John W. Knowles
John Knowles was the 3rd great grandfather of Tressie Sullivan Moore.
John W. Knowles was born July 4th, 1749,
in the Echochel parish of Autrim County, in the town of Belemenah, Ireland. He
married Mollie (surname unknown) in Ireland. Although he was Irish, it is said
he was not a big "talker".
As a young man he took part in one of Ireland's Rebellions. The British Army crushed this rebellion and sentenced some of the leaders to hang...John Knowles was one of them. Before the British could execute him, his sister tied bed sheets together and lowered him from an upper story of the jail. He never saw his sister again.
He and Mollie, his wife, and their two little sons, escaped the country and crossed the sea to our American Colonies. He was living in Pennsylvania when we Americans rebelled against British Rule in this country. John Knowles volunteered for 12 months tour of duty in the American cause, 1775.
The first year he served as private: providing beef cattle for the soldiers. The second year, he served as a sergeant, guarding the Carlisle Barracks, for 12 months. Except, for this one year of guard duty, he was directed to provide beef cattle for the soldiers and forage for the army horses.
When he would start these cattle to slaughter at headquarters, for the soldiers, he routed the cattle by his home, near Shippensburg, PA, so he could call by to see his wife and one child. (one child must have died after they reached America.)
John W. Knowles reenlisted each year for 12 month tours of duty. ..in all, he served about six years or, until Cornwallis surrendered. Among several things John Knowles stated under oath, was that he had seen General George Washington, and General Green--he saw, them, he said, but had no personal acquaintance with them.
Following the American Revolution he moved to Augusta County, VA. There, his daughter, Elizabeth , married Archibald McDaniel, 1795. Archibald, was also a veteran of the Revolution. He and Elizabeth moved to Tennessee. When Archibald became ill to die, he left it to John Knowles to select a place to bury him. The rectangular spot, encased by large stones, flush with the ground, (in Mt. Pisgah Cemetery) was Knowles' choice. ..It was on Knowles' own farm. McDaniel was buried in 1808 and his is said to be the first grave in what became the large Mt. Pisgah Cemetery.
From Augusta County, VA, John Knowles moved to Amherst County, and finally to Pendleton County, from which he moved to Tennessee to the place just across the hedgerow east of the cemetery. A large Buncombe apple tree-perhaps a second generation sprout from an original Buncombe apple tree, set out, no doubt by Knowles himself, may be seen at the old home place. The last of the old log house has not been gone too long.
As to the dispute regarding John Knowles or W. W. Phillips being the first sheriff of White County: (many old times say they always heard that John Knowles was the first sheriff) Monroe Seals , who married into the David Goodwin family....(David, in another capacity, being one of White County's first officials) and of necessity, crossing paths with whomever the first sheriff had been: Seals , author of "White County History" said, Knowles, not W.W. Phillips was the first sheriff......Mrs. Mary Mitchell says, "Phillips' name, as first sheriff, is on the books". Mrs. McDowell Blankenship , author of "The Uneven Yoke", states that John Knowles was appointed "deputy" sheriff of White County in 1807. This word "deputy" may be the solution to the dispute.
Mollie Knowles, wife of John W. died about 1821 and according to custom was buried in their private family plot, that became the large public Mt. Pisgah Cemetery. About 1822, their son Isaac, died in North Carolina, leaving his little son, William , an orphan.
"Grandpa" Knowles, about 73 at the time, mounted his big gray horse, (10 hands high) and headed for North Carolina to pick up this little orphan. (A ride of some 600 miles.) He remained in North Carolina about a year.
In the meantime, his sons John K. Knowles and wife Sarah, John Rascoe and wife, Patsy, Christopher Swindle and wife, Mary Ann, having listened to his praise of Tennessee, had decided to return with him to make new homes for themselves in Tennessee. This was 1823.
It was the big gray horse with little William riding behind "Grandpa", that was plunged into strange rivers to measure the depths and try for a ford, before the oxen teams with the loaded wagons, enroute to Tennessee, were risked in those waters. The John Knowles family and the John Rascoe family became devoted to each other.
For the fast-stepping big gray horse's fourth and last trip to North Carolina, he was borrowed and ridden by John Rascoe, on account of a Rascoe death in North Carolina.
Toward the very end of John Knowles' life, as his vigor waned and he became a bed patient, John Rascoes' wife, Pasty, spent a lot of time at his bedside. He died in his sleep, with a smile on his bearded face, March 21, 1836, age 80. He was buried beside his wife, Mollie, in what became Mt. Pisgah Cemetery.
The War Department in 1969 issued a monument for his grave.
A list of John and Mollie's children: 1. John Knowles married a Hutson: 2. Elizabeth married Archibald McDaniel; 3. William (John W's son, not his grandson, William) married a Womack: 4. Sarah Knowles married Matthias Hutson (descendants) Willard Hudson, Gertrude Saylors and Charlie Fisher and others; 5. Elinor (Ellender) Knowles, first husband, Isaiah Hutson (Isaiah killed in his north chimney corner, as he tried to prevent Yankee soldiers taking his stallion. Farm now owned by Buck Jernigan): 6. Mary (Polly) Knowles married a Badger (descendants Kate Badger of McMinnville); 7. Isaac Knowles married ??, father of grandson, William, 8. James Knowles married a Harris (descendants) Ed Knowles: The Jareds of Will Knowles, Freeman Wards ; family, Clay Cashdollar and others.