County on January 1, 1821, John granted Power of Attorney to "my son", Jonathan Knight, to obtain two grants for him, one in Hall County and the other in Habersham County, John Knight was living in Wayne County at that time.

On December 11, 1822, a Resolution of the Senate Committee, received and granted a petition from John Knight for his service in the Regular Company of the First Regiment of Georgia during the Revolutionary War, He was given $400.00 "in lieu of and as compensation for his bounty warrent".

The only proven children of John and Rachel (Anderson) Knight are listed below:

1. Mary b. 9/25/1776, m. 1) Miles Hunter, 1790, d. 3/13/1849. Effingham Co., Ga., (Vol. V). 2) John Stewart (Vol.III), 10/14/1798, Effingham Co., Ga. Mary b. Edgefield Co., S.C. D. Hamilton Co., Fla.
2. William Anderson b.2/8/1778, m. Sarah Cone, 1798, dau. of (Vol.1) d. 12/8/1859. William Cone, Sr. (Vol. 11). Wm. A., b. S.C., d. Lanier Co,Ga. William and Sarah bur. Union Church Cem., Lakeland, Ga., marked graves. They were church members, listed in the original church minute books of the Union Church
3. Jonathan b. 2/14/1781, m. ElizabethTucker, 4/20/1802. d. 2/17/1852. Jonathan b. Cheraw Dist., S.C. , D. Duval Co., Fla.

Mr. John Knight died after December of 1822, probably in Wayne County. It is not known when Rachel (Anderson) Knight died

Sources: On file at the Huxford Genealogical Society, Homerville, Ga. Note: The original church Minute books of the Union Church were donated to the Huxford Genealogical Society when the church disbanded in 1996. Contributed by: Bettye Knight Barest, 2425 Harden Blvd. # 164, Lakeland, Fla., 33803-5953. (Huxford Vol. III)

If the above was the work of Bettye Knight Barest, it's not too bad, all things considered. It sticks to the documented facts that appear to apply to John Knight, and doesn't invent anything though she assumed connections that were erroneous as later research shows. If she had studied maps and thought rationally about things, she would probably have drawn different conclusions. If you have read the records list linked above, you will easily see how at least three, and possibly four, John Knights have been conflated into one person.

What is meant by "documented children" is that the three named are the only ones that appear with John Knight SR in some kind of document, which confirms that he is the parent.

Regarding the work of Bettye Knight Barest above, the problem is, as we will see further on, there are other facts and factors to consider. And if you are mentally correcting "Rachel Anderson" to "Rachel Frances Anderson", be aware that you are suffering from the results of conflation and confusion too; I do not believe that there was ever any such person as "Rachel Frances 'Fanny' Anderson Knight". There are several records that name her, the last being from 1805 in Burke County, where John Knight and wife Rachel were listed together. By that time, all possible children were born that are known or suspected, so there is no possibility of a second wife named "Fanny".

Right now, let's look at the Huxford sketch of Jonathan Knight, the confirmed son of John Knight and Rachel Anderson.

Jonathan Knight was born in 1781 in Cheraw District, S. C., a son of John Knight, R.S. He came with his parents to Effingham County, Georgia, during the latter part of the Revolutionary War, where he grew up and lived for some years. His wife, Elizabeth, was born in this state in 1787, but so far, her maiden name cannot be learned. Neither is a full list of their children available. Among their children were:

1. William b. 1806, m. Mary
2. Mary b. 1808, m. Lewis Roberts, Dec. 15, 1825.
3. Jonathan b. 1811? m. (wife unknown).
4. James H. b. 1817, m. Cynthia -.
5. Thomas S. T. b. 1820, m. Barbara King, dau. of Willis.
6. Sarah b. 1824, m. Lewis L. McCall, son of Robert.
7. Matthew Albritton b. 1826, m. Mary E. Pace, Apr. 14, 1853. Died Clay County, Fla.
8. Nancy b. 1827, m. Henry L. Wester.
9. Elizabeth H. b. 1829, m. Hiram Prescott, Jan. 28, 1851.

Jonathan Knight and his first-cousin, William A. Knight (Vol. I), were among the first settlers of Wayne County after its creation, moving there From Effingham County. He appears to have lived there until about 1816 when he and his family moved back to Effingham County. Then after a few years' residence in his old home-county, they returned to Wayne County accompanied by his father. He lived there until 1825 when they removed to Lowndes County and settled on lot 88, 16th district of present Echols County, which lot is traversed by the Alapaha River. After about twenty years' residence there, Mr. and Mrs. Knight and most of their children moved to Duval County, Florida, and settled in the portion later cut into Clay County. There he died about 1860.

He was granted 200 acres of land in Wayne County in 1810, and also owned other lands there. The deed records of Irwin County show he bought said lot 88, 16th district, Feb. 23, 1821, and at that time he lived in Effingham County (Deed book A, page 19, Irwin County). The same year, Jan. 1, 1821, his father, John Knight, made a deed to him to lands in Effingham County, identifying him in the deed as his son. A deed is on record in Effingham County from Jonathan Knight joined by his wife, Elizabeth, dated June 28, 1817, to Martha Spiers, all parties resident of Effingham at the time (Deed Book L, page 9).

Capt. Jonathan Knight served as Sheriff of Wayne County, 1810-12. He was commissioned the same year (1810) as a captain in the Wayne County militia, and again commissioned Nov. 12, 1813, and as such commanded a detachment of Wayne County militia that rendered service in the War of 1812. He again served as a captain in the Indian Wars in this section, commanding a company of Lowndes County militia in 1840.

Capt. Knight served as a Justice of the Peace, 28th district Wayne County, 1815-1816, and as Tax-collector of Wayne, 1821-1822. He was commissioned Justice of the Peace in the 334th district of Wayne, Jan. 4, 1825, but moved the same year to Lowndes County, where in the first election for county officers he was elected a Justice of the Inferior Court, serving 1826-1829.

Capt. Knight was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church. His wife was received by letter Dec. 7, 1822, into High Bluff Church in present Brantley County, from a church in Effingham County. Shortly after, March 9, 1823, he came into the church on a profession of faith and was baptized. Then on Nov. 8, 1823, they were dismissed by letter to join in organizing Kettle Creek Baptist Church in Ware County which it seems, was near where they lived. And on Oct. 1, 1825, they entered into membership of Union Baptist Church located on the west banks of the Alapaha River in what was then Lowndes, now Lanier, County, coming by letter from Kettle Creek Church. Then on July 18, 1827, he and his wife were dismissed by letter from Union Church to unite in constituting Friendship Church located near the present town of Hahira, Lowndes County. He was ordained a deacon by Friendship Church a few years later, also serving as church clerk. His subsequent church membership has not been traced. (Huxford Vol. III)

Did you notice a big problem between the above two accounts of John and Jonathan? In the sketch of John Knight, one of his "proven" children is William Anderson Knight. In the sketch of Jonathan Knight, another of the proven sons of John Knight, William Anderson has become his "1st cousin"! Also, in the first sketch, Jonathan's wife is named "Elizabeth Tucker"; this latter sketch claims her surname is unknown.

The following is the sketch of William Anderson Knight that avoids mentioning any parents for some reason, possibly because it was written by the same person who wrote the sketch about Jonathan Knight using the same source of information:

ELDER WILLIAM ANDERSON KNIGHT is the forefather of the large and influential Knight family connection of Berrien, Lanier and Cook counties, and was in the Primitive Baptist ministry for many years prior to his death. He was born in North Carolina, February 16, 1778, and was about ten years old when his parents moved to Georgia. In 1798 he married Miss Sarah Cone, daughter of Hon. William Cone, who rendered distinguished service to his adopted state during the Revolutionary War. The Cone family was also from North Carolina originally and had sojourned in South Carolina a short time during the war. The two families, Knights and Cones, were originally residents of Effingham County but in the creation of Bulloch out of Effingham in 1796 were placed in the new county. Mrs. Knight was born in South Carolina October 16, 1780. To Elder Knight and his wife were born.

