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Norman W. Knight


Norman and Belle

Norman W. Knight was born on Jan. 6, 1870 in Van Wert, Van Wert County, OH, the son of Daniel Harry and Caroline Elizabeth (Llewelyn) Knight.

As a young adult, before he was married, Norman fathered a daughter, named Evangeline. The baby was taken in and raised from infancy by his parents, even as Norman was beginning married life with a woman other than the baby's mother.

At the age of 21, on Nov. 19, 1891, Norman married 18-year-old Katherine "Belle" Hoy (1873-1963), a native of Defiance, OH. The ceremony was held in Scott, Van Wert County, with J.J. Marks officiating. Norman's sister Lillie Walters helped secure their marriage license.

The couple eventually moved to Paulding, Paulding County, OH and thence to Gladwin, Gladwin County, MI, where his parents had relocated in the late 1890s.

The Knights went on to produce eight children of their own – Harry Knight, Carl F. Knight, Jennie Koontz, Madeline Brink, Daniel D. Knight, Alonzo J. "Lon" Knight, Paul E. Knight and Walter J. Knight. 

Said a typed family manuscript, “He operated a successful meat market in Gladwin for years before his retirement.” His son Daniel assisted with the meat cutting firm.


Norman and Belle, left, with daughter Madeline (center) and Norman's sisters Laura Knight and Ruby Snyder



Ridge Cemetery

The federal census of 1920 shows Norman and Belle living in Sage Township near Gladwin with their five youngest children. His occupation that year was as a farmer. Living next door was their married son Harry and his wife and young son.

Norman and Belle continued farming well into their later years. When the 1940 federal census count was made, he was age 70 and marked as a farmer in Sage, Gladwin County. Their married son Harry Knight and his wife Leona and children resided just a few houses away.

The couple endured heartbreaking tragedy in January 1949 when their grandson Jack, who had been training for his airplane pilot's license, crashed and was killed in an air accident north of Gladwin.

Norman died on March 19, 1956 at Gladwin at the age of 77. He is buried in Gladwin's Highland Cemetery. 

Belle outlived him by seven years. She passed away in 1963, at the age of 90.



Harry and Leona

~ Son Harry Angus Knight ~

Son Harry Angus Knight (1892-1959) was born on June 15, 1892 in Scott, Van Wert County or in Paulding, Paulding County, OH. 

As a boy of six, in 1898, he traveled with his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to Washington State where they expected to relocate. But with the experience not satisfying to the family, they moved again the following year and settled in Michigan, near the town of Gladwin, Gladwin County.

Harry married Leona M. Eagleson (1894-1978) on May 12, 1915, when he was age 23, and she was age 21. Leona was the daughter of J.B. Eagleson. Rev. J.W. Hayward conducted the ceremony in Gladwin. 


Harry, 1914

Harry was of medium height and build, with grey eyes and black hair. 

When he registered for the military draft during World War I, Harry stated that he was living in Sage Township, Gladwin County. He also reported that he was a farmer, working for himself. Harry and Belle resided in Sage for their entire lives.

The couple produced a family of these six known children -- Glenn D. Knight, Maxine V. "Sis" Cassiday, Helen M. Walters, Geneva "Dotty" Elwood, Daniel Knight and Jack Knight. 

When the 1920 census was enumerated, they lived on a farm beside Harry's parents in Sage Township near Gladwin.

They remained in Sage Township during the 1920s and were listed there on the censuses of 1930 and 1940, with Harry's parents continuing to dwell nearby.

Harry passed away on June 6, 1959 at the age of 67. He was buried at Ridge Cemetery in Gladwin. 

Leona survived her husband by 19 years. She married again, on May 17, 1967, to Roy Uhl ( ? - ? ). 

She died on July 16, 1978, and rests with Harry at Ridge Cemetery.


Above: Harry and Leona with granddaughter Jean Cassiday, 1959. 
Below: the Walters barn along Michigan Route 30.



