Family  Association






John  W. KNOWLES, R.S.  (1749 - 1838)

Knowles Progenitor:  TN #02  (White Co.)

based on research by:   Jane Hembree Crowley,  Steven L. Knowles,
 Tara Mitchell Mielnik,  Lawrence A. Miller,  Robert B. Noles  and  Joy Knowles Porter

Y-DNA Profile (Allele Values) (Modal Haplotype)
John W. Knowles, R.S. 
and  his Direct Line Male Descendants

John W. Knowles, R.S.  (1749 - 1838)
Marker # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 #
DYS # 393 390 19 391 385a 385b 426 388 439 389-1 392 389-2


Modal  Haplotype 13 24 14 10 11 14 12 12 12 13 13 29/30 R1b

Knowles Surname DNA Project

See the Knowles Surname DNA Project
for more genetic genealogy results

Knowles  Genealogies

Some Knowles Progenitors have
Genealogy Reports for 3 Generations

Descendants of John W. Knowles, R.S.
from the Knowles Database by Robert B. Noles

please report corrections and additions

The Knowles Family of White County, Tennessee
(original author unknown)

Transcribed by:  Jane Hembree Crowley

DAR Unveils John Knowles Monument
Article as printed in the Sparta Expositor
Thursday, September 11, 1969


CIVIL WAR Questionnaire filled out by John Fletcher Knowles
Great grandson of John W. Knowles, R.S.
Questionnaire filled out in April 1922

Transcribed by:  Tara Mitchell Mielnik

KNOWLES  Bible  (James A. Knowles family) *
*  James A. Knowles is a grandson of of John W. Knowles, R.S.

GILLETTE  Bible  (Henry Gillette family) **
** Henry Gillette is the husband of Alice Ann Knowles (granddaughter of James A. Knowles)

SWINDELL  Bible  (R. H. Swindell family) ***
*** R. H. Swindell's daughter, Mollie married Reamer O. Knowles, a grandson of James A. Knowles


The Knowles Family of White County, Tennessee
(original author unknown)

Transcribed by:  Jane Hembree Crowley
June 2005

White County, Tennessee was established September 11, 1806, and soon thereafter became the home of the pioneer Knowles family.  John Knowles, founder of the family, was born in Northern Ireland in 1749, participated in an unsuccessful uprising against the English Army as a young man emigrated to the American Colonies before 1775, served in the Revolutionary War in Pennsylvania, moved to Virginia about 1782 and finally settled in White County, Tennessee in 1807.  John died in 1838 and was buried in the Mount Pisgah Cemetery where his grave is marked with a monument erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Research has failed to reveal his marriage record, although Pennsylvania marriage records do show that one John Knowles married one Hannah Preston on March 21, 1770.  If this is the same John Knowles, he would have been twenty years old at the time.  It must be stated, however, that a John Knowles lived in the Philadelphia area, while our John Knowles by 1775 lived in or near Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, located in modern times in Cumberland County.

In applying for a Revolutionary War pension 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 (sell at public auction), 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, Esq. 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 one child about four miles from the above town.

DAR Unveils John Knowles Monument

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.  (Map of Northern Ireland)

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.

After John’s death in 1838 and during the 1840s and 1850s, his children and grand children continued to purchase additional property in the Mount Pisgah community and north along the Old Kentucky Road in the Gum Spring Shady Grove communities.  For instance, the 1847 White County Tax List shows that in Civil District 5 Knowles men paid taxes on the following acreage: William Knowles, Esq. 368 acres; John Knowles, 165 acres, John Knowles, Sr., 130 acres; Elliott Knowles, 125 acres, William W. Knowles, 125 acres; John W. Knowles, 130 acres, and James Knowles, Esq., 366 acres.

James W. Knowles had five sons: Hiram, William W., James A., John W. and Elliott.  Hiram continue for a period of time to live adjacent to his grandfather’s farm in Mount Pisgah, while his father and four brothers located a few miles away in the Shady Grove community.  In 1847, Mount Pisgah was part of Civil District 4.  Ultimately, Hiram and some of his neighbors moved to Bollinger County, Missouri and may have died in Texas.

John Knowles, Jr. (II) had three sons: James, Jr., John III and William.  John III and William inherited portions of their grandfather’s farm in Mount Pisgah while James, Jr. bought extensive property in the Shady Grove community. (It is difficult to understand why they called James, son of John by the label of “Junior” rather than calling James A., son of James by that title.)

William Knowles had eight sons: John, William B., Cason, Peter, Thomas, Jasper, James K. P. and Holland.  These men inherited their father’s property on the east side of Hickory Nut Mountain and portions of their grandfather’s original 429 acres.  After the death of two of their sons in the 1850s, William B. moved his family to Limestone County, Alabama. Some of his children wound up in Texas.

Old John’s fourth son, Joseph, who supposedly married Marjery Templeton in the 1830's had no children, so far as the records show.

