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The Descendents of George Knight (1641-1671) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Scarborough, Maine

George Knight

George Knight was born about 1641. Some of George's descendents , can be found in my database at

I have been unable to find out the names of his parents or place of birth. Other researchers have stated his parents were John Knight and Martha Cole(s) Knight of Bristol, England. A couple by that name were married in Bristol about 9 April, 1640 in the Church of St. Augustine the Less, but I have been unable to prove that they are the parents of George Knight.1

Another option might be a Roger and Ann Knight. Roger Knight was an innkeeper migrating to New England around 1630. By 1643 Roger was living in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, then known as Strawberry Bank. On 20 January, 1643(4) Roger was granted a parcel of marsh land by Thomas Wannerton "in consideration of the true and faithful service of Roger Knight hath performed to the patentees of the great house."

Roger died before March 1672(3) when his coffin was paid for at Portsmouth, although it had been a town charge since 1667. Ann died sometime after May, 1662. Although no children are recorded for the couple they were in the right place at the right time to be the parents of George Knight. 2

George Knight married Elenor ? about 1665, probably in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.3 A son Nathan, was born to the couple about 1665 in Portsmouth, and a daughter Elizabeth was born about 1669.4

It's unknown when George and Elenor moved to Scarborough, but at the time of his death he had lived in Scarborough long enough to aquire sufficient property to make a will. Named in the will were his wife, son and daughter. George signed his will April 5, 1671, stating in his will that he was "sick in body but perfect in memory." His wife and each of his children was bequeathed one third of his "goods and cattle." Witnesses at the signing of the will were Henry Watts and Will Burrage. A link to a transcribed copy of the will is provided in the links area of this website.

On May 27, 1671, George's estate was inventoried at 87 pounds 10 shillings with Watts and Burrage listed as appraisors. Administrator of the estate was Henry Brookings.

Within months of George's untimely death, Elenor married Henry Brookings. The couple may have married as early as October of 1671, about 5 or 6 months after George's death.5

That Girl Gone Wild Elenor

A quickie marriage to the administrator of her husband's estate was not Elenor's first brush with scandalous behavior. According to several sources I've stumbled across, Elenor was accused of adultry by the Puritan authorities around 1665, the same year she married George Knight and became a mother to Nathan if various sources are correct.. I've been unable to locate the document so I don't know if it is true and if so, who she stumbled into sin with. Hopefully it was George. All in all, 1665 was a very momentous year for Elenor.

My own personal observation of Elenor is that her many Knight descendents, including her son Nathan and his children, may have found her to be a bit on the trashy side.

Children in 17th and 18th century New England were often named for parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, with the names being handed down to the next generation. A quick look at my database will show that the Knight family followed that tradition well into the 20th century. The same names are given to children, both male and female, over and over again, with the exception of the name Elenor. I have been unble to find any descendent of George and Elenor with that name.

Even Elenor's son Nathan, who had a boat load of daughters, did not name any of them Eleanor. Nathan did have daughters named Mary, Hannah, Elizabeth, Sarah and Martha, and a younger son with the surname of Westbrook, all names with strong connections to the Knight, Westbrook and Walford families. But no Elenor....

Nathan Knight

Nathan was born about 1665 in possibly in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In November of 1676, about five years after the death of his father, Nathan Knight was apprenticed for 12 years, 5 months, to Samuel Whidden, a mason, by his mother Elenor, and step-father Henry Brookings. It is unclear whether he completed his apprenticeship.

In 1693/94 Nathan married Mary Hannah Westbrook probably in the Portsmouth Meeting House. Mary Hannah was the daughter of John Westbrook and Martha Walford. She was the sister of Colonal Thomas Westbrook, a wealthy and influential man in New Hampshire and later the Province of Maine. Children born to Nathan and Mary Hannah were Elizabeth, Hannah, Margaret, Martha, Mary, Nathanial, Westbrook and Sarah.6

About 1697 Thomas Westbrook sold to Nathan Knight a farm of about 100 acres from the estate of his father, John Westbrook. About 1704 Nathan began a business partnership with his brother-in-law Thomas Westbrook. Together they kept the local Portsmouth fort provisioned with timber and firewoood.7 In 1707/8 Nathan sold to George Vaughn all of his father's lands and rights in Scarborough. In 1711 Nathan received shares of common land from the town of Portsmouth.

Nathan and Mary Hannah lived in Portsmouth until about1720 when they moved to Scarborough, Maine. On Dec. 23, 1720 Nathan was granted a license by the York Court of Sessions, Province of Maine, granting him the right to operate the Blackpoint Ferry. According to the license Nathan was to " keep a boat conversant with the passage of man and horse." The amount of the fare was also determined by the court. A man could ride the Blackpoint ferry for 5 pence, and a man and a horse for 10 pence. No fare was given for a horse without a man. An actual copy of the document is available from the Maine State Archives for a small fee.

Nathan Knight and Thomas Westbrook entered into another business venture in the 1720's. Westbrook had been appointged the King's Mast Agent. Responsible for finding suitable timber for use by the Royal Navy, Westbrook moved from Portsmouth to Falmouth (Portland, Maine), building a home and masting business at the head of the Fore River. Nathan and Thomas built a masting camp in the Dunstan area of Scarborough, Maine. The timber harvested was floated down the river to Stroudwater Falls area of Falmouth, where it was then shipped to England.