Glenn Knight

Son Glenn D. "Short" Knight (1918- 2005) was born on March 29, 1918, in Gladwin. In 1940, at the age of 22, Glen was employed in "internal grinding" in a local plant. He also enjoyed motorcycle riding. During World War II, he served in the U.S. military. Later, he was employed as a foreman by Dow Chemical and was a member of the Gladwin Odd Fellows lodge, Veterans of Foreign Wars post and Rats of Standish. He married Rosemary Grace Truelove (1930-2007) on Oct. 21, 1948 when he was 30 years of age and she was 18. She was a native of Detroit and the daughter of John and Vernin (Lannin) Truelove. They resided in Gladwin and had three children -- Michael Knight, Patrick Knight and Connie Goodrich. At some point Rosemary worked for Gladwin Machine Factory. He died after a long illness on June 3, 2005, at the age of 87, in MidMichigan Medical Center in Gladwin. He is buried in Ridge Cemetery. Rosemary survived him by two years and joined him in death on April 23, 2007.

Grandson Michael Knight married Bonnie McCombs. They lived in Naples, FL and in Gladwin and had one son, Dillon Kenneth Knight. Tragedy shook this family on Valentine's Day 1987 when son Dillon, a third grader, drowned after falling through ice while playing on the frozen Wixom Lake. Michael later wed Shelley.

Grandson Patrick Knight made his home in Bonita Springs, FL.

Granddaughter Connie Knight married Theodore "Ged" Goodrich and resided in Bonita Springs.

Daughter Maxine V. "Sis" Knight (1920-2007) was born on May 24, 1920 in Gladwin. When she was age 19, in 1940, she lived at home and provided housework to earn a living. At the age of 21, on June 20, 1941, she wed 20-year-old Delvin J. Cassiday (1921-2003), son of J. Leonard and Sylvia (Gray) Cassiday. They had three children -- Shirley Newman, L. Jean Cassiday-Nienhuis and Richard Cassiday. Delvin was a veteran of World War II (35th Division, U.S. Army). He spent his career as a structural iron worker and was a member of local 25 of the iron workers' union in Detroit. He also was a member of the Gladwin Odd Fellows, Veterans of Foreign Wars post and Trench Rats. Delvin died at the age of 82 on Nov. 18, 2003. Sis outlived her husband by four-plus years and passed away on March 19, 2007. Burial was in Skeels Cemetery in Gladwin, with an obituary published in the Gladwin County Record & Clarion

  • Granddaughter Shirley Cassiday wed James Newman and lived in Gladwin.
  • Granddaughter L. Jean Cassiday married Charles Nienhuis and resided in Gladwin.
  • Grandson Richard Cassiday wed Kathleen and made their home in Gladwin.


Helen and Sis, 1938

Daughter Helen M. Knight (1922-2007) was born on Feb. 7, 1922 in Gladwin. She was married to Kenneth Ovid Walters (1914-1983). They were eight years apart in age. The couple had five children -- James R. ("Jim" or "Chicken Man") Walters, Jerry Walters, Wayne K. Walters, Katherine Steelman and Diann Beatrice Whitney. Their home for many years was in West Branch, Ogemaw County, MI, where they were occupied as farmers. Helen was a member of the West Branch Moose Lodge and enjoyed crocheting, farming, gardening and sewing. She once went to Alaska to fish with her brother Chum. Sadly, however, she endured the deaths of her husband and four of her children. Kenneth passed away on Dec. 17, 1983, at the age of 69. Helen lived for another 24 years. She died in Merrill, Gratiot County, MI on June 22, 2007. She was laid to rest in St. Joseph Cemetery.

  • Granddaughter Katherine (or "Kathryn") Walters (1942-1975) was born on Dec. 12, 1942. She wed Donald Lewis Steelman (1944-2014) and resided in West Branch, Ogemaw County, MI. They had four children -- Donald Steelman, Paul Steelman, Katherine Steelman and Tami Steelman. Sadly, Katherine died at the age of 33 on April 17, 1975 in Saginaw, MI. The daughters were brought into the household of Katherine's parents and also of her married sister Diann Whitney. Donald passed away on Aug. 21, 2014, at the age of 60. Burial was in Brookside Cemetery in West Branch.
  • Granddaughter Diann Beatrice Walters (1944-2006) was born on May 14, 1944 in West Branch. She married Rev. Donald Whitney and settled in Modesto, CA. They had two children -- Jeffery Whitney and Teri Whitney. They also helped to raise their motherless nieces, Katherine Steelman and Tami Steelman. During her lifetime the family also lived in Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Philippine Islands, where her husband served in ministry and they eventually founded a congregation in Modesto. Diane supported Donald as a secretary in their church. She also "enjoyed singing, sewing, reading, thunderstorms, going to the snow and spending time with her grandchildren," said a newspaper. She died in Modesto at the age of 61 on Jan. 25, 2006.



