Walter Knight wife & children

+6 votes

I just finished what appears to be the last merge for Walter Knight-174 and find that there are duplicates for his 1st wife, Elizabeth.

Walter's existing profile has Elizabeth Gunne as his wife but in the sources it lists Elizabeth Willis as below.

Name:Walter Knight

  • England & Wales Marriages, 1538-1940 about Walter Knight


Spouse's Name:Elizabeth Willis

Marriage Date:4 Feb 1607

Marriage Place: Cumnor, Berkshire, England

Source Citation: Place: Cumnor, Berkshire, England; Date Range: 1607 - 1607; Film Number: 1279456.

Source England & Wales Marriages, 1538-1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Genealogical Society of Utah. British Isles Vital Records Index, 2nd Edition. Salt Lake City, Utah

Does anyone know the source where Elizabeth Gunne came from for his wife??  He was married in England before coming to America.

And does anyone know which ship he came over in 1622 or before?

WikiTree profile: Walter Knight
in Genealogy Help by David Mason G2G6 (7.5k points)
edited by David Mason
from a RootsWeb page:

Walter immigrated aboard the "Zouch Phoenix" in 1624. He was a carpenter and Master Salter who was in Nantascot and moved to Cape Ann in 1625. It is believed that he and Thomas and John Gray bought the entire Nantascot Peninsula from the Massachusetts Indians who had been decimated by plague and didn't need the land anymore. Walter moved to Boston in the 1640's and was living there as late as 1653. A man of questionable character, Walter was described by Gov. William Bradford as "an ignorante, foolish, self-willd fellow." He was frequently in trouble with the law for abusive language, assault, and abandonment. He apparently engaged in premarital relations with his second wife Ruth Gray.

From the book Massachusetts Bay Connections "John Balch...and wife Agnes arrived aboard Zouch Phenix along with Thomas Gardner, Thomas Gray, Walter Knight and Peter Palfrey - in the spring of 1624........and joined Capt. Robert Gorges...along with Roger Conant to search for a better place when Cape Ann failed.

Thought all would like to know: there is a registered Map of Hull Peninsula w/ the name of "Martin Knight" on it, an ancestor of Walter?:  Right place:  @ the very end of the Penninsula where the colonial village was.  But I can't find any Martin Knight "grantee" info.


Under: "Search Crteria" > "Plans" > "Book Search" , than enter Bk# 1 Pg# 85

12 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

The PGM project places great reliance on the Great Migration series books, by Robert Charles Anderson (and sometimes others). Walter Knight is covered in The Great Migration Begins. His entry is in volume II, pages 1139-1142.

According to that source, he arrived "by 1626" -- no more specific arrival information was confirmed. Anderson calls his origins "unknown" -- apparently no evidence was found for the parents and birthplace on his WikiTree profile. There is some basis for positing an origin in Somerset, Dorset or Devon, and there is an account that refers to him and other early settlers at Cape Ann as "Dorchester merchants."

As for a wife, Anderson did not find a name and says "the claim that she was Ruth Gray is an unsupported guess." However, he was married to someone by 1642, as on 28 February 1642/3 he was "presented for not living with his wife." As to children, Anderson says "None recorded."

Anderson also indicates uncertainty as to whether the Walter Knight who is recorded at Salem in the 1640s is the same man who later appeared at Braveboat Harbor, or whether there were two different Walter Knights.

PS - No hint in Anderson of any wife named Elizabeth.

by Ellen Smith G2G6 Pilot (949k points)
selected by Jillaine Smith

I'm reviewing my  records for Walter Knight. I have no record at all of an Elizabeth "Gunne" but do have the marriage record in England of Walter Knight and Elizabeth Willis. My records include

* Torrey's New England Marriage's Prior to 1700 (my understanding is that he used source documents to compile these lists, including sources that have since been lost). On page 460 of the digit file he lists

"Knight, Walter & Elizabeth ___?____(1634?); b. 1610"

"Knight, Walter (1587-) & 2/wf [?Ruth GRAY]; b 1642, b 1620?, 1635?; Salem"

*'s U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900. Name: Walter Knight, Gender: Male, Birthplace: EN, Birth year 1587, Spouse name Elizabeth, Spouse Birth place: of MA (please note this does NOT say she was born in Massachusetts, it says she was living in Massachusetts at the time of the source record, basically, the marriage information was complied after the fact, not at the time of the marriage, and no one documented where she was born). Marriage year 1610, number of pages 1 Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. [I don't consider this to be the most reliable source since it incorporates info from various sources, which may be incorrect and isn't a primary source in and of itself)

* US Passenger and Immigration Lists,

Name Walter Knight
Birth Year abt 1587
Arrival Year 1653
Arrival Place New England
Age 66
Source Publication Code 9151
Primary Immigrant Knight, Walter
Annotation Contains 35 articles excerpted from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 1847-1961. About 17,000 names. Similar lists in Boyer, nos. 0702, 0714, 0717, 0720.
Source Bibliography TEPPER, MICHAEL, editor. Passengers to America: A Consolidation of Ship Passenger Lists from "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register." Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977. 554p. Reprinted with new introduction and indexes, 1978. Repr. 1980.

