George Knox

Listed in Thetford, Orange County in 1791 census with four other free persons in his household.

In 1800, Thetford listing shows one white female 26-45 and six other free persons in his household.  In 1810 he is in Thetford with four other free persons.  Listed after him is Cato Freeman with seven other free persons.  In 1820 George Knox is in Thetford with free colored persons:  one male under 14; one male 45 and upwards; two females under 14, one female between 26 and 45.

On 28 March 1803, he signed by mark that he didn’t agree with the majority in religion from Vermont Religious Certificates, compiled by Alden M. Rollins (2003).  Was he the George H. Knox warned out of Berkshire 21 Oct. 1813?

Prior to coming to Vermont George Knox owned property in Enfield, Grafton Co., NH.  The book, Strong and Brave Fellows, New Hampshire’s Black Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution, 1775-1784, by Glenn A. Knoblock in 2003, states that George and his first wife, Peg, signed an agreement on 12 Sept. 1785 to become the indentured servants of James Wheelock of Hanover for five years.  In agreeing to working for James Wheelock they were promised payment of £100 at the end of their indenture, less “decent and comfortable cloathing” and “the comfortable maintenance of their child.”  There is a local tradition that he was discovered in a systematic course of thieving, but that no records have been found to verify this.  Several places in Enfield, as well as in Thetford, were named after him.  This book believed that he had three wives, Peg Woodward, Jemima, and Catherine Minor.  I believe he had another wife named Catherine between Jemima and Catherine Minor.

The book, Soldiers, Sailors and Patriots of the Revolutionary War, Vermont by Carleton and Sue Fisher, states that he was born in 1733, resided Enfield, NH; was in Capt. House’s company in 1778; resided Hanover, NH; died Thetford, VT 1825.  This reference also states he had four wives, Peg, Jemima, Catharine and Catherine.  One of his enlistment papers indicates he was born in Westfield, CT.

He served in the Revolutionary War from New Hampshire, enlisting three times, and received a pension.  The pension application says that he was aged 78 years in 1820, and stated that his family then consisted of his wife, Cathrine, aged 45, and two daughters, Amanda, aged five years and Hariot, aged two years.  He died 28 July 1825 and is buried in Thetford in the Knox Cemetery.  There are three graves in his lot, with no information on one of them.  George Knox’s stone says Veteran ’76, died July 28, 1825, age 92.  The second one says Catherine, wife of George, died July 25, 1810, age 60 (Thetford Cemetery Records).  If he did have four wives, this Catherine must have been the third wife.

Vermont Vital Records has a microfilm of the Thetford vital records.  The following children are shown for George and Jemima Knox:  Henery Knox, born at Thetford, 7 June 1788; Jernel[?James] Knox, son, born at Thetford 14 Sept. 1790; Henery[?Harvey] Knox, born at Thetford, 2 April 1792.  These three births were recorded 18 Sept. 1804.  Children recorded for George Knox with no wife listed, were Amanda Knox, born at Thetford 8 March 1814; Harriet Knox, born at Thetford 4 Sept. 1816; George Henry Knox, born at Thetford 4 July 1824.  These three births were recorded 1 Sept. 1824.

There is a marriage record for George Knox of Thetford and Catharine Miner of Norwich on 7 May 1812.

Through I found a newspaper item from the newspaper, Spooners Vermont Journal for 12 Sept. 1808:  “Whereas my wife Catherine, hath eloped from my bed and board:--This is to forbid all persons from harboring, or trusting her on my account, as I will not pay any debt of her contracting after this date.”

Also through I found a newspaper item from the newspaper, The Vermont Gazette for 23 Aug. 1825, Obituary Record:  In Hartford, on the 27th ult. In the 92d year of his age, George Knox, a coloured man.  He served as a soldier in the revolution, under La Fayette.  Another newspaper item in the New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette for 22 Aug. 1825, lists him as a hero of the revolution.

The book, Once Upon a Town, A Romantic and Factual Chronicle of the Early Families and Houses of Thetford, Vermont 1761-1830, by Charlotte McCartney (1985), contains much information on George Knox.  It gives some details from his will and mentions a daughter Nancy, son Harvey and three youngest children, Mandy, Harriet and George Henry.  There is information from the book regarding an Orange County court case in 1806, when Nancy Knox complained against Jonathan Holton of Hartford, Windsor County.  She claims that he is the father of her Bastard Child Anna.  After hearing Jonathan’s testimony, the Court voted that “the said complaint and process of the sd Nancy ought to be quashed and dismissed.”  On 19 July 1811 Nancy Knox is warned out of Thetford, Vermont Warnings Out, Vol. 1, by Alden Rollins (1995).  Apparently she had another “Bastard child,” Normand Morrison Wardwell, in 1811.  The McCartney book also says that George Knox was warned out of Thetford in 1797, but it is not shown in the Rollins book.  The Thetford vital records film shows the birth of Anna Holten, daughter & Bastard Child born of Nancy Knox was born at Thetford, 10 Dec. 1805, recorded 31 Jan. 1806.  Also Normand Morrison Wardwell, a Bastard child of Nancy Knox Born at Thetford 23 July 1811, recorded 18 Feb. 1812.

There is an interesting article in the Dartmouth College Library Bulletin for April 1980:  “George Knox, a Black Soldier in the American Revolution” by Maurice J. Quinlan.  In this article I learned that on 12 September 1785 he and his wife, Peg, signed an agreement to become indentured servants of James Wheelock for a period of five years.  At that time they had one child and were living in Enfield, NH.  After moving to Thetford, VT, he had more children, two by a wife Jemima, and three by a wife Catherine.  There are many contradictory ages for George Knox given in the material I have found, and it appears that no one knows what his correct age might have been.

Thanks to Gwenda Smith, Historian of Strafford, VT, for sharing the above article with me.

The probate record for George Knox shows that the Executor, Calvin Seaver, was also appointed guardian to Amanda Knox, Harriet Knox and George Knox, all minors and legatees in the last will of said George Knox.  It seems strange that in George’s will he says “I do will & bequeath unto Catharine the woman now living with me, the sum of twenty dollars to be paid out of my household furniture in a reasonable time after my decease.”  Wasn’t she his wife, and mo
ther of the three children?