John Jones Knight.A publication of this nature exercises its most important function when it takes cognizance of the life and labors of those citizens who have risen to prominence and prosperity through their own well directed efforts, and who have been of material value in furthering the advancement and development of the commonwealth. Mr. Knight has become well known to the citizens of northwestern Kansas as a breeder of pedigreed cattle, and successful agriculturist, and to the citizens of Sherman county through his ten years' service as register of deeds.
John Jones Knight was born in the city of Hereford, England, on December 5, 1861, and is a son of Thomas and Mary (Jones) Knight. The family is of Welsh origin. The firm of Knight & Rogers, of Hereford, of which Thomas Knight was a member, were noted breeders of Hereford cattle and among the first to export pedigreed stock of this strain to the United States, their operations in this line beginning as early as 1865. Thomas Knight brought his family to American in 1881 and located in Racine, Wis., where he resumed his stock breeding and engaged in farming. In 1885 he again sought a new home and located in Sherman county, Kansas. Five homesteads adjoining each other were taken up by the familyhis mother, Mary Knight, two sons, John Jones and Thomas, and a daughter, Mary, being the homesteaders. These properties were situated in township 6, range 38, and comprised some of the choicest bottom land in the county. As a potent factor in the early development of Sherman county Mr. Knight became well and favorably known and he was held in the highest esteem by its citizens. He retired from active pursuits in 1899 and became a resident of Colorado Springs, Colo., where he died in 1901. He married, in early life, Miss Mary Jones, who died at Hereford, England, in 1880. They were the parents of six children, four of whom survive: John J., the eldest, is the subject of this article; Thomas Knight is vice-president of the Lake County State Bank at Chase, Mich.; Susanah is the wife of Irving Everett, sheriff of Pitkin county, Colorado, who was recently elected for a fourth consecutive term and was the only Republican receiving a majority in the 1912 election; Sarah is the wife of H. M. Sherrod, a prominent ranch owner and breeder of Hereford cattle, of Sherman county; Mary J. married E. M. Portner, a contractor and builder, of Colorado Springs, Colo., and died in 1897; Hannah, the youngest child, died at Colorado Springs in 1904, aged 31.
John Jones Knight attended the schools of his native city, those of Racine, Wis., and took a course in Phillips Preparatory School at Madison, Wis. Subsequently he learned the carpenter trade. On the removal of the Knight family to Kansas, in 1885, he became one of the five to take up a homestead and engaged in work incident to changing the prairie into a productive farming enterprise. The love of fine cattle, inbred in him, accounts for his extensively engaging in the breeding of registered Hereford stock, of which he is one of the most prominent and successful in his section of the State. His land holdings total 1,320 acres and are devoted to alfalfa, wheat and corn raising. He maintains a herd of Herefords averaging 150 head, and has sold breeding animals over a large section of the State. In the political affairs of his county he has for many years taken an active part. He is a Democrat and one of influence. He held various township offices previous to 1903, when he entered the office of register of deeds, to which he had been elected in 1902. He has served five successive terms, having been reëlected in 1904, 1906, 1908 and 1910. In 1912 he was elected county commissioner, in which capacity he is serving at the present time. He has the distinction of having served a longer time than any county official of Sherman county and his incumbency of the office of register of deeds was marked by fidelity and courtesy to his fellow citizens, while the administration of the business of the office was of the highest standard of excellence, which is evidenced by his numerous reëlections at the hands of a satisfied constituency. He has served as a member of the Board of Education of the city of Goodland since 1903 and has been a delegate to several State and congressional conventions of his party. He has attained to the Knights Templars degree in Masonry and is a member of Sparks Lodge, No. 170, Knights of Pythias, of Goodland.
Mr. Knight married, on August 16, 1886, Miss Rosa A. Collier, daughter of Joseph and Caroline (Brechner) Collier. Mr. Collier was a farmer and surveyor and the first actual settler of Sherman county. A large part of the original surveying was done by him and he also located fully half of the settlers. He became one of the county's most influential men and was an active worker in the Democratic party. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Knight, two of whom are living: Myrtle C., born January 31, 1888, is assistant register of deeds; she entered the office under her father in 1903 and remained with his successor; Nellie S., born December 8, 1892, graduated from Goodland High School with the class of 1911. Joseph F., born May 11, 1889, died December 11, 1906; Mamie I., born March 9, 1895, and Maggie M., born December 23, 1902, died within a day of each other in 1904, of scarlet fever.
The family residence in Goodland is one of the city's social centers. The family have long been known for their hospitality, and Mrs. Knight and her daughters are active in the work of the Methodist church, of which they are members. Mr. Knight is one of the progressive men of his section of the State, loyal and public spirited as a citizen, and enjoys to the full the confidence and esteem of his fellow men. He has been successful in the things which he has undertaken and possesses initiative and executive ability of high order.Pages 106-108 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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