* Millennium File (which I find worthless as a primary source since it was simply created from family trees people submitted to the World Family tree and didn't require sources as a secondary source I include it in my records)

Name Walter Knight
Gender Male
Birth Date 1585
Birth Place England
Death Place of Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA
Marriage Date 1610
Spouse Elizabeth
Children Mary Knight
Household Members
Name Age
Walter Knight  
* England and Wales Marriage Records Place: Cumnor, Berkshire, England; Date Range: 1607 - 1607; Film Number: 1279456
Walter Knight
Gender Male
Spouse's Name Elizabeth Willis
Marriage Date 04 Feb 1607
Marriage Place Cumnor, Berkshire, England
Household Members
Name Age
Walter Knight  
Elizabeth Willis


Name Walter Knight
Birth Date 1587
Birthplace Eng, Massachusetts
Volume 98
Page number 128
Directory of the anc. heads of New England fams. Comp. By Frank R. Holmes. NewYork, 1923. (274p.):142



Name Walter Knight
Birth Date 1587
Birthplace Eng, Massachusetts
Volume 98
Page number 128
Reference Gen. Column of the " Boston Transcript". 1906-1941.( The greatest single source of material for gen. Data for the N.E. area and for the period 1600-1800. Completely indexed in the Index.): 2 Jun 1909, 571


My records also only show Bridget Knight Varney as a daughter and I am willing to concede that there may be an error here in light of the NEGHS article on her. My source for Bridget as the daughter of Walter Knight was English Ancestry of Jeffrey Parsons article from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Volume 142 page 247

Anyone have ANY sources pointing to the other children in the record?

That is good info Laura but still confusing.  Sadly, I cannot read the story of Bridget Varney as I am not a paying member of NEHGS.

Under the Walter Knight "sources" we have this wonderful "story" from Family Search:


"Walter was born in Staplegrove, Somersetshire, England about 1587. He married first Elizabeth --- in England. Walter Knight was among those coming to the new Plymouth colony during the first few years of its existence. According to a deposing in Plymouth County Deeds, his passage was paid for by Christopher Derby and was to repaid to his son Richard Derby who resided in Plymouth colony. It appears that Walter did not plan on repaying his debt however. "Thomas Harvey of Cohannett, yeoman, aged 21 years or thereabouts, deposed and said that he, the deponent, "having a bond or writing under the hand and seale of Walter Knight carpenter whereby the said Walter Knight stood endebted in the sume of five pounds sterl' unto Mr. Christopher Derby wch was payd for his passage over the wch five pounds is to payd unto Mr. Richard Derby here [at Plymouth]: as this deponent was reading the same (at the sd Knights request) in the ship as they came over The said Walter Knight snatched the said bond or writing out of this deponents hands and imediately tore the same into peeces." Walter Knight was among those who accompanied Roger Conant to Nantasket in 1622. This place was granted by the Plymouth colony authorities for the establishment of trade with the Native Americans. He, along with Thomas and John Gray, are reputed to have purchased the entire Nantascot Peninsula from Chickataubut, The Great Sachem of the Massachusetts Indians, who's people were weakened by the earlier plague and wars with other tribes. Roger Conant remained here about a year, and it is assumed that Walter Knight stayed about the same time. He was at Cape Ann in 1625 and in Salem, Massachusetts by 1628. Here his wife Elizabeth died on April 19, 1634. He remarried to Ruth Gray although the date is not known. Charles Bolton states that "he lived with his wife before marriage, but not so much after." He then removed to Boston. In 1640 he found in records as being fined for "giving rude speeches" and in 1642 he was "labeled a frequent liar." In 1653 he gave a deposition about his time in Nantasket in 1622, but his testimony was not considered reliable given his reputation. He died sometime after 1653 in Boston."

And a portion of that story is repeated in NEHGS Genealogical Register,  Volume 142, April 1988, page 109-110.

With Walter Knight's appearance around 1622 in NE and subsequent court appearance at Plymouth, it may point to there being 2 Walter Knight as Anderson suggests.

So the search continues.

The article in NEHGS Register, Volume 142, April 1988, page 109-110, is a history of Hull, Massachusetts. It doesn't mention a Christopher Derby, Richard Derby, or Thomas Harvey. It does indicate that Walter Knight, with Thomas and John Gray, is "reputed" to have purchased the Nantascot peninsula from a Native American in 1622, and it does associate Walter Knight with Roger Conant. The sources cited for information about Knight are Samuel G. Drake's 1856 "History and Antiquities of Boston" and Sidney Perley's 1924 "History of Salem, Massachusetts."

Note that in GMB, which was published in 1995, Anderson reported that the first record of Walter Knight being in New England was in 1626.

Unfortunately, none of the sources on the list in Laura's long comment is a primary source. For example, Torrey's New England Marriages (in itself a derivative source) seems to be the source for a lot of the early marriages in the Ancestry marriages record. Torrey cites his sources, and I wish to reemphasize that Raymon Meyers Tingley is the only source he cites for the marriage of Walter Knight to Elizabeth. (Most of his records cite several sources.)

