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McKnight, James G.

JAMES G. McKNIGHT, living at No. 2 Hickory street, Sharpsville, was born in Pymatuning township, Mercer county, March 4, 1831, a son of Robert and Eupherna (Coon) McKnight, both born in Westmoreland county, this state, and a grandson of David McKnight, who farmed in both Westmoreland and Mercer counties. He was also a justice of the peace and a member of the Seceder church.

On his father's farm in Westmoreland county Robert McKnight grew to manhood's estate, and when twenty years of age he came to Mercer county, married and began farming in Pymatuning township. He followed general agricultural pursuits and was never in debt, always having paid cash for his purchases. Three of his eldest sons also took up the work of the farm, but James and his younger brother learned the blacksmith's trade. During James K. Polk's administration Mr. McKnight, the father, voted with the Democratic party, but later became a Republican, and during the war of 1812 he was a valiant soldier. He never cared for the honors or emoluments of public office, but was a quiet, industrious man, honored and esteemed wherever known. Both he and his wife died on the old homestead in Pymatuning township, he having been laid to rest at the good old age of more than eighty years, the father of eight children, five sons and three daughters, but all are now dead with the exception of James G., the sixth born.

During his boyhood days James G. McKnight worked on the farm during the summer months and attended school in the winters, continuing work and study alternately until he had reached his sixteenth year, when, on the I2th of April, 1847, he began learning the blacksmith's trade. After three years as an apprentice in that line he engaged in business for himself in Pymatuning township, locating on the hill west of the home farm. This was in the year of 1850, and he continued in business there for nine years, at the close of that period going to Sharon, where he spent eighteen years in all, working for others during the first seven years of that time. During eleven years he worked in Greenville, after which he was in business there with a partner for four years, from there returned to Sharon, and in 1887 he came to Sharpsville and was for twenty years in the employ of the Allis Furnace Company. During his residence here he has served one term as a member of the school board and he was also at one time the auditor of Pymatuning township. He is a Prohibitionist in his political sympathies.

On the 10th of October, 1850, Mr. McKnight was married to Nancy Haun, who was born in Clarksville, Mercer county, November 5, 1828, a daughter of Adam and Mary (Hayes) Haun. The father, born in Hagerstown, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, March 4, 1783, died at the age of ninety-three years in 1876, and the mother was born in Mercer county in October, 1803, and died in September, 1892. In their family were eleven children, all of whom attained to years of maturity and nine are now living: John, eighty-six years of age; Nancy, wife of Mr. McKnight; George, seventy-eight years of age; Cyrus, who served in the Civil war, and has now reached the age of seventy-six; Susan, seventy-four; Simeon, seventy-two; Margaret, seventy; Adam, sixty- seven ; and Lambert, sixty-four. George served for four years during the Civil war in an Iowa regiment of cavalry. Simeon enlisted in the Fifty-seventh Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers in that conflict, was in many battles and skirmishes, and during twenty-two months was a prisoner of war, first at Libby and then at Andersonville prisons. Mr. Haun, the father, was both a miller and farmer in Pymatuning township, well known throughout the entire county of Mercer. He voted with the Democratic party and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. McKnight, namely: Mary, who became the wife of John S. Throne and died at the age of thirty-seven years, two months and eight days; Jane, the wife of John Metcalf; Sarah H., wife of David Joslyn; Amelia, wife of William Southard; George, who died in infancy; Frank, who married Alary Wilson; and Harry, who married Nellie Forsythe. Mr. and Mrs. McKnight also have eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. They have been honored members of the Methodist Episcopal church for sixty-one years, and for over fifty-eight years of that time he has been a member of its official board, while for seventeen years he has been the secretary and treasurer of his church and for fifty-eight years a class leader. Mr. and Mrs. McKnight have traveled the journey of life together for many years, and have lived to celebrate their golden wedding, on which occasion a local paper fittingly published the following article:

"A very enjoyable social time was spent at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. G. McKnight on Wednesday, October 10, 1900, it being the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. The day was beautiful, and as the friends assembled from Sharpsville, Transfer, New Hamburg, Fredonia and David City, Iowa, each one seemed to imbibe the social atmosphere and joined in the spirit of the home. The singing was beautifully rendered by Rev. Teats and daughter, Rev. Ginader, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Gaylord, Mrs. Montgomery and Mr. J. G. McKnight, who sings with as much devotion and fervent love for the songs of praise as he did fifty years ago. A bountiful repast was served at noon, after which social converse, singing, the recitation by Miss May Teats of a fine poem composed by her father, and the solo, 'The Heavenly Railway,' by Rev. Teats, was enjoyed by all present.

"Mr. and Mrs. McKnight were the recipients of some beautiful presents, which are highly valued by them, but they value the friendship that prompted the gift more than gold. Among the guests present was a sister of Mr. McKnight and her husband, who six years ago celebrated their golden wedding, and we are informed that the parents of Mrs. McKnight lived seventy years of wedded life.

"Appropriate remarks were made by Revs. Ginader and Teats, the former offering the closing prayer. Between sixty and seventy-five persons were present and felt it had been a day happily spent and left with good wishes for Mr. and Mrs. McKnight and family."


 

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