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Anna Hester (McKnight) Fox
(1873-1917)

 

Anna Hester (McKnight) Fox was born on Sept. 10, 1873, the daughter of Arthur A. and Elizabeth Jane (McGovern) McKnight.

At the age of 24, in March 1898, prior to marriage, she gave birth to a son, whom she named Thomas Edwin McKnight.

The United States Census of 1900 shows Anna and her two-year-old son living in her parents' household in Menallen Township. Her occupation at that time was listed as "house keeper."

On Sept. 17, 1902, at the age of 29, Anna entered into matrimony with 25-year-old Joseph Fox (1877-1941), a native of England, and the son of Joseph "Thomas" and Sarah Ann (Pratton) Fox. The ceremony was formed by Rev. William E. Rambo at Brownsville, Fayette County.

Joseph had emigrated to the United States in 1883, when he was age six, and eventually became naturalized as an American citizen. At the time of marriage, he was employed as a bartender.

When the federal census was taken in 1910, Anna and Joseph and son Thomas made their home in Brownsville, Fayette County. Joseph's occupation that year was listed as coal miner. Anna's 62-year-old mother lived under their roof, with the father living elsewhere. Their dwelling was along Albany Road.

 

Bird's-eye view of Brownsville, early 1900s

 

Tragically, Anna was stricken with a goiter, and she underwent surgery at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh. Complications set in, and her heart and lungs went into failure. She could not recover and died on Sept. 7, 1917, just a few days before her 44th birthday. She was laid to rest in Canonsburg, PA.

As a widower, Joseph moved back into the Brownsville home of his widowed mother and single brothers Harry (age 44) and George (29) and married sister and brother in law Anna and J.C. Groomes. They are shown together on the 1920 federal census. 

Joseph married again, to Bertha Bolte ( ? - ? ), and in 1921 relocated to Westover, near Morgantown, Monongalia County, WV. They made their home at 80 Gans Avenue.

The census-taker of 1930 listed his occupation there as "weighman" in a "coal mine." 

Joseph died of an embolism at home in Morgantown one day after his 64th birthday, on Nov. 26, 1941. His remains were returned to Canonsburg for interment in the Oak Spring Cemetery. An obituary in the Canonsburg Daily Notes said he "was a former resident of Moninger, owning property on Grant street. His death was sudden. He is survived by his wife, three brothers and two sisters... The deceased is a nephew of Mrs. E.J. Malone, Archer street."

Bertha's fate is unknown, but evidence suggests that she did not remain in West Virginia.

 

~ Son Thomas Edwin McKnight Fox ~

Son Thomas Edwin. McKnight (1898-1976) was born on March 23, 1898 in Uniontown.

After his mother married, Thomas took on his stepfather's "Fox" surname. In adulthood he was tall and of medium build, with blue eyes and light brown hair.

Thomas was joined in the bonds of wedlock with Russian immigrant Alice "Ally" Litvinovich (Oct. 28, 1907-1978). She was the daughter of Clem and Anna (Cebula) Litvinovich.

When in 1918 he was required to register for the military draft during World War I, Thomas disclosed that he was working a potter for Canonsburg Pottery Company. Their residence at the time was in Houston near Washington, PA. Eventually he joined the U.S. Army during the war.    

The Foxes relocated to Berks County, PA, where the 1950 census has them living in Amity. At that time, he labored in maintenance for an automotive products firm, while Alice earned income as a sewing machine operator for a knitting mill. From Amity they moved to Pottstown, PA.

Thomas was employed for many years by Neapco Products Inc., a designer, manufacturer and distributor of products delivering power to the drive wheels for all sorts of automotive vehicles. He is said by relatives to have been "a good artist." 

In the fall of 1976, Thomas and Alice moved to New Castle, Lawrence County, PA. He then was admitted to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Butler, PA, where he spent the final month of his life.

At the age of 78, Thomas died on Oct. 31, 1976. The remains were shipped to Washington, PA for funeral services, led by Rev. LeRoy Beckes of the Emmanuel United Presbyterian Church of Washington County. Burial was in Oak Spring Cemetery. His obituary was published in the Pottstown (PA) Mercury.

Alice survived her spouse by two years. She succumbed to the spectre of death at the age of 70, in New Castle, on July 13, 1978. An obituary in the New Castle News said she was predeceased by an infant daughter.

 

Copyright 2000, 2010, 2013-2014, 2019, 2023 Mark A. Miner