Tingley's book (which, by the way, I found online, at a free site) lists eight children for Walter, including 5 with Elizabeth and 3 with Ruth. I think it likely that Tingley was the original source for all of the more recent derivative sources that list the children.

PS - FWIW, Tingley listed 8 children but the WikiTree profile currently has connections to 9 children. The child on the profile that Tingley didn't list is "Richard Gunne Knight", born 1599 (when Knight is supposed to have been between 12 and 14 years old). Richard is even less well-documented than the others!

Why would that story indicate to you that there are 2 different Walter Knights? To me that adds credence to them being one and the same since the actions in his life here (refusing to pay his passage) and his later actions with his 2nd wife seem to match... I'm just trying to follow why that would be evidence of a 2nd Walter. (I also don't follow Anderson's reasoning either).

The documentation I listed reads "The baptism of Jeffrey in 1630 is clearly that of the Gloucester man, and the burial of James Parson "the Elder" in 1670 at least partially settles the question of the proposed relationship to Bridget Varney, who by that time was already the widow of William Varney. The story of Bridget and her thrice-married daughter, Rachel (Varney) (Cook)(Langton) Vinson, is discussed by Walter Goodwin Davis in  The Ancestry of Nicholas Davis (cited above, 223-227), although even Mr. Davis fell into the trap set by Bridget's will and stated that Jeffrey Parsons was Bridget's son b a previous marriage. Faced with the dilemma of what to call a stepgrandson-in-law for who she probably felt affection, Bridget evidently settled for "son." The possibility remains, however, that some other than filial blood relationship existed between them." (He then goes on to write about the frustration that so many primary sources were destroyed by the WWII bombing of Exeter)

On the next page under Jeffrey Parsons' entry. reads "He married at Gloucester, 11 November 1657, Sarah Vinson, daughter of William and Sarah ____ Vinson. The long-sought answer to the riddle of his relationship to Brdiget Varney appears to rest with the fact that his wife was Bridget's stepgranddaughter. Bridget's daughter, Rachel (Varney) (Cook) Langton, married as his second wife and her third husband, Sarah's father, William Vinson.

Upon review, this isn't stating anything about her being a daughter of Knight, simply the issues about the confusion with Parsons.


The problem is that many of the records of the era have been lost, so there are limited primary sources. The Millenium file also lists Bridget Knight as a daughter of Walter Knight, but the MIllenium file isn't a good primary source.


"William Varney of Ipswich and Gloucester, Massachusetts" by Kathleen Canney Barber and Janet Ireland Delorey, published in The American Genealogist Vol. 81, No. 3. (July 2006, pub. January 2007). states "If Jeffrey Parsons was the son of Bridget Varney, then it seems likely that the Varneys were also of Barbados. At the same time, a Thomas Verney [sic] appeared at Barbados and apparently returned to England by 11 March 1641/2. On that date, a land conveyance between Capt. Fra. Skeete and Richard Estwicke referred to land "I had formerly sold to Mr. Tho. Verney which I took again from him by constent." Some have conjectured that Thomas Verney and William Varney were closely related, although our research has failed to disclose any connection.

It has now been proven the Jeffrey Parsons was baptized at Loddiswell, co. Devon, England on 1 August 1630, son of James and Allice (Crossing) Parsons. James Parsons was buried at Loddiswell on 21 July 1670. Therefore, Bridget, the wife of William Varney, could not have been either mother or stepmother to Jeffrey Parsons as she was married to William Varney well before 1670. The question fo why Jeffrey Parsons was called "my son" in her will is discussed later.

  Tingley identified Bridget at the daughter of Walter and Elizabeth Knicht of Salem, Massachusetts, and born in England in 1611; he further assigned a marriage date of 4 May 1629 to William Varney, presumably in England, although not so indicated (Tingley, Ancestral Lines, 417). No source was given to support those assertions. Based on our research, we believe that Tingley was mistaken as to the date of Bridget's birth and parentage.

  By her own deposition of November 1671, Bridget was "the widow Varnie aged about seventy one years" or born around 1600 Walter Knight born around 1587 by his own depositions (aged 39 in 1626, aged 66 in 1653) would have been only 13 years of age or younger when Bridget was born. Although it can be argued that court depositions regarding age can be misleading, the accuracy of Bridget's deposition is supported by the year of birth of her last child about 1639. If Bridget was born in 1611, she would have ceased bearing children at the age of 28 or 29, which would be unusual; whereas it was not at all uncommon to bear children until the age of 40 and occasionally beyond."

(I'm not sure I buy Barber and Delorey's argument about childbearing age... my tree if FULL of ancestors that didn't have additional children after the age of 30 despite being married, there are many reasons, even in the past for fertility issues to happen. So I'm not sure that this is enough evidence to disprove Bridget as the daughter of Walter.

Unfortunately my membership with NEHGS is currently expired and I'm not in a position to renew at the moment to do additional research in their files to try and get more information either for or against.

At this point, I would leave the relationship between Walter and Bridget, but annotate the questions and concerns.

When Anderson suggested that there might have been two Walter Knights, he was saying that the man who was at Cape Ann and Salem was the same man who later (circa 1642) didn't live with his wife. The Walter Knight who might have been someone else is a man who was at Braveboat Harbor (Portsmouth, N.H. area) between 1651 and 1668.

