1921 Tennessee Civil War
Veteran's Questionnaire

William Thomas McKnight

17-Jun-1846 to 28-Sep-1922

Transcriber's notes:

In 1918 and again in 1922 a Tennessee historian sent this questionaire to all living Tennessee Civil War vetrans. This questionaire was answered by William Thomas McKnight in the fall of 1921, about a year before his death. This document is from the Tennessee archives in Nashville.

Transcribed by Thomas Harrison McKnight III on Sept. 12, 1998, at Orlando, Florida from photo copy of original document.

The chief purpose of the following questions is to bring out facts that will be of service in writing a true history of the Old South. Such a history has not yet been written. By answering these questions you will make a valuable contribution to the history of your State. In case the space following any question is not sufficient for your answer, you may write your answer on a separate piece of paper. But when this is done, be sure to put the number of the question on the paper on which the answer is written, and number the pages of the paper on which you write you answer. Read all the questions before you answer any of them. After answering the questions here given, if you desire to make additional statements, I would be glad for you to add just as much as you desire.

1. State your full name and present postoffice address.

William Thomas McKnight 1881 Cowden Ave Memphis Tenn.

2. State your age now.

75 1/2 years

3. In what State and country were you born?

Alabama, Sumter County

4. In what State and county were you living when you enlisted in the service of the Confederacy, or the Federal Government?

Alabama, Sumter County

5. What was your occupation before the war?


6. What was the occupation of your father?


7. If you owned land or other property at the opening of the war, state what kind of property you owned, and state the value of your property as near as you can.

Did not own

8. Did you or your parents own slaves? If so, how many?

My father owned 10

9. If your parents owned land, state how many acres.


10. State as near as you can the value of all the property owned by your parents, including land, when the war opened.

20 thousand

11. What kind of a house did your parents occupy? State whether it was a log house or frame house or built of other material, and state the number of rooms it had.

Frame & Logs 5 rooms

12. As a boy and young man, state what kind of work you did. If you worked on a farm, state to what extent you plowed, worked with a hoe and did other kinds of similar work. (Certain historians claim that white men wouldn't do work of this sort before the war.)

Farm work. Was plow hand with Servants from time I was 10 years old until 21 year old except 2 years was in Confederate War.

13. State clearly what kind of work your father did, and what the duties of your mother were. State all the kinds of work done in the house as well as you can remember - that is, cooking, spinning, weaving, etc.

Worked on farm & bossed. Mother duties were looking after house keeping, cooking, spinning, weaving & e

14. Did your parents keep any servants? If so, how many?

Yes. (one in kitchen)

15. How was honest toil - as plowing, hauling and other sorts of honest work of this class regarded in your community? Was such work considered respectable and honorable?


16. Did the white men in your community generally engage in such work?


17. To what extent were there white men in your community leading lives of idleness and having others do their work for them?


18. Did the men who owned slaves mingle freely with those who did not own slaves, or did slaveholders in any way show by their actions that they felt themselves better than respectable, honorable men who did not own slaves? [Note from transcriber: This question is really two questions. I believe that the answer is to the first question.]

They did

19. At the churches, at the schools, at public gatherings in general did slave-holders mingle on a footing of equality?


20. Was there a friendly feeling between slaveholders and non-slaveholders in your community, or were they antagonistic to each other?

Was friendly feelings

21. In a political contest in which one candidate owned slaves and the other did not, did the fact that one candidate owned slaves help him any in winning the contest?


22. Were the opportunities good in your community for a poor young man, honest and industrious, to save up enough to buy a small farm or go in business for himself?


23. Were poor, honest, industrious young men, who were ambitious to make something of themselves, encouraged or discouraged by slaveholders?


24. What kind of school or schools did you attend?


25. About how long did you go to school altogether?

9 years (after crop layed by)

26. How far was it to the nearest school?

1 mile

27. What school or schools were in operation in your neighborhood?

Mt. Hermon

28. Was the school in your community private or public?


29. About how many months in the year did it run?

9 month

30. Did the boys and girls in your community attend school pretty regularly?


31. Was the teacher of the school you attended a man or a woman?

Man & Woman

32. In what year and month and at what place did you enlist in the service of the Confederacy or the Federal Government?

Sept 1863 at Gainsville Ala. Went out in Co. A. & transferred to Co. H.

33. State the name of your regiment and state the names of as many members of your company as you remember.

Co. H Armsteads Cavalry. James Anderson, Tom Warner (all I know to be living) sad sad sad

Monument at Livingston Ala has many names on it. ( W.T. McKnight name on it of Co. H Armstead (Ala) Cavalry.

34. After enlistment, where was your company sent first?

Tuscaloosa Ala

35. How long after your enlistment before your company engaged in battle?

Several months.

36. What was the first battle you engaged in?

La Fayette Ga

37. State in your own way your experience in the war from this time to the close. State where you went after the first battle-what you did, what other battles you engaged in, how long they lasted, what the results were; state how you lived in camp, how you were clothed, how you slept, what you had to eat, how you were exposed to cold, hunger and disease. If you were in hospital or in prison, state you experience here.

Were in battle near Rome Ga (horse shot from under me) lost mule in battle near Spanish Fort, Ala. Came near being captured (by yanks). Was in battle at Millnery Farm, Bluff Springs (near Pensacola Fla) shot by negro yank & I killed him. (Yanks fought us with negros). Yanks came out from Pensacola & cut RR at Pollard . With Forrest at West Point, Ponotoc & Tupelo. Was with Wheeler at Turkey Town & many other battles. Slept many nights in snows, sleet & saddle for pillow & hungry.

Mobile & Blakely

38. Where and when were you discharged?

May 1865 at Gainsville Ala

39. Tell something of your trip home.

Was only 20 miles home (Livingston Ala) made trip OK

40. What kind of work did you take up when you came back home?

Farming my fathers. Negros all left & I saved part of the crop.

41. Give a sketch of your life since the close of the Civil War, stating what kind of business you have engaged in, where you have lived, your church relations, etc. If you have held any office or offices, state what it was. You may state here any other facts connected with your life and experience which has not been brought out by the questions.

Clerked few years & went in mercantile business for self & was very successful. Raised 3 children (wife dead) all married & doing well.

42. Give full name of your father: Born at: In the country of: State of: He lived at: Give also an particulars concerning him, as official position, war services, etc., books written by, etc.

Francis H. McKnight, Boliver Tenn, (near) Livingston Alabama

43. Maiden name in full of your mother: She was the daughter of: And his wife: Who lived at:

Susan Ann Hucherson, George Washington Hucherson, Martha Hucherson, (near) Livingston Ala. (from Orange Co. Va)

44. Remarks on Ancestry. Give here any and all facts possible in reference to your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., not included in the foregoing, as where they lived, offices held, Revolutionary or other war service; what country the family came from to America; whence first settled, county and state; always giving full names (if possible), and never referring to an ancestor simply as such without giving the name. It is desirable to include ever fact possible, and to that end the full and exact record from old Bibles should be appended on separate sheets of this size, thus preserving the facts from loss

Geo. W Hucherson was General in War of 1812. Was great friend of Geo. Washington.




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