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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Austin A. Knight
Austin A. Knight, a retired farmer residing in Fayette, is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in Susquehanna County, that State, on September 19, 1819, and is a son of Amassa and Lavina (Aldredge) Knight, both of whom were natives of Vermont, where they were married and resided until after the birth of three of their children, when they removed to Susquehanna County, Pa. That county was then a wilderness. Mr. Knight cleared one hundred acres of land which amount was then considered a large farm and in 1846 came to Illinois, locating in La Salle County. He died of cholera some three years later and his widow survived him about four years, when she died of smallpox. He was a Methodist in religious faith and a most excellent man whose upright course in life won him the confidence and respect of all. In his earlier years he was a Democrat, but from the election of William Henry Harrison to the time of his death he supported the Whig party. In their family were ten children, of whom four are now living and our subject was the fourth in order of birth.
Austin A. Knight was the mainstay of the family and early learned to swing the ax and flail. His educational advantages were indeed meager. He had but little opportunity to attend school, and when he did obtain the chance had to walk three or four miles to and from it. Like a dutiful son, he remained at home, assisting his father in the labors of the farm until he had attained his majority. On December 21, 1840, he was united in marriage with Cynthia M. Hobbs, daughter of Nathaniel V. and Dorcas (Edwards) Hobbs, both of whom were natives of Vermont. Her maternal grandfather, Jonathan Edwards, married Miss Dorcas Winslow a native of Vermont. He was a Revolutionary soldier, was captured by the British and kept in prison for six months in Philadelphia, sleeping on stones until his flesh became calloused. Afterward the Government granted him a pension for his faithfulness in service. Nathaniel Edwards and wife, the parents of Mrs. Knight, were married in Pennsylvania and there resided until called to their final home. He was a carpenter and millwright, a natural mechanic and later ran a gristmill. In political sentiment he was a Whig.
Mrs. Knight, who was born June 25, 1823, is one of ten children of whom four are now living. She resided in Pennsylvania until 1846, and with her husband emigrated to Illinois. In 1852 he removed to Oshkosh, Wis., and engaged at work in a sawmill as head sawyer until at length, in company with a partner, he embarked in business in that line for himself. In 1867 he came to this county and purchased land in Smithfield Township. He owns two hundred and one acres of which one hundred and eighty-one are arable and well furnished with buildings. In 1886, he removed with his family to Fayette where he now makes his home. He is a valued citizen, worthy and enterprising, and is well known throughout the community. He cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison and supported the Whig party until the rise of the Republican party, since which time he has been one of its advocates.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Knight have been born ten children: James M., who served in the Forty-Sixth Wisconsin Infantry for about twelve months and died in his forty-third year; Alba, a resident farmer of Center Township; Amarilla E., wife of John Nicolai who makes his home in Milwaukee; Clarence J., a resident farmer of Smithfield Township; Lioniel L., a carpenter and joiner of Rock Rapids, Iowa; Eugene who is engaged in the lumber business in California; Ada, wife of J. H. Hobson who makes his home in South Dakota; Austin A. who is engaged in business in Manchester, Iowa; Mary, wife of Frank J. Meede, a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Emma at home. Mr. Knight and his wife are Spiritualists in faith. Social and cordial in manner they are highly esteemed as neighbors and friends and their home is the abode of hospitality.
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