November 17, 2012

John Henry Knight Family

From Our Island Heritage, Vol. 2 - Compiled by Sophie Haley & Mickie Smith - Commemorating Frontier Days 1977 - June 24-25, 1977 - Sicily Island, Louisiana:

John Henry Knight, a native of Pelahatchie, Mississippi, moved to Sicily Island with his family at the age of seventeen.  John was the son of William Bryant and Sallie Myers Knight.  He was born on August 14, 1871Sometime around 1880 William Bryant Knight moved his family to Victoria, Texas and it was from there in October of 1888 he brought them by covered wagon to the Island.   Mr. Knight secured farm land about halfway between the villages of Florence (now Sicily Island) and Harrisonburg where they lived for several years.  Their place later came to be known as Knight's Landing as people boarded boats there on their way to New Orleans.

It was on Sicily Island that John met and was married to Miss Lillie Margaret Ballard, daughter of Oliver Goldsmith Ballard and Margaret Sargent Ballard, on December 5, 1897.   Lillie was born on April 11, 1876John and Lillie moved into the village of Florence and he began working in a store owned by  Thomas J. Chisum.  After a time, John and Lillie decided to go into business for themselves so they moved to Winnsboro, Louisiana and ran a livery stable.  It was while they were living in Winnsboro that their child, Sallie (Fairbanks) was born.  

They returned to Sicily Island to operate a store. The building in which Mr. Knight began his store had been built by a Mr. Carter.  Lillie Ballard Knight's sister, Laura Eveline Ballard (Chisum), clerked in the store for her brother-in-law.

An ell connected to the store with a double doorway provided living quarters for the family.  Here they lived with the first six of their seven children:  John Barkley, Margaret "Maggie", Sallie, Olga Laura, Coan Ira, and Rufus, until 1913 when the building was destroyed by fire.  Fire on the Island

The family rented a place to live for two years while the store was being rebuilt.  During this interval the seventh child, Ione "Babe" Nellie, was born.

Knight House, 2011

By 1915, the Knights had also completed the present Knight home, a spacious two story building designed to accommodate the growing family.

Knight's Store sold general merchandise; anything from farm equipment to dry goods, groceries, and special treats.  It is remembered by some of the early settlers that at Knight's Store one could buy apple cider by the dipperful for a nickle, or if you preferred to be fastidious, you could have it served from a common drinking glass.  Mrs. Ruth Peniston Lee recalls that she was often sent to the store by her mother who would generally admonish her not to go into Mr. Knight's living quarters which opened directly into the store.  However, she could never resist peeping around the opening.  Usually Mrs. Knight would see her and invite her in to see the baby; an invitation she was always delighted to accept. (Editor's Note:  The ATM building for Sicily Island State Bank is presently located on the original site of the Knight Store) 

John Henry Knight died on January 30, 1956.  Lillie Margaret Ballard Knight died on April 5, 1960.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Children born to the marriage of John Henry and Lillie were:
John Barkley, 1898-1977 (m. Ursula Dupoint)
Margaret "Maggie", 1899-1984
Sallie I, 1901-1977 (m. Dr. Russell Usher Fairbanks
Olga Laura, 1903-1977 (m. Alvin Lewis Seal)
Coan Ira, Sr., 1905-1977 (m. Nora Louise Dennis)
Rufus, 1907-1966 (m. Willie Evans)
Ione Nellie "Babe", 1915-1994   

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