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Knight Family History
Joseph Jr. Knight
Nahum Esther Newel Anna Joseph Jr. Polly Elizabeth

  • Birth: 21 June 1808, in Halifax, Windham County, Vermont
  • After 3 years of poor crops, family moved to Bambridge Township and in 1811 settled in Broome County at Colesville, New York.
  • In 1826 Joseph Smith, Jr. hired on as a hand on the Knight farm. Both Joseph Jr’s. worked and slept together. The Prophet told both Joseph Knights about his heavenly vision. They believed him as the first outside the Smith family. A life-long friendship was formed.
  • 1829: Joseph Smith, Jr. was engaged in translating the Book of Mormon. He asked the Knights for $50 to sustain him. Joseph Knight, Jr. sold a house lot and gave him the money he requested, and a one horse wagon. He wrote, “My father and I often went to see him and carry something to live upon.” This was the first of many trips to Harmon, Pennsylvania (30 miles) to bring provisions so Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver could continue the work of translation.
  • 6 April 1830: Joseph Knight, Jr. was among the twenty four Knight relatives who were present when the Church was officially organized.
  • 28 Jun 1830: He was baptized by Oliver Cowdery in a dammed stream in Colesville with many Knight Relatives, in spite of persecutions of the local mob. That evening he was present when the Prophet was arrested on false charges. His father hired two lawyers who acquitted him.
  • Summer 1831: Joseph Jr. and Newel has been trained as millers and farmers by their father. The Prophet called for the New York saints to move to Ohio. They left their property in the hands of a lawyer to sell and used Joseph Jr’s $50 sleigh to travel to Thompson, Ohio. It is not known if they were able to sell their beautiful property by the Susquehanna River. Their group numbered sixty seven relatives. Most went by water, but Joseph Knight, Jr. and some others went by land because of the ice on Lake Erie
  • May 1831: A new revelation (D&C 51) gave a law of consecration. Joseph, Jr. accepted it and deeded (12 October 1832) over his property to the bishop who in turn returned to him what he needed for his family. That deed (copy) is in the hands of the family today.
  • 22 March1832: Joseph, Jr. married Betsy Covert.
  • After a short time, the Colesville branch was instructed to move to “Zion” in Missouri as the first group of saints to settle there. Joseph, Jr. was among the migrating Knight clan.
  • Joseph, Jr. was one of eight Knights who donated ($20) to the Kirtland Temple building fund.
  • October 1933: Jackson, County- A mob boasted they would tear down Joseph, Jr’s mill. Sixty men from the branch protected the mill and saved it from destruction.
  • December 1833: Jackson County-Joseph Jr’s loses to the mob included a mill and house burnt down, three acres of land lost, fifty peach trees, hay and corn. The family escaped to Clay County.
  • Joseph Jr. stayed behind three weeks longer than the family to grind flour for the saints till the 1st of Dec. 1833; “When I left I went into Clay Co. with meal and flour which the Saints used ‘till all got houses where I was.”
  • March 1834: In Clay County, Joseph, Jr., and Newel built a new mill for the exiles from Jackson County on the new land they purchased.
  • Persecutions forced another migration to Far West. Joseph, Jr. and Newel tried to finish the mill in Clay County but they had to leave in 1837 and received no compensation for the mill. In his absence Betsy bought sixty one acres and built another house,
  • In the summer of 1838, Joseph, Jr. “was taken sick and came very near dying”, but survived.
  • Summer of 1837: Joseph, Jr. and Newel had a dispute. Joseph, Jr. felt his brother owed him $14 for work he had done for Newel.. Bishop Partridge and family arbitrated and supported Newel’s defense, but he agreed to pay the claim in the interest of keeping peace between the two brothers.
  • Fall of 1939: Joseph, Jr. bought a team and wagon to move his family out of Missouri. The Committee of Removal borrowed the team and he never saw it again. He borrowed another team and finally moved to Lima, Illinois.
  • In 1840, Joseph, Jr. and sister Elizabeth were among the first of the Saints to be baptized for the dead in the Mississippi River. He went to work; building a mill for a man named Mikesell, “but did not get all my pay.” He also cut 22 cords of wood but it was stolen. He moved from La Harpe to Nauvoo in 1943 after Joseph Smith, Jr. asked him to operate a mill there.
  • August 1842: Joseph Smith, Jr. entered the names of Joseph Knight, Sr., Newel, and Joseph, Jr. into the Book of the Law of the Lord because of his love of these Knight men. The Prophet gave his cane to Father Knight on the streets of Nauvoo who was lame and instructed it be given to descendants who also were named Joseph. Joseph Knight, Jr. received the cane after his father died, and it was passed down to the next generations according to the Prophets wishes.
  • 25 June 1845: Father Knight bestowed the birthright on Joseph, Jr.. This angered Newel who was senior to his younger brother.
  • 4 February 1845: Joseph, Jr. and Betsey Covert were sealed in the Nauvoo temple with many other Knight relatives.
  • September 1946: Joseph, Jr. and family were among the last to leave the “poor camp” in Montrose, Iowa. They experienced the “miracle of the quail.” Joseph, Jr. was appointed as a captain of ten families.
  • 22 October 1846: “Bishop” Knight (Joseph, Jr.) was appointed as an agent to trade and forage for supplies. He was ordained either in Nauvoo or on the trail.
  • When they arrived in Council Bluffs, Bishop Knight was set apart over a ward of 210 Saints. His main duty was to provide for the temporal needs of the poor refugees.
  • 19 November 1847: Joseph, Jr. married a second wife named Adeline Johnson. No children were born to this union. Family tradition indicates that he was assigned to care temporally for this woman. He held a ball to raise funds for the poor, and participated in a “whiskey raid” and confiscated five barrels of whiskey.
  • April 1848: Elders George A. Smith and Ezra Taft Benson praised Bishop Knight for his care of the poor, “Bishop Knight has been running about here, taking care of the poor, as he could not get but little help from the people, they being so busy raising potatoes, etc., he has been very diligent and has done the best in his power.”
  • 5 June 1850: The Joseph, Jr. Family as a part of the Benjamin Hawkins Company left for the west; they had no trouble with the Indians and lost only three souls in the journey. The Knights wagons stretched out for one half of a mile.
  • They reached the valley on 9 September 1850 and settled in the and nineteenth ward. Here, he married again, Abba Weldon, a widow. Again, family tradition is that he was assigned to care also for this woman temporally as there were no children born to this marriage. Since Joseph’s only son died, he was concerned about preserving the Knight name in his posterity. Pres. Young advised him to marry a young English convert, named Mary Woolerton who would give him sons, and a daughter Katherine who did not live. She gave him two sons, Joseph, III, and Miland. The latter son had ten sons which insured him of a large male posterity.
  • 3 November 1866: Joseph, Jr. died in Salt Lake City, a faithful member of the Church to the very end. His posterity now number in the hundreds of thousands in many parts of the world, carrying on the heritage which he left his descendants. He served a mission to the Moqui Indians in Arizona with Jacob Hamblin.
  • If you have historical Knight family information to present on this site, please contact the Knight family at: info@josephknightfamily.org