George McKnight was born about 1817 in Fermanagh, Ireland where he married Mary Smith who was born about 1817. According to Mary's obituary in 1909, they married in 1835. Shortly after their marriage they came to Canada and settled in Toronto for approximately 2 years where they ran a dry goods store, possibly with a Mr. Saxon.
After that time they moved to Albion, Peel County, Ontario. On the 1851 Census, George and Mary are recorded as living in Caledon, Peel County. Their children are listed as:
- Isabella (1839 - 1913)
- Ann J. (1841 - 1894)
- Margaret (1843 - 1920)
- Sarah (1847 - 1929)
- John (1849 - 1911)
- James (1850 - 1931)
According to the book They Way it was: A history of Minto Township, by Clifford Harrison, George McKnight was the original owner of Lots 41 and 42, Concession 1 in Minto, Wellington County in 1854. The land sale for Minto is recorded as September 10 and 11, 1954.
Unfortunately the McKnight family seems to have been missed on the 1861 Census in Minto as I can not find the family.
However, the 1871 Census for Minto shows that the family is still there and that more children were born:
- George (1857 - 1931)
- Mary (1861 - 1938)
- Elizabeth (1862 - 1867)
- Samuel (1865 - 1957)
And of course, there might have been other children born between 1850 and 1857 that have not been recorded.
The birth years that are given here are just approximations as there are no birth certificates to support the dates. Many of the dates are different from the information that was available at the date of death. On Isabella McKnight's death certificate from Manitoba, her date and place of birth are recorded as April 6, 1839 and Palmerston, Minto Township. However, by looking at the census, she was probably born in Caledon, Peel County and not Minto, Wellington County.
George McKnight Senior died Nov 16, 1884 in Minto. He was still residing at Lot 42, Concession 1. At the time of his death his age was recorded as 67 years, 9 months and 18 days. If my math is correct, his birth date is April 3, 1817. Mary Smith McKnight his wife died May 15, 1909 in Wallace, Perth County. They are both buried in the Shipley Cemetery in Wallace.