1. Thomas b. February 6, 1799, m. Frances Mikell September 25, 1817. Lived in Tattnall County.
2. Keziah b. November 20, 1802, m. Isbin Giddens April 1829.
3. Levi J. b. September 1, 1803, m. Mrs. Ann D. Herrin November 14, 1827.
4. William Cone b. October 8, 1805, m. Rachel Carter, daughter of Jesse.
5. John b. July 7, 1807, m. Sarah Moore, daughter of John.
6. Sarah b. October 10, 1808, m. William P. Roberts son of John.
7. Elizabeth b. September 23, 1811, m. John Carter, brother to James.
8. Aaron b. July 13, 1813, m. (1) Ann Sloan, daughter of John, Sr. (2) Mrs. Sarah E. Sanders.
9. Jonathan b. January 16, 1817, m. Frances Staten, daughter of Barzilla Staten.

William Anderson Knight was among the very first settlers of Wayne County after it was created, moving there about 1803. His home was in present Brantley County. He was named in a legislative act of 1803 as one of five commissioners to locate the public site of the new county seat. It was several years before it was permanently fixed and when it was done it was located on lands owned by Mr. Knight and by William Clements, a neighbor, and the county seat was named "Waynesville."

William Anderson Knight served as Representative from Wayne County 1810-1811 and again in 1813. He served as State Senator from Wayne, 1815, 1816, 1817, 1819, 1820. He was a Justice of Peace in the 334th District, 1813-1817, and a Justice of Wayne Inferior Court 1820-1824.

In the winter of 1824-1825 Mr. Knight and his family with others of the family connection, moved to the southern part of what was then Irwin County, where they settled on Lot of Land No. 516, 10th land district, near Grand Bay, on present State Highway No. 11, in what is now Lanier County. A year after moving to his new home, his portion of Irwin County was made into Lowndes County and William Anderson Knight was elected the first Senator from the new county, serving 1826-1828. He was a delegate from Lowndes to the 1833 State Convention and in 1839 to the state tariff convention.

In 1856, Elder Knight's home was placed in Berrien County when it was created partly out of Lowndes. He was a leading spirit in the organization of the first Baptist Church in Irwin or Lowndes counties; it was organized October 1, 1825, at Carter's Meeting house located on the west bank of the Alapaha River. The church was named "Union" and became the "mother" of all Baptist Churches, both missionary and primitive, of this section. Mr. Knight and his wife became charter members, moving their letters from Kettle Creek Baptist Church in Wayne County. He became the first church clerk, serving from 1825 until he was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by his church March 10, 1832. He had previously been licensed to preach, November 13, 1830.

In the years that followed, Elder Knight became very active and zealous in the spread of the Gospel over the then frontier country, organizing several new churches. He and his pastor, Elder Matthew Albritton, often went together on trips that required days many miles from home. Elder Knight stayed busy holding special services in the homes of the settlers, visiting the sick, conducting funerals, organizing "arms" of Union Church that later became independent churches, and assisting in constituting new churches over all area 100 miles or more in extent.

After the death of Elder Albrittion in 1850, Elder William Anderson Knight succeeded him as pastor of Union Church and served until his own death December 8, 1859. He became the first pastor of Wayfare Church in present Echols County, serving 1841-1854 and again 1856-1858. His missionary labors precluded him from serving as pastor of many of the churches that wanted him.

Mrs. Sarah Cone Knight died November 28, 1859. Her aged husband could not long survive her passing, dying ten days later. They were buried at old Union Church. The whole section for miles around felt keenly the passing of this aged and saintly couple whose hospitality and goodness to others were known to others far and wide.

We can note here that most of the connections of the Knights of Effingham, Wayne, Lowndes, etc, are, indeed, the family connections of the Knights of Edgecombe NC, but why did the author of the above sketch of William Anderson Knight state that he was born in North Carolina? It's an assumption based on what? I've never found a clue and the only conjecture I can make is that the person making this statement may have been told at some point that the family had connections in NC and mixed that up with where William Anderson was born. The 1850 Lowndes GA census lists William Anderson Knight as having been born in SC, not NC. As mentioned above, this piece was probably written by the same person who wrote the one on Jonathan Knight where it was said that he and William Anderson were "1st cousins." But things get even more confused with the next sketch of an alleged son of John Knight:

SAMUEL KNIGHT was born in Effingham County, in November 1793, a son of John Knight, R.S., and his wife, Mrs. Frances (Fannie) Knight. While he was yet a boy his parents moved to the new County of Wayne and he grew up there and lived there until 1825 when he moved to Lowndes County. He was married in 1810 to Miss Mary Roberts, born 1793, in South Carolina, daughter of Richard Roberts, R.S. She died May 6, 1875, in Manatee County, Florida. The children of Samuel and Fannie (sic) were:

1. Fatima b. February 18, 1811, m. Enoch Collins March 9, 1827.
2. Moses b. February 25, 1813, died 1815.
3. Aaron b. February26, 1815, m. Jane Varn September 30, 1840, daughter of Frederick.
4. Jesse b. August 18, 1817, m. Rebecca Caroline Varn October 1, 1840, daughter of Frederick.
5. Thomas b. March 1, 1820, died 1828.
6. Joel b. February 24, 1823, m. Virginia Mitchell March 29, 1848.
7. Frances b.May 9, 1825, m. (l) John J. Zipperer (2) Jacob Summerlin.
8. Elizabeth b. March 1, 1827, m. Elhannon McCall February 6, 1842.
9. Mary b. March 6, 1829, m. George Hambleton February 10, 1849.
10. Martha b. October 3, 1832, m. Dr. Samuel B. Todd December 25, 1849.

After living some years in Lowndes County, Samuel Knight sold his lands and moved to Hillsborough, County, Florida in 1844, settling about four miles north of where Plant City now is. He lived there until old age. His last few years were spent with his grandson, Thomas S. Knight of Charlotte Harbor, Florida, where he died May 3, 1879.

Mr. Samuel Knight was a private in Capt. Jonathan Knight's company of Wayne County militia in 1813, during the War of 1812, which company protected the frontier of Wayne County. He was also in the Indian War of 1836-1838. During the civil war he was too old for service. He served as Justice of Peace in the 28th district, Wayne County, 1815-1816.

Mr. Samuel Knight became a prosperous farmer and cattle owner in South Florida and was in good financial circumstances especially in his latter years. He owned a large plantation, also a very large stock of range cattle. He also owned a number of slaves before and during the war. He was a member of the Methodist Church and became a local preacher in that connection serving in that capacity for many years before his death. He became the first Methodist preacher in South Florida in the 1840s. He was an influential man in his day.

Mrs. Knight was for many years a Baptist. She was originally a member of Kettle Creek Baptist Church in Wayne County. She joined with Elder William A. Knight and wife and others in constituting Union Church in Lowndes County October 1st, 1825, coming into the organization by letter from Kettle Creek Church. The church minutes show she was expelled June 9 1832, "for joining the Methodist Church and denying the Baptist faith".

Mr. and Mrs. Knight became the ancestors of a large and influential family connection of South Florida in which section most of the Knight children lived and died. Rev. E. L. Todd, beloved Baptist minister of Lowndes County (Georgia.), now retired and in his 86th year, is a grandson of Samuel and Mary Knight.

