John Knowles1749

John Knowles 1749

Back to List
Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in USA

GGGGG Grandfather John W Knowles was born in Ireland in the town of Ballymena, on the River Main in County Antrim, parish of Ahoghill, the 4th of July, 1749

DAR Unveils John Knowles Monument

as printed in the Sparta Expositor
Thursday, September 11, 1969

....God shed his grace on thee, and crowned they good, with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea......

Thus America was praised, and one who helped gain liberty for this foundling nation almost 200 years ago was honored.

The local chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution unveiled a monument at the grave of pioneer White Countian John Knowles at Mr. Pisgah Cemetery Sunday.

Knowles, a revolutionary soldier, came to White County from Virginia, in the early 1800s, settling in the Mr. Pisgah neighborhood--the site of his home being just behind the present church and cemetery. He is the ancestor of the Knowles clan in White County--and possibly has more descendants in this county than any other man.

Among those taking part in the ceremony were Regent Mrs. Bob Sorrell, Mrs. Lela Taylor, Miss Gertrude Saylors, Mrs. Olivia Knowles Young, Willard Hudson, Jerry Jared, C.L. Fisher, Jack Wright and Freeman Ward, who accepted the monument on behalf of the descendants.

Some one hundred persons gather under the cedar trees in the cemetery for the ceremony, and blended their voices in the singing of "America" to open the dedication.

Miss Saylors, a descendant of Mr. Knowles , read the history of John W. Knowles, adding a bit about the present day family. Her address follows:

John W. Knowles was born July 4th, 1749, in the Echochel parish of Antrim County, in the town of Belemenah, Ireland. He married Mollie (surname unknown) in Ireland. Although he was Irish, it is said he was not a big "talker".

As a young man he took part in one of Ireland's Rebellions. The British Army crushed this rebellion and sentenced some of the leaders to hang...John Knowles was one of them. Before the British could execute him, his sister tied bed sheets together and lowered him from an upper story of the jail. He never saw his sister again.

He and Mollie, his wife, and their two little sons, escaped the country and crossed the sea to our American Colonies. He was living in Pennsylvania when we Americans rebelled against British Rule in this country. John Knowles volunteered for 12 months tour of duty in the American cause, 1775.

The first year he served as private: providing beef cattle for the soldiers. The second year, he served as a sergeant, guarding the Carlisle Barracks, for 12 months. Except, for this one year of guard duty, he was directed to provide beef cattle for the soldiers and forage for the army horses.

When he would start these cattle to slaughter at headquarters, for the soldiers, he routed the cattle by his home, near Shippenburg, PA, so he could call by to see his wife and one child. (one child must have died after they reached America.)

John W. Knowles reenlisted each year for 12 month tours of all, he served about six years or, until Cornwallis surrendered. Among several things John Knowles stated under oath, was that he had seen General George Washington, and General Green--he saw, them, he said, but had no personal acquaintance with them.

Following the American Revolution he moved to Augusta County, VA. There, his daughter, Elizabeth , married Archibald McDaniel, 1795. Archibald, was also a veteran of the Revolution. He and Elizabeth moved to Tennessee. When Archibald became ill to die, he left it to John Knowles to select a place to bury him. The rectangular spot, encased by large stones, flush with the ground, (in Mt. Pisgah Cemetery) was Knowles' choice. It was on Knowles' own farm. McDaniel was buried in 1808 and his is said to be the first grave in what became the large Mr. Pisgah Cemetery.

From Augusta County, VA, John Knowles moved to Amhurst County, and finally to Pendleton County, from which he moved to Tennessee to the place just across the hedgerow east of the cemetery. A large Buncombe apple tree-perhaps a second generation sprout from an original Buncombe apple tree, set out, no doubt by Knowles himself, may be seen at the old home place. The last of the old log house has not been gone too long.

As to the dispute regarding John Knowles or W. W. Phillips being the first sheriff of White County: (many old timers say they always heard that John Knowles was the first sheriff) Monroe Seals , who married into the David Goodwin family (David, in another capacity, being one of White County's first officials)and of necessity, crossing paths with whomever the fist sheriff had been: Seals, author of "White County History" said, Knowles, not W.W. Phillips was the first sheriff. Mrs. Mary Mitchell says, "Phillips' name, as first sheriff, is on the books. Mrs. McDowell Blankenship, author of "The Uneven Yoke", states that John Knowles was appointed "deputy" sheriff of White County in 1807. This word "deputy" may be the solution to the dispute.

Mollie Knowles, wife of John W. died about 1821 and according to custom was buried in their private family plot, that became the large public Mr. Pisgah Cemetery. About 1822, their son Isaac, died in North Carolina, leaving his little son, William, an orphan.