Left: brothers Jim and Jerry Walters. Right: Jerry Walters


  • Grandson James R. ("Jim" or "Chicken Man") Walters (1945-2012) was born on Dec. 14, 1945 in Gladwin. He was employed for 27 years by General Motors, as an assembly line repairman, at the Pontiac plant for three years and the Flint V8 engine plant for 24 years. He had two children -- Jerry Walters and Theresa Walters. Later in life, Jim relocated to Georgia and made his home there with his daughter in Crawford County. He died of a heart attack on Aug. 10, 2012. His remains were brought back to Michigan for burial in Saint Josephs Cemetery in West Branch.
  • Grandson Jerry Walters (1947-1966) was born in 1947. Fatefully, he enjoyed racing automobiles, which led to his death. He was killed in a vehicular accident in 1966, when he was but 19 years of age. His remains were placed into rest in St. Josephs Cemetery in West Branch.
  • Grandson Wayne K. Walters (1941-2004) was born on July 28, 1941 in West Branch. On Oct. 26, 1963, in Jackson, KY, we married Joyce Combs ( ? - ? ). The Walterses had two daughters -- Tracy Metcalf and Pamela Lindstrom. Sadly, Wayne died in Ann Arbor, MI on April 8, 2004. Interment was in Crestwood Memorial Gardens in Grand Blanc, Genesee County, MI.



L-R: Del and Sis Cassiday, Ken and Helen Walters, Carlton and Dotty Elwood



Dotty Elwood, 1939

Daughter Geneva Dorothy "Dotty" Knight (1924-2009) was born on July 19, 1924 in Gladwin. On Nov. 14, 1944, at the age of 20, Dotty wed 24-year-old Carlton L. Elwood (1920-1997). During World War II, Carlton served in the U.S. Marine Corps. They lived in Shields, MI (1950-1977), Gladwin (1977-1996) and Merrill, Saginaw County, MI (1977 and thereafter). The couple produced two children, Leslie Elwood and Patricia Smith. Carlton was a truck driver employed by Consolidated Freight of Michigan, Bender & Loudon Freight and Morgan Drive Away. To help support their family, Dotty was a bus driver for Shields Elementary School for 11 years, from 1952 to 1961. Later, she was a truck driver employed by Morgan Drive Away in Elkhart, IN for nine years, from 1988 to 1997. Dotty was a member of the Daughters of American Veterans (DAV). Carlton died on Oct. 1, 1997. Dotty survived him by almost a dozen years. She passed into eternity on March 7, 2009, with interment in Ridge Cemetery. Her obituary was printed in the Gladwin County Record & Clarion, which noted that she was survived by 10 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. 

Grandson Leslie Elwood wed Janet (?) and lived in Oklahoma City.

Granddaughter Patricia Elwood married Paul Smith and made their home in Merrill, MI.


