Knights of Essex

20161009_220057At the Sorbie reunion I attended a few months ago in Scotland, I learned that one of the “cousins” I met there lived in Colchester, England. I had suspected that one of my great great great grandfathers, Sebborn Gonner Knight, was born in Colchester so I asked her to take a look at the records when she had a chance. Since just about everybody at the family reunion was an enthusiastic and skilled genealogist, she was happy to oblige.

No stories from my Knight ancestry made it to my generation because Sebborn Gonner Knight and his wife Mary Elizabeth Parsons both died before their eldest son, the future Dr. J. C. Knight of Jonesboro, Indiana, was seven years old. I’m descended through J.C.’s little brother Charles who was orphaned at the age of four. All we knew was that Sebborn arrived on the ship Ontario in 1841 at the age of 21.

While no stories survived, one small book did, The Court of Persia, viewed in connexion with Scriptural Usages by John Kitto, D.D., published in London by The Religious Tract Society. It was given to S. G. Knight from his affectionate sister, S. A. K., February 20th, 1851. Yes, that’s my great great great grandfather’s autograph on the left.


Thanks to my cousin Maggie, I now know that S. A. K. was Sarah Ann Knight, one of Sebborn’s older sisters. She was the fifth and he the seventh of eight children of George Knight and Sarah Gonner. George was a seedsman when he married Sarah in 1809 at St. Peter’s Church in Colchester. Sarah Gonner was listed as a spinster in the marriage record.

Maggie also discovered that George was born on January 20th, 1784 in Messing, Essex, to Joseph and Hannah Knight. His birth was listed in the Quaker meeting records and his father Joseph, who died in 1810, was buried in the Friends Burial Ground at Coggeshall, which is not far from where my kind and diligent researcher lives.

I am very fortunate to have so many Quaker ancestors who kept such detailed records and to have met so many good friends on my recent trip to Scotland. Thank you again, Maggie!

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
This entry was posted in Dead Ancestors, Scotland 2016 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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