Family Stories

History of Marion County, Kentucky – Part 2

This history of Marion County, Kentucky, I know very well.  In the summer between my senior year of high school and first semester at college I worked at our local public library – in Marion County.  Having spent many, many hours there in the previous several years, going through census records – micro fiche – no books at that time! – and pouring over the county histories and family histories for records of my family – I was very familiar with the library, and excited when I was hired!  One of my tasks, other than shelving books, checking out customers, etc., was to type an extra copy of this history by W. T. Knott!  There are perhaps 100 pages.  We did not have copy machines (1975) so if you wanted an extra copy it was typed!  I was fascinated with the book – so loved every moment of my typing assignment!

The first part I will share with you is about the author – and his genealogy.  This is the second of three parts.

from The History of Marion County by W. T. Knott

The Author

Part 2

William T. Knott attended the schools in the county and in Lebanon; and is a graduate of Centre College, in which institution he never spent a day or recited a lesson.  He was teaching school in Lebanon and from some of his young friends who were attending Centre College he obtained the curriculum, purchased the books and studied the full course at home.  When the commencement was held and the graduates received their diplomas, Mr. Knott, who was in the audience, was called up by the faculty and presented with a diploma, and was thus placed on an equal footing with the other graduates.  The college conferred upon him the degree of Ph.D. in 1894, being the third person to receive that honor from old Centre College.

He had charge of the Lebanon Seminary for ten years, losing but two days’ time in all those years.  In 1852 he became interested in promoting and building the Lebanon Branch of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and when, after much diligent labor on his part, the road was completed to Lebanon, he was made general agent of the branch and located at Lebanon, and it was his duty to appoint and superintend local agents.  He was connected with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in one capacity or another from 1858 to 1890, when he resigned his position to accept an appointment as superintendent of county schools, an office to which he has since been elected and re-elected, and is now serving his third term, and in which he is deeply interested, having a fondness for children and being enthusiastically devoted to the cause of education.  His qualifications for this work are unusual.  Having been a professional teacher for ten years and a lifetime student, few men in the state are better prepared to direct the education of the rising generation than is Mr. Knott.

During the term of his brother, J. Proctor Knott, as governor of Kentucky, he was assistant state geologist under John R. Proctor, who was director of the geological survey of Kentucky.  This line of study has always been of the deepest interest to him, and as a result of his researches he has one of the finest collections of geological specimens, outside of the large institutions in the United States.  He has made several trips to the Rocky Mountains, and his collection of specimens of the minerals and geological formations of that section of the country is one of great interest and value.  His library embraces the largest private collection of scientific works in the country.  At odd times he has made a careful study of the botany of Marion County, and knows every plant scientifically in that section.  He has made a careful study of the archaeology of the county and has worked up the chronology of the state, the greater part of the land and fresh water shells and has them named and classified in his cabinet.

Mr. W. T. Knott was married (first) July 11, 1847, to Marion B. McElroy, by whom he has four children living:  Joseph McElroy Knott, cashier of the Marion National Bank of Lebanon, married to Mattie Ruble; William Sneed Knott, attorney at law of Los Angeles, California, married Lulie Pierce of Springfield, Illinois, a sister of William Pierce, ex-consul to Cuba; Kate Grundy Knott and Jennie Marion Knott, who are at home.

Mrs. Knott died May, 1865, and Mr. Knott was married (second) January, 1867, to Mrs. Lydia McElroy, widow of Hugh Sneed McElroy, who was a brother of Mr. Knott’s first wife.  her maiden name was Lydia Harrison, daughter of George S. Harrison.  She is a native of England.  She had two children by her first husband:  Rosa, wife of James B. Shepard, of Denver, Colorado, and George S. McElroy, now of San Antonio, Texas, whose wife was Louise Phillips.

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