Brothers Jack (left) and Daniel 
"Chum" Knight, World War II

Son Daniel H. "Chum" Knight (1927-2005) was born on Oct. 16, 1927 in Gladwin. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. On Dec. 28, 1948, at age 21, Chum was united in marriage with 17-year-old Betty Jane Swinson (1931-2005), daughter of Albert and Ella Swinson of Rhodes, MI. (She was a twin with her brother Robert.) They were the parents of these six children -- David Lee Knight, Jack Knight, Sandra Seckman, Harry Knight, Donald Knight and Sheryl Williams. The Inights resided in Gladwin, Estey and Beaverton, MI. Chum earned a living as a farmer and also as a longtime pipe-fitter with Dow Chemical in Midland, MI. Betty held various jobs over the years as a factory worker, secretary for Sacred Heart School and cook for Townhouse Restaurant. An awful tragedy in the early summer of 1959 claimed the life of their two-year-old son David. A fire broke out in their barn while Chum and Betty June were away on June 23. Although their son and nephew tried to use a hose to extinguish the blaze, the building was destroyed within an hour. Officials later found the little boy's body inside the rubble. Chum and Betty overcame their heartbreak by staying busy with a variety of activities. He was a member of the National Farmers Association, loved to fish and also was an expert steel guitar player, receiving honors at the 2003 Michigan Steel Guitar Convention. Betty enjoyed sewing, was active with the local Odd Fellows and Rebekah lodges, volunteered her time with the Beaverton Baby Pantry, and was a member of the Beaverton Church of the Nazarene. Daniel died on Sept. 12, 2005. Burial was in Ridge Cemetery. Betty Jane followed him in death just two months later on Nov. 12, 2005. An obituary noted that she was survived by 11 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

  • Granddaughter Sandra Knight ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She married Allen Seckman and lived in Beaverton. Their two offspring are Joseph Seckman and Meridith Seckman.
  • Grandson Jack B. Knight (1949-2019) was born on April 10, 1949 in Gladwin. He grew up working on his parents' farm and driving as a commercial trucker "all over the United States from New York to California," said a newspaper. "Home was wherever he set up camp along the way.... He made his way in this world as a self-proclaimed jack of all trades and master of some." He also loved to fish. Jack married Lenore Crawford (?). They had one son, David Crawford. He and Deena (?) also produced a daughter, Melissa Rahe. Another son was connected with the family, Keith Cary. Jack made his home in Phoenix and in 2019 in Terrell, TX. Jack passed away in Rowlett, TX on Sept. 21, 2019. His remains were transported back to Michigan for interment in Ridge Cemetery. The family requested that any memorial donations be made to Habitat for Humanity.

Great-grandson David Crawford wedded Heather.

Great-granddaughter Melissa married Bill Rahe.

Great-grandson Keith Cary was joined in marriage with Gracie.

  • Grandson Harry Knight wed Jennette Bussure ( ? - ? ). Their three children are Daniel Knight, Michelle Knight and Keri Knight. Harry married for a second time to Connie ( ? - ? ) and has resided in Clarksville, GA. The second marriage also ended in divorce.
  • Grandson Donald E. Knight ( ? - ? ) married Marie Briggs (1955-living). Over the years, they lived in Wayne County, MI, Gladwin and Maryville, TN. They produced three daughters -- Gloria Knight, Dawn Knight and Sandy Knight. The couple divorced. Donald later married Kristen (1955-living). Their daughter Gloria Knight today lives in Alcoa, TN and is employed as relief manager at Weigel's Convenience Stores, and has contributed material for this biography.
  • Granddaughter Sheryl "Shari" Knight ( ? - ? ) was wed to John Williams ( ? - ? ). Their daughter is Elizabeth "Liz" Williams. The couple is divorced. Sheryl has made her home in Palmer, Alaska and is married to Ray Holcomb ( ? - ? ).


Chum and sister Helen on a family fishing trip in Alaska



Ridge Cemetery

Jack Knight

Son Jack B. Knight (1929-1949) was born on Aug. 8, 1929 in Gladwin. He served in Okinawa during World War II. After returning home from the military, he worked as a mechanic in his father's garage. Tragically, he and friend Frederick Aldon Heinz were killed in an airplane crash on Jan. 25, 1949, when he was only 19 years of age. An article in the Gladwin County Record reported that their new airplane was owned by his instructor Hugh Sutherland of Sutherland Bros. The aircraft crashed 15 miles northeast of Gladwin, with Jack having "qualified for his private pilot's license with more than 60 hours of flying time.... Sutherland said a witness to the crash had reported that when he observed the plan it was doing tail spins. Sutherland said this was a violation of his instruction to the pilot, which were to fly straight and level within a six mile radius of the port and to practice take-offs and landings." His broken remains were buried in Ridge Cemetery.