One suspects that Rev. E. L. Todd is the source of much of the info above including the most interesting claim that the mother of Samuel was named "Frances". But also notice that the author of the sketch then wrote: "The children of Samuel and Fannie were"... probably at the dictation of Rev. Todd. My guess is that, for some reason, the good Rev. had "Fannie" on the brain. Since he was a grandson of Samuel and Mary Knight, and her full name has later been reported to be "Mary Nancy Roberts", he may very well have been confusing his grandmother, Mary Nancy, with his great-grandmother, Rachel; his grandmother could have been called "Fanny" instead of "Mary Nancy", "Fanny" being close to "Nanny", a common diminutive for Nancy. This is the only reasonable explanation I have at the moment for the switcheroo from Mary Knight to Fanny Knight. Of course, it could have been a mere slip of the tongue that was transcribed that way and means nothing at all. Only the above sketch of Samuel Knight, and the one of Abraham Knight, below, refers to John's wife as "Mrs. Frances (Fannie) Knight".

ABRAHAM KNIGHT was born in Effingham County in 1789, a son of John and Fannie Knight and a brother of Samuel Knight (Vol. I). He came with his parents to Wayne County about 1807-08, and was married Jan. 17, 1810, at Hazzard's Neck in Camden County, to Sarah H. Tucker, born 1796, in this state, daughter of James and Jemima Tucker. To them were born the following known children (list incomplete):

1. Samuel b. 1817, m. Mary E. Hunter, dau. of Wm. Moved to Hamilton Co., Fla.
2. Andrew J. b. 1818, m. Margaret Bennett, dau. of Henry.
3. Thomas b. 1820, m. Susan Hunter, dau. of Wm. Moved to Hamilton Co., Fla.
4. Mary E. b. 1821, m. Malachi Harper, son of James (Vol. I).
5. Elijah Tucker b. 1829, m. Nancy Harper, dau. of James (Vol. 1).
6. Abraham b. 1826, m. Harriet Raulerson, dau. of Jacob (Vol. 1).
7. Eliza b. 1838, m. Joshua Harper.
8. Erastus b. 1844, m. Harriet Jenkins.

Abraham Knight lived in Camden County for several years after marriage, later moving back to Wayne County where be died May 26, 1867. He took part in the War of 1812, serving under Capt. John Bachlott in a company of Georgia militia; he was in an engagement on the St. Mary's River during the war, when several British barges were captured. He also participated in the Indian War and served under Capt. E. D. Tracy in his company of Camden County militia in 1838.

Mr. Knight was Justice of Peace in the 33rd district, Camden County, 1818-1821, and in the 333rd district, Wayne County, 1829-1833.

He was buried at Little Creek Baptist Church in Wayne County. Mrs. Knight made her application June 16, 1875, for a pension based on her husband's War of 1812 services. She died about 1884, and was buried by her husband at Little Creek Church.

As noted, one suspects that the source of this sketch is, mainly, again, the 86-year-old Rev. E. L. Todd with his Nanny-Fannie grandmother heavy on his mind. The Rev. Edward L. Todd was a son of Martha Knight and Samuel B. Todd. Martha's sister, Frances "Fannie" Knight married Jacob Summerlin who became an extremely wealthy cattleman in Florida. One has only to look at a photo of Fannie Knight Summerlin to realize that this was one formidable woman and that her presence and influence would dominate the impressionable mind of her young nephew with the name "Fannie".

Nevertheless, this issue brings to our attention certain facts that need close examination. The three "documented" children of John Knight and Rachel Anderson Knight are:

1777 - Mary
1778 - William Anderson
1781 - Jonathan

Then, after an 8 year gap, there are two children attributed by one or more of the Huxford authors to "John Knight R. S. and 'Fannie' Knight":

1789 - Abraham
1793 - Samuel

When there are such gaps, it is always good to slow down and pay attention and try to figure out why that gap exists. Were children born in that gap who did no survive? Was there a reason for the parents to be separated from one another for a period of time? One can note that the above is a 16 year child-bearing period; not unheard of at all, but still longish.

One of the Huxford authors says that William Anderson was born in NC (he was not) and was 1st cousin to Jonathan while another says that William Anderson was a documented son of John and Rachel Knight. The sketch of Abraham Knight states that he, too, was a son of John and Fannie and brother to Samuel. It seems pretty obvious to me that William Anderson's name gives it away: his mother was Rachel Anderson and therefore he must have been born in SC or GA and not NC, and was not a cousin of Jonathan, but his brother.

However, things may be different regarding Abraham and Samuel coming along after that 8 year gap. The two are said to be sons of a John Knight R. S. of Effingham and his wife "Fannie". On one website I found this:

John Knight RS b 1750 (m Frances Newsom ) She is buried in Union Primitive Baptist Church cemetery, Berrien Co., Ga. She was born ca 1753 & died ca 1840 in Wayne County,Ga. (Forget the part about her dying in Hillsborough Count FL in the home of her son, Samuel!)

I checked the cemetery listings for that location with the following results which I've put in a table to avoid a long list to scroll through:

Elizabeth “Betty or Louisa” Knight Carter
23 Sep 1811 – 1890
Sarah Knight Carter
1 Mar 1838 – 24 Apr 1896
Keziah Knight Jones
25 Nov 1801 – 1 Nov 1861
Amanda A Knight
15 Jun 1862 – 18 Jun 1907
Ann Donald Clements Knight
6 Aug 1802 – 13 Oct 1857
Annie Dugger Knight
16 Dec 1885 – 15 Jan 1973
Barzilla S Knight
1836 – 1863
Dicy Staten Knight
29 Sep 1826 – 10 Nov 1907
E L Knight
18 Jul 1883 – 7 Dec 1902
Eliza Carter Knight
1836 – 1863
Goldie T Knight
24 Aug 1881 – 17 Nov 1928
Idell Knight
5 Aug 1918 – 30 May 1921
Infant Knight
Birth and death dates unknown.
John Knight
14 Mar 1828 – 26 Jul 1904
John Knight
7 Jul 1807 – 1878
John Graham Knight
23 Jun 1832 – 8 May 1908
Johnathan W. Knight
16 Jan 1817 – 10 Oct 1886
Julia Ann Lee Knight
20 Sep 1851 – 29 Mar 1881
Levi D Knight
7 Nov 1848 – 14 Aug 1901
Levi Jonathan Knight
1 Sep 1803 – 23 Feb 1870
Loren R Knight
10 Oct 1904 – 17 Jun 1911
Mary Ann Davis Knight
29 Aug 1832 – 17 Sep 1902
Mary H Knight
1 Apr 1880 – 5 Sep 1920
Mary Jane Knight
27 May 1880 – 14 Jun 1898
Mollie E Knight
10 Nov 1856 – 2 Jan 1895
Nancy Knight
8 Aug 1835 – 28 Feb 1897
Nancy Ann Sloan Knight
1813 – 1852
Oran O Knight
20 Sep 1857 – 17 Oct 1893

Pearlie Carter Knight
12 Jun 1880 – 15 Sep 1928

Perry Thomas Knight
7 Mar 1877 – 16 Sep 1955
Rachel Carter Knight
8 Aug 1806 – 28 Dec 1874
Ralphi Knight
23 Mar 1906 – 17 Nov 1907
Rhoda Adella Knight
17 May 1808 – 30 Aug 1910
Mrs Sarah Cone Knight
16 Feb 1780 – 28 Nov 1859
W F Knight
24 Aug 1856 – 24 Dec 1893
Rev William Anderson Knight
16 Feb 1778 – 8 Dec 1859
William Cone Knight
8 Oct 1805 – 8 Feb 1870
William J. Knight
12 Jul 1832 – 15 Jun 1908
William Jessie Knight
16 Apr 1880 – 3 Jun 1925
Kizzie Knight Rentz
2 Jul 1840 – 25 Feb 1882
Sarah Knight Roberts
10 Oct 1809 – 21 Jan 1880

As you can see, there is no "Frances Newsom Knight" or anything that could be similarly construed.

