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William McKnight


William McKnight

William McKnight was born on Jan. 13, 1876, in or near New Salem, Menallen Township, Fayette County, PA, the son of Arthur A. and Elizabeth Jane (McGovern) McKnight

On March 7, 1898, when he was age 22, William traveled to Cumberland, Allegany County, MD to marry his 21-year-old sweetheart Ellen Frances Williams (1877-1964), daughter of Robert and Anna (Woodward) Williams. Ellen also went by the names "Eleanor" -- "Ella" -- and "Ellie."

The McKnights had eight children -- Catherine Folkens, Robert William McKnight, Sarah Jane Puckett, Arthur Austin McKnight, Anna Hester Johnston Bedillion, Lillian Stauffer, Dorothy Elizabeth Walker Wade and Joseph McKnight.


William with Eleanor McKnight

He is seen here with Eleanor McKnight.

When the federal census was taken in 1910, William and Ella made their home on Washington Road in North Strabane Township, near Canonsburg, Washington County, PA. He had no occupation that year. Living two doors away were William's aged father and sister Mary McKnight, living in the household of Mary's future husband Everett Prewett. 

In 1920, the census record shows that William and Ella and family lived in Canonsburg, with William working as a farm manager. Also in their residence was William's 74-year-old father, who had been separated from his wife for more than a decade.


William and son Joseph

William and his youngest son Joseph are seen in the photograph here. The date and place of the image are not known. 

Circa December 1949, at the death of his sister Mary Prewett, William was mentioned in the obituary in the Uniontown Morning Herald, and lived in Winkle, Highland County, OH.

Ellen died on March 20, 1964 and is buried at the Washington (PA) Cemetery. 

William died on Sept. 21, 1965 in Cincinnati, OH. 


~ Daughter Catherine Thompson (McKnight) Folkens ~

Daughter Catherine Thompson McKnight (1898-1991) was born on Dec. 27, 1898 in Uniontown, Fayette County. 

She married Albert Bartele Folkens Sr. (1893-1988), a native of Tjerkgaast, Friesland Province, The Netherlands (Holland), and the son of Boyd and Florence (Taconas) Folkens. The wedding took place on Sept. 27, 1916 in Washington County.

Albert and his family emigrated to the U.S. in March 1907, on the ship Potsdam, arriving in Hoboken, NJ. He was age 14 at the time.

They resided in Canonsburg and Houston, Washington County, and had three children -- Albert B. Folkens Jr., William "Bill" Folkens and Florence Kaufman. 

When the federal census was taken in 1920, Albert and Catherine and son Albert resided on Becker Street in Houston, Washington County. He was employed as a laborer in a tin plate mill. The family has not yet been located on the census of 1930. In later years, he was a farmer at Eighty Four/Scenery Hill in Washington County. They were members of the Pawnee Grange and Emmanuel United Presbyterian Church.

Albert passed away at the age of 95 on Aug. 25, 1988, in Eighty Four, Washington County. He was laid to rest in Oak Spring Cemetery in Canonsburg. 


Oak Spring Cemetery, Canonsburg

Catherine outlived him by three years, and moved into the home of her married daughter Florence in Ohio. She died on June 8, 1991, in Grant Hospital in Columbus, OH, at the age of 93. Her remains were returned to Canonsburg to rest for eternity beside her husband. Their grave is seen here, as photographed by Larry Koehler.

Son Albert Folkens Jr. (1918-2011) was born on June 9, 1918 in Canonsburg. At the age of 23, on Oct. 18, 1941, he married Madelyn Risbin (1921-2013), one of 13 children of Thomas J. and Sara Ann (Quinn) Risbin of Marianna, Washington County. Their wedding ceremony was held in Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Washington, PA, officiated by Fr. Martin J. Hughes. After World War II broke out less than two months into their marriage, Albert served in the Army in European Theatre campaigns in Rhineland and Central Europe, receiving two Bronze Stars. He and Madelyn had two children -- James Folkens and Sara Ann Godley. Said the Washington Observer-Reporter, "He was a Bessemer converter operator at A.M. Byers for 34 years and retired from McGraw Edition, Coopers in Canonsburg, where he had worked in the machine shop. [He] was a life member of Baden American Legion Post 641 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 927." After 69 years of marriage, Albert passed away on Jan. 17, 2011, in Canonsburg, at the age of 92. He was laid to rest in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Peters Township, Washington County. Madelyn survived her husband by nearly three years. She died in Washington Hospital on Oct. 12, 2013, at the age of 92.

Son William Folkens (1920-1968) was born on Dec. 21, 1920. He married twice, first to Edith Amanda Hupp on April 8, 1946. Later, he wed Elizabeth "Betty" Pierson. William died when he was age 48, on Sept. 14, 1968. He is buried with his parents at Oak Spring Cemetery in Canonsburg. 

Daughter Florence Folkens (1927-1993) was born on Sept. 15, 1927. She married Arthur Paul Kaufman (1920- ? ) on June 18, 1948. They resided in Hilliard, Franklin County, OH. Florence died in Hilliard  on Oct. 12, 1993.


~ Son Robert William McKnight ~

Son Robert William McKnight (1902- ? ) was born in 1902. 