~ Son Carl Franklin Knight ~

Son Carl Franklin Knight (1893-1975) was born on July 8, 1893 in or near Scott, Van Wert, OH. As a boy of five, he traveled with his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to Washington State before settling in Michigan in 1899, near the town of Gladwin, Gladwin County.

He married Lorilla Mae "Rilla" Roberts (1896-1962) of Gladwin on Dec. 1, 1914, the daughter of Theo and Laura (Murdock) Roberts. At the time, he was a farmer and she a domestic. Clergyman J.M. Hayward performed the ceremony, which took place just one day after he had overseen the wedding of Carl's sister Jennie to Elmer Koontz. Witnesses to both marriages were Burton S. Shaw of Walkersville, MI and Robert Bush of Chicago. 

Carl was tall, with dark blue eyes and dark brown hair.

They suffered more than their share of heartbreak, losing three sons in their tender youth -- Daniel W. in infancy in 1915, Stanley W. in 1921 (three years of age) and Leonard in 1925 (one year old). Fortunately two other of their children lived to adulthood: Hazel B. Burgess and Evelyn L. Shelton.


Graves of Carl and Rilla's sons who died in childhood -- Daniel (1915), Stanley (1921) and Leonard (1925).


When Carl registered for the military draft during World War I, he stated that he was living in Gladwin County, and that he was a self-employed farmer. 

The Knights moved to Mount Morris, Genesee County, MI. In 1920, the census recorded them in Mount Morris, with Carl employed as a machinist in an automobile factory. His unmarried brother Daniel, age 16, and single brother in law Martin Roberts, age 20, lived under their roof. 

By 1930, Carl and Rilla had moved again, to Jerome, Midland County, MI, with Carl working as a merchant in a grocery store. 


Ridge Cemetery

Rilla died in 1962, at the age of 65. She was buried in the family plot at Ridge Cemetery in Gladwin. 

The widowed Carl later married Alma E. Foster on July 28, 1965. By the 1970s, Carl and Alma had returned to Gladwin. Said the Gladwin County Record, he "owned and operated retail grocery and meat stores in Gladwin, Sanford, Flint and Houghton Lake at different times during his business career. He also served as supervisor of Jerome Township for 13 years during his residence in Midland County. He was well-known to Gladwin County Record readers through his recent articles of life in the early days in Sage Township and Gladwin City." 

Carl passed away on May 20, 1975, at the age of 80. He was laid to rest beside Rilla in Ridge Cemetery. The Record noted that he was survived by 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Daughter Hazel B. Knight (1922- ? ) was born on May 30, 1921 in Gladwin. She married Gordon Burgess and lived in Swartz Creek, MI.

Daughter Evelyn L. Knight (1926- ? ) was born on June 27, 1926 in Sanford, Midland County, MI. She wed Kenneth Shelton and resided in Flint, MI.


~ Daughter Jennie (Knight) Koontz ~


Ridge Cemetery

Daughter Jennie Knight (1897-1975) was born in 1897 in or near Van Wert, Van Wert County, Ohio or in Paulding County, OH.

As a toddler, she traveled with her parents, two elder brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to Washington State before settling in Michigan, near the town of Gladwin, Gladwin County.

She married George "Elmer" Koontz (1893-1991), the son of Gilbert and Lottie (Bellinger) Koontz, on Nov. 30, 1914, in Gladwin County. Rev. J.M. Hayward officiated at the ceremony held in the Gladwin Methodist Church parsonage. Jennie was age 17, and Elmer 21, at the time of marriage.

Elmer was tall and slender, with grey eyes and light brown hair.

They had two children, Floyd Elmer Koontz and Lucille Whistler, eight years apart in age. 

During World War I, Elmer was required to register for the military draft. He disclosed that he was a self-employed farm in Gladwin, and that he was married. In 1917, they established their permanent home on a farm along Shell Road in Gladwin Township, north of the town of Gladwin, and remained there for the rest of their lives. 

The Gladwin County Record once noted that Elmer "was one of the oldest members of the Wagarville United Methodist Church and was in the lumbering and Christmas tree business for 20 years.

The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Dec. 14, 1974.

Jennie passed away on Nov. 6, 1975, at the age of 78, at Saginaw General Hospital. An obituary was printed in the Gladwin County Record.

