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George F. Knight1

b. 4 July 1848, d. 16 December 1932

Mother Eleanor Firestone1 b. 25 October 1825, d. 4 October 1899
Father Benoni D. Knight1 b. circa 1821, d. 1852
Pop-up Pedigree

Family Margaret Price b. 1 June 1851, d. 4 November 1929
Marriage* 3 December 1868  Groom's Name: George F. Knight
Groom's Birth Date:
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Groom's Age:
Bride's Name: Margaret Price
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Marriage Date: 03 Dec 1868
Marriage Place: Defiance,Ohio
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Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M51407-1
System Origin: Ohio-ODM
Source Film Number: 909337
Reference Number:
Collection: Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958, Principal=Margaret Price6,7 
Children  1. Charles H. Knight b. 18 May 1870, d. 12 Mar 1928
  2. Cora Belle Knight b. 12 Sep 1872, d. 31 Jul 1952

Birth* 4 July 1848  Wayne Co., OH1,2,3 
Census* 1850  1850 Federal Census, Ohio, Wayne County, East Union Township, Series: M432, Roll: 739, Page: 206B, July 30
(enumerated with father, Benoni Knight)
08, 108, 108, Knight, George, 2, M, , , , O(hio), , , ,4 
Census 1860  1860 Federal Census, Ohio, Wayne County, East Union Township, Series: M653, Roll: 1050, Page: 25A, June 14
(enumerated with stepfather, Joseph Sturges)
31, 346, 359, Knight, George, 11, M, , , , , Ohio, , , , ,5 
Marriage* 3 December 1868  Groom's Name: George F. Knight
Groom's Birth Date:
Groom's Birthplace:
Groom's Age:
Bride's Name: Margaret Price
Bride's Birth Date:
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Marriage Date: 03 Dec 1868
Marriage Place: Defiance,Ohio
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Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M51407-1
System Origin: Ohio-ODM
Source Film Number: 909337
Reference Number:
Collection: Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958, Principal=Margaret Price6,7 
Census 1870  1870 Federal Census, Ohio, Defiance County, Farmer Township, Series: M593, Roll: 1195, Page: 89B, June 20
01, 202, 186, Knight, George F, 21, M, W, Works in Steam Saw Mill, , 1600, Ohio, , , , , , , , , 1,
02, 202, 186, Knight, Margaret, 18, F, W, Keeping House, , , Ohio, , , , , , , , , ,
03, 202, 186, Knight, Charles W, 1/12, M, W, , , , Ohio, , , May, , , , , , ,8 
Census 1880  1880 Federal Census, Ohio, Defiance County, Hicksville Township, Hicksville, ED: 237, Series: T9, Roll: 1011, Page: 181B, June 24
40, 369, 390, Knight, George, W, M, 31, , , , 1, , , Keeping House, , , , , , , , , , , Ohio, ,
41, 369, 390, Knight, Margaret, W, F, 29, , Wife, , 1, , , Keeping House, , , , , , , , , , , Ohio, Penn, Ohio
42, 369, 390, Knight, Charles, W, M, 10, , Son, 1, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Ohio, O(hio), O(hio)
43, 369, 390, Knight, Cora, W, F, 7, , Daught, 1, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Ohio, O(hio), O(hio)9 
Census 1900  1900 Federal Census, Ohio, Stark County, Canton Township, Canton, Ward 5, ED: 105, Series: T623, Roll: 1321, Page: 264A, June 11
Sheet 14A, 612 Market Street
32, 248, 306, Knight, George F, Head, W, M, July, 1847, 52, M, 30, , , Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, , , , Mafg Saw Mill, 0, , Yes, Yes, Yes, O, F, H,
33, 248, 306, Knight, Margaret, Wife, W, F, June, 1850, 49, M, 30, 0, 0, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, , , , Supply, , , Yes, Yes, Yes, , , ,
34, 248, 306, Knight, Gladys T, Gran-Daug, W, F, Jan, 1891, 9, S, , , , Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, , , , At School, , 8, Yes, Yes, Yes, , , ,
35, 248, 306, Lintner, Ella, Servant, W, F, Oct, 1861, 38, S, , , , Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, , , , Servant, 0, , Yes, Yes, Yes, , , ,3 
Biography* 1904  GEORGE F. KNIGHT.-At this juncture it is a privilege to make note of an important industry in connection with a review of the successful and honorable career of its founder. George F. Knight, who with his son, Charles H., is at the head of the well-established concern known as the Knight Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of sawmill, well-drilling and prospecting machinery. The well equipped plant of this company is located at 1718 South Market street, where the enterprise had its inception in the year 1892. Mr. Knight came to Canton in 1889 and became a stockholder in the Canton Saw Company, with which he continued to be thus identified until withdrawing his interests to found the present thriving enterprise of which he is the head. Mr. Knight was bom on a farm in Wayne county, Ohio, on the 4th of July, 1848, being of the third generation of the family in the Buckeye state. The Knights are of English extraction and were early settled in the state of Pennsylvania, whence the grandfather of the subject came to Ohio in an early day, settling in Wayne county, where Benoni Knight, the father of the subject of this review, was born and reared, being a carpenter by trade and following this vocation in connection with agricultural pursuits. He died on his farm there when his son George was but four years of age. His wife, whose maiden name was Eleanor Firestone, was a representative of a well-known pioneer family of Wayne county, where she passed her entire life, surviving her husband by a number of years and passing away in 1899, at the age of seventy-four, years. Her husband, who died in 1852, was thirty-one years of age at the time.

