Knight, James (1787–1858)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

James Knight, early Texas merchant and one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, was born in North Carolina in 1787. His family moved to Alabama about 1800. Knight came to Texas with the Long expedition in 1821 and later returned to join Austin's colony. Knight and Walter C. White were partners and together received title to a league and a labor in what is now Fort Bend County on July 15, 1824. The census of 1826 listed Knight as a single man aged between twenty-five and forty. Sometime before 1830 he married a Mrs. Bacomb; their daughter Lucinda was born in 1830. Knight and White operated a store, trading posts, and a ferry at Fort Bend and for a time were the only merchants between San Felipe and Columbia. In 1835 Knight was a member of the Committee of Safety at Columbia, which on July 14 wrote J. H. Money, alcalde of the jurisdiction of Austin, chiding him for his failure to discharge the duties of his office. The next day the committee issued a proclamation to the citizens of the Department of Brazos intended to assuage their fears concerning the incursion of Mexican troops into Texas. Knight later joined merchants at Brazoria in petitioning the provisional government to build forts on Galveston Island, at the mouth of the Brazos River, and at the entrance of Matagorda Bay. He was joined in Texas by several of his sisters and their families in 1838 and later sent his nieces to Rutersville College. In 1849 he made a trip to California, then returned to Texas to operate his ranch and plantation and to oversee various other interests in Brazoria and Fort Bend counties. He died in 1858 and was buried at Kirk's Point.

William Campbell Binkley, ed., Official Correspondence of the Texan Revolution, 1835–1836 (2 vols., New York: Appleton-Century, 1936). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days (Austin: Gammel, 1900; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983). Clarence Wharton, Wharton's History of Fort Bend County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1939).
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Knight, James,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995

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