I've searched the entire database of cemetery listings for Georgia and Florida and nowhere do I find a "Rachel Frances Anderson Knight" or any combination of those names, in the right place and time. Of course, I didn't find John Knight of Effingham either. I wonder where they might be buried and I'm sure that a search has been made with no results.

But still, we notice that the confirmed children: Mary, William Anderson, and Jonathan are all born within a year or two of each other, and then there is a gap of 8 years between Jonathan and Abraham and a four year gap between Abraham and Samuel. The associations and locations say they could be sons of John and Rachel, but Rev. Todd says they are sons of John and Fannie. There is a record of John Knight and his wife, Rachel, dated to 1799, and another dated to 1805, with both their names, so certainly, if Abraham and Samuel are sons of John Knight of Effingham, they are sons of Rachel, and not any Fannie. There is a record of John Knight of Effingham in the household of his son, Jonathan, in the 1820 census, and then a couple more records extending his life to 1822, or beyond, but no sign of Rachel as late as that. In the 1830 census, there is a record of an older female in the household of Abraham Knight in Wayne County, but she is gone after that. I would say that John Knight lived at least until 1822 or 1823, after which point he died. Most of the Knights removed to Lowndes County and elsewhere, while Abraham Knight remained in Wayne County.

Now we come to a possible source for "Fannie": the alleged bible of Rev. Samuel Knight. I have the whole issue of "South Florida Pioneers" from July/Oct 1978 thanks to a generous researcher. I'm still trying to find out if the actual Bible still exists anywhere and if anyone has photographed it. Starting with the title and TOC page:

Samuel Knight Bible

The transcript of the Bible itself starts half way down p. 17 and finishes on p. 18:

Samuel Knight Bible

Samuel Knight Bible


The big question is, of course, who wrote these records in the first place? Were they written as they happened, or did they get written down later, some time after the facts listed?

Here is what I observe: Some things are not listed in chronological order as they would have been if they were being written down as they happened by a direct witness. Notice in the last section the order of dates: 1842, 1864, 1844, 1843, 1844, 1858, 1868, 1875, 1879. The two items in bold are out of sequence though there may be a good reason for that. Aside from that, it clearly says, assuming that the 18 yr-old transcriber didn't make any mistakes, that "Faney Knight" was mother of Samuel Knight, and that she died in 1844 in Hillsborough County.

I thought about this for a few days, I went over the records I had compiled, I searched for more records. In the 1840 Lowndes County Tax Digest, I found the following:

Samuel Knight JR


What the above clearly says is that Samuel Knight had sons named Aaron, Jesse, and Samuel JR. Yet there is no Samuel JR listed in the Bible nor do most genealogies even include him. The explanation is that this entry was referring to "Joel Samuel Knight" or "Samuel Joel Knight" who was going by the name "Samuel JR " at the time, and thus was so listed in the tax digest. But then, that makes one wonder if it is possible that Rev. Samuel's name was also Joel Samuel or Samuel Joel? And Jesse Knight is listed at the END of the births. Thomas, who is listed in the births, apparently died young, so why wasn't his death recorded? The list of births of this couple goes: 1811, 1813, 1815, 1817, 1820, 1824, 1825, 1827, 1829, 1832; that's a 21 year child-bearing marathon; not impossible, but staggering.

The bottom line, however, is that the Bible record appears to have been constructed after the events it lists unless the transcriber accidentally skipped things and just added them at the end.

Was there a Fannie Knight listed as a member of this church? Is that information in an archive somewhere? I haven't seen it, but a few people seem pretty confident about Samuel himself being married to a Fannie, though the Bible above clearly gives her name as Mary. Again, I suspect that it was either a slip of the tongue or was a take-off on her second name, Nancy, i.e. Nanny to Fanny. But this is very dubious and a messy explanation.

What's more, that doesn't work for Rachel. There is no way you can construe "Rachel" as "Fanny".

Now, it is true, in transcribing literally thousands of Knight records, I've seen many cases where the man or woman chose to go by a variation of their name at different times in their lives. I've seen "Sarah Jane" going by Sarah in one census and Jane in the other. In some cases it is because they actually were two different people and one had died between censuses and another wife acquired; but there are many, many cases where it is clear that it is the same woman using one of two names that both belong to her. But usually, when that was done, the woman used whichever name she was preferring in everything, even legal documents and such. And since we find Rachel as Rachel only, right up to 1805, at which point she apparently disappears from records, I find it difficult to accept that in her daily life she was going by "Fanny" and only on land records or such was she known as "Rachel"; that just flies in the face of everything I've observed over the years collecting records.

In short, there is a possible explanation for calling Mary Nancy Roberts, wife of Samuel Knight, "Fannie" or "Nannie", but there is no explanation for calling Rachel Knight, wife of John Knight of Effingham, Fanny and giving her a second name when one was never documented. Second names were not yet all that common at the time she was born and most people didn't have one, so always be wary of double-barreled names during early times! Hopefully, if the person did have two names, you will find it on a record.

Now, please keep in mind that this is my own line, Rev. Samuel being my 3rd great-grandfather. I'm not particularly happy about the conclusions I've had to draw from the evidence, but, here is where it all leads:

There appears to be a very strong memory of a Fanny Knight as a matriarch in the picture - she is even listed in a Bible record that was compiled probably not too late, though apparently somewhat after the events - and I would like to understand why. The only conclusion I can come to that makes sense of all of the data is that John Knight and Rachel Anderson Knight were not the parents of Samuel Knight who married Mary Nancy Roberts. They were probably not the parents of Abraham Knight either. IF Fanny was, indeed, the name of Rev Samuel Knight's mother, then he must have been the son of Thomas James Knight who married Frances "Fanny" Newnan in SC and was closely associated with John Knight and Rachel Anderson in the records. They were both married by the same minister in the same location, around the same time period and, according to the records, acted in ways that strongly suggest brothers; very close brothers which could explain the close companionship of the cousins, even to the point of cousins being confused as brothers by later researchers.

Thomas James Knight seems to disappear from the records around 1790 and one suspects that he settled down and stayed in one place for a time. Of course, the loss of Georgia records from the war of 1812 affects us here. In the 1820 Wayne County census, there are two Knights: Samuel and Thomas, close in age, so apparently brothers, and with an older woman in each household who could be female relatives of either spouse of the given household. One of them could be the widow of Thomas James, i.e. Fanny Newnan Knight. Thomas is apparently deceased by this time and could have died in the war or any time after 1793 when Samuel Knight was born. If these children were left fatherless, it would have been natural for their uncle, John Knight, to take them under his wing and they would have grown up close to him and his family as later evidence shows.

"Ray City History Blog" is a "local history project of the Ray City Community Library." There are quite a few articles there about Knights, specifically, or including references to them. Since it is a library project, one suspects that they use every resource to hand to document their articles. Here is what they have to say about the Knights moving to Lowndes County GA which would probably have occurred after the deaths of their parents, John Knight and Rachel Anderson Knight:

In the winter of 1824-25 a group of Revolutionary War “Baby Boomers” came west from Wayne County, Georgia to settle in what was then Irwin County, near the area that would one day become known as Ray City, Georgia.  They were politically connected and probably had full knowledge that the huge area of Irwin county, occupying the central third of the southern Georgia, was about to be divided into smaller counties.

Among the leaders of this small band of settlers were William Anderson Knight and wife Sarah Cone Knight, his brother Samuel Knight, and his son-in-law Isben Giddens. They brought with them their families, children, livestock, and their possessions to make a new home in the new county of Lowndes, which was created from parts of Irwin County in 1826. [...]