George F. Knight was reared to the age of fifteen years on the homestead farm which was the place of his birth, and his educational privileges were such as were afforded in the district schools. At the age noted he set forth to become self supporting, and from that time forward he lias been dependent upon his own resources. His first employment after leaving home was that of hauling coal at the Newman's Creek mine, in the western part of Stark county, his duties in the connection being to transfer the product to the canal for shipment, said watercourse having been at that time the chief means of transportation for all commodities brought into and shipped from this section of the state. At one time during the war of the Rebellion the miners in the district went out on a strike, and Mr. Knight was at the time one of five boys employed in hauling the coal from the mines and they determined that they also ought to secure a raise in wages, though this was not granted, but the operators of the mines after the strike was declared by the five boys, gave to them the desired increase from three to three and one-half dollars per day, making the concession after work had been stopped for a half day only. Knight continued to be employed at the mines for one year, at the expiration of which, in the autumn of 1864, he went to Defiance county, this state, where he identified himself with the sawmilling business, eventually engaging in the same on his own responsibility, and it was through this apparently accidental turning of his attention to this line of enterprise that he laid the foundation of the success which has rewarded his efforts in the later years. He remained in Defiance county until 1889. when he came to Canton, as before noted, and here identified himself with the Canton Saw Company. He secured his definite start on the road to prosperity through the accidental breaking of a saw, having invented and patented a machine for holding the logs on the carriage of the saw-mill, the same being known as the Knight dog. while the same is now very generally used in sawmills in all sections of the United States and is manufactured by the Knight Manufacturing Company. He gained his idea for the invention through the breaking of a saw by reason of the defective mechanism commonly in use at the time for holding the logs on the carriage, and while he considered the damage to his mill a loss and misfortune at the time, it really proved the forerunner of his prosperity in the world of business. The various machinery turned out by the Knight Manufacturing Company is of the highest order of excellence in matter of construction, material and finish, while the company also control valuable patents aside from the important one mentioned, so that there is a ready market demand for the various products of the establishment.

While he is essentially and primarily a business man and one whose days have been filled with persistent toil and endeavor from his boyhood up, Mr. Knight is ever loyal to the duties of citizenship and takes a lively interest in all that conserves the material prosperity and civic advancement of the city and county of his home. In politics he holds an independent position, giving his support to such men and measures as meet the approval of his judgment and not being dominated by a partisan spirit. He was formerly a member of the Disciples' church, but holds no regular church affiliation at the present time. Fraternally he is a member of Hicksville Lodge No. 478, Free and Accepted Masons. He is a man of marked business acumen and administrative ability, while he has at all times so ordered his course as to merit and receive the unqualified confidence and regard of those with whom he comes in contact in the varied relations of life.

