Newton Knight
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Newton Stuart Knight (1829 - 1922)

Capt. Newton Stuart "Newt" Knight
Born in Jones County, Mississippi, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and [mother unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married about 1858 (to after 1880) in Mississippi, USAmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Jasper County, Mississippi, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 9 Aug 2015 | Last significant change: 25 Oct 2020
00:41: Linda (Carruth) Peterson edited the Marriage Data for Newton Stuart Knight (1829-1922). [Thank Linda for this]
This page has been accessed 27,127 times.
Newton Knight was a Black Sheep and an accused spy or traitor
Join: Spies and Traitors Project
Discuss: spies_and_traitors



Newton Knight was a part of Mississippi.
Capt. Newton Knight served in the United States Civil War.
Enlisted: Jul 1861
Mustered out: Jan 1862
Side: CSA
Regiment(s): Company F of the 7th Mississippi Infantry, Company F of the Seventh Battalion.
Capt. Newton Knight served in the United States Civil War.
Mustered out:
Side: USA
Regiment(s): Knight's Company

Newton Knight (November 10, 1829 – February 16, 1922) was an American farmer, soldier and Southern Unionist in Mississippi, best known as the leader of the Knight Company, a band of Confederate army deserters who resisted the Confederacy during the Civil War.


Newton Knight was the son of Albert Knight (1799 - 1864) and Masan Knight [1], and the grandson of John "Jackie" Knight (1773–1861), one of Jones County's largest slaveholders. Newt's father, Albert, however, did not own slaves, and neither did Newt.

  • there are stories that Newton's mother's real name is Rebecca Griffith and that she was given the name Mason Knight because she was either found by or brought to the family by Masons on a rainy night, however there is no proof or solid source for this story has her as being from Tennessee and we know from other stories from the former slave of Newton's grandfather as well as census information that she came from North Carolina.

Newt married Serina Turner Knight around 1858 and they moved to Jasper County, Mississippi.[2]their children according to the 1870 census are: [3]

  • George Knight (abt 1859),
  • Thomas Jefferson Knight, (1860 - 1956)
  • William (abt 1861)
  • Martha A Knight (abt 1864)
  • Joseph (abt 1866)
  • Susan (abt1868)
  • and according to find a grave *Keziah Knight Welborn (1871 - 1958) - Newton's grandmother was also named Keziah.
  • Cora (1875) [4] I know this is his child but unsure which mother she goes with.

Rachel Knight Unknown-288889

Many articles have that after 1875 his marriage with Serina ended and he married Rachel , who according to Wikipedia, was a former slave of Newton Knight's grandfather.[5] BUT if he did marry her the date would have to be after 1880 in the 1880 census Rachel is living next to Newt and Serena, and in early 1800's. Rachel is said to have gone to Utah for a time with no mention of Newton."[6] also According to a former Slave of Newton's grandfather (Martha Wheeler) Newt and Rachel never married but "she was known as his women"[6] Newton gave Rachel and her children a house next to him and Serena (who did finally leave her husband, by 1910 census they are living separately) Newton had several children with Rachel during time he was also having children with his wife, and after Rachel's death it is said (Victoria Bynum in her book Free State of Jones) to also have fathered at least two children with Rachel's daughter George Ann the children he had with Rachel are: [7]

  • Martha (1866-1933)
  • John Steward Knight (1868 - 1920),
  • John Floyd Knight (1871 - 1941),
  • Agusta Ann /Gustan (1873)
  • John Madison Knight/Hinchie (1875 - 1939),
  • and according to find a grave: Mary Malinda Knight Yawn (1876 - 1946), uncertain could not find any more info on her.

Newton also fathered some children of George Ann Knight (Rachel's daughter) one who I could find source for is:

  • Leslie Robertson.[8]

Newton's role during Civil War

In 1861 Newton enlisted in the Confederate Army but a few months later was allowed to go home due to his father's illness.

In May 1862 Newton again enlisted into Company F of the Seventh Battalion [9]. In November 1862 Newton went AWOL.

In May 1863 he was arrested for refusing to go back into the Confederate army . sometime after this (Oct 1863, according to Wikipedia) Newton formed and was elected captain of the Knight Company (which according to MS History was made up of about 125 men from Jones, Jasper, Covington, and Smith counties)

The Knight Company protected the area from Confederates. Newton and his men are credited with trying to create a free state, the "Free State of Jones" in the area around Jones County, Mississippi.

  • also found roster for the Knight Company which is copy of one he was said to use when he petitioned Congress to pay him and his men for work they did for the Union Army. [10]

Post War Era

After the war Newton served the US Army as a commissioner in charge of distributing food to those in need in Jones County and he was also said to have led a raid that saved some slave children still being held in a nearby county. [11] .


Newton died February 16, 1922[12], of natural causes and even though it was illegal for blacks and whites to be buried together he left instructions to be, and was buried next to Rachel[13]


[1]"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 May 2016), Albert Knight, Jones county, Jones, Mississippi, United States; citing family 85, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

[2] "United States Census, 1860," , FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 August 2015), Newton Knight, , Jasper, Mississippi, United States; from "1860 U.S. Federal Census - Population," database, ( : n.d.); citing p. 156, household ID 1019, NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 803,583.

[2] [3]"United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 August 2015), Serena C Knight in household of Newton Knight, Mississippi, United States; citing p. 12, family 86, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,231.

[7]1860 and 1870 United States Census for Rachel Knight Beat 4 Southwest Jasper found on Family Search : and

[9]."United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865," , FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 August 2015), Newton Knight, Private, Company F, 7th Battalion, Mississippi Infantry, Confederate; citing NARA microfilm publication M232 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 22; FHL microfilm 821,859.

[12] Find A Grave: Memorial #5398274 by Barbara Thornton

[14] [5] [9] [11] .Wikipedia

[5] [13] [9] [11] Mississippi History now, Newton Knight and the Legend of the Free State of Jones by James R. Kelly Jr. ( history instructor for Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississipp)

[7] [15] [6] Yuonne Bivins on the History of Rachel Knight found at Renegade South History of Unconventional Southerners a

[8]"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 August 2015), George Ann Knight in entry for Leslie Robertson, 20 Feb 1944; citing certificate number 9181, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2,137,703.

See also:

  • United States Census, 1910 Mississippi Jasper Beat 4 ED 19

  • United States Census, 1920 Mississippi Jasper Beat 4 ED 19

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Newton by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Newton:

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Comments: 5

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Knight-6571 and Knight-11045 appear to represent the same person because: birth is off on 11045 but other than that looks same
posted by Charissa Currie
There is an interesting book called

The Free State of Jones, Movie Edition: Mississippi's Longest Civil War. by Victoria E. Bynum. CHAPEL HILL, NC: THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS , 2016 This has great information on Newt. On page 158 (footnote 30) there is information that the grandchildren of Younger Welborn married into the Knight family via Ted Knight and Joseph Sullivan Knight & Susan Knight

In time I hope to establish this connection.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Week


posted by Mel (Gilbert) Lambert
Knight-6571 and Knight-10291 appear to represent the same person because: same person. sorry
posted by John Voltz Jr helpful for anyone who did see the movie in telling what is known of fact vs hollywood
posted by Charissa Currie
movie coming out about him soon he is a very interesting and controversial character many myths out there about him have had a time trying to sort out fact from fiction that is why I have not added more about him yet anyone who wants to add is as always welcome to with wiki its a shared tree just remember there are a lot of myths out there even on one educational site I found had some of the myth ( his "marriage" to Rachel Knight.) listed as fact.
posted by Charissa Currie