In the winter of 1824-25 Isbin (or Isben) Giddens brought his wife, Keziah Knight Giddens, and their two young children, William and Moses Giddens from Wayne County, GA to settle in what was then Irwin County, near the present day Ray City, GA. They came along with Keziah’s brother William Cone Knight, her parents, and their minor children John, Sarah, Elizabeth, Aaron, and Jonathan Knight. Also making the move to Lowndes was Keziah’s uncle Samuel Knight, his wife Fannie, and their children Fatima, Moses, Aaron, Jesse, Thomas, and Joel. ...

About 1823 Isbin and Keziah Giddens were baptised into Kettle Creek Church in present day Ware County. Fannie Knight, wife of Samuel Knight, was a member of this church, as were Keziah’s parents, William and Sarah Knight. (Source)

Notice that Samuel is referred to as a brother of William Anderson Knight and Samuel's wife is called Fannie when we know it was Mary Nancy Roberts.

Here, let me insert the 1830 census of Lowndes County and Wayne County to show which Knights were there by that time:

GA Lowndes – Admin - Federal Census -  **  Jonathan Knight: 1 male 60-69, 1 fem 40-49, 1 male 40-49, 1 male 20-29, 1 male 15-19, 2 males 10-14, 1 male & 1 fem under 5, 4 slaves.  **   Levi J. Knight: 2 males 20-29, 1 fem 20-29, 1 male & 1 fem under 5, 1 free col male 10-23.  **  John Knight: 1 male 20-29, 1 fem 20-29.  **  William Anderson Knight: 1 male 50-59, 1 fem 40-49, 1 fem 15-19, 2 males 15-19, 1 male 10-14, free col: 1 male 10-23, 2 slaves.  **  William Cone Knight: 1 male 20-29, 1 fem 20-29, 1 fem & 2 males under 5, 1 slave.  **  Samuel Knight: 1 male 30-39, 2 fems 30-39, 1 male 20-29, 1 fem 10-14, 2 males 10-14,  1 fem 5-9, 1 male 5-9, 2 fems under 5.  **  Jonathan Knight: 1 fem 60-69, 1 male 40-49, 1 fem 20-29, 1 male 20-29, 2 fems 5-9, 1 fem & 1 male under 5.  **  Enoch Collins (husband of Fatima Knight)   **  William Knight: 1 male 20-29, 1 fem 20-29, 1 slave.   **  Jemima Tucker: 1 fem 60-69, 1 fem 15-19, 1 male 15-19, 2 males 10-14.

We don't see an older female in the household of Samuel Knight but we do see one in the household of Jonathan Knight. Jemima Tucker is there with her own household, and she is the apparently widowed mother-in-law of Jonathan Knight. Problem is, there are two Jonathan Knights above. The first one is not, I don't think, the individual listed as aged 60-69, but rather the following couple, aged 40-49. That would mean that the first Jonathan has an older male in his household who was born between 1761-1770. The same is the case for the second Jonathan Knight only he has the older woman born in that time window, 1761-1770. Since Thomas James Knight and Fanny Newnan were married in 1777 in SC, she would have been about 16 yrs old at the time, thus born 1761. (Yes, there are records of girls getting married as young as 13, and more often at 14, but it was not the standar; 16 was most common.) So, it seems to me that Fanny is in the household of Jonathan Knight, her probable nephew, at least at this point in time. Rachel Anderson Knight, having married in 1774, would most likely have been born in 1758 and thus could not be the woman listed above. Of course, I am here assuming some reliability of the census record, which was usually the case, but there are some egregious errors and sloppiness in censuses too.

Meanwhile, back in Wayne County there appears to be an anomaly:

GA Wayne – Admin - Federal Census -  **  Abraham Knight: 1 male 100 and over, 1 male 20-29, 1 fem 20-29, 1 male 10-14, 2 males & 1 fem under 5.  **  Thomas J. Knight: 1 male 30-39, 1 fem 30-39, 1 fem 15-19, 1 male 10-14, 1 fem 10-14, 1 fem 5-9, 1 male 5-9, 1 male & 1 fem under 5.  ** 

I've checked the image of the census page and what ancestry.com has indexed here for Abraham Knight is completely wrong. The census actually says: 1 male 30-39, 1 fem 30-39, 1 male 10-14, 1 fem 5-10, 1 fem and 2 males under 5. There is no male "100 and over". There is also no elderly female. So, where is the alleged Fanny Knight? She was apparently there in 1820, so she must be in Lowndes with Samuel, though temporarily living with Jonathan Knight, her nephew.

There was a settlement in FL called "Newnansville" in about 1828, named after War Hero, Daniel Newnan of NC and GA. After looking into it just a bit, it seems to be altogether possible that Fanny Newnan, wife of Thomas James Knight, may have been related to Daniel Newnan. I'll come back to this below.

Now, back to the Ray City Blog and William Anderson Knight who was a proven son of John Knight of Effingham:

William Anderson Knight chose a home site on the northwest edge of Grand Bay in what was soon to be Lowndes County. This area, in the 10th land district of Irwin County, had good water and better soil than the typical pine barrens of Wayne County. It was situated between the Alapaha River to the east and the Withlacoochee and its tributaries to the west.

William A. Knight’s place was near the route, such as it was, from Waynesville to Thomasville, GA. About nine miles to the west was Coffee’s Road; equidistant to the east was the site of Union Church, the Primitive Baptist church organized in 1825 by Reverend Fleming Bates and Reverend Matthew Albritton with the Knights, Pattens, Lees and Sirmans as founding members.

Knight and Union Church played a significant role in the rapid growth of Primitive Baptist churches throughout the Wiregrass region.  Union Church was at the head of the local organization of these churches into a Primitive Baptist Association, then known as the Ochlocknee Association. In 1833, Knight was appointed to travel these new churches to instruct them on their duties and responsibilities to the Association.  On July 13, 1833, William A. Knight along with Fleming Bates and John Tucker formed the presbytery to constitute Providence Church in “East Florida, Columbia County on Olustee,” according to the original minutes of that church.

By 1835, & when Union Church and other churches of south Georgia and north Florida sought to divide from the Ochlocknee Primitive Baptist Association, Knight served on the presbytery in the organization of the new Suwannee Primitive Baptist Association.

The Knight’s were influential in the development of Lowndes county from the very beginning, from the  convening of the first superior court to the representation in state politics. William A. Knight became the first state senator elected from Lowndes county to serve in the Georgia Assembly, and his son Jonathan Knight became the first state representative.

Following his parents , Levi J. Knight  brought his new bride, Ann Clements Herrin Knight, to homestead in Lowndes County in 1827. Anne was the daughter of the Knights’ Wayne County neighbors,  William and Elizabeth Clements.  L. J. Knight chose a spot not far from Grand Bay, on Beaverdam Creek,   where he established his  home site.  Perhaps even then he saw that the headwaters of Beaverdam Creek could some day be impounded to provide water power for a settlement.  Levi J. Knight’s homestead became the nucleus of a community, first known simply as Knight, GA that later grew into present day Ray City, GA.

An article devoted to Levi Jonathan Knight, son of William Anderson Knight:

In November of 1827 Levi J. Knight  became the original settler at Beaverdam Creek, Lowndes County, GA (now Berrien county). At the age of 24, he was already a leader,  experienced in military matters and in civil service. He was a man of action, an Indian fighter, and he was among the earliest pioneers to settle in the Wiregrass area of southern Georgia.  To this newly opened land he brought his new bride, Ann D. Herrin Knight. The couple had married just a few days earlier, on Nov 14, 1827 in an area of Wayne County that is now Brantley County, Georgia.