ADDED: Also, Anderson says that Samuel Drake's history of Boston cited the deposition of Walter Knight as the source for the story about the two Grays and Knight buying the Nantasket peninsula from Native Americans in 1622. He says that neither the deposition nor a "proper transcript" has been found, and suggests that if the story was true, Knight and the Grays would have tried to claim the land later when the town of Hull was established there. He says that the lack of documentation of the deposition and the failure of these men to file a land claim "suggests that Drake was imposed upon and that the deposition reported by him was fraudulent; we do not accept here the events portrayed therein."
Laura, certainly good info there.  I too was confused about Anderson's contention of 2 Walter Knights.

So what should the profile show as to a wife for him?  Elizabeth Willis?  No one seems to know where Gunn came from and he 'unknown' is from my tree when we did a merge.

That was the initial reason for this G2G as I was going to correct the wives but have now learned something new about my 9th G grandmother, Bridget Knight Varney


"Unfortunately, none of the sources on the list in Laura's long comment is a primary source." Marriage records in England are actually a primary source.

However, NONE of the other records -- Anderson, et all. are primary either. The are accepted, but are not the be all and end of the discussion. I've found a number of primary sources for other lines and ancestors that are not included in Anderson's Great Migration (as awesome of a resources as that work is).


Laura, you have my apologies for not identifying "England and Wales Marriage Records" as a primary source. I misinterpreted that name as being one of Ancestry's databases of "index-only" records gleaned from a variety of unidentified sources.

Um, "England and Wales Marriage Records" -- at least on -- is not a primary or original source. Read the description: 

Original data: Genealogical Society of Utah. British Isles Vital Records Index, 2nd Edition. Salt Lake City, Utah

It's an index. So it's derivative.

Also, its contents might be accurate-- it may very well and accurately be referring to an original marriage record in a parish concerning one Walter Knight and one Elizabeth Willis. But how do we know this Walter who married Elizabeth Willis is the immigrant to Massachusetts?


0 votes

From the WikiTree profile, Elizabeth Gunne's father is 

Richard Gunne

Born 1567 in Saintbury, Gloucestershire, England

by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.9m points)
0 votes


This interesting name has three possible derivations. The first from the Olde Norse Viking pre 7th Century personal name "Gunnr", meaning battle. Secondly, a metonymic occupational name for someone who operated a Seige Cannon, from the Medieval word "gunne" meaning a cannon. This could also have been used as a nickname for a person with a forceful temperament. The name is widespread in Scotland, especially in Caithness, where it is of Norse origin, Gunn was a Caithness, chief of the 12th Century. His name Gunnis an old West Scandinavian personal name. The Gaelic form is "Mac Gille Dhuinn" and means "son of the servant of the brown one". Two early marriages in London are between Richard Gunn and Joane Benson on 22nd October 1627 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and Alexander Gunnt and Margery Hooper on 26th January 1665 at St. Mary Magdale, Old Fish Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Gun, which was dated 1218, in the "Assize Rolls Lancashire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.

Read more:

by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.9m points)
+1 vote

Not sure if this should be continued here or if a new conversation about Bridget should be started, but this is a well sourced and concise record of the issue with Bridget. While I still have trouble with the assertions regarding childbearing age as "proof" as posited by Barber and Delorey, I think in the totality of the evidence, particularly the marriage record in England, it is highly unlikely that Bridget is or ever was a "Knight" and not the daughter of Walter. I will be changing my personal family genealogies to reflect this belief.


▼ Who Was Bridget?

William Varney’s wife’s name was Bridget, as indicated in the Probate Record for his estate. Three identities for Bridget have been suggested:
as Bridget Knight, daughter of Walter Knight;
as Bridget Parsons, widow of James Parsons and mother of the Jeffrey Parsons who married Sarah Vinson;
and as Bridget Deverell.

The identification of Bridget as the widow of James Parsons has been disproven. Her identification as the daughter of Walter Knight has been challenged and lacks any credible support or documentation. Her identification as Bridge Deverell, while a possibility, should be treated with some caution.

▼ Bridget as Bridget Knight - Not Credible

Bridget’s identification as Bridget Knight was provided by Tingley in a family history published in 1935.[3] [4] Tingley claimed that Bridget was born about 1611, the daughter of Walter Knight, and that she and William Varney married 4 May 1629 in Salem, Massachusetts. Tingley cited no sources nor provided any evidence for his identification or other statements.

Tingley’s identification of Bridget was questioned by Torrey but not refuted.[5] More recently, it has been challenged by Barber and Delory.[2] They argue that Bridget, based on her statements of her age, was too old to be the daughter of Walter Knight, based on his statements of his age. Further, that Bridget’s own statement of her age is consistent with the range of her childbearing years; and that her known childbearing years are not consistent with the birth date given by Tingley. Similarly, The Great Migration Project has been unable to identify the name of Walter Knight's wife, nor any evidence that he even had children.[7]

Another problem is where and when Bridget and William Varney met and married. Walter Knight was living in Massachusetts before Bridget married and, if Bridget was his daughter, it is likely that Bridget was also living in Massachusetts before her marriage. However, there is no record of William Varney in Massachusetts or elsewhere in New England prior to 1649.

