Through this you will notice the different spellings of McKnight. I have used the spelling that what was used in the relevant document. As usual I ask if anyone has any information, photos, letters, documents or family stories relating to anyone mentioned here. Please get in contact.
Alexander McNeight was baptized on December 10, 1833 at Raphoe, Co Donegal, Ireland. His parents were Alexander McNeight and Margaret Gregg of Gortaquigley, Co Donegal. Alexander and Margaret had at least two more children, Eleanor baptized on January 18, 1836 and William baptized on March 28, 1838. Margaret seems to have died some time between 1838 and the early 1840s. Alexander had a daughter Jane around 1843 with Jane Ash (daughter of Richard Ash). I have yet to find her baptism. Alexander and Jane Ash go on to have the following children baptized at Raphoe:
Elizabeth baptized February 5, 1845
Richard baptized May 12, 1847
Sarah baptized August 26, 1849
Isabella baptized October 20,. 1851
Mary baptized February 7, 1854
Alexander died some time before June 10, 1858 when Jane married James Houston. Alexander probably died in 1853/54 as it is Jane McNaght as the householder at Gortaquigley in the Griffiths Valuations, not Alexander. She must have lost the right to this land when she married James Houston or when she died (I don’t have her death date) as there are other McKnights who take over this land by the 1860s. This was Alexander McKnight and his wife Nancy Porter.
Also living at Gortaquigley was James McNight and his wife Ellen Gregg. Probably a brother to Alexander who married Margaret’s sister Ellen? This is not confirmed but highly likely. They had at least the following children:
Eliza baptized 3 January 1840
Margaret born 1842
Nancy baptized 6 June 1844
Alexander baptized 1 October 1846
Esther baptized 17 July 1848 – died before middle 1849
This family migrated to the United States on board the Hannah Thornton arriving in New York on 2 October 1849. This ship was one of the Irish famine ships. Also with them was Jane McKnight aged thirty-two, most probably the sister of James and Alexander. James and Ellen settled in Damascus, Wayne County, Pennsylvania. James was working as a labourer in 1850 and they had a daughter also named Esther born in Pennsylvania. Twenty years later James was a farmer. They had two more children alive born in Pennsylvania, Elenor and William. In 1900 he and Ellen were in their 80’s and had had nine children, only three of them alive. Two of them were single and still living with them, Elenor (Ellen) and William. James died on 23 May 1901 and was buried at Hillside cemetery in Damascus. Ellen died two years later in February 1903 and presumably was buried at the same cemetery. They were members of the Presbyterian church at Cochecton in Sullivan county, in the state of New York. This was just a few miles away from where they lived at Tyler Hill (near Damascus) in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. I have found the deaths of four of their children, leaving one unknown and Eliza or Alexander unaccounted for and presumably one of them still alive in 1900. I wonder if they married and have left descendants. I have ordered some documents that may or may not shed some more light on their lives.
Alexander McNight (baptized in 1833, son of Alexander McNight and Margaret Gregg) married Sarah Jane Dunlop/Delap (daughter of John Dunlop/Delap and Elizabeth Wilson of Cooladerry) at Raphoe first Presbyterian church, Donegal on January 15, 1857. They were married by licence. One of their witnesses was Elizabeth Dunlop, I wonder if this was her mother or sister? The other witness was John Jamison.
Alexander McKnight and Sarah along with Alexander’s younger half brother Richard and sisters Jane and Elizabeth left Ireland and traveled on board the James Brown that left Liverpool on October 15, 1857 and arrived in Melbourne in January 1858. They are said to have traveled with other family and friends not yet identified. The surnames around them on the shipping list were Metcalfe, McIntyre, Bond and Daly, all from Ireland.
Later Alexander’s two younger sisters also migrated to Australia but they went to Queensland. Isabella married George Browne in 1879 in Queensland and Mary married Daniel Raeburn on July 24, 1878 at the Presbyterian church in North Brisbane. One of the witnesses was Annie Jane Roulston. A friend or relative from home? I have not found any information on their sister Sarah yet, whether she remained in Ireland, died young or also migrated.
Nor have I found anything out about Alexander McKnight (senior) and Margaret Gregg’s other two children, Eleanor and William.
Alexander McKnight and Sarah Jane Dunlop had the following children:
John Alexander Wilson (Johnny) – didn’t marry
William James – didn’t marry
Elizabeth Dunlop – married Robert William Douglas
Alexander – married Matilda Elizabeth Servante
Ellen Jane – died aged 2
Martha Isabelle – married Mitchell Reid Smith
Nesbitt Gregg – died aged 1
Sarah Jane – married Ralph Rogerson
Andrew Wilson Dunlop – died aged 13
Margaret Gregg – married James Moore
Many of their children’s names incorporate family surnames and christian names of parents and siblings. I have yet to locate the connection with Nesbitt which was a surname in the Raphoe area in County Donegal. It is possibly the maiden name of an earlier McKnight bride or could be maiden name of the mother of Margaret and Ellen Gregg.