Levi’s parents, Sarah and William Anderson Knight, brothers Aaron Knight, William C. Knight, Jonathan Knight and others of the family connection had preceded them, having settled in Lowndes County two years earlier.  Levi J. Knight’s homestead became the nucleus of a community first known simply as Knight,  that later grew into present day Ray City, GA.

Wayne County Beginnings

Levi was born on the first of September, 1803 in Wayne County, Georgia.  His mother was Sarah Cone Knight; his father, Elder William Anderson Knight.  Levi grew up in Wayne County at the southern frontier of the young American nation. Wayne county had only been officially created by the Georgia General Assembly just three months before he was born. This land had been the ancestral home of the Creek Indians, and there was continuing conflict between the Native Americans and encroaching settlers. Despite efforts of the state of Georgia to take the Creek land by treaty,  conflicts continued as the Georgia Land Lotteries brought more settlers to the area.

Levi J. Knight’s family had been among the first to settle in Wayne county, his parents having arrived there in 1803 prior to his birth.  The Knights were well positioned in the community, and already had a long tradition of military service.  Both of Levi’s grandfathers were veterans of the Revolutionary War. His paternal grandfather, John Knight, had been a  sergeant in the 1st Georgia Battalion of Continental Troops in the American Revolution and had received several land grants in South Carolina, Georgia, and in Spanish Florida.  On his mother’s side, his grandfather was William Cone,  a Baptist pastor and Revolutionary soldier who served as a captain in McLean’s Regiment of Georgia Troops, under General Francis Marion.  William Cone served as a major in the 1st Battalion of the Richmond County Militia. ...

Everyone is so focused on John Knight that they forget his partner in many activities, Thomas James Knight who married Frances Newnan. It is the latter who are, I believe (at this point in time), the parents of Rev Samuel Knight and Abraham Knight, as well as a Thomas Knight who married Frances Mikell. The confusion about the name of John Knight's wife and the relationship of the children resulting from this confusion, may be due to slight confusion caused by the memories of the 86 year old Rev. E. L. Todd combined with gross inattention to actual records and details, but it may also have led to the clue that reminds us of Thomas James and Fanny Newnan Knight.

Coming back to John Knight specifically, somehow, out in internet genealogy-fantasy-land, some people have gone from the above data to the following genealogical abomination:

John Knight Wikitree

Perhaps whoever created this nonsense should take some time to read records; I've got plenty here and a good long piece about John Knight of Lunenburg separating the facts from the fiction. But Fake Genealogy seems to rule these days; it's really bad. Someone has even penned a text incorporating a lot of nonsense with a few facts:

After the Revolutionary War, Georgia wanted good people to come into the state and settle. Georgia passed a land law in 1777 called the "Head-Right Plan," giving the head of a family up to 200 acres of land for himself and 50 acres for each one of his family, counting his slaves, but no family could have more than 1,000 acres.

The royal governor of Georgia and the Council (sic!) advertised in the newspaper of New Bern, North Carolina, that free land in Georgia would be given to settlers. The notice began a wave of settlers from the North Carolina counties of Onlsow, New Hanover, Duplin, Sampson, Bertie, Johnston and Edgecombe that would last for over 60 years. There are very few of the early families of Bulloch and Screven Counties that do not trace to the settlers from this area of North Carolina.

I'm just curious about how there could be a "royal governor and council" AFTER the Revolution. Or did he mean before and just ordered his paragraphs in a sloppy way?

The very earliest of these families came from Duplin County as early as 1761. Luke Mizell was among those early settlers who moved from Duplin County and settled around the areas of present day Sardis and Rocky Ford.

John Knight and Elizabeth Woodson's son John Knight III, born 1748 in Surry Co., VA. The family later moved to Edgecombe County, NC. He married Rachael Frances "Fannie" Anderson 9 Jan 1774, in Cheraw Dist. Chesterfield Co., SC. Rachel Anderson was born in 1753 in Surry Co., VA.

Right here we have the core myth that has been created out of the gaps left by Lucian Lamar Knight and Folks Huxford. I have dealt with John of Lunenburg and can assure you that, based on the records, he was most likely born in 1724 or so by a first wife of John's, and that he did NOT have a son who moved to Edgecombe NC. The Edgecombe Knights were from Nansemond/Isle of Wight via Surry/Sussex and Northumberland counties, and they joined their kin there, the Bertie NC Knights, also from Nansemond/Isle of Wight.

And notice the creation of "Rachel Frances"!

John Knight, III died in 1821 in Wayne Co., GA. He is buried in Wayne Co., GA. Fannie died 2 Nov 1844 in Hillsborough Co., FL. (Many researchers agree that this John Knight was the son of John and Elizabeth Woodson.) John and Rachael Knight moved to Bullock County, GA about 1788 when their son William Alexander was about 10 years old.

In 1788, John Knight obtained Rev. War bounty land in what was then Effingham County and later Bulloch. Their son's name was William ANDERSON Knight, not "William Alexander Knight". I can only shake my head in despair at this sort of nonsense being written, much less propagated as widely as it has been.

Rachel Fannie Knight was living in Wayne County and drew a lot in the 1820 land lottery, but failed to take it up and it reverted to the state. After John Knight died, she lived with son Samuel in Hillsborough County, Florida (The South Florida Pioneers, Jul-Oct 1978 Issue).

We have examined what that issue of the "South Florida Pioneers" published, i.e. the Samuel Knight bible above. It says nothing about a land lottery, so I'd really like to see that record. What I do have in the way of records for that transaction is the following:

1820 - Jan 1 – GA Wayne – Admin – John Knight - granted Power of Attorney to “my son” Jonathan Knight” to obtain two grants for him, one in Hall County and the other in Habersham County.  He was living in Wayne County at the time.  (Folks Huxford, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Vol. 10, pp.257-259)

1821 - Jan 16 – GA Wayne – Admin – John Knight - Lot No. 119 in the 10th District, Georgia, consisting of 250 acres of land, was also granted to John Knight, a Revolutionary Soldier, of Crows District, in Wayne County, Georgia, on January 16, 1821. (Habersham 13, District 5-6, 10-12, p. 6, Sec. of State, Atlanta GA.)

Back to the fanciful bio of John Knight:

John's son, William Anderson Knight - born 16 Feb 1778 in Edgecombe Co., N.C., was also living in Wayne Co. at that time.

Notice that the author goes blithely from calling the son William Alexander to calling him William Anderson, and repeating the error of Rev. Todd that he was born in North Carolina. (I would still like to know who originated that error). I imagine that what will be made of this is that some genealogy genius will next invent "William Alexander Anderson Knight" or some such thing.

John III Knight and Fannie Anderson had at least the following children: William Anderson, Johnathan, Arbraham (sic), Mary and Samuel. According to Folks Huxford, John and Fannie had eleven children.

Still calling him "John III Knight" and referring to Rachel as "Fannie". As to the 11 children said to be claimed by Folks Huxford, I've not seen the list but I'm not going to ignore that there certainly may have been other children who died young which would be typical for the time. In fact, I even found a record of a John Knight marrying an Ann Bass in Effingham GA in 1817.  (Lucas & Wilson (1976), p. 75) He apparently died not long after because the widow married an Alexander Elkins in 1821. Was this a son of John Knight and Rachel Anderson Knight? He very well could have been. But because he died young and without issue, we know nothing about him except this scrap of a record in Effingham County.

But to continue with the prevailing nonsense:

John Knight and Elizabeth Woodson also had a son, Joseph Knight, born about 1748 in Virginia. He was still living in Virginia when his son William was born about 1774. Joseph Knight is listed in 1784 in Gloucester County (Head of Families - Virginia Census - R - 975.5293 VIR - Macon Library, Georgia). One of his early ancestor's, Peter Knight, owned land in Gloucester County and represented that county in the House of Burgess in 1684.

