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McKnight Family Papers - MS 780

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The McKnight family papers consist mainly of correspondence within the McKnight family, the majority of whom resided in Bowling Green Ohio, between the years 1862 to 1955. The collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Harriet Cunningham on March 23, 1999, with an addition in 2009 by Scott Cunningham and Cheryl Windisch.

No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. The collection was processed and register prepared by BGSU student Tim Monroe in June 2007, with revisions in 2009 by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts.

 Biographical Sketch

Henry C. McKnight was born in 1844 to William and Mary McKnight, the exact date is not known. At the age of 17 Henry McKnight was mustered into Co.E of the 11th Regiment O.V.I. Henry served in Co. E until October 1862 when he was transferred to Co. G. The 11th Regiment was organized at Camp Dennison, Ohio starting in June 1861 and members were to serve for three years, they served in such key battles of the Civil War as Bull Run and Antietam. The 11th Regiment was recognized for being well drilled in military exercises and also for cleanliness.

Henry McKnight was captured at New Middleton, Tennessee, in March 1863. Henry was paroled, exchanged and returned to Co. G in June 1863. Henry was captured again at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863 and sent to Andersonville Prison where he died on May 2, 1864. Henry McKnight was brother to Joseph McKnight and uncle to Henry Douglas McKnight.

Henry Douglas McKnight was born in Troy, in Miami County Ohio, on July 13, 1884 to Joseph R. and Cora C. McKnight. He moved to Bowling Green Ohio with his parents in the 1890s. Following his High School graduation in 1903 he became an employee of the local electric light company, where he worked his way up from lineman to management.

Douglas married Mildred Taylor on October 25, 1905. The couple had four children: Mary, Harriet, Taylor, and Robert.

In 1934 the General Utilities Company which controlled the Ohio Northern Public Service Company promoted him to local managership of its electric properties throughout a wide area of Northwestern Ohio covering east to Fostoria, south near Lima and north, to Paulding and Defiance Counties. In 1935 Douglas and his family moved to Deshler, Ohio where he died a few weeks later of a heart attack at his home on October 4, 1935.

Mildred Taylor was born in Akron, Ohio to Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Moore Taylor in 1885, her family later moved to Bowling Green, Ohio. Her father was an oil producer of the city and served as mayor. Mildred graduated from Central High School (Bowling Green) in 1903, and married Henry Douglas McKnight on October 25, 1905.

The couple had four children: Mary, Harriet, Taylor, and Robert. Mildred's husband H.D. McKnight died on October 4, 1935 at their home in Deshler. Following the death of her husband Mildred McKnight moved back to Bowling Green, Ohio and took up residence at 158 South Church St. Mildred was an active member of the First Methodist Church and was active for many years in its Sunday School Class. On November 4, 1964 Mildred McKnight died in the Wood County Hospital after a month of hospitalization. She is buried at the Oak Grove Cemetery.

Mary McKnight was born October 9, 1909 to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Douglas and Mildred McKnight in Bowling Green, Ohio. In May 20, 1929 Mary was sent to the Ohio State Sanatorium in Mount Vernon Ohio due to Tuberculosis, and in January 1930 she was released. Mary graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1933 and began teaching math and English in the White House School District from 1932 until 1942.

For twenty-nine years Mary served as a civilian mathematician in the Department of Navy in Washington D.C. before retiring in 1973, and in 1983 she returned to Bowling Green, Ohio. Mary became active in various organizations: she was a member of the First United Methodist Church, the Kings' Daughters, the American Association of University Women, and the Bowling Green State University Alumni Association. She also volunteered with the American Red Cross for many years. On February 9, 1996 Mary McKnight died at the Wood County Hospital and is buried at the Oak Grove Cemetery.

 Scope and Content

The McKnight Family Papers are comprised mostly of correspondence written between the McKnight family from 1862 and 1955 by various family members. The first series of correspondence are photocopied letters from Henry McKnight to his parents between 1862 and 1863 during the Civil War. Henry writes in his letters about the daily rigors of military life, the marching, drills, and lack of rest. They reflect Henry's desire to become a soldier in the Union Army, only to realize after joining the army he no longer wants to be a soldier and desperately wants to come home.

