Family  Association




In the winter of 1895 and 1896, Eli W. Knowles, of Mounts (Gibson Co., Indiana), conceived the idea of a reunion of the Knowles family some time in 1896, and talked the matter over with the relatives living in this section of our country.  And finally a meeting was called at the residence of Enos A. Knowles.  A dozen or more met and formed an organization.  Eli W. Knowles was chosen chairman of the organization and John W. Knowles, secretary. 

The 1896 Reunion was such a great success, that a second Reunion was scheduled and held in 1897.

The Second Reunion of the Knowles family occurred September 23, 1897.  It was held on the reunion grounds one half mile west of Mounts station in Gibson Co., Indiana.  The report for the 1897 Reunion indicates that:


The tribe of Knowles’ began assembling together with their friends early in the morning, and they kept coming until the hour of adjournment.



While the attendance at the 1897 Knowles Family Reunion was somewhat smaller than it was at the first Reunion held in 1896, there must have been nearly a thousand people present.



The day was beautiful, the weather perfect, the crowd jovial and sociable, the dinner good and abundant and the exercises interesting.  It was a pleasant and successful reunion.

Note: Apparently subsequent Reunions were held by the southern Indiana Knowles,
but the accounts of these Reunions, if they exist, have not been located.  If you have knowledge of any
subsequent Knowles Family Reunions, please let Robert B. Noles know.

The notes below concerning the 1897 Knowles Reunion reproduced below were
 prepared by James VanZandt Knowles.  His father, Francis Dobbs Scott Knowles was a major participant
at this Reunion and was probably responsible for the original notes covering this Reunion.




in Gibson County, Indiana (1897)

(notes in brackets have been added by R. B. Noles for clarification)


The 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 represented.

The family is scattered all over the United States, some being present from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas.


The 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 Knowles orchestra.


Song 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.


The 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. Knowles)

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, and Betsy.

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
See his letter to his cousin in Georgia, dated December 9, 1901.

Also see the membership application for Forman Enis Knowles (son of F.D.S. Knowles)
for the Covered Wagon Club.





Webmaster:  Robert B. Noles

           FREE 14 Day Subscription to!  

 Date of last edit:   Wednesday, January 02, 2008
 © 2000-2008  R.B. Noles    All Rights Reserved