So wrong one does not even know where to begin. Yes, John Knight and Elizabeth Woodson had a son named Joseph. Some time before 1776, he came of age, and took his inheritance to purchase land in Mecklenburg County VA where he died in 1789 with no issue, leaving his estate in the care of his brother, Jonathan Knight of Granville NC. I have a copy of his will and it is most certainly the son of John Knight and Elizabeth Woodson Knight, so he had no possibility of traveling to SC, GA or anywhere else. He did not have a son named William, nor is he the Joseph Knight in Gloucester in 1784; entirely different family. Finally, it is vanishingly remote that John Knight of Lunenburg was a descendant of Peter Knight of Gloucester as that Peter died apparently without male issue. This is a prime example of careless research and irresponsible conflation.

Joseph's mother Elizabeth died about 1784. Joseph's son Charles was born in 1785 in Virginia according to the 1850 Census in Washington Parish, LA. Proof of his age can be found on his War of 1812 Pension application that was filed on May 4th, 1874, in which he states that he was 88 years old.

Another prime example of careless research and irresponsible conflation. There was a Charles Knight, son of Peter Knight of Albemarle Parish, Sussex VA born c. 1785. The family moved to Edgecombe NC. This Peter's father was John Knight of Sussex VA, and his second wife, Elizabeth Eppes. It can't be determined for sure that the Charles Knight in question belongs to this family, but it is possible. What is certain is that he was not the son of Joseph Knight mentioned above, who had no issue.

There are no Knight's listed on the Census of 1810 for Gloucester County, Virginia. (Microfilm Reel # M252-68) The last records of Joseph in VA were property tax records in Glouster Co., VA in 1787.

Again, the Joseph Knight of Gloucester is an entirely different person and has been conflated in this account with Joseph Knight, son of John and Elizabeth Woodson Knight; egregiously bad research and irresponsible conflation.

One researcher, Richard Welch, lists Joseph Knight's birth as 1741 and death in 1824. He found Joseph Knight had Bounty land in Effingham County in 1788. This agrees with my research that Joseph moved to Effingham County, which later became Bulloch County, in 1788, along with his brother John Knight.

Well, whoever the referenced researcher is, along with the author of this sketch, they are conflating like crazy. Joseph Knight, the son of John and Elizabeth Woodson Knight can be followed quite easily in the Lunenburg Tithables lists, and then, by the simple expedient of reading his will. He was born in 1751 and died in 1789. Full stop.

The Joseph Knight in Effingham is an altogether different kettle of fish. There IS a Joseph Knight in Sussex VA, married to a Judith, baptizing a son named William on 1774 Sep 20. It appears to me almost 100% certain that John Knight of Effingham was the son of William Knight and his wife, Mary, of Sussex VA. The baptismal records of Sussex are decent, but some gaps here and there. The associated names and probable age of this Joseph and Judith of Sussex makes it a good inference that he was another son of William and Mary, and thus, brother to John Knight of Effingham. See HERE for records of these families, most of whom moved to Edgecombe NC and some to SC and then GA.

Back to the nonsense:

*Note: John Knight, who I believe was Joseph's brother, acquired a 1000 acres of bounty land in Effingham County on August 6, 1788. This land later became part of Bulloch County.

In 1792, Joseph Knight of Effingham County sold some land in Darlington District, SC that was originally granted to John Knight 21 April 1775. Joseph and John's father JOHN KNIGHT died sometime between the writing of his will on September 7, 1771 and the probate date of March 12, 1772. So the John who originally owned the land in Darlington, SC must have belonged to Joseph's brother John. John and Joseph, observing their land transactions in Georgia, apparently traded lands occasionally.

There is some truth here. The transaction of Joseph Knight strongly suggests that he was closely related to John Knight of Effingham. And notice that he sold this land in SC, which he was probably utilizing while John had returned to Effingham. However, the author then goes on to connect this to John Knight of Lunenburg who did, in fact, die in 1772, but how that relates to a Joseph Knight selling land twenty years later, I have no idea!

But, oOn and on it goes, page after page, just willy-nilly connecting people, tossing in records here and there that "prove" what the author is saying, and no apparent awareness whatsoever of what a nightmarish mess has been made of the genealogical facts that this person did, at least, make an effort to collect. I have no idea who the author of the above is, but what I do suspect is that our ancestors are spinning in their graves at his construction!

But, as if the above wasn't bad enough, there's also this:

John F. Knight

Just WHO, pray tell, is "John Franklin Knight"??? Just look at the mess of "half" connections. This is just jaw-dropping. It's like six-year-olds doing genealogy!

I'm not going to spend any more time on all the nonsense above. You can read about John Knight of Lunenburg and his sons John and Joseph in the records collection of that family on this website. The record of the will of Joseph Knight, son of John of Lunenburg, is enough to blast the above theories to smithereens.

Recall that at the beginning of this article, I presented the most "factual" sketch of John Knight that is actually out there and it said right up front:

The names of his parents are not known at this time.

All the problems of the genealogy of John Knight of Effingham stem simply from the fact that no one has ever figured out who his real parents were and that left a gap to be filled, and the confabulators and fake genealogists wasted no time in stuffing it with the most unmitigated nonsense imaginable. I believe I have the solution and it is HERE. John Knight of Effingham is the grandson of John Knight of Sussex and was mentioned in his will. This John Knight of Sussex died ten years before John Knight of Lunenburg died, but was NOT his father. Indeed, he lists a son named John Knight, but that son would later leave a will himself.

1762 - Feb 18 – VA Sussex Will - John Knight - I, John Knight of Sussex County, being in perfect health of body and of sound mind memory and understanding (thanks be to Almighty God) do constitute, ordain and appoint this to be my true last Will and Testament hereby Revoking and disannulling all former Wills or Testaments by me heretofore made in mannoer or form following, that is to say,
  * IMPRIMIS I give and Devise to my loving son William and to his heirs forever one moity of the tract of land I live upon to be laid off adjoining to Lee’s Branch, provided always and upon condition that he pay or cause to be paid to each of my loving sons John, Joel, Edward, Peter & Richard, fifty shillings Current money of Virginia within three months after my decease.
   * ITEM I give and Devise to my loving son Jordan and to his heirs forever, the other moity of my tract of land to be laid off on that part whereon the houses now stand, provided always and upon Condition the he pay or cause to be paid to each of my loving sons John, Joel, Edward, Peter & Richard fifty shillings current money of Virginia within three months after my decease. Ialso give to my son Jordan one Bed and furniture, six Pewter Plates and two Pewter Dishes, and two Cows and Calves.
  * ITEM I give and Devise all and every part of the Residue of my Estate whatsoever to be equally Divided amongs my loving children, William, John, Jordan, Edward, Joel, Peter, Richard, Sara, Anne, and Mary, and my Grandson John, Knight, share and share alike to them and their Heirs forever.
 *  ITEM My Will and Desire is that my Estate may not be Appraised.
*  Lastly I hereby constitute and appoint my loving sons William and Jordan my true and Lawful Executors of all and every part of this my last Will and Testament.  * In WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and affixed my Seal this seventh Day of February 1760.
   * Signed Sealed and Delivered by the Testator to be his John Knight (L.S.) last Will in Present of us: Nicholas Massenburg, John Cargill, Edmund Hass (his mark)
   *At a court held for Sussex County the 18th Day of February 1762.  The aforewritten last Will and Testament of John Knight deceased was presented in Courty by William and John Knight the Executors therein named who made Oath thereto as the Same directs, and the same was proved by the Oaths of [the witnesses].. and by the Court ordered to be recorded… the motion is granted them for obtaining a Probate thereof in jue form. A. Claiborne, Esq.

