John Wood McKnight
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

JOHN WOOD McKNIGHT—At "Brookside," Castleton, Rensselaer County, New York, not far from his birthplace, John W. McKnight now resides, he being one of the well-known Democratic leaders of the county of Rensselaer and of the State of New York. He has fought many political battles and knows both the sweets of victory and the fall of defeat, but he is a generous winner and a good loser, loving the game more than the office. He is a son of John W. and Fannie M. (Schermerhorn) McKnight; his mother a daughter of Nicholas A. and Lucy Jane (Stearns) Schermerhorn. John W. and Frank Hardee McKnight survive their parents, as does a daughter, Mrs Marion (McKnight) Errock. Two sisters of Mr. McKnight, Phoebe and Fredericka, are deceased.

Born at Castleton, Rensselaer County, New York, December 11, 1879, he has resided all his life in that village. Mr. McKnight is a son of John W. McKnight, who lived the greater part of his life in the town of Schodack, Rensselaer County, and who was widely known throughout Rensselaer County and the State of New York as a staunch Democrat and was twice elected to the State Assembly (1889 and 1890). He also served his party in various capacities during a period of twenty-five years of political activity. John Wood McKnight received his education in the public schools and for some time was engaged in various enterprises with his father and brother, finally taking a position with the New York Central and Hudson Railroad Company, and continued in that company's employ for twelve years.

Mr. McKnight is a member of Lodge No. 721, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Castleton, New York; Sunnyside Lodge, No. 731, Free and Accepted Masons; Greenbush Chapter, No. 274, Royal Arch Masons; Temple Commandery, No. 2, of Albany, New York. He is also an active volunteer fireman and has served several years as treasurer of the J. W. McKnight Hose Company, No. 1, of his home town. He is also a member of the Brotherhood Lodge of Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, No. 250, of Rensselaer, New York. Mr. McKnight has always been active in Democratic politics. He was chosen in 191 1 as his party candidate for supervisor in the town of Schodack, and was elected in spite of a large normal Republican majority. In 1912 he was nominated for State Senator by the Democratic party and was elected, receiving a majority of 1,850 over John Knauff, the Republican candidate. Lieutenant-governor Glynn appointed Mr. McKnight a member of the following committees: railroads, canals, public health, commerce and navigation and chairman of the committee on printed and engrossed bills. In the fall of 1914 he was a candidate for reelection for State Senator, but was defeated by Walter A. Wood, of Hoosick Falls. On February 11, 1915, Mr. McKnight was appointed postmaster at Castleton, New York, serving eight years under President Wilson's appointments, and retiring September 10, 1923. He was designated as a Democratic candidate for county treasurer on July 12, 1923, the result of that nomination yet unknown (August, 1923).

Mr. McKnight married, in 1913, Gertrude Grififin Longyear, of Owego, Tioga county, New York, daughter of John W. and Matilda (Thibordence) Longyear. To Mr. and Mrs. McKnight a daughter, Elizabeth, was born July 13, 1916.

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