By Jonathan K. T. Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1996


(Page 94)

Situated on a slight rise at the end of a field, about .2 mile directly south of the deadend of Oakwood Drive which deadend is .2 mile south of the juncture of Oakwood Drive and Parkburg and Old Malesus roads to Highway 18. There are only two large fieldstones now marking graves at this burial site but according to Mr. Johnny M. Tyler, Bolivar highway, Madison County, when he was at this graveyard with Mr. Marvin McKnight about thirty years ago, there were perhaps as many as a half-dozen fieldstones in situ. There are several very old cedar trees nearby as they were reportedly when these two men were at this location together. Mr. Tyler stated on October 21, 1996 to Jonathan Smith that on this occasion Mr. Marvin McKnight had told him that his own great-grandfather, Captain Will McKnight, was buried there.

On October 23, 1996 Jonathan Smith visited this graveyard in company with Mr. J. B. Duck who has lived nearby, on Oakwood Drive, since 1969. He told Smith that soon after he moved to this neighborhood an older man, Mr. Walter Butler, showed him this graveyard, calling it the McKnight graveyard and pointed out towards the open field mentioned above where the old house-place had been many years ago; how he knew about this house, by report or from having seen and remembered a very old dwelling near this location is not now known. From the public records it is established that there were McKnights in this neighborhood long before the Civil War and at least one William McKnight died in Madison County in the 1850s. Likely there are the remains of several of the first and second generations of the McKnight family in Madison County buried in unmarked and essentially forgotten graves in this graveyard.

Below are photographs of the two fieldstones in the McKnight Graveyard, taken on October 23, 1996.

[HTML editor's note: xeroxed photographs too poor to reproduce.]


(Page 95)

From "Malesus Community," a paper read by Mrs. Elizabeth Woodson Tate to the Madison County Historical Society, appearing in THE JACKSON SUN, June 22, 1945:


        William McKnight immigrated from Scotland in 1767 and located in Williamson County, Tennessee near Shannon Cross Roads. About 1821 he moved to Madison County and settled six miles south of Jackson near Malesus.
        William McKnight's first wile was Miss Shannon and children were James, Elizabeth, Sam, William, Lucy, Robert and John.
        His second wife was Polly Price. The children were Christana, who married John Harton; Richard, who married Katherine Rienes; Lucy, who married Lizzie Reeves.
        James McKnight's children were Tom (and his family, Will, Bob, Hubert, Jessie. Mesdames Katie Glenn, Dick King and Earl Ross). Luella Williams, (whose daughters are Mesdamnes Lucius Jones, Buera Noose and N. T. Matthews); Mrs. Sam Morrow (two sons were Jackson and Robert); Mrs. Eldridge Newsom moved to Texas; Ferd Mc-Knight married Mary Ellen Lester and their children were Mrs. Alice Aldridge, Mrs. F. B. Mooring, Buck, Pope, Earnest and Robert.
        Richard (Dick) and Katherine McKnight's family were Mrs. Mart Day; Robert married Ann Smith; Jeff married Dee Shelton and their children were Jeff, George, Dick and Mrs. Zula Day; Nip McKnight married Lena Smith whose children are Mrs. Hubert Legg, Mrs. Martin Exum, Mrs. Will Chester, Margaret, Mary and Marvin.
        William McKnight was a school teacher and suryeyor and laid out the city of Jackson about 1821. Jackson's original border was, Northern boundary, College Street; East, Royal Street; South, Chester Street, and West, Shannon Street. He named Shannon Street for his first wife's family.
        Dick McKnight owned land from Greasy Hollow and the Old Mill (East of Malesus) back west to the Malesus highway and from there all of the territory south to the Ebenezer cemetery. The Old Mill on Meridan Creek was a busy place, grain to grind all the year, cotton in the fall and was a place of scenic beauty.


Madison County Will Book 6, pages 492-493:
Will of WILLIAM McKNIGHT, Madison County. Negroes and property to son CALEB McKNIGHT; son THOMAS McKNIGHT; son-in-law, WILLIAM CASON; children of son JAMES McKNIGHT; son-in-law, JAMES CASON; son HUGH McKNIGHT. Son CALEB to sell rest of property and proceeds given to grandchildren; $200 each to THOMAS VANCE, GEORGE VANCE, MARY STEWART, LUCINDA TEAGUE. $100 to ABNER TEAGUE. Whatever residuary estate left to sons THOMAS, JAMES and CALEB. January 5, 1856. Witnesses: A. S. Rogers, Hiram Johnson. [HTML editor's comment: This is the second generation William McKnight.]

Madison County Court Minute Book 8, page 62, shows that this will was probated September 7, 1857.

Madison County Deed Book 23, pagres 25-26:
THOMAS McKNIGHT, New Orleans, La., gave power of attorney to CALEB McKNIGHT, Madison Co., Tenn., to receive for him any legacy coming to him from the estate of his father, WILLIAM McKNIGHT. September 18, 1857. Registered April 15, 1861.

U.S. Census, 1850 (Sept. 28), Civil District 8 (in which Malesus was located), page 567:
WILLIAM McKNIGHT, aged 60, born in Tennessee, farmer
NANCY McKNIGHT, aged 58, born in Georgia
EMILY McKNIGHT, aged 17, born Tennessee
FRANKLIN McKNIGHT, aged 30, born Tennessee
JANE McKNIGHT, aged 24, born Tennessee
ROBERT McKNIGHT, aged 3, born Tennessee
NANCY McKNIGHT, aged 3 months, born Tennessee

The public records of Fayette Co., Tenn. reveal that a FRANKLIN McKNIGHT was married to an ELIZA BUCKLEY, November 14, 1843.

In the U.S. Census, 1860 (July 30), Civil District 8, page 137, FRANK McKNIGHT is given as age 40; ROBERT McKNIGHT, aged 13; NANCY McKNIGHT, aged 10; NANCY McKNIGHT, SR., aged 70; EMILY McKNIGHT, aged 27; MARCUS McKNIGHT, aged 35.


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