Edwin Knight (1827-1898) is thought to have been the first of many Badsey residents to emigrate to America, leaving England in 1852. Twenty years later, nephew, John, emigrated, to be followed two years later, in 1874, by Edwin’s brother, William (father of John), who emigrated with the rest of the family. In the late 1860s and 1870s, other more distant Knight relatives from Badsey emigrated.
Edwin was the youngest of eight children of Thomas Knight and his wife, Elizabeth (née Read), and was born at Badsey in 1825. He was baptised at St James’ Church, Badsey, on 22nd July 1827.
In 1852, 24-year-old Edwin set sail from Liverpool for a new life overseas. He arrived in New York on 22nd November 1852, in the company of 19-year-old Mary Knight. This was his fiancée, Mary Marshall (1833-1911), whom he married on 15th February 1853 once they had settled in Bainbridge Township, Geauga County, Ohio. Mary, who grew up in Hinton-on-the-Green, Gloucestershire, was the youngest sister of Ann Knight (née Marshall), who was married to Edwin’s older brother, Charles. Ann spent all her married life in Badsey and so Mary would have met Edwin when visiting her sister.
In 1860 Mary was a servant in Auburn, Geauga County, Ohio, but Edwin’s whereabouts are unknown.
Edwin appears in the US Civil War Draft Registration records for June 1863. He was described as a white 36-year-old farmer from England, living in Auburn, with no prior military service. He enlisted on 6th September 1864 in Company D, Ohio 2nd Heavy Artillery. Private Knight was mustered out on 16th June 1865 at Knoxville, Tennessee.
Edwin and Mary had no children of their own, but they looked after Mary’s nephew, Allen Darwin Simmons (1853-1934). At the time of the 1870 and the 1880 Federal Census, Edwin and Mary were living at Troy Township, Geauga County, Ohio, together with Allen; Edwin was a farmer. Also in the household was Mary’s 11-year-old nephew, George Marshall. Edwin was by now a stonemason.
In the 1880s, Edwin and Mary moved from Ohio to Michigan. Edwin’s brother, William, and family, had emigrated to Ohio in the 1870s, but they moved to Michigan in 1888. Whether Edwin or William made the first move is not known.
Edwin died at Greenbush, Clinton, Michigan on 24th July 1898 and was buried two days later in Eureka Cemetery; he was described as a farmer. Mary remained living at Greenbush Township, Clinton, Michigan, with her nephew. She died there in 1911 and was buried with her husband at Eureka Cemetery.