On the 3d of December, 1868, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Knight to Miss Margaret Price, who was born June 1, 1851, in Defiance county, Ohio, where she was reared and educated, her father, John Price, having been engaged in farming in that county until the time of his death. To Mr. and Mrs. Knight have been born two children. Charles H. who is associated with his father in business and of whom individual mention is made on another page of this volume, and Cora B., who at the time of this writing is a student under the tuition of John Orth, a noted teacher of music, in the city of Boston, she being a young lady of gracious personality and many-accomplishments and a favorite in the social' circles of her home city.6 
Census 1910  1910 Federal Census, Ohio, Stark County, Canton Township, Canton, Ward 4, ED: 175, Series: T624, Roll: 1231, Page: 70A, April 18
Sheet 3A, 612 Market Avenue S.
28, 20, 57, Knight, J F, Head, M, W, 52, M1, 41, , , Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ohio, , , English, Manufacturer, , W, No, 0, Yes, Yes, , O, F, H, 10, 0, 9, x
29, 20, 57, Knight, Margarite, Wife, F, W, 58, M1, 41, 2, 2, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ohio, , , English, None, , , , , Yes, Yes, , , , , , , ,
30, 20, 57, Hosttetler, Nora, Servant, F, W, 19, S, , , , Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, , , English, Servant, Housework, W, No, 0, Yes, Yes, , , , , , , ,10 
Census 1920  1920 Federal Census, Ohio, Stark County, Canton Township, Canton, Ward 5, ED: 49, Series: T625, Roll: 1435, Page: 70A, December 2
Sheet 1A, 612 Market Avenue S.
07, 3, 3, McNicho*, C F, Head, O, M, M, W, 71, M, , , , Yes, Yes, Ohio, , Ohio, , Pennsylvania, , Yes, Retired, , O,
08, 3, 3, McNicho*, Margaret, Wife, , , F, W, 68, M, , , , , Yes, Yes, Ohio, , Switzerland, Swiss, Ohio, , Yes, None, , ,
09, 3, 3, Rauch, Catherine, Wife, , , F, W, 17, S, , , , , Yes, Yes, Tennessee, , Switzerland, Swiss, Switzerland, Swiss, Yes, Servant, Private Family, W,
(*should be Knight. Probably trying for McKnight)11 
(Informant) Death Cert 4 November 1929  Canton, Stark Co., OH, Name: Margaret Knight
Titles & Terms:
Death Date: 04 Nov 1929
Death Place: Canton, Stark, Ohio
Birth Date: 01 Jun 1851
Estimated Birth Year:
Birthplace: Ohio
Death Age: 78 years 5 months 3 days
Gender: Female
Marital Status: Married
Race or Color: Caucasian
Street Address: 612 Market Ave., S.
Occupation: At Home
Residence: Canton, Stark, Ohio
Burial Date: 09 Nov 1929
Burial Place:
Cemetery Name: West Lawn Cemetery
Spouse's Name: George F.
Father's Name: John Price
Father's Title & Terms:
Father's Birthplace: Ohio
Mother's Name: Rachel
Mother's Titles & Terms:
Mother's Birthplace: Ohio
Film Number: 1992021
Digital Folder Number: 4022362
Image Number: 462
Certificate Number: fn 73301
Collection: Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953, Principal=Margaret Price12
Census 1930  1930 Federal Census, Ohio, Stark County, Canton Township, Canton, Ward 4, ED 76-19, Series: T626, Roll: 1870, Page: 206A, April 2
Sheet 1A, 612 Market Avenue S.
25, 6, 9, Knight, George J, Head, O, 40000, R, , M, W, 81, Wd, , No, Yes, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ohio, , 59, , , , , Yes, None, , , , , , No, ,
26, 6, 9, Piner, Cora B, Daughter-H, , , , , F, W, 57, M, 41, No, Yes, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, , 59, , , , , Yes, Musician, Proffession, 827v, O, Yes, , , ,
27, 6, 9, Piner, George W, Son-in-Law, , , , , M, W, 53, M, 37, No, Yes, California, Missouri, California, , 98, , , , , Yes, Musician, Proffession, 827v, O, Yes, , No, ,13 
Death* 16 December 1932  Tuscon, Pima Co., AZ1,2 
Death Cert 16 December 1932  Tuscon, Pima Co., AZ, Name: George Firestone Knight
Death Date: 16 Dec 1932
Death Place: Tucson, Pima, Arizona
Gender: Male
Estimated Birth Year:
Birth Date: 4 Jul 1848
Birthplace: Near Hicksville, Ohio
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Margaret
Father's Name: Binona Knight
Father's Birthplace:
Mother's Name: Eleanora Firestone
Mother's Birthplace:
Street Address:
Place of Residence:
Burial Place: Canton, Ohio
Burial Date: 18 Dec 1932
Film Number: 2114594
Digital Folder Number: 4203330
Image Number: 425
Reference Number: 358
Collection: Arizona Deaths, 1870-19512
Burial* after 16 December 1932  Westlawn Cemetery, Canton, Stark Co., OH, Plot: Section Z Row 21 
News/Obit 2000  Canton Repository
November 26, 2000