Of all his children named in the will, only 3 births are listed in the Albemarle register:

*1740 Jan 8 , Peter, Bap 10 Feb sps: Peter Hawthorn, Chauncy Tatum, Mary Eppes. (born Jan 8) (Richards 1958, p. 39)
*1742 Aug 25, Sarah, Bap. 12 Sep, Sps. John Tatum, Bridget Tatum, Anne Hutchins. (Richards 1958, p. 49)
*1749 Sep 21 Mary, Bap 3 Dec sps William Hutchins, Sarah Evans, Anne King. (Richards 1958, p. 150)

That means that William, John, Joel, Edward, Jordan, Anne and Richard were born either elsewhere, or before the registry was begun/kept, or simply were not recorded or the record did not survive.  There is also a Daniel Knight present in Albemarle Parish who was most likely another son who pre-deceased his father. 

Est. d.o.b.s for these children, based on their activity in the records, would look something like this (keeping in mind that two wives/mothers are involved here: Elizabeth Jordan and Elizabeth Eppes):

1713 - William - In 1739/40 William Knight stands as sponsor to child of Jones and Anne Stokes; his own 1st child registered 1742 so he may have had more than one wife, and children before or after those recorded.

1715 - Anne – her 1st child rec 1740, Also, this would explain why William was the one who reported the death of Jones Stokes JR to the parish in 1750/1; he was her brother and the godfather of the child.

1723 - Jordan - Is full adult with taxable property in 1748 - does not reappear on the scene until 1761; 1st child rec. 1766

1725 - Richard - 1st child rec. 1746

1727 - Edward - find nothing on him but he is in the will, so must have been living at the time.

1731 - Daniel - First appearance as bap. sponsor of infant in 1752.

1736 - John JR - 1st child reg. 1757; appears as bap. sponsor in 1762

1740 - Peter - Birth recorded. Appears on schedule as bap. sponsor in 1762

1742 - Sarah - Birth recorded

1744 - Joel - appears as bap. sponsor in 1765 - He married Hannah Porch. He is last seen in Sussex in 1775. He may very well be the same Joel Knight who removed to Greensville VA before 1783 and became the father of Silas Knight who later married Mary Ann Davis there. A younger Joel Knight shows up in Fayette County GA Tax Digest for 1826; could be the same; then, in 1849, an invalid Rev War pensioner is on the Fayette GA list. This latter is certainly too old to be the same Joel Knight b. c. 1744.

1749 - Mary - Birth recorded

The grandson, John, named in the will, would necessarily be the son of William since John Knight, son of John JR who died 1791, was underage at the time of his father’s death (there is a will) and thus could not have been born before 1775. This latter may be the same John Knight who patented land in Edgecombe County 1762 Jan 10. Thus we are left with the family of William Knight and Mary (pos Andrews) as the parents of John Knight of Effingham/SC/GA.

The recorded children of William Knight and Mary Knight, with baptismal sponsors named, are:

* Charles Knight: 7 Oct 1742: Thomas Andrews, William L & Elizabeth Shelton; 
* John Knight: 17 Sep 1745: Edward Shelton, Samuel Wright, Elizabeth Alsobrook; 
* Sarah Knight: 19 Jan 1748: Samuel Harwood, Sarah King, Elizabeth Harwood; 
* Joel Knight 17 Nov 1750: Francis Redding, David Woodruff, Frances Williams; 
* Archibald Knight: 10 Jan 1750:  John Avent, John Moss, Elizabeth Carter; 
* William Knight: 18 Mar 1753: James Carter, William Ezell, Mary Bass.

And, I have posited additional children for William and Mary because of their later appearance in the Albemarle parish records; those children would be, at least, Joseph Knight and Thomas James Knight. As you see, the John Knight named in this list above, is the exact right age and involved with the exact right people, to be the John Knight of Effingham GA. Much of the family removed to Edgecombe and there are wills and records for quite a few of them there. There was a Peter Knight and a James Cherrry in Effingham GA before it was even named such! This Peter Knight was very likely the Peter b. 1740 in Sussex VA as he was closely associated with the Cherry family in NC and his granddaughter married a Cherry.

Now, and abstract of the will of John Knight JR, son of John Knight SR of Sussex county VA and his first wife, Elizabeth Jordan. In this will he names children whose births were recorded in Sussex County, and whose mother was Elizabeth Stokes Knight, as proven by the will of her father, Sylvanus Stokes SR, so it is certainly that John Knight with a second wife here and more children:

1791 - Feb 3 – VA Sussex – Will - John Knight - Of Albemarle Parish:  Wife Sarah Knight (first wife Elizabeth Stokes) my land for life and then to go to my son John Knight
*  Daughter Crecy Pippin, wife of Joseph Pippin of North Carolina.  (Lucretia b. 1760 Albemarle Parish, Sussex VA)
*  Son Walker Knight (b. 1762) 200 acres of the land I live on bounded by Spring Swamp, Charles Newsum and the land I bought from Thomas Milner.
*  Son Lewis Knight (1763).
*  Son Francis Eppes Knight (b. 1766).
*  Daughter Rhoda Knight (underage).
*  Son Silvanus Knight (b. 1770) one year of schooling.
*  Daughter Elizabeth Knight.
*  Son Charles Knight two years of Schooling.
*  Son John Knight the land I live on that I have not given to Walker Knight and he is to be put to school (he is to be under the care of Walker Knight).
*  Son Charles Knight is to be under the care of Lewis Knight.
*  Exors: Son Walker Knight, Jesse Williamson and David Mason.  Wit: Jesse Williamson, Samuel Gilliam, Benjamon Matthews and David Mason. (Will image served by ancestry.com)

Now, to clarify a few things: the following are John's children by his first wife, Elizabeth Stokes. All of them had their births/baptisms recorded in the Albemarle Parish Register. The names make it certain that the above will is that of their father.

Lydia Knight 1757 Apr 27
Lucretia Knight 1760 Apr 27
Walker Knight 1762 May 24
Lewis Knight 1763 Dec 20
Francis Eppes Knight1766 Feb 11
Sylvanus Knight 1770 Feb 5

Next, we see the additional children who were named in the will and whose mother is likely the same wife named in the will, Sarah, whose maiden name is unknown at this time. I have estimated their dates of birth:

Elizabeth Knight c. 1772
Charles Knight c. 1774 (underage, left in care of bro. Lewis)
John Knight c. 1775 (underage, left in care of bro. Walker)
Rhoda Knight c. 1776 (underage)

So, again, because of naming patterns, dates, relationships with certain families in Sussex VA, Edgecombe NC, and then continuing in SC and GA, it appears to be certain that John Knight of Effingham was the son of William Knight and wife Mary, of Albemarle Parish, Sussex County VA, and was the "grandson John Knight" named in the will of his grandfather.

In the next part of this article, I'm going to disambiguate some John Knights, show you the records that belong to them and that prove who they are, where they come from, what happened to them, and more.

Keep in mind as you read that this construction perfectly explains why John Knight of Effingham who married Rachel Anderson, named his first child "Mary" and his first son "William"; those were the names of his parents. And if you pay close attention to naming patterns, you should be able to separate the threads of the different lines. Children of John Knight tended to use the name "Rachel" and children of Thomas James Knight tended to use the name "Frances". the name Joel is also important as Joel Knight was a brother of John Knight of Effingham and his probable brothers, Joseph and Thomas James.

Finally, just for fun, have a look at a photo of Daniel Newnan, the hero patriot, next to photos of Frances Knight Summerlin and Joel Knight. Do they look like cousins to you? Just look at those eyes and noses. Too bad those awful beards are in the way.

Frances Knight Summerlin Gen. Daniel Newnan Joel Samuel Knight
Frances Knight
Daniel Newnan
Joel Knight


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