A sworn statement by William Knowles in 1851 listed the following living children of John I: John, Jr., age 66 years; Sarah, age 60 years; Eleanor, age 58 years; William, age 52 years.  William was hoping to get additional land for the children because he felt Old John had not received enough acreage for his service in the Revolution.  This statement is on file in the National Archives, Washington, D.C. (William’s statement was probably not strictly true–at the time there was a younger daughter, Mary, who married Stephen K. Charles in 1817, who was probably still alive in White County, Arkansas.

Soon after the Knowles family settled in White County in 1807, their names and the names of their neighbors (and in-laws) began to appear in such official county records as deed books, tax lists, will books, land grants and county court minutes.


1807--John Humphrey served on a jury. Archibald McDonald (McDaniel?) To Peter Hull, his power of attorney.  (This may have been to sell land which Archibald owned up in Virginia.)

1808–Archibald McDaniel served on a jury.

1809–James Knowles witnessed the recording of a deed by John Knowles, Sr., John Knowles, Sr. and Jr., Abel Hutson, Jeremiah Denton and John Templeton served on the jury.

1810–County Commissioners ordered a road established from a dry branch near John Knowles’ property, passing through his land and intersecting the old road. Archibald McDaniel vs. Thomas McDaniel, case remove d to the September Circuit Court.

1811–John Knowles, Sr., John Knowles, Jr. and James Knowles paid county taxes–John , Sr. paid on 429 acres in Captain James Reynolds’ Militia Company. James and John, Jr. did not pay a tax on any land – they paid only a white poll tax.

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Transcribed by:  Tara Mitchell Mielnik

Notes on Bible:  Fair Condition.  Cover has been wrapped in material.  First pages are missing, begins with Genesis Chapter 11.   Family Record pages found between Old and New Testament.

Family Record:  (handwriting on this page all the same; possibly James A. Knowles?)

  • James A. Knowles was born March the 19 1817

  • Matilda Knowles was born September the 13 day 1817

  • Jeremiah Knowles was born May the 23 day 1838

  • Jane Knowles who was born April the 29 day 1840

  • John F. Knowles who was born January 6 day 1842

  • Nancy Knowles who was born February 25 day 1844

  • Sery(?)  (Sarah) Knowles who was born July the 20 day 1847

  • Mary (Ida?) Knowles who was born August 23 day 1850

Page 2:  "Births" (handwritings differ on this page)

  • Elisha --- Knowles who was born September the 23 day 1852

  • Elizabeth Carthabine Knowles was born 3 day of November 1838(?)  [believe middle name is Catherine]

  • Corbine Knowles was born 15 day of September 1821 [first name is Caroline?]

  • [Wesley?] P Knowles was born the 29 day of May 1858

  • James M. Knowles was born the 3 day of December 1860

  • Ligd(?) --- Knowles was born the 12 day of April 1863 [believe this is Eliza/Eliza Ann]

  • Wilburn J Knowles was born 13 day of Sept. 1865  [listed elsewhere as William]

  • Joseph A. Knowles was born January 25 1868

Page 3:  "Marriages"

  • James A. Knowles and Matilda Knowles was mared the 9 day of March 1837

  • James A. Knowles and C Corbine Knowles was mared the 3 day of December 1855

  • Jane Knowles was mared the 8 day of May 1856

  • Nancy Knowles was mared the 3 day of May 1860

  • Jeremiah Knowles was maried January 25 1860

  • J.F. Knowles and Nelly was Married Aug 2nd 1866

  • Sarah Knowles and J.A. Ward was Married September 25th 1870

Page 4:  "Deaths"

  • Matilda Knowles Dide the 27 day of October 1854

  • Nancy Humphrey died the 6 day of Aprile 1863

  • Jeremiah Knowles died April the 30 1864

comments in [brackets] reflect known information published
in "The Other Bunch" and Knowles genealogy.

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Transcribed by:  Tara Mitchell Mielnik

(Bible is The Christian Workers Bible, copyright 1905)

(first page handwriting believed to be Alice Knowles Gillette;
births / deaths listed together on frontpiece;  no Family Record pages)

  • Henry Gillette and Alice Knowles was marred November the 5 1896 in White Co.

  • Myrtie Irillah Gillette was born November the 8 1897 White Co.

  • F.T.(?) Gillette was born January the 14, 1900.  Died June 8, 1900.

  • C.L. Gillette was born May 28, 1901 in White Co.

  • W.D. Gillette was born Nov. 26, 1902 in White Co.

  • E.L. Gillette was born Nov. 23, 1907.

  • E.L. Gillette died Feb. 20, 1908.

  • Mary Edith Gillette was born Aug. 26, 1911 in White Co.

  • Henry Ray Virble Gillette was born Aug. 26, 1911 in White Co.

  • Henry Gillette died June 15, 1912.

  • W.G. (?) Pirtle and Alice Gillette was married June 12, 1921.

  • Alice Knowles borned May 27, 1876.

