KNOWLES FAMILY REUNION
in Gibson County,
(notes in brackets have been
added by R. B. Noles for clarification)
Knowles family is one of the oldest in the country. They can trace their
history back two centuries. One branch of the family is of old New England
stock, while another – the ancestors of our Indiana family – were old Virginias.
The first Indiana Knowles came here in 1812. The family is noted for its
numbers, its natural intelligence, its industry, enterprise, and its prosperity. Among the Knowles there are wealthy farmers, successful merchants, eminent
lawyers, eloquent preachers, and all useful trades and professions are
The family is scattered all over the United States, some being present from
Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas.
following program was observed at this Reunion. Opening song, “America” by the choir in charge
of Prof. Fullerton. Prayer by Father Asa Knowles, of Kansas. Song ---“Blest be
the tie,” by the choir. Address of welcome by W. D. Knowles [this could be
William Dickson Knowles]. Music provided by the
by choir. Remarks by father Asa Knowles, of Kansas. Short speeches by Rev. Levin
Wilson, Theodore Westfall, of Grayville, Illinois. The speeches were interesting
and mirth provoking. The exercises were closed by excellent singing of a
quartet. The crowd dispersed slowly as if loath to leave a place so pleasant.
Star man got in his work all O.K. F.D.S. [Francis Dodds Scott] Knowles was reader of the
occasion. It was a Star crowd—almost unanimously. The lemonade stand
did a land-office business. The music by the stringed instruments was
splendid (My Dad’s Brother Lawrence Knowles was a violinist - James VanZandt
Knowles). Wright and
O’Brien pictured [photographed] the crowd after dinner. Sociability and
“visiting” was the order of the day. We were all related to the Knowles
about dinner time. John Wesley Knowles was secretary of the association.
Dock Knowles was master of ceremonies – and a good one, too. (I believe Dock
Knowles was my great grandfather Dr. Eli Knowles - James VanZandt Knowles). The singing by the
choir and quartet charmed the listeners. The two tables, each 150 feet long,
were loaded with good eatment. Wright took a shot at the table, and then
the crowd shot the table. The youngest old man present was Uncle Levin
Wilson. He is jovial as ever.
The next re-union will be held on the last Friday and Saturday in September,
1900. We’ll all be there.
(by F. D. S.
About the year 1654 there landed on the coast of Virginia a man by the name of
Knowles, who came from England, and whose first name was said to have been
Edward. He resided in the old Dominion, some time during which through some
altercation or other with the Indians, one of them threw a rock at him striking
on the skull and fracturing it. The injury was of such extent and nature that it
was necessary to resort to trepanning; a silver plate was inserted, and he
passes into history with a sobriquet of “Silver Head.” We have an account of his
having three sons with whom he left Virginia for the little colony of Delaware. Of the three sons mentioned, two whose names are unknown to us, moved to the
vicinity of the Pedee River, North Carolina. All trace of their descendants has
been lost except one who was met by Asa Knowles in Tennessee in 1826, since
which time nothing has been heard of them. The other son, our great-grandfather
and whose name was Richard, was a man of exceeding great personal courage. He
was twice married. Four children were born unto the first union: Richard,
Edmund, Zachariah, and Patience. By the second marriage, there were two sons
born: Thomas and our grandfather, James.
“Silver Head”, Richard 1st and Richard 2nd all died in Delaware. Edmund moved to
Green County Georgia about 1785. Zachariah moved to Hancock County, Georgia,
about 1787. Our grandfather, James, went there in 1795. Thomas emigrated
to the same state, at or near the same time, remaining only a short time and
them retuning to his native state of Delaware since which no certain trace of
his descendants has been found. Edmund Knowles married in Delaware a Miss
Patience Prettyman. Richard Knowles 2nd married in the same state a Miss
Prudence Marvel; also our grandfather, James, married in Delaware a Miss
Patience Marvel in 1778. Patience and Prudence were sisters; their
mother’s maiden surname was Prettyman, and this accounts for this name running
so extensively among the Knowles and Marvels. David Knowles, son of Richard
Knowles 2nd, married in Georgia a Miss Nancy Piper. He in company with his
uncle, Prettyman Marvel and family, moved to Indiana Territory in 1810. He
reared a family of twelve children in this vicinity, eight sons and four
daughters, namely: William Piper, Richard 3rd, Marvel, Archibald, John, Comfort,
Grandfather, James, who came to Gibson County, Indiana, in 1811, brought with
him his family of eight sons and one daughter with perhaps the exception of two
or three of the older sons, who came a short time previous.
From two Knowles, James and David, all of our name in this vicinity have
descended, and it is estimated that there were four hundred present on the
Reunion Grounds, three fourths of whom perhaps were James’ descendants, and the
remaining one-fourth were of David’s descent. Our great uncle, Edmund
Knowles, of Georgia, had one representative at the Reunion, Joseph A. Knowles of
Eatonton, Georgia, who is his great-grandson.
The family history facts presented above
in this summary of the 1897 Reunion were as known
at the time and are not
all accepted as fact today.
F. D. S. Knowles was known
to be an avid genealogist for the Knowles family from Gibson Co., Indiana.
to his cousin in Georgia, dated December 9, 1901.
Also see the membership application for Forman Enis Knowles (son of F.D.S.
for the Covered