yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

The Blount Family

from the research of Charles G. McKnight
published 28 October 2005

The following research was done for the purpose of obtaining supplemental applications to the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) for the Blount Patriots and to obtain further information about my Blount ancestors. My Blount ancestors came to the colonies in 1650-1660's. Captain James Blount (1620-1686) is the progenitor of this line.

      James Blount (1620-1686)
         Thomas Blount (1650-1706)
            John Blount (1695-1764)
               John Blount (1718-1790) (Rev. War)
                  Philip Blount (1740-1801) (2nd Lt., Rev. War)
                     John Blount (1765-1816)
                        Elias Blount (1793-1870)
                          John H. Blount (1829-1876)
                             Laura A. Blount (1869-1941)
                               Arbon Grady McKnight (1897-1976)
                                  Charles Grady McKnight (1929-Living).

Capt. James Blount and sons, James and Thomas, migrated to the Isle of Wight, VA, and later to Albermarle County, NC. John Blount (1695-1764), John Blount (1718-1790), Philip Blount (1740-1801) and John Blount (1765-1816) were born in NC. John Blount (1718-1790) and his son, Philip Blount (1740-1801), settled in Bladen County/Robeson County, NC, in the mid 1700's (Reference: Notes on Blount Ancestry, pp 81-85, by James Blount MacLeod). In the early 1830's Elias Blount, his wife, Frances Packer (1806-1852), his brother, Allen Blount, and sister, Nancy Blount Norman migrated to Perry County, TN where Elias farmed and taught school. Nancy died December 1835 in Perry Co. TN and Allen migrated on to Arkansas in the preceding years.

Letters written by Elias Blount to his brother, James Blount, in North Carolina dating from his arrival in Tennessee in the early 1830's to his death in 1870, described the fertile land along the Tennessee River, the abundance of wild life, and everyday adventures in their new home. Elias and Frances had the following children:

  1. Amanda Blount Welch (d 1851)
  2. Helen Blount Rhodes     
  3. John H. Blount (1829-1876)     
  4. Richard Blount (b 1832)     
  5. Mary Blount Bright (b 1834)     
  6. Elizabeth Blount Walker (b 1836)     
  7. Christopher Blount (b 1838)     
  8. Winnie Blount Welch 1842-1914)     
  9. Joseph Martin Blount (1846-1856)

Elias and Frances Blount are buried at Campground Cemetery, Decatur Co., TN.

John H. Blount first married Lucinda C. Yarbro and they had children:

  1. Joseph Martin Blount (1858-1929)
  2. William Blount (1860-1908)

John then married Mary E. Flowers (1844-1916) and they had children:

  1. John H. Blount, Jr. (1864-1900)     
  2. Henry Clay Blount (1865-1896)     
  3. Fannie Blount Hale (1867-1931)     
  4. Laura A. Blount McKnight (1869-1941)     
  5. Millard F. Blount (1872-1924)     
  6. James Duncan Blount (1874-1914)

After the death of John H. Blount in 1876, Mary Flowers Blount married John Burns, and they had Flora Burns McLemore Davis, half sister to the above. John H. Blount is buried at Campground Cemetery, Decatur County, TN. Mary Flowers Blount Burns is buried at Summertown Cemetery, TN.

Laura A. Blount married Elijah White McKnight (1859-1912) on 6 August 6, 1887 (Decatur County Marriage Records) and later that year migrated to Hunt County, TX along with Elijah's Mother, Lavenia Rushing Davis McKnight Pearcy, and his three half brothers, Joel Asberry Davis, Granville Holly Pearcy, and Oliver S. Pearcy. Joel, Granville, and Oliver stayed in Hunt County until their deaths.  [see also, Lavenia Rushing]  Elijah and Laura farmed in the Cumby, Hunt County, area for a while then went to Dallas County where he was a teamster/over seerer of the farm hands and she was a matron at Buckner's Orphans Home in Dallas. Laura and Elijah had a total of seven children, three dying at birth.

  1. Austin H. McKnight (1888-1907)     
  2. Bessie McKnight Strickland (1890-1919)     
  3. Freddie L. McKnight (1894- before 1907)     
  4. Arbon Grady McKnight (1897-1976).

Laura and Elijah had a very difficult and tragic life. In less than 25 years, Laura had lost all of her children, except my father, two grand children, her husband, and most of her brothers and sisters. Before 1900 Laura had lost two children at birth. Sometime after 1900 Laura lost another child and Freddie died in an accident while playing with other children on a swing. In 1906, their only daughter, Bessie, married Marvin Strickland who ran a grocery store in Lone Oak, TX. In 1907 Austin was kicked in the head by a horse and died of his injuries. In October 1907 their first grandchild, Marie Strickland was born. In 1911 their second grandchild, Leland Strickland, was born. In the spring of 1912 Elijah died after a lengthy illness.

In 1916 Laura was heart broken when Bessie and her family moved to Amarillo, TX to start a grocery store. Marvin's brother, Robert Strickland and his wife Lorena Cox Strickland, also moved to Amarillo. Bessie wrote many letters to her mother describing the everyday life in the Texas Panhandle and the sometimes desperate hardships they endured. In July 1919 they went on a picnic at a ranch just north of Amarillo. They set up their camp on the banks of Amarillo Creek and while Marvin and Robert went off hunting, the two young ladies set about fixing lunch while the children played in the creek. One of the children stepped off into a sink hole, the other child went in after the first, then Bessie went in after her children. Last Lorena went in after the three of them and they all drown in a 10-12 foot deep sink hole. Their bodies were recovered and shipped by train back to Greenville, TX, where they were buried together in Friendship Cemetery, Cumby, Hunt County, TX.

Laura kept in touch with her siblings in Decatur County, TN and Ensley, Alabama and saved over 100 letters from her family and friends dating from 1906 until her death in 1941. Laura and Elijah are buried at Pleasant Mound Cemetery, Dallas, Texas.

Laura was very protective of her only surviving son, Arbon Grady McKnight. Arbon "Jack" or "A.G." married Elouise Horton (1910-1996) in June 1928 in Dallas, Texas. They had the following children:

  1. Charles Grady McKnight (1929-Living)
    1. Charles Terry McKnight (1954-Living)
      1. Logan Elizabeth McKnight (1985-Living)
      2. Kelsey Ann McKnight (1986-Living)
      3. Michael Charles McKnight (1987-Living)
    2. William Grady McKnight (1960-Living)
      1. Emily Marie McKnight (1985-Living)
      2. James Edward McKnight (1988-Living
  2. Hugh Douglas McKnight (1932-Living)

Arbon died of cancer in 1976 and Elouise died of Alzheimer's in 1996. They are buried at Restland Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

Submitted by:

Charles G. & Susan J. McKnight
1919 Rocky Court
Corinth, Texas 76208-5193

Charles and Susan also submitted Lavenia Rushing.

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