He was employed at age 18 in 1920 as a "screw boy" in a tin mill in Canonsburg. 

Nothing more is known.


Standard Tin Plate Company, where Robert William McKnight worked circa 1920


~ Daughter Sarah Jane (McKnight) Puckett ~

Daughter Sarah Jane McKnight (1903- ? ) was born in 1903. 

She wed (?) Puckett. At her marriage, she received the gift of an heirloom quilt that was stitched in scripted letters with the initials "J.L.W." and the date of March 5, 1883. These details were sewn into the center of the piece. It is in perfect condition today, with no warn or faded spots, and has been lovingly preserved. The quilt pieces have been fashioned in quarter-inch squares.


Quilt made as a gift for Sarah Jane McKnight upon her wedding


~ Son Arthur Austin McKnight ~

Son Arthur Austin McKnight (1905- ? ) was born in 1905.


~ Daughter Anna Hester (McKnight) Johnson Bedillion ~

Daughter Anna Hester McKnight (1907- ? ) was born in 1907. 

She was married twice, first to James Johnson. They resided in Washington circa 1926 and had two children -- James Arthur Johnson and Patrick K. Johnson. 

Anna married her second spouse, (?) Bedillion. 

Son James Arthur Johnson (1926-1997) was born on April 13, 1926 in Washington. He apparently did not marry. Said the Washington Observer-Reporter, he "was Catholic and a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 927 of Washington. He resided on South Street in Washington. James passed away at the age of 71 on Oct. 27, 1997. 


~ Daughter Lillian (McKnight) Stauffer ~

Daughter Lillian McKnight (1910-1998) was born on Jan. 5, 1910 in Houston, Washington County. 

On Nov. 12, 1937, at the age of 27, she wed Glenn Alden Stauffer ( ? -1959). They had five children -- James Bernard Stauffer, Helen Furbee, Glenda Duffer, Joseph William Stauffer and Betty McMillan. 

The Stauffers lived on North Franklin Street in Washington, and were members of the First Church of the Nazarene. Other cousins living on North Franklin Street of that era were Jack and Jessie (Miner) Schultz.

Lillian outlived her husband and three children. Glenn passed away on July 10, 1959. 

She survived Glenn by almost four decades. In her final years, she went to live in the Kade Nursing Home in Washington. She died on Sept. 17, 1998. At the time of her passing, reported the Washington Observer Reporter, she was survived by 17 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren.


~ Daughter Dorothy Elizabeth (McKnight) Walker Wade ~

Daughter Dorothy Elizabeth McKnight (1912- ? ) was born on June 11, 1912 in Uniontown. She was married twice, first to Eugene Walker (1909-1960), the son of George LeMoyne and Ruth Ethel (Young) Walker. 

They lived in Washington and had six children -- George Allen Walker, Bernard Richard Walker, Charles Edward Walker, Emma Jean Dunn Mirola, Ellen Frances Anderson and Nancy Walker Nelson. 

Dorothy spent 30 years working as a selector-packer at Brockway Glass Plant No. 11, from where she retired. She was a member of the Broad Street Baptist Church and the Ladies Auxiliary of Moose Lodge 22. 

Eugene was employed for 17 years at Jessop Steel Company until his death. He was a member of the Jessop Employees Club. (Other cousins known to have labored at "the Jessop" over the years include Edward John Miner, Howard "The Preacher" McKinney, Walter Kenneth "Dick" Bedillion and Richard E. Beatty.)

George passed away on Jan. 14, 1960 in Washington Hospital. He was laid to eternal rest in Mt. Prospect Cemetery, Hickory, Washington County.

Dorothy later wed Ruben W. Wade, who brought children to the marriage from an earlier marriage. 

Dorothy died at the age of 88 on April 2, 2001, "following a lengthy illness," said the Washington Observer-Reporter. She was survived by 15 grandchildren, 13 step-grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren, 14 step-great-grandchildren and three treat-great grandchildren. 

Son Charles Edward Walker (1943-2015) was born on Oct. 17, 1943 in Washington. On May 15, 1964, at the age of 20, he married Joynettee "Jo" Wise. They lived in Washington and had three children -- Marlene Smith, Karen Willard and Charles Walker. Charles worked for Pennsylvania Transformer for a quarter of a century. They were members of First Christian Church in Washington and enjoyed camping. Sadly, the family endured the death of their son Charles in January 2013. Charles Sr. died in Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh at the age of 71 on Jan. 7, 2015.

Son Bernard Richard Walker married Barbara and made their home in Amesville, Athens County, OH. 

Daughter Emma Jean Walker married Richard Mirola and lived in Cleveland.

Daughter Ellen Frances Walker married Anderson and resided in Washington.

Daughter Nancy Walker Nelson lived in Washington.


~ Son Joseph McKnight ~

Son Joseph McKnight (1915- ? ) was born in 1915.


~ More ~

For more information on this branch, contact great-granddaughter Jeannie Pierce.


Copyright 2000, 2005, 2007, 2010-2011, 2015 Mark A. Miner

Folkens grave photo courtesy of Larry Koehler. Many thanks to Jeannie Pierce for sharing information for this biography.