Zalmon Knight was born in 1843, likely in Turkeyfoot Twp., Somerset County, PA, the son of James and Susanna (Imel) Knight Sr.
Little is known of his life, except for the details of his violent death at age 22.
His mother died when he was a boy. At about age nine, Zalmon moved with his father to Marshfield, OH. There were cousins of his father’s living in that area.
On March 6, 1865, Zalmon accidentally shot himself to death. There was no known newspaper coverage or documentation of the event, except one letter, seen at right, which fortunately has survived to today. A cousin, Ella Knight, living nearby in Marshfield, wrote of the tragedy in a letter to her sister, dated March 23, 1865:
A very sad accident happened in uncle James’ family on the 6th inst. Zalmon shot himself dead. He and David had been down the run to where Clark’s folks were boiling sugar. It was a beautiful moonlit evening and they had come up to uncle James’ and was sitting on the fense before the door when an owl flew over their heads and lit close by. Zalmon said he would go in and get the gun and shoot it. He went in, took down the gun and went to examine if there was a load in it. He put his toe on the hammer and his mouth to the muzzle when his toe sliped putting the contents into his mouth, killing him instantly. I suppose he would have been married in a short time to Miss Amand Allen, daughter of Caty Simms.
Zalmon’s burial site is not known. Nor is the fate of his intended bride.
Copyright © 2001 Mark A. Miner