Without documentation, then, the identification of Bridget as Bridget Knight is inconsistent with documentation that is available for Walter Knight, William Varney, and Bridget wife of William Varney. In fact, it is questionable that any such person as Bridget Knight even existed.

▼ Bridget as Bridget Parsons - Disproven

Torrey identifies Bridget as Bridget Parsons, a possible widow, with undertain birth dates.[5] Bridget’s identification as Bridget Parsons is presumably based on her will, which mentions, along with her children by William Varney, her “son” Jeffrey Parsons.[8]

Many Varney family histories have also followed that assumption to state that William and Bridget were married in Barbados,[6] where Jeffrey Parsons stated that he moved at an early age. This would resolve the problem of how and where Bridget and William Varney met and married. However, the assumption that Bridget is the mother of Jeffrey Parsons or directly connected to him has been disproven by Willis Parsons.[9] There is no documentation or other evidence, then, to support the identification of Bridget as Bridget Parsons. (See Bridget Deverell for further discussion of her will.)

Without Bridget’s connection to Jeffrey Parsons, there is also no reason to suppose that William and Bridget were married in Barbados. Nor are there any records in Barbados to suggest that either William or Bridget were ever there, although early records for Barbados are patchy.[2] (All available early baptisms and marriages for Barbados have been extracted for the International Genealogical Index where they can be searched.)

▼ Bridget as Bridget Deverell -Tentative

Barber and Delorey have suggested that Bridget “is probably” the Bridget Deverell who married a William Varney on 7 April 1629 in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, Berkshire, England.[2] They were able to find a baptismal record for Bridget that is consistent with her age as reported by herself and as estimated from her child bearing years. And the marriage date is surprisingly close to that initially suggested by Tingley.

Allthough further documentation would be desirable, the identification of Bridget as Bridget Deverell presently seems the most plausible identification for the wife of William Varney.

(sources in next post)

by Laura Harlow G2G6 (8.9k points)



  1. ↑ Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. FHL #0924802, in Church of England. St. George's Chapel (Windsor Castle, Berkshire); Elisabeth R Poyser; and E. H. (Edmund Horace) Fellowes. The baptism, marriage and burial registers of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, p. 103 (Marriages), Secondary quality.

    "William Varney and Bridget Deverell of the Parishe of St. Georg wthin the Castle of Windsor, were marryed here the vijth of Aprill. Anno domini: 1629 by virtue of a Lycence granted from the Deane and Praebendries"

    St. George's Chapel was apparently popular for marriages at the time, serving not only residents of the Castle and "of the parish" outside the Castle, but from other parishes and communities as well. The wording in some entries clearly differentiates those who are "of the Castle" from those who are "of the parish" or from other parishes. Unfortunately, the entry for William and Bridget is less clear.

  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Barber, Kathleen Canney, and Janet Ireland Delorey. William Varney of Ipswich and Gloucester, Massachusetts. The American Genealogist. (Jul 2006), Secondary quality.
  3. ↑ Frye, Marian McCauley, and Harold E Frye. The Tingley family revised: being a record of the descendants of Samuel Tingley (____-1666) of Malden, Mass. in both the male and female lines. (Elkton, Virginia: M.M. Frye, c1970-2001 (Ann Arbor, Michigan : Edwards Brothers)), V.1, p.20, Secondary quality.
  4. ↑ Tingley, Raymon Meyers. Some ancestral lines: being a record of some of the ancestors of Guilford Solon Tingley and his wife Martha Pamelia Meyers. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1986), Secondary quality.

    William Varney, of Ipswich, Mass. . . .Married 29 May 1629, Bridget, dau of Walter and Elizabeth Knight of Salem, Mass, b. 1611 England

  5. 5.0 5.1 Torrey, Clarence Almon. New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Secondary quality.

    VARNEY William ( -1654, Salem) & Bridget PARSONS [KNIGHT?] ( - 1672, Gloucester), wid?; b 1641?, b 1644, 4 May 1629?, b 1634; Ipswich/Gloucester/Salem

  6. ↑ Collacott, Margaret Oliver. The ancestors and descendants of Zephaniah and Silence Alden Hathaway: with notes on allied families. (Mentor, Ohio: unknown, 1961), Secondary quality.
  7. ↑ Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995), pp. 1139-1142, Secondary quality.

    Walter Knight. Origin unknown, arrived about 1626, married by 1642, name of wife unknown, no known children

  8. ↑ Massachusetts (Colony). Quarterly Courts (Essex County). Records and files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. (Salem, Massachusetts: The Essex Institute, 1911-1925, 1975), Vol. 5, p. 119, Secondary quality.
  9. ↑ “Jeffery Parsons of Loddiswell, Devonshire and Gloucester, Massachusetts”, by Willis S. Parsons, in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), Vol 142, July 1988, Secondary quality.


Nice research on Bridget, Laura. Is she the only purported child of Walter Knight that people care about? (She's the only one I've seen discussed here or in the sources I've sampled.)
Yes, Laura, very well done and now the decision on whether to separate Bridget from Walter Knight.  Anyone have a contact number for Marty McFly?