Elmer outlived her by 16 years. He died on May 17, 1991, at the ripe old age of 96. They rest together for eternity in an attractive flat, stone-lined grave in Gladwin's Ridge Cemetery.

Son Floyd Elmer Koontz (1918-2012) was born on Dec. 31, 1918 (or 1917) in Gladwin. He married Vera Donn ( ? - ? ) and they remained together for more than 75 years. The couple produced two daughters -- Joyce Link and Barbara Sterling. Floyd never lived anywhere else but in the Gladwin area. He was a road construction foreman in young adulthood but primarily made a living as a farmer. He also enjoyed hunting deer. He died in Gladwin on Oct. 4, 2012 and was laid to rest in Ridge Cemetery.

  • Granddaughter Joyce Koontz wed Carl Link.
  • Granddaughter Barbara Koontz married Kenneth Sterling and resided in Ionia, MI.

Daughter Lucille Koontz (1926- ? ) married Robert Whistler ( ? - ? ). They lived in Gladwin and had at least two sons, Michael R. Whisler and Robert Whisler.

  • Grandson Michael Whistler (1956-1990) was born in 1956. A member of the United States Air Force, he died in 1990 at the age of 34, and is buried in Ridge Cemetery.


~ Daughter Madeline (Knight) Brink ~


Madeline Brink

Daughter Madeline L. Knight (1901-1967) was born on May 5, 1901. She was an early teacher in Flint, Genesee County, MI. 

On April 29, 1922, in Waterford, Genesee County, she married Frank R. Brink (1894- ? ). He was a native of St. Louis, MO and the son of Robert and Lena (Kruger) Brink. 

They had two sons, Francis "Frank" Brink and John "Jack" Brink, both born in Flint.

The Brinks were among many branches of our extended family to migrate over the years to Flint -- the birthplace of General Motors and home to Buick Motor Company and A.C. Spark Plug -- in search of secure employment. Among them were Paul Arthur Arnold (of the family of John and Martha (Churchill) Ferguson); Hubert Weston Minerd (family of Dr. James Weston Minerd); Robert H. Bunting (family of Anna [Hoye] Bunting); brothers Clarence and Clinton Zinn (family of Catherine [Minerd] Zinn); and Lottie (Nabors) Butler (of the family of Pearl [Beggs] Nabors Altman).

At the time of marriage, Frank was employed as a steam-fitter in Flint. By 1930, they migrated to Frank's hometown, St. Louis, MO, where he found employment as a clerk in a refining plant. 

Suffering from cancer, Madeline died in St. Petersburg, FL on March 22, 1967. 

Frank's fate is unknown.

Son Francis "Frank" Brink (1922- ? ) was born in 1922 in Flint, Genesee County, MI.

Son John "Jack" Brink (1924- ? ) was born on Oct. 14, 1924, also in Flint.


~ Son Daniel D. Knight ~

Son Daniel D. Knight (1904-1973) was born on Jan. 6, 1904 in Gladwin, Gladwin County. As a young man, he boarded in the home of his married brother Carl in Mount Morris, Genesee County, MI. There, in 1920, he was a laborer in an automobile factory.

He married Valetta Sprague (1908- ? ), a native of Beaverton, MI, on Sept. 23, 1924. She was the daughter of Otis and Maud (Stenger) Sprague, and was only age 16 at the time of marriage, while he was age 20.

They had one son, Donald H. Knight.


Obituary, 1973

The federal census of 1930 shows the Knights living in Gladwin, with Daniel employed as a "merchant - meat market."

A newspaper once reported that son Daniel “operated meat markets in Gladwin and Flint for many years. In later life, Daniel operated lumbering businesses at Houghton Lake and Farwell. In 1969 he retired from business and moved to St. Petersburg. [He] served with the air force during World War II." 

Later in life, Daniel married Alice Stutte (?). She brought two children to the marriage, Frank Stutte and Shirley Gocha.

Daniel passed away in St. Petersburg, FL on Oct. 8, 1973, at the age of 9. He was laid to rest in the Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Petersburg, following a funeral led by Rev. R. Warren Wasson. At the time of his death, he was survived by four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Son Donald H. Knight (1926- ? ) was born on Jan. 10, 1926 (or 1928). He resided in Flint, Genesee County in 1973. 