Wheatley House home to history
Repository staff writer

CANTON Its polished hardwood floors give off a warm glow, as does the thick woodwork and expansive staircase. A chandelier sparkles in the foyer. Two large windows overlook a wide front porch. In addition to its architectural value, the well-maintained brick home at 612 Market Ave. S also represents a little-known chapter in local black history, says civic volunteer Marilyn Thomas Jones. From 1933 to about 1960, the home was the Phillis Wheatley House, a boarding house for single black women, commonly known as the "Colored YWCA."

The home was named after Phillis Wheatley, a slave who became America's first published black author.

Jones said the home, now owned and occupied by the McBel Trust, symbolizes the migration of blacks from the South in the early part of the 20th century. However, because even in the North, blacks could not stay in most hotels, YMCAs or YWCAs, many were forced to find temporary housing in black-owned establishments.

Built in 1905 by industrialist George F. Knight, the house also is a monument to the quality craftsmanship that has become synonymous with early 20th-century architecture.

"Ever since I started doing research, it seemed everything came back to this building," Jones said. "It was instrumental in that women of color had a place to stay."

The Phillis Wheatley Association in Canton was established in 1933 by Theressa Etna Walker, the wife of Dr. J.B. Walker, a black physician who came to Canton from Washington in 1921. A volunteer for numerous social causes, Mrs. Walker was named the Junior League of Canton's Woman of the Year in 1953.

"I would like to, in some way, present this history that was so important to this community," Jones said.

Other Phillis Wheatley homes were opened around the country under the auspices of the National Association of Colored Women?s Clubs, of which Mrs. Walker was a member.

Jones said rent at the Wheatley House was charged on a sliding scale.

"This building was occupied by just common folks," she said. "Their names aren't known worldwide. They came up from the South seeking employment. I like to call this house the Ellis Island of Canton."

Timothy Belden said the home is on the National Register of Historic Places. The McBel Trust, which has offices there, acquired it in 1982. Before that, it was occupied by the Arid Club.

Belden agreed that the history of the Wheatley House is important because a community's history is not accurate unless it includes all of its people.

During its heyday as the Wheatley House, Jones said the home also served as headquarters for a black Girl Scout troop, and was a hotel of sorts for such black entertainers as Cab Calloway, who was refused lodging in the Onesto Hotel, downtown Canton's premier hotel at the time.

The first floor of the home also served as a private luncheon club for black professionals, similar to the Canton Club. Some residents earned extra money by working at the luncheons.

The second and third floors contained sleeping quarters. Today, the third floor has been set up to resemble what it might have looked like so long ago.

One of those women who remembers is Mozelle Meacham, a cousin of Mrs. Walker. Fresh from Boston University with a master's degree in sociology, Meacham became the first executive director of the Wheatley Association, in 1955.

Meacham said the Wheatley Association often received donations from local hoteliers.

"It's an interesting commentary on those times," Meacham said.

"Gradually, as people began to be able to go to hotels, some of that money began to dry up."

Meacham said the Wheatley Association, which also provided accommodations for the blind, turned to the United Way for help.

"When they told Mrs. Walker she had to affiliate with United Way to get money, and that she had to provide structure as an agency, she knew I was graduating from Boston University, and she recruited me to head up the organization," Meacham said. "People who made contributions to United Way no longer felt obligated to make an extra contribution."

Meacham said most of the residents at the Wheatley House were domestic workers or had menial labor-type jobs. She recalled one young woman who had completed secretarial courses at Timken High School, but couldn't find an office job. She was hired as a secretary for the Wheatley Association.

"At that time, we still had a tight, segregated employment pattern," she said.