"Grandpa" Knowles, about 73 at the time, mounted his big gray horse, (10 hands high) and headed for North Carolina to pick up this little orphan. (A ride of some 600 miles.) He remained in North Carolina about a year.

In the meantime, his sons John K. Knowles and wife Sarah, John Rascoe and wife, Patsy, Christopher Swindle and wife, Mary Ann, having listened to his praise of Tennessee, had decided to return with him to make new homes for themselves in Tennessee. This was 1823.

It was the big gray horse with little William riding behind "Grandpa", that was plunged into strange rivers to measure the depths and try for a ford, before the oxen teams with the loaded wagons, enroute to Tennessee, were risked in those waters. The John Knowles family and the John Rascoe family became devoted to each other.

For the fast-stepping big gray hourse's fourth and last trip to North Carolina, he was borrowed and ridden by John Rascoe, on account of a Rascoe death in North Carolina.

Toward the very end of John Knowles' life, as his vigor waned and he became a bed patient, John Rascoes' wife, Pasty, spent much time at his bedside. He died in his sleep, with a smile on his bearded face, March 21, 1836, age 80. He was buried beside his wife, Mollie, in what became Mr. Pisgah Cemetery.

The War Department in 1969 issued a monument for his grave.
In applying for a Revolutionary War Pension R6038 in 1833, John Knowles made these statements:
State of Tennessee, White County
On this 16th date of August, A.D. 1833, personally appeared before me, Joseph Herd, an acting Justice of the Peace in and for said County and State, John Knowles a resident of the County of White and State of Tennessee aged eighty four years, who first being duly sworn according to the law doth on this oath make the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832.
That he entered the service to the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated. He volunteered his services for 12 months under Captain William Rippee, in the year 1775 as well as he can now recollect, in Cumberland County in the State of Pennsylvania. His lieutenants' names were Matthew Scott and William Smith, according to his present recollection. Captain Rippee's Company met at Carlisle in said Cumberland County. From thence declarant marched to Valley Forge on the Schuylkill River where he remained about two weeks. He then crossed the above river at this place and marched to Amboy on the banks of some stream, the name of which this declarant does not remember. At this place he fell in with the main Army. The Army were here but a short time when they were marched from Amboy and this declarant, among a number of others, were left with the pack horses. Captain Rippee directed him to remain and make it his business to provide provender for the horses. Here this declarant remained discharging the above duty until Captain Rippee directed him by letter to carry the horses back to Cumberland County to a place called Shippensburg and there vendue the horses off, stating as a reason for thus disposing of the horses that they intended getting wagons and thereby supercede the necessity of pack horses. He went back with the horses and disposed of the horses as directed. His instructions were to return the papers in relation to the sale of the horses to Robert Peoples, Esqr. and Peter Dickey a merchant in Shippensburg, which he did. His 12 months had now expired and he returned to his family consisting of a wife and 1 child about four miles from the above town.

In the year following, 1776 to the best of his recollection, he again volunteered under Captain William Sharp. Joseph Culberson, he thinks was the name of his lieutenant. He was under Major Smith of Yellow Britches Creek, by whom he was appointed to provide provender, pasture, etc. for the Continental cattle. He continued in the employment from the year 1776 until the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. During this time he frequently had an opportunity of seeing his family. Headquarters was at Morristown some considerable time. During this service the Battle of Lexington and Bunker Hill was fought, but he was not in either, being then out providing cattle for the Army. He recollects to have seen General Green and Washington, but he had no acquaintance with either of them. Thus he continued to serve his county until the surrender of Lord Cornwallis when he was discharged and returned home. Having served his county as above something like six years in all. He is informed that he can only claim pay for two years service: he therefore states that he served two years for which he claims a pension.

Answers to the questions proscribed by the War Department:
1. He was born in Ireland in the town of Ballymena, on the River Main in Antrim County, parish of Ahoghill, the 4th of July, 1749.
2. He has a record of his age in the house.
3. He was living in Cumberland County, State of Pennsylvania, when called into service as stated. Since the Revolutionary War he has lived in Augusta County, Amherst County and Pendleton County in the State of Virginia. (Pendleton County is now in West Virginia.) From Pendleton County in the year 1807, he moved and settled in White County, Tennessee, where he now resides and has resided ever since.
4. He volunteered each time when called into service.
He states the names of the following persons to whom he is known in his present neighborhood and who can testify as to his character for veracity and their belief of his services as a soldier of the Revolution: Rev. Peter Buram, Rev. Abel Hutson, Isaac Taylor and Major James Randalls. (signed) John Knowles.
In a second statement on March 18, 1834, he included the fact that he was a Sergeant in charge of guarding Carlisle Barracks in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1777.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 4th Jul 1749
Date of Death 21st Mar 1838

Some communities associated with this ancestor

Some ancestors associated with these communities

Some buildings associated with these communities

Some timeline events associated with this ancestor