The second set of correspondence comes from Mary McKnight and her family between 1929 and 1930 during her stay at the Ohio State Sanatorium. Contents include general information such as to her health, information about her family members and neighbors, as well as general information about life in Bowling Green during the 1920s. This provides general information about lifestyles in Bowling Green, Ohio at the onset of the Great Depression. There are also correspondences between Mary McKnight and her family in 1938 as she and some friends took a trip out west.

The third set of correspondence comes from Mildred McKnight who resides in California between 1941 and 1955. The content of these letters contain information on the McKnight Family in Bowling Green, her own personal health, politics, a family scandal due to the disappearance of $500, and her last will and testament.

Also included in this collection is a photograph scrapbook compiled by Mary McKnight of her time spent at the Ohio State Sanatorium between July 1929 and January 1930. Scrapbook pictures include Mary and her friends, the Ohio State Sanatorium, programs from events they would have attended, and menus for holiday dinners, as well as a diary with itinerary, photographs, and brochures from her trip out west between June 30, 1938 and August 6, 1938.

 Series Description


CORRESPONDENCE - From Henry McKnight
Arranged chronologically
Contains correspondence from Henry McKnight of Company E from the 11th Regiment, to his family regarding his experiences during the Civil War, his well being, and the need to get out of the war.

Arranged chronologically
Contains correspondence written to Mary McKnight by her family during her stay at the Ohio State Sanatorium regarding information on the family as well as neighbors.

Arranged chronologically
Contains correspondence written by Mary McKnight to her family while at the Ohio State Sanatorium regarding her health status, and experiences she had while at the Sanatorium.

Arranged chronologically
Contains correspondence written by Mary McKnight to her family while on a trip out west with friends regarding people, places, and experiences she met while on trip.

CORRESPONDENCE - To Mildred McKnight
Contains correspondence written to Mildred McKnight from her sister Lillian Murphy regarding family news in Bowling Green, life in California, politics, and the theft of $500 by another family member.

CORRESPONDENCE - To Mildred McKnight
Contains correspondence to Mildred McKnight from Fred Krohn regarding the estate of Lillian Murphy.


DIARY and ITINERARY - By Mary McKnight
Arranged chronologically
Contains a diary and itinerary by Mary McKnight regarding her trip west.


1903-1964, 1823-1999, 1904-1999
Scrapbooks compiled by Scott Cunningham with letters, clippings, documents, and other genealogical notes on the Mary McKnight and Taylor and families. Some material duplicated in other series of the collection. Other scrapbooks on Harriet McKnight with collection of Don Cunningham papers (MS-1000). Oversized wrapped.


No discernible arrangement.
Includes brochures from various restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions during Mary McKnight's trip out west.


Arranged chronologically
Includes pictures taken by Mary McKnight of the Ohio State Sanatorium, friends that Mary made, programs from events they would have, and food menus from holidays.

PHOTOGRAPHS - By Mary McKnight
Arranged chronologically
Includes pictures taken by Mary McKnight during her trip west. Pictures include photographs of friends and various attractions where they stopped along the way.


Box 1


  1. Correspondence (photocopy), 1862-1863
  2. Admittance to the Ohio State Sanatorium, 1929
  3. Correspondence, 1929
  4. Correspondence, 1929
  5. Correspondence, 1929
  6. Correspondence, 1929
  7. Correspondence, 1929
  8. Correspondence, 1929-1930

Box 2


  1. Correspondence, 1929
  2. Correspondence, 1929
  3. Correspondence, 1929, 1930
  4. Correspondence, 1938
  5. Correspondence, 1941-1945
  6. Correspondence, 1946
  7. Correspondence, 1947
  8. Correspondence, 1947-1955
  9. Correspondence, 1948-1949
  10. Correspondence, 1950

Box 3


  1. Diary and Itinerary on trip west, 1938
  2. Photographs and Brochures on trip west, 1938
  3. Photograph Scrapbook, 1930

Wrapped Scrapbooks

  1. Iza Mildred (Taylor) and Henry Douglas McKnight, 1903-1964
  2. Taylor Family (Loomis, Taylor, Hoffman, etc.), 1823-1999
  3. McKnight Family (McKnight, Mercer, Pieur, etc.), 1904-1999

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