Meacham said she often found herself at odds with a power structure that saw nothing wrong with maintaining the status quo.

"I wanted to steer the organization away from the hotel type of service, and eradicate the duplication of services," she said. "I was a young Turk who bumped up against an entrenched system that was comfortable with separate but equal."

Meacham left the Wheatley Association in 1957 and became a social worker at Massillon State Hospital.

Jones said she hopes the house will someday be included on the Canton Preservation Society's walking tour.

"With all the things happening on Market Avenue, I would hope this house would be preserved," she said.

"As far as my family is concerned, we like to keep the old buildings," Belden said.

Jones said that as a teen, she lived within sight of the house in an apartment house on Sixth Street SW, which also has been restored by the McBel Trust.

"Everyone knows the names of the big business people in town," she said. "These women did day work and other people's laundry, but they were important, too. We needed them."

Who was Phillis Wheatley?

Phillis Wheatley was America's first black female poet and published author.

Born in Senegal, Africa, in 1753, she was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7. She was brought to America in 1761 and purchased by John Wheatley, a Boston tailor, and his wife, Susannah.

Wheatley was raised alongside her owners' two daughters, who taught her how to read and write. By age 12, she could read Greek and Latin.

At 13, Wheatley wrote her first poem. At 17, she gained national fame when a poem she wrote about the death of well-known evangelical preacher George Whitefield was published.

In 1773, a collection of Wheatley's poems was published in London, England, making it the first book published by a black American.

After John and Susannah Wheatley died, Phillis Wheatley married John Peters, a free black man who owned a grocery store. She died on Dec. 5, 1784.14 
News/Obit* 2003  Canton Repository
May 7, 2003
Section: Local News

Former businesses around town have history on their sides
Repository staff writer

CANTON -- The sounds of men at work, and the pungent odor of raw rubber is long gone.
The only evidence that the Knight Tire & Rubber Co. even existed is an engraved sandstone sign that remains embedded above its main entrance on Marion Avenue SW.

Just south on Navarre Road SW, a three-story brick building sits on the banks of Nimishillen Creek.

According to the hand-painted signs that still adorn it, it was once occupied by Bako Mills, the Canton Feed & Milling Co., and lastly, Graber Mills, which churned out tons of grain, flour, and animal feed through the 1960s.

About two miles to the north, a black-and-white sign on the roof of the Hotel Onesto still pays homage to the days when men still tipped their fedoras to women, and people dressed up to go shopping.

These ghost signs, and the buildings that still showcase them, are living history lessons for the thousands of people who pass by them daily.

When Jebulon Davis took to the streets of Canton in his Winton automobile in 1895, little did he know that the appearance of one of the first cars in the city would spark a local industry of carmakers and manufacturers of automobile accessories.

Little information can be found on George F. Knight's tire company, which first appears in the Canton city directory in 1912, and seems to vanish around 1920. During those years, at least 58 automobile-related companies were operating in Canton.

Tires averaged around $12 a piece. Knight tires had plenty of competition from such Akron-based companies as Goodrich, Kelly-Springfield and Firestone, which advertised 'free air at the curb.' Though some of the cars that probably ran on Knight tires still exist, such as Buick and Cadillac, others do not among them, Franklin, Peerless, and White Steamer.14 

Last Edited 31 Jul 2010

  1. [S826] Firestone Database, Gene "Junky".
  2. [S881] State of Arizona Dept. of Health Death Certificate.
  3. [S246] 1900 U.S. Federal Census , 1900 U.S. Federal Census.
  4. [S4] 1850 U.S. Federal Census , 1850 U.S. Federal Census.
  5. [S46] 1860 U.S. Federal Census , 1860 U.S. Federal Census.
  6. [S879] OH, Old Landmarks of Canton & Stark Co., online
  7. [S858] Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958.
  8. [S71] 1870 U.S. Federal Census , 1870 U.S. Federal Census.
  9. [S100] 1880 U.S. Federal Census , 1880 U.S. Federal Census.
  10. [S73] 1910 U.S. Federal Census , 1910 U.S. Federal Census.
  11. [S247] 1920 U.S. Federal Census , 1920 U.S. Federal Census.
  12. [S260] Ohio Deaths 1908-1953.
  13. [S248] 1930 U.S. Federal Census , 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  14. [S135] Canton Repository.

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