Biography of T. Spencer Knight
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

T. SPENCER KNIGHT, a veteran of the Civil war and grandson of a Revolutionary soldier, has his home at 9507 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, who has been very active in Cleveland business affairs for many years.

He was born at Chester in Geauga County, Ohio, June 14, 1838. His grandfather, Phones Knight, was a native of Connecticut, and was member of a Connecticut company that fought in several battles in the War for Independence. After the war he removed to Massachusetts, where he spent the rest of his life. His wife was Mehitable Sanford, native of Connecticut, and both of them lived to a good old age.

Their son Thomas Knight was born in Massachusetts on January 7, 1800, was reared and educated there, and in 1818 made a trip to Ohio to look over the country. Going back to Massachusetts, he remained there until 1820, when at the age of twenty years he joined the family of Mr. Lyman, who were preparing to come to Ohio. In the Lyman family were Mr. and Mrs. Lyman, and three sons and three daughters. Mr. Lyman set out with a pair of horses and wagon, while Thomas Knight drove a wagon drawn by two yolk of oxen, bringing also the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Lyman. Mr. Lyman reached his location at Chester in Geauga County, several weeks ahead of Mr. Knight, and had erected a log cabin in readiness to receive the rest of his family. There were no sawmills near and wagon boxes were used to make the doors for the cabin. Thomas Knight spent some time with the Lyman and then married and lived at Kirtland. For a time he occupied half of a double house, the other half being occupied by the famous mormon leader, Joseph Smith and family. From Kirtland he moved to Chester, where he lived for a few years, and then to Warrensville, Ohio, where he bought a tract of timbered land. For many years he was engaged in the lumber industry. He established a sawmill and worked up his timber at Warrensville, and subsequently bought other stock. He continued in business there until 1858 when he moved to Cleveland and bought twenty acres of land bordering Cedar and Bolton, now Eighty ninth Street, at that time in Newburg, paying $250 an acre. On one portion of this land he built a commodious brick house, a residence still standing at the corner of Cedar and Eighty ninth streets. That was his home the rest of his life. He died at the age of seventy nine. His wife was Lucia Melvin, who was born at Cummington, Massachusetts, and died at the age of eighty three. Her parents were Reuben and Achsah (Smith) Melvin, who were also pioneers at Chester in Geauga County, Ohio. Her mother was a schoolmate of the famous poet William Cullen Bryant. The children of Thomas Spencer and Lucia Knight were four sons, Austin M., William G., A. Lyman and T. Spencer. William entered the service of the Union at the time of the Civil war, but was soon discharged on account of disability, and A. Lyman served with the Seventh Regiment of New York Volunteers.

T. Spencer Knight acquired his first schooling at a Baptist Seminary at Chester, later the district schools at Warrensville, and finally attended Oberlin College. At the first call for troops by President Lincoln in April, 1861, he enlisted for ninety days. The quota was filled and his company was not accepted. Subsequently when Lincoln issued his first call for three year men, Mr. Knight enlisted on September 9, 1861, in Battery C, of the First Ohio Light Artillery. He went to the front with that regiment, and was in the battle in Kentucky, where the Confederate General Zollicoffer was killed. From there his regiment marched to Fort Donelson, arriving a few hours after the surrender of that strategic stronghold. From there the regiment went to Nashville, and next marched to Pittsburg Landing, being within hearing of the guns on the Sunday morning that marked the climax of that bloody battle. His regiment arrived on the scene the next morning. Mr. Knight in the meantime was suffering a steadily increasing impairment of health, so that he was discharged, and it was nearly a year after his return home before his health was restored. He then entered the firm of Woods Perry Company, lumber dealers, as a member of the firm and was with that firm steadily for twenty years. Since then he has been active in real estate, building and banking business and as a business man and investor has done his part in the development of this remarkable Ohio city, which he has seen grown from a population of less than eighty thousand to nearly a million.

At the age of thirty two Mr. Knight married Mrs. Frances B. Burgess, who was born in Aurora, Ohio, and died July 12, 1909. Their only child, Melvin, died when fourteen years of age. Mr. Knight for twenty five years or until consolidation of the bank with the Cleveland Trust Company January, 1923, was vice president of the Garfield Savings Company and is member of the board at this time. He is a past commander of Forest City Post No. 556, of the Grand Army of the Republic.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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