Meet The Knightons
The name is English, although today Knighton is a small Welsh town standing on border of England and Wales. According to the Wikipedia article linked above:
The name Knighton probably derives from the Old English words cniht and tūn meaning, respectively, "... a soldier, personal follower, young man, servant, thane, freeman" and "... farm, settlement, homestead"
- John Knighton, age 25
- Mary Knighton, age 25
- Thomas Knighton, age 4
- David Knighton, age 2
- John Knighton, age 2mo
Then in 1850, a family of Knightons disembarked from the ship Fingal in New York:
- John Knighton, age ??
- Eliza Knighton, age ??
- Thomas Knighton, age 13
- David Knighton, age 11
- John Knighton, age 9
- Mary Knighton, infant
Unfortunately, the ages of John and Eliza are written sloppy and it is difficult to determine if they were recorded as 34-ish – or not. There is no guarantee that this is the same family, but it's worth considering, given that there are three kids whose names and ages are just right.
History leaves us wondering: Did Mary die and John remarried? Did John Knighton divorce and remarry? Was the new baby Mary named after her mother or is she Eliza's baby and named after John's dearly departed first wife? Could this be an entirely different family but with three children having the same names and ages? Not likely, but so far, no records have been found that answer these questions with authority.
Fortunately, the life and times of the Knightons in America are better documented, thanks in large part to the Placerville Mountain-Democrat. The many mentions of the Placerville Knightons and related families from 1854 through 1908 give us a rich picture of life during the California Gold Rush and late 19th century.