  • John Fletcher Knowles was borned Jan 6 1842.  Died March 1930.

second page (handwriting here believed to be Mary Edith Gillette Swindell)

  • Dudley Gillette and Mable McMorick (McCormick) married Dec. 31, 1923

  • Loyde Swindell and Edith Gillette married March 10, 1926.

  • Myrtie Lou Swindell was borned Feb. 21, 1927.

  • Sheliah Mai Swindell was borned April 2, 1930.

  • Mr. Ray Gillette and Jewell Bumbalough married Jan. 14 1933. 

(notes in parenthesis reflect notes from transcriber)

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Transcribed by:  Tara Mitchell Mielnik

Frontpiece reads:  

Walling, Tenn.

June 26, 1909

Eva Swindell 

(Family pages have come loose and stuck back in.) 

R. H. Swindell and Eva Norris was married Oct 10 1897 



  • R. H. Swindell Borned Jan 2 1876

  • Eva Swindell Borned Dec. 31 1879

  • R.H. Swindell and Eva Norris Children

  • Robt Luther Swindell Borned Sept 7 1899  ("The Other Bunch" says March)

  • Mollie Lucinda Swindell Borned Nov 19 1901

  • Daniel Loyde Swindell Borned Aug 3 1904

  • James Lester Swindell Borned Jan 6 1907

  • Born to RH Swindell and Ina Carolina

  • Margie Swindell  (Born Nov. 2 1921, Died June 19, 1922)

  • Leslie Swindell Born Jan 30, 1925



  • Monroe Swindell Died Mar 12 1904

  • Lucinda Norris Died Nov 31 1896

  • Infant Borned DeadMay 7 1909

  • Andy (?) Swindell Died Sept 11 1911  (possibly brother of RH – Andrew C. Swindell?)

  • Infant Borned Jan 26 1913 Died Jan 27 1913

  • R.C. Norris died Jan 27 1918

  • Hatton Swindell Died Sept 30 1938

  • Ina Swindell Died Feb 18 1958

(notes in parenthesis reflect notes from transcriber)

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Notes on the Civil War Questionnaire filled out by:
 John Fletcher Knowles

 (great grandson of John W. Knowles, R.S.)

  • Filled out a Civil War Questionnaire indicating he was in the Union Army, Company F, 3rd United States Infantry Regiment.

  • In April of 1922 when he filled out the questionnaire, he said he was 80 years and 3 months old.

  • He also stated that he was a Southern Methodist and had been a farmer in White Co., TN ever since the war.

  • He enlisted at Rock Island Illinois in 1864 and was sent to the frontiers where they were guards against the Indians.

  • He also says that he is the son of James A. Knowles who was born at Pisgah in the County of White and State of Tennessee and that he was a Justice of Peace for many years.

  • His mother's maiden name was Matilda Webb and she was the daughter of Jere and Sarah Webb who lived at Pisgah, White County, TN.

  • His parents lived in a five room frame house. John worked on a farm all the year and worked hard.

  • He did not own land at the beginning of the war nor slaves. His parents owned 150 acres of land valued at $2,500.

  • He attended public school at Shady Grove for about 20 months. The school was about 1 mile away from his home.


Descendants of John Fletcher Knowles
(great grandson of John W. Knowles, R.S.)

  1   John Fletcher KNOWLES b: January 06, 1842 in White Co., TN  d: March 14, 1930 in Sparta, TN
    +Nellie GIST b: 1841 m: July 31, 1866 in White Co., TN d: 1876
     2   Mary KNOWLES   
     2   Cora KNOWLES   
     2   Henry P. KNOWLES   
     2   Alice Ann KNOWLES   
          +Henry GILLETTE  m: November 05, 1896 d: June 15, 1912
           3   Myrtle Irillah GILLETTE b: November 08, 1897  
           3   F.T. GILLETTE b: January 14, 1900  
           3   C.L. GILLETTE b: May 28, 1901  
           3   W. Dudley GILLETTE b: November 26, 1902  
           3   E.L. GILLETTE b: November 23, 1907  
           3   Mary Ellen GILLETTE b: December 31, 1909 
           3   Henry RAY Verble GILLETTE b: August 26, 1911  
  *2nd Wife of John Fletcher KNOWLES:   
    +Mary Ann BAKER b: November 1834 m: July 26, 1877 in White Co., TN d: 1907
     2   Simon L. KNOWLES   
  *3rd Wife of John Fletcher KNOWLES:   
    +Donna J. MARTIN b: 1867 m: November 29, 1908 d: 1912
     2   R. E. KNOWLES   
     2   Emma KNOWLES   
  *4th Wife of John Fletcher KNOWLES:   
    +Luticia Jones SMITH b: 1863 m: 1913 d: 1920
  *5th Wife of John Fletcher KNOWLES:   
    +Mary E. JONES b: October 17, 1866 in Paducah, KY m: October 07, 1920 d: 1947

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Map of Northern Ireland
(with Ballymena, the birthplace of John W. Knowles, R.S. highlighted)
Map courtesy of:  Jane Hembree Crowley





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 Date of last edit:   Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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