SAMUEL N. KNIGHT
Samuel N. Knight, a prominent businessman of Sutter Creek and one of the leading owners of the Sutter Creek Foundry & Machine Works, was born in Brunswick, Maine, on the 14th of November, 1838, and is of English lineage. His grandfather, John Knight, was a native of England and with his family came to America when William Knight, the father of our subject, was only two years of age, the date of their arrival in Watertown, Massachusetts, being 1809. They afterward moved to the Pine Tree state, and the grandfather died in Bowdoinham, Maine, in the eighty-second year of his age. William Knight, after arriving at years of maturity, married Miriam Walker and resided upon a farm. Both he and his wife were consistent members of the Baptist Church, and in that faith he died, in his seventy-fifth year, while his wife was called to her final home in her forty-ninth year.
The subject of this review obtained his education in his native state and when fourteen years of age began to learn the ship-joiner’s trade. Subsequently he removed to Florida and obtained employment in machine works, where he was employed at the breaking out of the Civil War. He was on the boat which captured Fort McCrea and Fort Barancas, but his sympathies were not in harmony with that side and accordingly he secured passage on a schooner bound for Boston, under the command of a captain who in Maine had been a near neighbor to Mr. Knight. The latter obtained work on a fleet which was being fitted out in New York for the Banks expedition and also worked on other vessels being fitted out for naval service in the war.
In 1862 he took passage on the Garibaldi for California, and after a voyage of five months landed at San Francisco, in 1863. He made his way at once to Calaveras County and began building quartz mills, his first work being the construction of a ten-stamp mill on Calaveras Creek. Subsequently he came to Sutter Creek, where he was actively engaged in building mills, bridges and hoisting works. In 1874 he purchased an interest in a machine shop in this place, with which he has since been connected, and under his management it has grown to be one of the most important enterprises in the town, employing from fifty to seventy-five men. They manufacture centrifugal pumps, hydraulic engines and all kinds of mining machinery and their output is very extensive, which indicates the excellence of their products and their reliability in trade circles. Mr. Knight is also the inventor and patentee of a very valuable water wheel, which has been received with much favor and is now quite generally used in this section of the state. It is due to his ability, energy and discretion that the foundry has grown to its present large dimensions and that its history has been one of prosperity. He is also a stockholder in the electric light plant, which has proved a very desirable acquisition to the town.
Mr. Knight owns a nice residence in Sutter Creek and is one of the progressive and public-spirited citizens of the town, giving his support and co-operation to all measures which he believes will prove a public good. For many years he has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His success is the deserved reward of his labors. He started out without capital, but by determined purpose has steadily worked his way upward, overcoming all difficulties and obstacles and at length reaching a plane of affluence.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.