Stepson Frank Stutte made his home in Prescott, Ogemaw County, MI in 1973. 

Stepdaughter Shirley Gocha lived in the early 1970s in Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, MI.


~ Son Alonzo J. "Lon" Knight ~


Alonzo Knight. Courtesy Deborah and Dennis Jones



Mildred (Paxton) Knight, 1997

Son Alonzo J. "Lon" Knight (1906-1992) was born on Sept. 22, 1906 in Gladwin County. He is said to have been named for his mother's brother. 

At the age of 21, circa 1927, Alonzo married 18-year-old Mildred Leona Paxton (Aug. 19, 1908-1999), also a native of Gladwin and the daughter of Dempster and Mabel (Powell) Paxton. Their union endured for 66 years until cleaved apart by death.

The couple produced three children -- Betty Lou Appert, Gloria Joan Drake and Robert Norman Knight.

Alonzo and Mildred resided in Gladwin during the 1920s and early '30s. The federal census enumeration of 1930 shows Alonzo at the age of 24 earning a living as a laborer in a local meat market.

By 1935, the Knights had relocated to Flint, Genesee County, MI, where Alonzo had secured employment as a machine operator in an automobile factory, working 40 hours a week. The United States Census of 1940 lists them as residing on Scottwood Street in Flint.

Later, by the early 1970s, they made their home in Davison, Genesee County, MI


Obituary, 1999

On March 28, 1992, Alonzo died in Flint. His remains were lowered into timeless sleep in Evergreen Cemetery, located in Grand Blanc, Genesee County. [Find-a-Grave]

Mildred lived for another seven years in Davison, MI and endured the untimely demise of her son Robert in 1997.

She passed into eternity on July 22 or 27, 1999, in Genesys Hospice in Atlas Township, Genesee County. Burial of her cremains was in Evergreen Cemetery in Grand Blanc, with Rev. Karl Unger preaching the funeral sermon. A newspaper obituary said that she was survived by six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.


Bette Lou Appert

Daughter Bette Lou Knight (1927-2006) was born on Jan. 13, 1927, in Gladwin. She was united in matrimony with Capt. Edward P. Appert ( ? - ? ), a native of Brooklyn, NY. The couple went on to a marriage of 56 years' duration. Betty and Edward adopted two sons, Bruce Appert and Brian Appert. Edward grew up in Ridgewood, NJ and was a 1947 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He went on to a 31-year career as an officer with the U.S. Navy, specializing in engineering. Bette was his confidant and supporter. Upon retirement, he served as a senior engineering advisor to the navies of Iran and Saudi Arabia for many more years. Retired as of 1999, they lived in Fairfax, VA. Bette passed away on March 19, 2006. Edward outlived her by almost four years. He died at home in Fairfax the day after Christmas 2009. The Washington Post printed his obituary. Their ashes are at honored rest in the columbarium of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

  • Grandson Bruce Appert
  • Grandson Brian Appert

Daughter Gloria Joan Knight (1928-2013?) was born on Aug. 24, 1928, in Gladwin. She married William Graveson Drake Sr. ( ? - ? ). The couple produced three sons -- twins William Graveson Drake Jr. and Todd Harding Drake, and Jeffrey Lee Drake. Gloria was in Davison, Genesee County, MI in 1999. She is believed to have died in Florida in 2013, but this needs to be confirmed.

  • Grandson William Graveson Drake Jr. married Deborah Ann Holden in Nevada on Sept. 18, 1980. They are the parents of William Graveson Drake III. They reside in Florida.
  • Grandson Todd Harding Drake wedded Pamela Johnson on Oct. 22, 1977. Their offspring are Todd Phillip Drake and Tammie Melissa Pewett. They make a home in Franklin, TN.
  • Grandson Jeffrey Lee Drake has been twice-wed. His first wife was Susan Stevens. His second bride was Teresa Koryciak. He is the father of Paul Jeffrey Drake, Timothy Lee Drake and Mary Teresa Drake. The Drakes dwell in Florida.