Oh, I see someone has already done that and also changed Bridget to 'unknown'
Ellen, I think Bridget has the most attention because she has to biggest paper trail... and because she has the most well known descendants and I haven't found a whole lot on those other children. I've never had them on my tree, and it is far easier to prove a positive than a negative (a child not listed in a will doesn't mean the child didn't exist, just that they weren't listed either because they had predeceased their parent or had been disinherited or had received their inheritance earlier), so the child listed is confirmed, but the child not listed isn't disproven. It makes it harder to argue against other children (even if the will issue isn't here in this case, it's a reasonable example).


David, In *my* opinion, I'd vote to separate her, with annotation why and a link to Walter for anyone who wants to follow the trail easily.


Before I close this question, I just checked William Varney profile and it shows a change on Oct.23,2015 but there is nothing under the changes tab or who did what.   Why is it not shown?  I can see that his wife was changed to Bridget 'unknown' but not who made the change.  Or is that because Bridget was changed to an unknown that the software automatically listed a change but it was to Bridget, not William??  Just trying to understand the software process here.  Thanks
David: It was Laura who made those changes. She changed Bridget's LNAB from Knight to Unknown. Bridget is now [[Unknown-296040]]. See for the history.

Please don't close this question. This has been a complex discussion that should remain open and accessible to other contributors interested in these people.
It was me and it should be because I changed Bridget's last name to remove Knight and add the possibility that it is Deverell (and left Knight as an alternate last name simply so people can find her as "Bridget Knight" since many records list her thusly.
Adding my voice to Ellen's: please don't close this question. Looks like we need to go through each of the claimed children and see what we can find. I'll start with supposed son William.
OK, I have changed the Title to better reflect this topic.
Great idea! We could have one response per child. I started with William.
I got through Elizabeth. No more time today for this. Hopefully others can help?

I had been working on Varney merges/edits and came across this website:    that sources: William Richard Cutter, New England Families Genealogical and Memorial: Volume IV

Of note is that Bridget Knight is mother and accurate dates are listed for births in Barbados.  As well as a marriage date for Bridget Knight and William Varney.  Is the Barbados tie definitely disproven?  Are there records available for Barbados?

One of the sources I looked at earlier in the week made reference to a Varney in Barbados. I think there was an indication that it was a different Varney family, but I don't remember the specifics, nor which source it was.

That Cutter book cited on the webpage you found is a 1913 book that is available online, free, from multiple sources. I have the impression that Cutter's numerous books were essentially republications of excerpts from earlier published genealogies. I've found them useful, but they aren't highly reliable. Anyway, the only Varneys mentioned in the cited volume of Cutter are two women named Abigail -- see for details.
+3 votes

WILLIAM KNGHT (1613-1731)

This pertains to son William. I

[EDITED:] Ooops! Gotta start over on this one; I accidentally searched William WRIGHT, not William KNIGHT. Ugh. 

[Note: I focused on NEHGS since not everyone has access to that; perhaps someone else can peruse]


There was a William KNIGHT in Lynn, Massachusetts, who left a will in 1653; wife Elizabeth; ch. John, Anne, Francis, Hannah and Jacob. Source: "Early Settlers of  Essex and Old Norfolk," NEHGR, 6:346.

Here's more:

William Wright<ref>Charles S. Tibbetts, "William Knight of Lynn," in ''The Essex Genealogist,'' 18:71-</ref> was born about 1600 and died at Lynn 5 1m [March] 1655. He m1 in England a wife whose name is unknown, and by whom he had four children. He m2 about 1642, probably in Lynn, widow Elizabeth Ballard, born England in 1609 and who sailed on the ''James'' in 1635 with her first husband William Ballard. After William Knight's death, Elizabeth m3 at Lynn 28 1m 1656 Allen Breed as his second wife.  First record of this Wm Knight in America is at Marblehead (then part of Salem) 2 Jan 1636/7; by 1638 moved to Lynn; made freeman there 2 May 1638. There's a bunch more info in the article about him. 

I suggest that we take Knight-1436, adjust his dates, detach him from Walter and mother, and make him this William Knight.

From same article, children (1-4 by wife #1):

  1. John2, b abt 1622; m Emma Wellman
  2. Ann, b abt 1624; m bef 1653 as 2nd wife Edward Richards, b 1609-1627. Children. [more info in article]
  3. Francis [the one currently ascribed to Walter??], b abt 1626; returned to England to fight under Cromwell against Charles I, and died there.
  4. Johanna (or Hannah), b abt 1628; m bef 1648 Thomas Gage of Yarmouth. Children.
  5. Mary b abt 1643; m abt 1665 Henry Wormwood. Children born Lynn.
  6. Elizabeth b abt 1644/5; m1 c1661 John Farrington; m2 at Andover, Mass., 14 Nov 1667 Mark Graves
  7. Jacob b abt 1645; m1 Sarah Burt; m2 Hannah Rand; m3 Elizabeth (Pitmen) Russell; m4 Rebecca (Rea?) Stevens
  8. Daniel, b abt 1647; d 1672; unmarried.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (675k points)
edited by Jillaine Smith

I searched for a William Knight who died 1731 in Salem, Mass. The closest thing I found was a man who died in Portsmouth, N.H., on 5 Feb 1730/1. He is documented by a large collection of user-uploaded images of a page from New Hampshire Probate Records recording:

Inventory of the estate of William Knight, who died Feb. 5, 1730/1; amount, 3292.16.7; signed by Hunking Wentworth and Tobias Langdon; attested by Deborah Knight, widow and administatrix, Jan. 11, 1732/3.

