Wednesday, February 5, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - #5 Rachel Anderson

Rachel Anderson, my maternal 5th great grandmother, is another ancestor about whom I know very little, and I've done very little research until writing this post. She may have been born in 1753 in Surrey County, Virginia. I don't know for sure. Nor do I know who her parents or siblings were. Some family trees on list her name as Rachel Frances (Fannie) Anderson.

Rachel married John Knight in the Cheraw area of South Carolina on January 9, 1774. Just over two and a half years later, Rachel gave birth to daughter Mary on September 25, 1776. Their son William Anderson Knight, born on February 16, 1778, is my 4th great grandfather. In April the following year, John joined the 1st Georgia Battalion as a sergeant during the American Revolution and served until February 1, 1780. It seems John was home just long enough for son Jonathan to be conceived. Jonathan was born on February 14, 1781. John served in the war in the Cheraw District of South Carolina for about five months in 1781 and in 1782. (According to Barest [1998], Mary, William, and Jonathan are the only proven children thus far.)[1]  What was life like for Rachel while John was off at war with two and then three little children at home? Did she boycott British goods, including tea, satin, and silk? Did she spin or weave her own cloth as a result? Was she able to contribute monetarily or in other ways to the war effort as many wives did?[2]

American Revolution war record for John Knight, 1st Georgia Battalion (image from

For his services during the war, John received a land grant in South Carolina in 1785 and 1786. In 1789, he received a land grant in Burke County, Georgia, and two land grants in Effingham County, Georgia, so he and Rachel moved their family to Georgia. John sold the two grants in Effingham County, one in 1790 and the other in 1799. In 1803, John and son Jonathan were granted land in Spanish Florida. John's was in Fernandina. They signed an oath of loyalty to the Spanish government and asked for permission to return to the United States to get their families, so Rachel and John and son Jonathan and his wife moved to Florida. Two years later, John asked "to be released from his Spanish Land Grant" because his eyesight was failing and he wanted to move back to Augusta, Georgia (which is in Richmond County north of Burke County in northeast Georgia at the South Carolina border). John may have died after 1822 in Georgia, possibly in Wayne County (southwest of Effingham County in southeast Georgia).[3]

I don't know when Rachel died. Several family trees on have her death year as 1844, and some say she died in Hillsborough County, Florida, that year. It is possible that she died in Florida. Her son Jonathan and his family moved back to Florida to Duval County (in northeast Florida, Jacksonville is the county seat) sometime before the 1850 census. Rachel isn't listed with him in that census.[4] Jonathan and his family lived for a time in Lowndes County, Georgia. There's no female recorded in that census old enough to be Rachel.[5] I haven't finished researching daughter Mary, and there's no female old enough with son William either.


This post is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by genealogist Amy Crow at No Story Too Small.

[1] Folks Huxford, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 1. Cooper Press, Jacksonville, Florida, 1966, 159; Bettye Knight Barest. "John Knight." In Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 10. Huxford Genealogical Society, Homerville, Georgia, 1998, 257-258.

[2] Boundless. "Domestic Support for the War Efforts." U. S. History. American Life During the Revolution 1763-1789.  ( : accessed 2 February 2014).

[3] Bettye Knight Barest. "John Knight." In Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 10. Huxford Genealogical Society, Homerville, Georgia, 1998, 257-258.

[4] See footnote 3, p. 258; 1850 U.S. census, Duval County, Florida, population schedule, Black Creek, p. 110A, family 33, Jonathan Knight, digital image, ( : accessed 5 February 2014), citing NARA microfilm publication M432.

[5] Folks Huxford, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 3. Cooper Press Inc., Jacksonville, Florida, 1957, 174-175; U.S. census, Lowndes County, Georgia, population schedule, Not Stated, Jonathan Knight, digital image, ( : accessed 5 February 2014), citing NARA microfilm publication M704.

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