Also involved in Westbrook's business ventures was Nathan's son Nathaniel. Nathaniel may have been involved in the construction of Westbrook's home, Harrow House. Nathaniel also was involved, not only in the masting business, but also ran a mill owned by Thomas Westbrook The mill was located near the Upper Falls ares of Stroudwater Falls. While Nathaniel lived near his uncle, his father and mother continued to live in Scarborough. Also living near Thomas Westbrook was Nathan's younger son Westbrook Knight. The family of Westbrook Knight lived in a cabin near Harrow House. Westbrook Knight and Nathaniel Knight also bought property together near the Upper Falls, near the mill and Nathaniel Knight's home. 8 Nathan died in 1751 in Scarborough. He was survived by his two sons, Nathaniel and Westbrook, and six daughters, Mary Crockett, Sarah Brackett, Margaret Roberts, Elizabeth Seavey, Martha Elder and Hannah Seavey Cilley.9

Westbrook Knight

Westbrook Knight was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1708 to Nathan and Mary Hannah Westbrook Knight. He was baptized on November 21, 1708 in Portsmouth. On March 23, 1733/34 he married Abigail Munson in Scarborough, Maine.

Abigail was born in September, 1720 in Wells, York County, Maine. She was the daughter of Robert Munson and Abigail Littlefield..10 The Munson family relocated to Scarborough about about 1726. 11

Westbrook and Abigail were the parents of John Knight, date and place of birth unknown; Jonathan Knight born ca. 1737; Nathan Knight born ca. 1738; Thomas Knight born ca. 1741; Joseph Knight born ca. 1742; Hannah Knight born ca. 1743; Westbrook Knight born ca. 1746; Mary Knight born ca. 1749; Sarah Knight born ca. 1750; and Nathanial Knight born in 1752, a few months after his father's death.

Westbrook Knight died in Scarborough about Feb 9, 1751/2, leaving a estate valued at 306 pounds and 19 shillings. His assets included a Bible and other books, improvable land, unimproved land and a house and a barn. Abigail was the administrator of Westbrook's estate. Appraisors of the estate were John Fabyan, Joseph Fabyan and Richard King.

Oddly enough, the unimproved land was worth the most at 174 pounds with the improvable land coming in a distant second at 60 pounds. The house and barn were valued at 15 pounds and the Bible and other books were 4 pounds. 11 Claims against the estate included accounts in support of Mary, 6th child of the deceased, ages 4 years at the time of her father's death, Sarah, age 3 at the time of her father's death, and "expense of child-birth for Nathanial born 6 months after his father's death." 12

A Quick Note About Dates and the Julian Calander

Anyone reading this and paying close attention may have noticed that Westbrook died in February 1751/52 a few months before his son Nathanial was born in May, 1752. Especially after reading about that Girl Gone Wild Elenor, you may think I'm trying to cover up bad bahavior on Abigail's part. Not so! Blame it instead on Julius Cesear and his wacky Julian Calender.

In February, 1752, Great Britain was still using the Julian Calender. With the Julian Calender the year had 355 days and the new year started on March 21. By 1752 most of the western world had switched to the Gregorian calender, with 365 days and the new year starting on January 1. That is in why when reseaching genealogy dates after January 1 but before March 21, 1752 are sometimes notated with two years. For example the date March 20, 1752 would be March 20, 1752(3).

So to sum up, it was possible for Westbrook to die in February 1721, and have his son born in May, 1752 without any naughty behavour on his widow's part.

A few months after Nathanial Knight's birth in Scarborough, Great Britain and the Colonies finally, after years of bickering, switched to the Gregorian Calendar. On the evening of Sept. 2, 1752, the good people of Scarborough, Maine, went to bed. When they woke the next morning it was Sept. 14, 1752. I've included a link with Winkipedia for additional information.

1 The Parish Registers of St. Augustine the Less, Bristol, England.

2 Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, (New England Genealogical Society, 1995) p. 1138-1139.

3 Clarence Aimon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, (Baltimore, Maryland, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1985) p. 444.

4 Sybil Noyes,Charles Thornton Libby and Walter Goodwin Davis, Genealogical Dicationary of Maine and New Hampshire (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1976), p. 403.

5William Mitchell Sargeant, compiler and editor, Maine Wills, 1640-1760, 1972, pp 23-24.

6 Genealogical Dicationary of Maine and New Hampshire (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1976), p. 404.

7Myrtle Kittridge Lovejoy, This Was Stroudwater 1727-1860 (Portland, Maine: National Society of Colonial Dames in America, State of Maine, 1985), p. 3.

8Myrtle Kittridge Lovejoy, This Was Stroudwater 1727-1860 (Portland, Maine: National Society of Colonial Dames in America, State of Maine, 1985), pp 9-11.

9William Southgate, History of Scarborough, Maine 1633-1733, p 216..

10Genealogical Dicationary of Maine and New Hampshire (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1976), p. 403.

12 Sybil Noyes,Charles Thornton Libby and Walter Goodwin Davis, Maine Probate Abstracts, York County, Vol 8 p. 335.

13 Maine Probate Abstracts, York County, Vol 8 p. 477.

Knight Genealogy Links

Descendents of George Knight 1641-1671
George Knight's will at
Maine State Archives

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The Knight Family of Maine.

Last updated 8/10/06
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