From Ancestry:

this appears to be the Wm. Knight you reference with wife Deborah
From to add to the confusion.  Still looking.
Thanks, David. Clearly two different men. The second William you found appears to be the same I found above -- William Knight of Lynn.

In any case, the William Knight currently profiled doesn't match ANYONE.

In Pope's book, The Pioneers of Massachusetts, he lists 3 William Knight including the Lynn connection

For what it's worth.

+3 votes

Elizabeth Knight

Anderson's profile of her second husband (Peter Palfry) provides no maiden name, much less parents. She should be detached from Walter and any mother and renamed Elizabeth Unknown.

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (675k points)
It looks to me like Elizabeth is a fairly well-defined person, and I agree with Jillaine that her profile should be detached from the profiles Walter Knight and Elizabeth. She may have been named Knight, but there is no good basis for connecting her to these parents.
+3 votes

FRANCIS KNIGHT (1617-aft 1753)

There was a William Knight of Lynn, Essex Co., Massachusetts who wrote a will 2 Dec 1653 (Source: "Will of William Knight of Lynn" in Essex Genealogist, 18:72, citing Probate Records of Essex County, 1:213; EQCR, 1:394) that names, among others, "my son Francis Knight" 

This same article lists the children of William Knight and says this about Francis:

FRANCIS, b abt. 1626; returned to England to fight under Cromwell against Charles I, and died there. 

Further notes in this article indicate Francis had no children.

Recommendation: change Knight-1437 to be the son of William of Lynn described elsewhere in this thread.

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (675k points)
edited by Jillaine Smith
+3 votes

MARY KNIGHT (no dates); supposedly m John Osborn of Windsor CT.

I can find no record of her or her husband John Osborn. Osborn's profile has an old comment on it related to a John Osborn with wife Mary, no surname. Perhaps that person (who posted it) can be pursued and this profile adjusted to fit Mary Unknown, wife of some John Osborn, somewhere.

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (675k points)
The unsourced content I found for Mary in Ancestry Family Trees is mind-boggling. It has her birth in 1620 in Southampton, England, and dying in 1701 in Woburn, Massachusetts. It has her married to several different men at the same time, bearing her first child 8 years before she was born; and performing some other unlikely feats, including living in multiple places at the same time. The John Osborne she is connected to in that Ancestry Tree is supposed to have died in 1686 in Weymouth, Mass. (where he is supposed to have been born in 1615!).  There is a 17th century John Osborne documented in the History of Weymouth at;view=1up;seq=38 but he has no life dates and his wife's name isn't given.
+1 vote

Thomas Knight (1636-1661)

The profile currently claims a specific birth date (in England), as well as a specific death date and place (Salem). The Salem Vital Records show no such death date nor any death date for a Thomas Knight.

So far, the only Thomas Knight I can find from this time period is a Thomas Knight, 21, who was transported to St. Christophers, imbarked in the Mathew of London, on 21 May 1635.<ref>"Emigrants to St. Christophers &c," in NEHGR, 14:353. </ref> This calculates back to a birth year of 1614-- 20 years earlier than the birth date currently claimed on "our" Thomas Knight. We also don't know what happened to the 1635 Thomas.

I find no other Thomas Knights that fit this profile. Maybe others can do better? If not, I suggest we tag him with {{questionable}}, and detach him as son of Walter Knight, with sufficient explanation in his narrative.

I'd be curious if someone could find a birth for him in England. Maybe he was a real guy named Thomas born on the date to someone. But there's no evidence of him in New England, much less Salem.

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (675k points)
For what it's worth, I found an unsourced Ancestry Family Tree for someone who fits the profile of this Thomas Knight. Birth was allegedly 18 September 1636 at Cape Ann, Dukes County, Massachusetts (but Cape Ann isn't in Dukes County and apparently never was) and death was 1661 in Salem.

Interestingly, the original records that Ancestry showed me when I searched for Thomas Knight (1636-1661) were almost entirely from the 1800s (and Ancestry claimed these were "Matching Records"!). Notably, there's a will for a Thomas Knight of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts that was filed for probate on 1 April 1836. The will names his wife as Martha, daughter of Amos Howard, late of Malden, Mass. I wonder if records for this Thomas who died in 1836 have somehow gotten incorporated into people's Internet genealogies for the man who supposedly was born two centuries earlier!
Ellen, the family tree is probably pulling from the "original" fraudulent genealogy.

But the subsequent find suggests an opportunity for morphing THIS Thomas Knight-1889 into the 19th century man instead of orphaning him altogether.
+1 vote

Ruth Knight (1638-?)

This daughter was supposedly born in Cape Ann, Dukes Co., Massachusetts. Cape Ann was not in Dukes County. 

