Knight family papers, 1784-1960 and undated, bulk 1840s-1890s

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Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

Knight family papers 1784-1960 and undated, bulk 1840s-1890s

Collection #RL.11553 | 5.5 Linear Feet (13 boxes)

Correspondence, diaries and notebooks, financial papers, legal papers, genealogical documents, printed materials, and other materials pertain to the John Knight family of Natchez, Mississippi and Frederick, Maryland. Materials in the collection date from 1784 to 1960, and the bulk date from the 1840s to the 1890s. The majority of the papers concern the personal, legal, and financial activities of John Knight (1806-1864), merchant, plantation owner, lawyer, and investor; Frances Z.S. (Beall) Knight (1813-1900), his wife; and their daughter Frances (Fanny) Beall Knight McDannold; as well as their children, relatives, friends, and business partners, especially banker Enoch Pratt and William Murdock Beall. Significant topics include: life in Natchez, Mississippi and Frederick, Maryland; their management of plantations and enslaved people; slavery in Mississippi and other Southern states; 19th century economic conditions, especially concerning cotton, banking and bank failures; U.S. politics in the 1850s-1860s; the Civil War, especially in Maryland; cholera and yellow fever outbreaks; 19th century family life; and the Knights' travels to Europe, Russia, and other places from 1850 to 1864. Genealogies chiefly relate to the descendants of Elisha Beall of Maryland, and the McCleery, Pettit, and McLanahan families of Indiana and Maryland. Papers of John Knight's wife, Frances (Beall) Knight, include her diaries, correspondence, and legal papers. There are also diaries kept by Fanny, their daughter, documenting her travels in the 1860s, as well as her school notebooks and correspondence.

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