Robert N. and Jeanne Knight

Son Robert Norman Knight (1930-1997) was born on March 13, 1930, in Gladwin. On Aug. 24, 1955, at the age of 25, he was joined in holy wedlock with 22-year-old high school homecoming queen Jeanne Marie Stevens (Oct. 25, 1932-2023), a native of Lapeer, MI and the daughter of Leo and Emma (Benz) Stevens. Their wedding was held in Angola, IN. The pair had met while working at AC Sparkplug. They were the parents of an only daughter, Deborah Lynn "Debby" Jones. Theirs' was a very close-knit family. The Knights belonged to the Trinity Assembly of God, where Jeanne sang in the choir and volunteered her time every week. They enjoyed taking vacations with Robert's parents. Sadly, Robert passed away on June 28, 1997 in Goodrich, MI. His remains were interred in Mt. Morris, MI. As a widow, Jeanne survived her husband by more than a quarter of a century. She maintained a home in Davison, Genesee County, MI. Sadly, at the age of 90, she surrendered to the angel of death on Jan. 12, 2023.

  • Granddaughter Deborah "Debby" Knight was born in Flint, MI. On Feb. 2, 1980, she wedded Dennis Eugene Jones, also a native of Flint and the son of J.T. and Ruby Marie (Prince) Jones. The couple adopted two babies born in Korea -- Eric Michael Jones (from Seoul) and Nikki Elizabeth Jones (from Pusan). The family lives in Davison, MI. Dennis and Deborah have contributed valuable information for this biography.

    Great-grandson Eric Michael Jones was born in Seoul, Korea. He is married to Christine Lambert.

    Great-granddaughter Nikki Jones resides today in Tulsa, OK. 


~ Son Paul E. Knight ~

Son Paul E. Knight (1909-1958) was born on July 23, 1909. 

At the age of 17, on Dec. 27, 1926, he was united in marriage with Zella Paxton (1909-1998). Paul's brother Alonzo married Zella's sister Mildred, whose father, Dempster M. Paxton, was sheriff of Gladwin County. 

They lived in several places in Michigan, among them Owosso, Shiawassee County; Manistique, Schoolcraft County (1954); and Flint, Genesee County. They adopted two daughters -- Sharon Miller and Karen Knight. 

Paul spent most of his career employed by General Motors. Later, he worked for Hall Engineering Company.


Highland Cemetery

Paul passed away on May 3, 1958, at the age of 49. He was laid to rest in the Highland Cemetery in Gladwin. A reddish granite stone marks his grave. The epitaph reads: "Remember friend, as you pass by, as you are now, so once was I, as I am now, so you must be, prepared for Heaven and eternity."

Zella survived her husband by four decades. She married again, to (?) Alexander. 

She died on Aug. 2, 1998, at age 89, with burial in Sunset Hills Cemetery in Flint.

Daughter Sharon Knight (1937- ? ) was born on Feb. 24, 1937 in Owosso, Shiawassee County, MI. On June 1, 1957, when she was 20 years of age, Sharon wed Richard "Dick" Miller ( ? - ? ). Their nuptials were held in Manistique, Schoolcraft County, MI. They made their home in Flint and had two children -- Scott Miller and Robin Lindquist. Later, they moved to Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan County, WI. Sharon was stricken with a heart attack and died on Nov. 15, 2007 at the age of 70. Interment was in the Sharon United Church of Christ Cemetery in Sheboygan Falls.

  • Grandson Scott Miller wed Jodi and lived in Sheboygan Falls.
  • Granddaughter Robin Miller married Carl Lindquist and made their residence in Howards Grove, WI.

Daughter Karen Knight ( ? - ? ) resided at home with her parents in 1958. She married Dennis Curtis ( ? - ? )and lived in National City, MI.


~ Son Walter Knight ~

Son Walter Knight ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). 

He married Lillian Woods ( ? - ? ).

He lived in circa 1973 in Harrison, Clare County, MI.


Copyright © 2001-2002, 2011, 2014-2016, 2019 Mark A. Miner

Grave photos taken July 1993. Select family photos courtesy Theresa Walters.