  • A Richard Belcher (b 1665) married as his second wife one Ruth Knight in Woburn, MA 11 Oct 1705. <ref>Anderson, GM, Vol I, p 235, citing Woburn VR 3:22.</ref> She would be too old or this profile.
  • There was a Ruth Knight in Woburn, b there 23 Apr 1646, daughter of John Wright and his wife Priscilla. This Ruth married another Knight-- Jonathan-- on 31 Mar 1663. She died 13 Apr 1714.<ref>William R. Cutter, "Wright Family of Woburn, MA," in NEHGR 37:76</ref>
Absent any other identifying features of this Ruth, I suggest we make her the Ruth of Woburn and detach her from Walter and wife.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (675k points)

Is your 2nd point is in error in that you have referenced Ruth WRIGHT, not Knight.  Or are you saying Ruth was never a Knight at all but a Wright LNAB?

Should you revise that 2nd point in your answer?  I do not believe we have sound evidence yet of Ruth KNIGHT having been in Woburn.  And yes, I did see your other comment about having mistakenly researched Wright instead of Knight.


Or are you saying Ruth was never a Knight at all but a Wright LNAB?
Ruth Knight of Cape Ann, Dukes County, is on that same unsourced Ancestry Family Tree where I found Thomas. On that tree, their parents are alleged to have been Walter Knight 1587-1634 and Elizabeth Willis 1589-1634. (Note that both of these parents supposedly died before most of their alleged children were born. Also, the same tree indicates that Walter Knight emigrated to New England in 1653. Apparently someone believes he had children posthumously in Massachusetts many years before he emigrated posthumously to Massachusetts.)

Dave, yeah, I got the Wright and Knight confused in Ruth's case because she married a Knight. In either case, I say we merge her with the wife of Jonathan Knight.

+1 vote
Ephraim Knight (1640-?)

Another case of a birth in "Cape Ann, Duke [County]" when there is no Cape Ann in Duke County.

I find no evidence of an Ephraim Knight in New England in this time period.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (675k points)
+2 votes

Okay, here's my attempt to summarize what needs to be done with Walter's "children":

  1. William Knight-1436. Merge with Knight-510, being sure to detach him from any parents in the process. Use vitals on Knight-510. There are more children of Knight-510 than currently included on his profile. Additional children we may want to add include:

    • Francis Knight-1437, (see #3 below), b abt 1626; returned to England to fight under Cromwell against Charles I, and died there. No children.

    • Mary b abt 1643; m abt 1665 Henry Wormwood (no profiles for either found on wikitree). Children born Lynn.
    • Elizabeth Knight-511 b abt 1644/5; m1 c1661 John Farrington; m2 at Andover, Mass., 14 Nov 1667 Mark Graves-672
    • Daniel, b abt 1647; d 1672; unmarried.
  2. Elizabeth Knight-173. She was a real person, but origins unknown. I have detached her as daughter of Walter and added a notation in her bio. She really needs to have her LNAB changed to Unknown; it would be great to find an existing, orphaned, recyclable Unknown-XXX to merge her into instead of creating yet a new, high-numbered Unknown.
  3. Francis Knight-1437. Change birth to about 1626; detach from Knight-174, and make son of William Knight-510. Add to narrative that he returned to England to fight under Cromwell against Charles I, and died there. No children.
  4. Mary Knight-1438. supposedly m John Osborn-182 of Windsor CT.  I had trouble finding sources for the appropriate John Osborn in Connecticut. Osborn's profile has an old comment on it by Betty Tindle-19; related to a John Osborn with wife Mary, no surname. Perhaps Betty can be contacted and this profile adjusted to fit Mary Unknown.
  5. Thomas Knight-1889. There is no evidence of a colonial person by this name anywhere in New England. I've added the {{questionable}} template to his profile. He should be detached from Walter.
  6. Ruth Knight-1890. Merge her into Wright-1154 (note change in surname; who married a Jonathan Knight); use the vitals (including parents) of Wright-1154.
  7. Ephraim Knight-1891. Merge him into Knight-1714, a later man by the same name who settled in Virginia; use the vitals (including parents) of Knight-1714.

Can someone else take this on? I've got two work deadlines looming. Thanks.

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (675k points)
I started the merge for Elizabeth (I found an unknown to fill in info) Now have to wait for the other managers to approve it.

It was time consuming as I also found missing info for her 2nd, Peter Palfrey and his 1st wife Edith & children.  Peter was a founder of Salem and a PGM subject so I had to fix a lot there.  An interesting point is he came over on the ship Zouch Phenix with Walter Knight so there may very well be a connection (if we can find it later on)

Before proceeding further, I was concerned that the children had exact birth dates which someone had researched at one time in the past.  I didn't want to disconnect ALL the children without further research to make sure they were NOT his children..

So I looked for some websites in the UK that might help with Walter's birth/baptism, his wife and children born there.  So many websites are pay per (which I cannot afford) but I did find one free one that had a contact for Staplegrove, Somerset.  I have sent an e-mail but not yet heard back.

If anyone else has a UK contact maybe they could also do additional research.  It is possible that Walter Knight might also have lived in East Coker, Somerset as that was the residence listed for him in the passenger list for the ship Zouch Phenix.

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