d.16 JUL 1853
Facts and Events
William McKnight, farmer, was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, June 29, 1777, and with his parents came to Augusta County, Virginia, in 1797. His parents, John and Mary (Patterson) McKnight, came from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Rockbridge County, in 1772, and were born in 1732 and 1741, respectively. In 1758 they were married, and the result of this union was seven sons and three daughters, of whom William was the eighth child and sixth son. The names of the others, according to their ages, were James, David, Hannah, Mary, John, Andrew, Samuel, Robert, and Isabella. William's opportunities for an education in his youth, were poor, as his father owned no land or slaves, and white people of that class were not much in demand, except occasionally as laborers. He persevered, however, and by energy and close application, secured sufficient of the rudiments of an education to enable him to teach, and after his removal to Ohio, he made out deeds and mortgages, and did considerable writing of a public character; in fact, was for some time justice of the peace. William lived at home, worked, went to school, and eventually taught school until his father's death, which occurred in 1801. He remained at home about one year after that, and in the early fall of 1802, he took a trip to Woodford County, Kentucky. After remaining there a short time, he hired on a flat-boat for a trip to New Orleans, which, at that time, was under the Spanish Government. After numerous hardships he, with the others, reached their destination. It would take three months to row a boat back, so he, after crossing Lake Ponchertrain on a small sail-boat, took his way on foot, through the almost trackless forest, for Kentucky. He camped out every night until he reached Tennessee, and then he found settlements, and made the entire distance, nine hundred . miles, in a little more than thirty days. After reaching Kentucky, he took his horse and started for home, Virginia, through Ohio, and passed over some of the land he afterward owned. In his journey there was no regularly laid out road, but a blazed trail or
trace, as they were called. It was the first road of any kind, however, in that section of the county, and a section of one of the trees being taken, and the rings counted, show the trail to have been blazed before 1786. We are indebted to Samuel McKnight, son of William, for this information. This trace extended from Waynesville to Old Chillicothe, and between these two places he saw no white man, but on the east side of Caesar's Creek he found vacated log cabins, left by the white men because of anticipated Indian troubles. Although he heard firing, he saw no Indians. He reached Augusta County in 1803, and went to work in the distillery which he and his brothers, Samuel and Robert, had started prior to his visit to Kentucky. In the winter and spring of 1804-5 he with his brother Samuel came to Ohio to purchase laud, and after locating what they -wanted, they found the owners lived in Richmond, Virginia. They then returned home, and the same year William went to Richmond and purchased the land, one thousand acres, of Pickard, Pollard & Johnson, Robert Gibbous' survey. In September, 1807, they sold their distillery interests, and with their brother David and others, forming a colony, they set out for Ohio, by way of Harper's Ferry, through Pennsylvania, and by that way, as they could not cross the mountains to cone in a direct line. In 1808, he went back to Virginia, and married Jane Fulton, and started for Ohio immediately, three horses serving to transport themselves and personal effects.. The result of this union was three sons and three daughters: Hannah, John, Margaret, Mary, Samuel, and David; the daughters are now deceased, but the; three soils are living, two of them married ; John to Sarah B. Davis, and David was married to Emma J. Adams, Rappahannock County, Virginia, April 23, 1868. They have four children, Hannah, William, Mary, and Robert, aged, respectively, eleven, nine, five, and two years. David lives on part of the tract originally owned by his uncle Samuel. Samuel, the other son, is yet unmarried, and in his sixty-fourth year, but looks no more than fifty. Mrs. McKnight died August 6, 1825, and the house work then devolved on Hannah, the eldest daughter. She never married, and remained at the old homestead until her death, September 22, 1868. Mr. McKnight never married again, but lived there with Hannah until his death, which occurred July 16, 1853. Prior to his death, however, he made a will, and gave his land jointly to his sons and daughters, leaving their share in money. His sons lived thus amicably together until 1861, when they divided the laud. They had before this, however, purchased more land together as partners, and in the division John took the homestead, with two hundred and twenty-six acres, and Samuel two hundred and twenty-six acres; this took all originally willed by the father, and David got the farm they had all purchased together, after paying the difference of twenty-four acres, which was in the new farm. All these men occupy enviable places in society, and are loved and respected by their neighbors.
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