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Alford Swan McKnight


Alford Swan McKnight was born on Sept. 27, 1853 in Fayette County, PA, the son of William and Mahala (Minerd) McKnight.

Alford married Mary L. McGovern (1851-1922).

Their children were Nora E. Deck, Emily Ella McKnight and Jesse Minerd McKnight.

Like his father and brothers, Alford was a coal miner.

The McKnights lived on a two-acre tract of his parents' farm near Sandy Hill, Fayette County.  They were members of the Central Christian Church of Uniontown.

Alford was troubled with heart disease. He died from its effects at the age of 55 on Feb. 12, 1909, at the family residence on the New Salem Road near Sandy Hill. Interment was in Sandy Hill Cemetery.

Later that year, Mary sold the family property to Mary Kacur. The tract consisted of 1.53 acres plus a two-story frame house and frame outbuildings including a chicken house and a coal house. 

Mary outlived her husband by 13 years. When the federal census was taken in 1910, Mary and her three adult children lived together in the family residence, near Sandy Hill Church. Making his home several houses away, but on a bordering property, was her single brother in law, John W. McKnight.

By 1920, when the 1920 census was taken, the 68-year-old widow lived with her son and daughter in law, Jesse and Minnie McKnight, on North Gallatin Avenue in Uniontown. She could not have helped but be proud of her son as a school principal in North Union Township schools.

Mary passed away on Oct. 17, 1922. They are buried together at the Sandy Hill Church, near the graves of his parents and step brother John Henry McKnight

Other distant cousins buried at Sandy Grove are Robert "Milroy" Everly and John F. Rockwell. Whether the McKnights were acquainted with these individuals, or knew of the family connections, is unknown. 


~ Daughter Emily "Ella" McKnight ~

Daughter Emily "Ella" McKnight (1879-1951) apparently never married. She was a nurse and historian at Uniontown Hospital, having graduated from the Uniontown Hospital School of Nursing in 1910. 

She was a member of the Central Christian Church and the Uniontown Hospital Alumnae Association. At age 50, she made her home with her widowed brother Jesse in Uniontown in 1930. 

 In the early 1950s, she lived in an apartment in the Titus Building in Uniontown. 

She died on May 13, 1951, and received a a front page obituary in the Uniontown Morning Herald. One of the relatives attending her funeral, said the Morning Herald, was her fellow hospital nurse and cousin Mahala Jane "Hallie" McKnight, daughter of Arthur Austin McKnight. Her nephew and niece, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Guirand of Moundsville, WV, also traveled to attend the funeral.

She is buried near her parents. 


Copyright 2000, 2002-2003, 2008, 2010 Mark A. Miner